James’ News & Progress – 11 July 2009

More and more over the last couple of weeks I have been given the opportunity to be in an upright position in a standing frame. The main purpose of this is to retrain my legs to support my body weight and encourage balance to return. Obviously after spending so much time either seated or lying horizontal and having minimal feeling or proprioception (knowledge of where your limbs are in space) this is a serious challenge. As difficult at it has been I am now able on occasion to stand unassisted for between 15-30 seconds. However, the slightest puff of air or murmur is still enough to send me tumbling. Another issue when in the upright position is that the tightness of my calves tends to rock me backwards on to my heels therefore causing me to lose balance. Hopefully some more stretching sessions will help to improve this.

As the trial of the electrical stimulation on my knees was previously encouraging, this week I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to use the equipment again with a representative of the manufacturer on site to observe. If it continues to be positive in promoting forward movement, which it seems to be, we may look to hire this equipment in the future.

Following on from the Ball and keeping with the Puffin theme, the staff at Homebush West Public School (including my mum) held a Puffin Magic Morning to educate the children about spinal cord injuries and our little feathered friends. As such the children were encouraged to dress in traditional Puffin colours while models of the spine were on show and details of quadriplegia discussed. I was not able to make it this year however this is something I hope to be part of in the future.