James’ News & Progress – 29 August 2009

The weekend started with a trip to the State Theatre in the Sydney CBD for a good friend’s birthday celebrations and farewell party as she sets sail for the Big Apple. Given her background in song and music and the amazing venue, much of the night was spent enjoying the various acts which her friends and musical connections were performing. It was also a rare opportunity for me to slip on a jacket and make a bit of effort with the hair! As you can imagine, not something I do for my daily therapies.

Early Monday morning one of my oldest and dearest friends arrived from the UK and on walking through the front door was asked to assist with an ongoing physio session – support me while practicing my standing balance. Given the last time he saw me I was flat out in a hospital bed in Johannesburg with little or no movement below the head and unable to sit upright without fainting, it was a good time for me to reflect on how far I have come. It was also a good opportunity for me to acknowledge how fortunate I have been on the journey thus far which is easy to forget when spending day after day struggling through my intense rehabilitation regime. In addition, it meant we had another pair of hands on deck to assist throughout the week and ease the pressure on the family, especially as it was Dad’s birthday. Above all, spending time with someone who knows me so well and who experienced me at my worst was both refreshing, motivating and morale boosting.

As Sydney’s weather continued to be unseasonally warm, we managed to get out one afternoon for a much needed hit of tennis, which we will combine with laps of the tennis court in my manual chair for fitness on a more regular basis (unfortunately court coverage is non existant as my hand still needs to be strapped onto the racquet).

Finally, at the end of the week I was able to show him how I manage in my walking frame, which I now cover approx. 400m per session. To clarify, two assistants are still required to support the frame. Both the consistency and speed of my steps continue to improve and late on Friday I managed to walk 50 metres nonstop for the first time. Although I still have trouble taking the first step from a standing start, once that initial movement is complete, the motion seems to flow more naturally. Plenty more to work on as you would expect.