User Spotlight: Ajax, US Veteran Living with Multiple Sclerosis

Ajax standing up

Meet Ajax, a Vietnam veteran who lives with multiple sclerosis and uses the M+D Crutches every day! He spends his days gardening and hanging out by his pool in his town of Plano, Texas.

He purchased a new mobility aid because he wanted to feel safe and independent when walking in his backyard. Before using his M+D Crutches, he would need the assistance of his wife to walk safely on his own.

His wit and humor are contagious! Like many of our other users, Ajax has named his crutches: Clyde (right crutch) and Glide (left crutch).

The Veterans Affairs hospital is a resource for all veterans, including Ajax.

Ajax Navy picture

Ajax served in the US Navy for four years and spent time on USS Mullinnix DD 944 and USS Greene DD 711, all after he completed Navy Boot Camp. He was discharged in September of 1970. During his time overseas, he was exposed to many dangerous chemicals, including Agent Orange. These exposures would impact his life many years later.

USS Mullinnix DD 944

Forrest Sherman-class destroyer, USS Mullinnix DD 944

A few years ago, Ajax was diagnosed with prostate cancer and started radiation treatments. Due to his cancer diagnosis, he began receiving disability benefits from Veterans Administration Washington DC and additional care from the VA hospital in Dallas, Texas.

He was thankful for the service his VA hospital in Dallas provided and believes it was very helpful to his recovery.

Today Ajax is cancer free!

Did you know that US veterans can obtain the M+D Crutches from
their local VA hospital?

It’s true, the US Department of Veterans Affairs is familiar with the M+D Crutches as our distributor, Drive Medical, has an established relationship with the VA hospitals.

Not only will these medical centers provide you with a community of support, but they can purchase the M+D Crutches for veterans in need of a mobility solution, at the suggestion of their doctor or therapist.

Be sure to ask for the M+D Comfort Crutch. If you are a veteran or know a veteran whose mobility could be improved by the M+D Crutches, please contact us and we will assist you with next steps!

Ajax will not let multiple sclerosis stop him from living the life he wants!

Living with Multiple Sclerosis has introduced a new set of challenges for Ajax. Multiple Sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disease that causes numbness or weakness in the limbs. It is a degenerative disease and currently there is no cure, only treatments. In the past couple of years, Ajax’s MS worsened, but he is ready to tackle any challenges that may arise.

“You are born with Multiple Sclerosis. That’s the one thing they know about MS. It’s not transferable. Adaptability is key. In the past two years, my MS has gotten progressively worse and that’s why I’m with my Clyde and Glide,” Ajax said.

The gift of mobility

After experiencing the freedom and independence Ajax feels when using his M+D Crutches, he bought a pair for his 40-year-old niece, a mother of four. “So her hands are kind of busy,” he said. Ajax appreciates the “hands-free” feature of the M+D Crutches and SURPRISED his niece with the gift of mobility.

“She loves the crutches and her 14-year-old son helped her put them together!”

Six questions with Ajax about his experience with the M+D Crutches

Have you needed a mobility aid for a while or is this something new?

“I got my first wheelchair in April of last year. The wheelchair was kind of cumbersome, so I had been using canes and they were killing my wrists, so I went to an orthopedic surgeon and the funny thing was I had already ordered the M+D Crutches. Well, the orthopedic surgeon told me I needed to take the weight and pressure off my hands and wrists. I said well perhaps my new walking implement will do just that. I am 6’3” so a lot of these canes and walkers don’t do me good because I end up hunched over which creates its own pain. So when I saw the M+D Crutches are 4’8” to 6’8”, I thought well I got to get it!

I am also a proud owner of a wheelchair. And having Clyde and Glide is much more convenient. They keep me mobile and keep me straight.”

Why did you decide to switch from using two canes to using the M+D Crutches?

“The weight on my wrists was uncomfortable. The wrists are not made to walk on your hands like I was with my canes. This (M+D Crutch) takes all that weight and all that stress off your wrists and puts it on your elbow and shoulders.

I really appreciated the videos that the founder did about his dad. I appreciate the way that he was an industrial designer as we have one in our family who just retired. So I sent him a copy of them (M+D Crutch videos) after I received mine and he was all over it.

The concept behind it is just fantastic. It takes all the weight off. There is no weight bearing even on your elbow, it is more of a balance. The other thing that I appreciate about it is pressing the button and all of a sudden the handle goes away.”

Do you use the hands-free mode? If so, what do you use it for?

“Yes, in the kitchen! I really appreciate that hinge where you can snap out automatically. When I’m cooking and I need to reach for something, you need to have your hands free, so I use that. I’ve also learned to operate pretty easily on one (M+D Cane). I use my left one to maneuver because it’s my left side that is affected most from the MS. Using just the left side allows me to free up my right hand for other tasks.”

What do you think about the M+D Crutch Feet?

“Genius. If anybody has ever had a cane, then you run into problems all the time. Cane tips are like a circle within a circle within a circle. When I opened the box and I saw that grippy type of bottom, I thought to myself these guys know what they’re doing! These feet are the cat’s meow! And I really appreciate the fact that these (M+D Crutch Feet) are replaceable. They are like a pair of shoes and when they wear out, you get rid of them and get new ones.”

Is there anything else on your crutches you find useful?

“The other thing that I think is great, while there’s so much positive about these crutches, is using the coin to do any screw options. Everyone has got a nickel or dime. Just the fact that you can use a coin and you don’t need a screwdriver is very convenient. And the push button of the snap-on (enabling hands-free mode) is nice. I just can’t say enough great things about what you guys are doing. And one other thing I like is that when you put them against the wall, they stay upright because of the well-designed form. They don’t slide away.”

Do you have any questions for us?

Do you have any suggestions on how to fly with the M+D Crutches? What is the protocol? Here’s my situation, getting around well in an airport, especially when my gate is far away, can be hard. I want to use my crutches on the other end, but don’t know how to travel with them. How do you suggest I break them down to travel?

M+D Answer: Great questions! We have had a couple users fly with our product and actually wrote a blog about one of their traveling experiences. There are two ways you can approach traveling with the M+D Crutches: bringing the crutches with you on the plane or packing the crutches in your luggage.

If you wish to bring your M+D Crutches on the plane, we first would recommend visiting your airlines website to read about terms and conditions. Most, if not all, airlines allow mobility aids such as canes and crutches to be carried on the plane. When traveling with crutches, you will want to build in a little extra time as navigating the airport (and airplane) can be difficult with crutches. Once seated, the airline attendant should be able to help you store your M+D Crutches safely on the aircraft.

If you wish to pack your M+D Crutches, you can do so. TSA allows crutches to be stored in carry-on bags or checked bags. Crutches and other mobility aids are “travel free” or can be checked in at no charge.  You will need to have a carrying case that is a similar size to the M+D Crutches box you received after your initial purchase. This box is 33 inches x 10 inches x 6 inches. The longest piece of the crutch is the leg, and it is 32 inches, so you will need to prepare to store the leg in the carrying case. If you cannot walk without your crutches and you decide to pack them, you will need to board the airplane using an aisle chair.

Have questions? Please feel free to contact us.

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