James’ News & Progress – 22 August 2009

This week it was finally time to pick up my toxic green (built for speed) manual wheelchair from Moorong which was fitted out to accommodate my slightly larger than average frame. As my ability to manoeuvre myself around independently is still minimal it is very important to have the specifications perfect. Although it has taken a couple of days to get used to it, I think we are pretty close and thankfully I can still make it around the obstacles and through all the doorways at home. A phone call to the lift manufacturer at this point could have been quite embarrassing.

Being my first visit back to Moorong since I was discharged around 4 weeks ago I have to say it was rather strange rolling back in there and not recognising many of the new clients and even some of the nurses. That said it was great to catch up with my old therapists and see the progress many of my friends were making. The experience definitely reinforced how lucky I was to be home again and out of an institution, even though I will forever be thankful for my time there.

Back in the gym, following the decision to hire an “anti foot drop electrical stimulation device” called Bioness, the focus has been spending increasingly more time in the upright position trying to manoeuvre through the corridors in my walking frame. I still require 2 assistants steadying the frame as I go and regularly aiding my strides when one of my feet misses a beat. Although it is still very challenging mentally to synchronise all of the muscles and to mimic the walking motion (especially as not all of them are responding) I do feel I am making some progress as it becomes slightly more natural week to week.

To end the week I was able to achieve one of my lifetime goals of being featured in an Icelandic newspaper holding a Puffin. This was courtesy of some ex work colleagues who are running the Reykjavik Marathon for the Puffin Magic Foundation and with their connections in Iceland were able to procure some cheeky publicity. For those fluent in Icelandic who happen to miss the coverage, we will endeavour to put it on the website shortly. Definitely one for the grandkids.