James’ News & Progress – 1 May 2009

This week things from a physiotherapy perspective really progressed positively, with the introduction of a number of new exercises and apparatuses given improved flexibility in my left shoulder and some increase in my overall strength.

As I have been experiencing a high level of spasms in my calves (especially the right side), the decision was made to place both of my feet into stirrups (which effectively lock my ankles in a neutral position, similar to a cast for a broken leg) before jumping into a harness and being hoisted onto the treadmill for only the second time to date. This, together with increasing strength in my hip flexors, assists the forward movements necessary to progress ever so slowly as the conveyor belt runs beneath me. However, three enthusiastic physiotherapists are still required to maintain any type of consistent momentum, one on each foot and one shifting my weight from side to side. Hopefully, we will continue to progress with the treadmill in coming weeks.

In addition, I am now spending at least half of every day in a manual wheelchair which continues to build on shoulder and abdominal strength. That said, even progressing up the slightest of inclines requires herculean strength, considerable patience and the ever present chest strap protecting me from potentially falling out of my chair (physio’s orders of course). Therefore, any cavalier expeditions outside of Moorong will be restricted to my trusty electronic steed for now.

A good week was capped off with an exciting update from the RSPB (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) informing me that my sponsored puffin is still alive and well. Peter is very excited that his long lost and partly endangered cousin has grown from a baby puffling and is surviving in the North Atlantic Sea. Peter looks forward to receiving photos for the family album.