Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'M ZAPPED! .... Footdrop Device Progress

Well the NessL300 came and Tuesday was my first day of physical therapy. I've been hooked up, gelled, positioned, wired, unwired and generally made ready to go.  This is the device that sends an electrical stimulation from my calf down to my foot and makes it raise so I can walk (hopefully) more normally.   See my March 29 and April 9  posts for more on this.                                                                                                                                                                                  
Right now I look like a lopsided Frankenstein monster--one foot jerking up in the air at least twice as far as it needs to go and me saying "Yikes" at every third Zap.  I've got lousy flexibility in that foot now--probably from a combination of all the metal still in my ankle since 1985, my lack of walking and the wearing of my AFO.  I've got a wedge I've been standing on a few times a day, attempting to stretch out that ankle and give me more movement.                                                                                                     
The PT explained that not only do I need to learn to walk with this device, I also need to unlearn all my bad habits.  You know what they are--swinging my leg out at the hip to compensate for the dragging toes, stiffening my leg in order to do that, which has given my thigh muscles an unneeded vacation from lifting my leg at the knee.  Ack!  Is there anything I've been doing to get exercise for the past three years?  I always thought I was because just getting up from a chair and walking to the door wore me out.  Occasionally, I would nobly walk behind a cart at the grocery store instead of using their motorized cart.  So that should prove how much I exercised!  Doesn't it?  Ahem....well.......  
You would think that exercise and movement would hang out in the pocket of a Type-A personality but I am proof that the popular definition for Occam's Razor doesn't always hold true. I wasn't dubbed the Queen of Expediency for nothing; Economy of Motion is more my style.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 So here goes--working up from 20 minutes a day, I've got to convert some of the energy in my head to motion in my body to get this done.  But if my PT is correct, in a month I'll be able to wear it all day long and leave my scooter behind much of the time.

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