James’ News & Progress – 01 October 2009

My week started with an unusual occupational therapy angle when the family celebrated my auntie’s 60th birthday at a local teppanyaki restaurant (Japanese restaurant where the food is cooked on a hot plate in front of you). During the preparation, the chef, in this case Habib (ironic given it was an oriental restaurant), continued to throw various food items which we were meant to catch either in our mouths or in a small rice bowl in front of you. Given the dexterity, in my arms and hands this obviously presented quite a challenge. However, Habib’s accuracy somewhat made up for my slightly mal-coordinated effort. In addition, it was the first opportunity for me to try my hand at chopsticks which will clearly require a lot more practice as I resorted to stabbing at food on my plate. Overall, quite an entertaining night.

In the pool, I was able to walk, for the first time unassisted, for about 5-6 metres, which is something I’ve been aiming for; albeit the relatively high water level and a small floatation device, attached to my torsoe, continue to support my large frame. Subsequently, my lateral walking in the pool has continued to get easier however the size of my steps are limited by the weakness in my hips.

Above ground, I have been doing the majority of my standing balance exercise with a scale under one of my legs. This is a useful technique to record how much weight I can take through each leg. Although I can’t take my full weight on either leg just yet, I’m hoping this is only weeks away. The other new exercise I was able to try this week was boxing in my standing frame which will definitely be the most comprehensive work-out in my schedule to date as arms, core and legs are all in play.

Finally, most Fridays whilst in my walking frame in the long corridor at the rehab centre, I am met by a group of ladies of a certain age attending their weekly water aerobic lesson (highly analytical gossip group) who give a running commentary on my progress week to week. The chattering gaggle are a constant source of amusement as they share their latest observations – whether any of them understand what a quadriplegic is I don’t know, but it is fun all the same. Maybe I should start quoting them in my blog going forward.