Saturday, November 21, 2015

Another progress report

Lots going on the past couple weeks. Lots of progress.

Yesterday, I got to go to the parent teachers conference at my son's school. An easy commute for him, a little more challenging for me. But I took the subway and then a short walk in downtown Manhattan and then I got on the ferry. He met me on The Island and carried my cane as I walked to the school. In the spring, I will visit my daughter's school, in the busy world of Columbus Circle and Lincoln Center.

I also change the way I have been using a forearm crutch. When I got it, I put Velcro on the handle and then wore an old work glove with the opposite Velcro on the palm so the handle would stay in my hand. It only weighs 19 ounces so it stayed stuck to me, but I didn't have the finger strength to grasp it. Now, the one I use now is about 100 rubber bands wrapped around the handle. I can easily listed with my bare hand. The handle is thicker and a little sticky.

But I only use the crutch if I'm going to be in a busy place. Once ago when I was trying it out my therapist said, "Oh, you're like one of those people who likes to hold onto a cane to everyone knows they don't have good balance." I said, "No, I am one of those people who likes to hold onto a cane to show everyone he doesn't have good balance."

Thanks Epoch Times

So 4:15 p.m. on a Friday, I got to get on the subway at Bowling Green. Elevators broken, one of the escalators is broken, I got this. But rush-hour, ack! The train pulls in and I know I need a seat. Is that little sticker above the seats at the end of the car that says please give up your seat to the disabled. There's four seats and three fat people in it. I said excuse me and put myself in that canyon between the thighs of two different fat people. I don't think my ass actually touched the seat until we were halfway to Brooklyn. Whatever, forget-about-it.

Thank you Brooklyn Magazine
Last Sunday, using my old forearm crutch I walked the entire circumference of Prospect Park. I stopped at the zoo and had lunch with my son, and then walked back the long way. I would not say I did this by myself, because I left the house alone and came back alone, but along the way I met so many friends I never felt alone.

Prospect Park looks so teeny from an airplane. My building is just one walk away and if you look really hard you can see it in the picture. But to walk to the park and around it and back is a good 3 1/2 miles. And when I say a good 3 1/2 miles I mean a GOOD 3 1/2 miles. Maybe it's even THE BEST  3 1/2 miles

Earlier this week I helped locate the mile markers for race my running club is putting on Thanksgiving. That means walking the course, and putting a little spray chalk where the mile markers should be. My old friend Mr. Gripes met me in front of my house and I walked around the park with him as he sprayed some numbers on the ground in Prospect Park. I left my cane home, Mr. Gripes thought I forgot it. But, no that was a plan. We spent most of the time talking, so I didn't have much time to get into my own head. But, there were more than a few instances where I would take a step, or turn, that I appreciated what it was like not to be leaning on anything.

Thanks Click Bait
This past spring, my son thought it was funny that his father was a toddler. He said a toddler is defined as someone who was learning to walk. While that was me in the spring and early summer. My legs would move forward, but my arms didn't necessarily do the things that people's arms do when they walk. When I would see little kids walking around like that, I knew how happy they were, how joyous it is to walk, even if you don't do it right.

Sometimes little kids would stare at my orthotics. I would look at them, smile and tell them that we have a lot in common. Where both learning to walk. Except with little kids grow up they don't remember how joyous it was. I spent almost a year and a half wondering what will be like to walk again without holding onto something. Now, I'm lucky enough to have that memory. Most people don't remember what it's like to learn to walk.

And speaking of progress, for the time being I've wound down my visits to occupational and physical therapy.  I have relearned how to walk. I can do a fine job of it as long as I'm wearing ankle foot orthotics.  Otherwise I have to really focus on not tripping over my own toes on each step. I can get my socks and shoes on and can handle some more of the personal details of daily living with my hands. But the nerve function is coming back slower to the hands than it has for my feet. Or I've learned how to deal with toes and ankles that don't work so well better than dealing with wrists and fingers that are lacking nerve function. So instead of Occupational Therapy, I'll be spending some time at a hand clinic where they will be focusing on getting some nerve function back to my hands and fingers.

I'd really like to thank the therapists at the Rusk Institute for getting me this far.

The physical therapists, who showed me I could do what I thought I couldn't.
The occupational therapists, who taught me to do what I did not know I could

1 comment:

  1. Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes to you and your family. Good luck if you run the PPTC Turkey Trot. Now that you're out and about again and using the subway, any found Metrocards with money on them? I don't see any updates (yet) in your money counter.


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