I took a nasty fall in my bedroom, ramming my chest in the corner of the hope chest. I think I bruised some ribs. My doctor felt all around...nothing appeared broken...but I had a lot of pain for several weeks.
Jodie told the doctor I have been falling more. Yes, I had to agree. My doctor referred me to a specialist who knows more about figuring out such things. He referred me to physical therapy.
My walking gait has always been on the wild side. I had braces as a kid, until a doctor in California told my parents that my braces were not correcting anything, that they were really more of a hindrance.
When I finished college and was still living in Corvallis, I tried braces again - AFO's (ankle foot orthotic). My doctor and therapist were both very concerned with my ankle movement, telling me that if I ever rolled my ankle that my recovery could take a long time, and my ability to walk could be in jeopardy. At the time I was learning how to drive, and the AFO's seemed to be getting in the way.
I went and saw the therapist last December. She pretty much freaked out as she watched the motions of my feet and legs as I walk. AFO's for sure. Considering that I am getting older, and that I want to stay as mobile as I can for as long as I can, I agreed.
Life is different for me now with the AFO's. Instead of slipping on my shoes and tying them, I put on the plastic ankle piece, then I slide my foot into a plastic piece that goes from my toes up to the top of my calf. There is a velcro strap that I need to thread through a metal thing. I takes me time. Then I shove my braced foot into my size 11, 4E, New Balance 555's. Fifteen to 20 minutes, depending how my involuntary motions are doing.
I do walk better now, but it is harder for me to free walk. I use my walker more. It seems like using a walker is portrayed negatively in our society, like giving in to your weakness. I am starting to view my walker more like a pair of glasses, a tool that I need to function.
Standing up from a sitting position is harder because I am using different muscles. I feel more unstable walking around the van to help Jodie up and down the lift. I am using my walker more to help me.
Everything takes more time and energy. Some things Jodie is helping me do, like taking recycles out to the garage. She also lets me use her powerchair as a walker, with her driving it real slow. She likes that she can do more for me. I try to see it that way, but I feel bad that some of my abilities are slipping away.