I had a physical therapy session today and had a few firsts. Before I get into the firsts, let me just say that I got a new liner for my right side. When I can get my brother to help me again, I’ll shoot a new video showing both the liner and me putting the prosthesis on. This new liner is still custom but not as custom as my previous one. My prosthetist said that since my skin was doing well, we were going to try this new liner. The new liner is a little thicker and softer. If anyone is curious in seeing what the liner looks like before I get around to making another video, below is a link to a picture of my new liner. It comes at that length but it’s ordered in my size and then cut down so that it’s shortened for me.
Now onto today’s firsts…
1. I walked into A Step Ahead today. My physical therapist (Phil) saw us as we were parking the car and was busting my chops about not getting into the wheelchair in order to enter the office. But, since I didn’t have my crutches with me, I couldn’t fully walk into the office. So, I transferred from the car into the wheelchair, wheeled up to the stairs, stood up, and then walked up the 3 steps, and then into the office. It reads much easier than it was to accomplish. I held onto the railing with my left hand and onto Ben’s had with my right hand. I’ve practiced a little bit since our first attempt so I knew what to expect, but walking up stairs still requires grunting noises from me, like a tennis player. Once I got to the top of the stairs, I was frozen. I didn’t have crutches and I didn’t have a railing to hold onto anymore. At that point, Phil came out grabbed one of my hands and said, “Come on. Let’s go!” I said, “Huh? What?!?” No.” But it had to be done. Gotta soldier on. So, I grabbed his hand and walked into the office and into a room. I made it. Whew. Gotta try…won’t know if you can/can’t until you try. It may not be pretty at first, but you gotta try.
2. I got up from a chair without the assistance of a crutch or another person. We practiced getting up and sitting down from a chair without assistance.
3. I walked around the office with just one crutch. Scary.
4. If I thought #3 was scary. I was petrified for #4…I walked without any crutches! But don’t get too excited folks, I wasn’t completely on my own..I was on a “leash”. I was tethered around my waist, while Phil held onto the strap part from behind me. They strapped me in and then told me to start walking. My reaction, the usual reaction when they have me do something new and terrifying, “Uh, what? No!” But, then I eventually do it. I said, “I don’t think I can. I think my feet are glued to the ground.” Mentally, I wasn’t able to get going if I wasn’t holding onto something, even if it was with the lightest touch. I didn’t have the “security blanket” of my crutches, the parallel bars, or someone’s hand. So, we started with Phil holding the strap while standing behind me and Erik barely holding onto my hands, just so I could get started. All three of us took a few steps together and then Erik let go of my hands and I was walking on my own, with Phil still holding on in case I wobbled, which I did. And then, they told me to swing my arms. Come on!! I don’t usually swing my arms because swinging my arms, although it makes the walking more “natural” means my body is more loose. I tend to hold my arm up and have it tensed up, like the rest of my body needs to be, so that I can balance and stay upright. I would switch from tense to swinging, but after a few back and forths, I took a bunch of steps while fully swinging my arms. Those were probably the most natural steps and the most natural feeling I experienced since I started walking with the prosthetics. Weird, exciting, and scary all at the same time. After doing one loop around the office like that, I was beat. It doesn’t take much to get me exhausted when it comes to walking right now. I sat down and we all took a break.
5. Then, we started talking about how to fall and how to get up if I fall. Do this with your left leg. Do that with your right leg. Do this with your arms. I’m good. I just won’t fall guys. So, they put the mat out and put me on the ground. #5 – first time sitting on the ground (with or without legs) since the accident. And now that I was on the ground, it was time to show me how I would get up. This is difficult because I don’t have full range of motion with my left leg/knee. I can’t get it to fully bend. When you’re sitting in a chair, your legs are at 90 degrees. My leg doesn’t do that. My knee can only bend to about 40-45 degrees right now so when I’m sitting it’s extended out a little.
So, how to get up from the floor. Roll over onto my stomach, then get into a plank position and walk my left leg out (so now I’m kind of in a Y position), and now try and bring my left leg to the side of me. Stop. Because I can’t get my left leg to fully bend, I couldn’t really do that one and because the frame/socket on my right was digging into my lady parts. Next. Get back into “Y” position. Now, try and walk your hands back and then once you’re hands are at your feet try and stand up. Nope. My left knee isn’t strong enough. Ok, last option. Grab onto the chair and pull yourself up to the chair and then climb on. I don’t know if I couldn’t do this one because I was already exhausted from the walking and trying the other 2 methods or if I just couldn’t do it. The right leg is basically dead weight so I literally have to drag it. Unsuccessful. 0-3. The guys pulled me up and I sat down. Feeling defeated now. Luckily, I laughed throughout all three attempts so I didn’t feel as bad. I’m good at laughing at myself. And apparently, they found it amusing as well. =) Lesson here…don’t fall. As much as I would like to not fall, it’s not so realistic. So, until my knee can bend more, in a worst case scenario, if I’m by myself and I fall, I’ll have to take the prosthetics off, get myself off the floor (much easier to “pick myself up” without the weight of the prosthetics”) and then put the prosthetics back on. Not the most ideal, but it’ll have to do for now.
Thanks for reading! ‘Til next time…