James’ News & Progress – 10 November 2009

I had a very amusing afternoon when a local paper doing a story on my brother, Martin’s, Puffin Paddle (a 2,200km solo mission down the Murray River in a kayak to raise money for the Puffin Magic Foundation) sent two representatives out to the house to interview and photograph Martin and I. On entering the house, I heard the photographer introduce herself to Martin and simply enquire “so are you the quadriplegic?” !!!!!! If this wasn’t enough, on introducing myself, she asked whether it was possible for us to take the kayak to the river at the bottom of the street and take a photo with me sitting in it !!!!!! Hopefully, the Q & A session which followed enabled her to appreciate my predicament more clearly. All in all a very entertaining experience.

This week we were able to purchase a new electronic stimulation machine called “Compex” which is a Swiss designed and made a device that allows me to stimulate four muscles groups simultaneously at high frequencies. At the moment I am using the device predominantly to stimulate my abdominal muscles as well as calves and hands. The logic behind this equipment is that it should promote neuropathic recovery (that is, strengthening messages from the brain to the muscles) whilst building muscle mass. I am very interested to see the effectiveness of this machine in weeks to come.

In addition, my physiotherapist tested me with a new slightly less stable four-wheeled walking frame, replacing the previous model which had two wheels and two skis. If I’m honest, it was slightly premature for me to progress to the new frame given the increased dependence on core and arm strength that was necessary. Accordingly, we have reverted to the older model and will attempt the change again in the coming weeks.

Finally, I was inundated with various reports following the fundraising Rugby Dinner which was held in London this week. All in attendance confirmed the success of the night not only because of the venue and the calibre of the speakers but partly due to the two bottles of Bundaberg Rum which were strategically placed on each and every table. We will endeavour to have photos and match reports uploaded as soon as possible. A big thanks must be extended to all the organisers, speakers and indeed the guests for their incredible support. Hopefully, I will be able to make it next year.