Pondering What’s Next

I only have six more sessions of out-patient physical therapy, and I’ve been thinking about what comes next. The therapy people said to get a PT order from a doctor and contact home health, but that’s not what I’m going to do. I will have been doing therapy for four months and I need a break. That doesn’t mean I can stop working, but there is much I can do on my own.

My aide is going to be a big help. We’ve already started walking in the hallway, with her following me with the wheelchair just in case. My goal is to increase the distance we walk a little bit every few days; right now it’s about 300 feet. Yesterday my therapist showed her how to make an improvised AFO using bandages on the right leg, which is what we’ve been doing in therapy for several weeks. The leg has support but also stepping down pulls the knee forward slightly and the foot has a more natural step than when I’m wearing my rigid AFO.

I’ve ordered a small Pilates ball to use for some of my leg exercises, and have ankle weights and small dumbbell weights as well. There are exercises I can do from a chair, as well as Theraband pulls from a standing position with the walker. All of these strengthen the leg muscles. I also have arm exercises to do using the bands and weights. Our hallways are lined with handrails at just the right height for me to use for standing leg exercises as well.

What I really want, though, is access to a NuStep. This recumbent cross-trainer was my favorite piece of gym equipment in my Before life and also at the Olympic Center rehab. We don’t have one at out-patient now, and the machine in the exercise room at Meadow Lake is broken – and apparently breaks often because it’s the most used piece of equipment in there. So I am seriously considering buying myself one for my apartment. It’s crazy expensive but I have the space and know I would use it. Having it would help and my therapist would love for me to be able to use one. I’d use it first with Jamie here to make sure I can get on and off the equipment safely; I know how to adjust and use it already. I just need to sleep on the idea for a few days to be sure I’ve thought it all through before coughing up the money to buy it. But it would work.

My referral to the foot/ankle doctor is still going through insurance approval before I can make the appointment. My hope is that a new AFO – that I could actually put on by myself – will come out of it. Remember, I need the stupid thing in the first place because of foot drop; without it, my right foot drags and drops and presents a serious fall hazard. So for now I’m mostly using the wheelchair when I’m on my own and only using the walker to transfer. I’d much rather be walking around the apartment as much as I can; not having to wait for someone else to put the AFO on my foot will make a difference and that goal achievable.

Image credit: Photo 104037945 / What Next © Artur Szczybylo | Dreamstime.com