James’ News & Progress – 18 July 2009

What I haven’t been telling you over the last month is that much of my time in physiotherapy has been spent in a walking frame with two assistants supporting the frame because of my poor balance (mostly due to weak abs) and one physio moving my legs, attempting to replicate the walking motion. Although I can support my weight through my legs, assisted as well with forearm supports attached to the frame, the biggest challenge to date has been initiating forward momentum. The two main reasons being my inability to bend my knees and/or switch on my hip flexors (large muscle at the top of your leg and front of your hip).

In addition, given the weakness in my ankles, I have to wear stirrups to prevent my toes from dragging which is relatively common when learning to walk again. As well, I require a divider between my legs to reduce the chance of my legs awkwardly crossing over.

In recent weeks my good leg, the left one, has been co operating on a relatively regular basis however my right leg has refused to come to the party and tended to lock, mostly due to spasms and lack of strength. This week, for no apparent reason, even though it has been our focus of strength training and electrical stimulation, I’m happy to say my right leg has started to step through culminating in me taking my first couple of steps (albeit with supporters still on the frame). After 6 months and 20 days in rehab this bought a tear to my eye and luckily mum and dad were also there to experience it first hand, not to mention my physio Holly who received an unexpected birthday present after so many hours of work together. Although we still have a long long way to go, for me this was a real life illustration of hard work eventually paying off. THIS WAS THE BEST DAY THAT I HAVE HAD SINCE THE ACCIDENT.

As it was my last week at Moorong the absolute icing on the cake was that on Friday I was able to replicate some of the developments above and once again with my physio support, walk out of rehab as I had promised myself I would do all those months ago.

Obviously the sense of achievement over the last 7 days has been truly amazing but this is just the beginning if my quest to get back on the dance floor is to become a reality.