After breaking 7 bones in his foot, Derek Williams needed a mobility aid that would make everyday life easier and enable him to keep rocking as a stage-performing musician. Thanks to a friend, he found the Nitro rollator. Derek shares his experience and how the Nitro helped him before and after major foot surgery.
Breaking 7 bones in my foot
It was Christmas Eve, and I was at my local church, rehearsing for Christmas Eve services (all four of them!). The sanctuary was dark as the staff moved around, quietly making preparations. The rehearsal had just wrapped up, and the tech team turned off the bright stage lights.
My eyes had not adjusted to the dimness, as I made my way to the stairs, and all it took was a split second; I misjudged where the steps were, and walked right off the edge of the 3-foot stage, falling straight onto the concrete floor below.
I was in instant, blinding pain. The impact effectively crushed my foot.
I figured, right off the bat, that my foot was broken, but since it was Christmas Eve, I played 3 of the four services until I just couldn’t take the pain anymore. As they say, “the show must go on”.
Having performed professionally on stages at Madison Square Garden, the Hollywood Bowl and even Fenway Park, this was the first time I had fallen off a stage, and I was determined to continue despite my injury.
When I did finally make it to the hospital for x-rays, the day after Christmas, they told me I had what’s called a Linz Franc injury and had broken 7 bones in my foot. It would require surgery – pins, screws, the whole shebang.
My first thoughts were, what on earth am I going to do? I have never had to deal with mobility issues of such magnitude, and my band had shows coming up – I am a working musician who spends a lot of time on stage and in the studio teaching guitar.
How the Nitro rollator let me rock on and supported me before and after foot surgery
I borrowed a pair of crutches from a friend, but that was slow going, and painful in itself. Every jarring step I took on crutches sent shooting pains through my foot and leg.
That’s when my good friend, Michael, offered to let me use the Drive Medical Nitro rollator. I wasn’t super excited about using a “walker” but when I went to pick it up, I had to laugh because it was the absolute hotrod of Rollators!
Sleek and Ferrari Red, it had a very comfortable seat, which was low enough to prop my knee on and comfortable enough for me to use as a chair on stage and in the studio for long periods of time. It has a backrest too, which was a very nice feature. (The video above is a clip of me on stage with the Nitro)
The Nitro made everything easier while I went through the process of surgery and recovery. I played several concerts using it to help me get around backstage and as a place to sit on stage, since I was completely non-weight-bearing for several months.
I received a huge number of compliments and questions about it, while I used it, as a lot of people had never seen a “walker” with so much style and functionality. Most people opt for a knee scooter, but with this injury, I was glad to have a device with more functionality and features.
I can’t speak highly enough about the Nitro. It’s lightweight and folds up slim enough to fit inside my small hatchback SUV. It really defined my mobility for months, while I was waiting for and then recovering from surgery.
It rolls super smoothly, having four heavy-duty rubber wheels and locking handbrakes (instead of the hazardous two wheels and tennis balls set up that some other walkers have), and it’s small enough that I could even use it inside my limited-space home. It has perfect clearance for passing through doorways.
As I began to recover and start some light weight-bearing on my foot, the Nitro provided stability and balance when I walked. The hand-breaks were such a good feature to have, especially when dealing with ramps and uneven terrain.
The locking feature on the brakes is an amazing help too, providing security and assurance that no one is going to accidentally lose control and roll away (or fall) while sitting on it.
I know I’m not your typical candidate for Rollators, but I can tell you that the Nitro is versatile enough for many people with a wide variety of mobility needs, and I am so grateful to have been able to use it over the past months.
Lastly, I’ll admit that I gave this thing hell; I did not baby it at all – it can take a licking and keep on ticking. 5 stars from this satisfied user!
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Guest contributor: Derek Williams is an online marketing expert who plays a LOT of guitar on the side. He’s performed on stage with Thomas Rhett, Jake Owen, LeAnn Rimes…played at Fenway and Wrigley and at the Country Music Awards. He currently plays in the band Precious Byrd, and teaches guitar lessons in Bend, Oregon, where he lives with his wife and two kids.
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