James’ News & Progress – 24 November 2009

After another hectic week, Saturday night a good old DVD came out and to try something new I was transferred over onto the family couch. This was the first time I could enjoy the luxury, knowing that a few hands were on deck to assist me back into my chair at the end of the film. An experience which will hopefully be repeated in the future.

Early Sunday morning, given it was a fantastic day, I took the opportunity to wander up to a near by tennis court and try my frame walking outside. It was a welcomed change from the hallways of the rehab centre and accordingly, I managed to walk just over three laps without assistance which was by far the longest walk to date. On completion, the owner of the court, who has thankfully allowed us the privilege, emerged from the house and after watching me from within, recited a quote which his late father had lived by “struggle and survive” (In Latin, Luctor et emergo). Knowing what I go through each and every day, this comment and its timing were extremely poignant. A year ago, I never thought it would take so much mental and physical strength to complete such a distance. Luckily it can only get easier.

As I have mentioned previously, this journey is not only about walking but also the recovery of my upper limbs and hands (and of course my six-pack!). One particular instrument that we had identified but not had the opportunity to try is the Bioness H200, which is an electrical simulation device that manipulates one’s hands into extension as well as flexion (ie from hi-five to fist). Apart from strengthening the various muscles, they aim to promote neuropathic recovery and require active participation whilst moving your hands into various positions.

This week I have been lucky enough to trial what I understand to be the only pair currently in Australia, which has been a real treat. Although it is too early to confirm their effectiveness, the increased range of motion and blood circulation are immediate results, not to mention the visual satisfaction of seeing your hands moving in such a way. Further improvements are keenly awaited.