Wednesday, August 20, 2008
To Stand Again
The check socket fit great! It was a little loose, but the shape was perfect. The best part of this process was that I got to stand again for the first time since May 29th! (Man my butt is tired!) I couldn't really walk because my legs didn't have a charge, so the knees wouldn't quite work the way they are supposed to. The batteries were drained because they had been sent back to the manufacturer for their annual check up! (I'm told they were sent to Germany so, now I can say that part of me has traveled to Europe! Maybe some day the part of me that would enjoy the trip can go too!) Anyway, standing up again after two and a half months was a strange sensation.
I hadn't realized how different it would feel. Neither leg is used to having a prosthesis on anymore. Even though my right leg hasn't changed, it still felt uncomfortable standing up for the first time. However, that quickly changed as I stood up and sat down several times to make adjustments. My left leg was a completely different experience. For one thing, I've lost some length, so I felt like my left leg was too short. Also, it was the first time that I was putting my full body weight on that stump since the surgery, so it was very uncomfortable to start. I had to add several socks to get the comfort just right. This also told Mike how much smaller he would need to make the permanent socket.
While Mike and I were going through this process I had an opportunity to evaluate a few things. The most important thing was to see how my hip felt with my weight on it. So far it doesn't feel like I've lost any strength. I'll know for sure when I can actually try walking. The second thing I was evaluating was my balance. I think it has improved. Again, we'll know for sure when all of the final adjustments have been made. I have an appointment to see Mike again this Friday. With any luck I'll get the permanent socket at that time and he'll be able to balance my height and make any other necessary adjustments. If I leave his office with two functional legs then it's time to start re-building my endurance again.
The other adjustment that Mike will need to make is for the increased range of motion in my hip. Two weeks ago I was about six degrees away from neutral (straight hip). One week ago I was three degrees away. This week, after laying on my back with a ten pound weight on my leg for thirty minutes, and then laying on my stomach for another twenty minutes, I was able to straighten my leg to neutral. (or close enough that Renee called it neutral) This takes a lot of muscle work, but the hope is that, once I start walking on a regular basis again, the muscles and tendons will continue to stretch out to a point where my hip can go beyond neutral (behind me). The adjustment that Mike will need to make will be in the angle that my knee is offset on that side. (That blue plate that puts my left knee on an angle behind my actual stump.)
That plate is called a "deflection plate". (Renee says it sounds like a shield) He may need to put a different deflection plate on that has a shallower angle. We may be able to eliminate the deflection plate all together. Whatever we do, it probably won't be all that comfortable at first, but I don't want to reduce the amount of stretch that walking will give me for comfort. We'll just have to play with it for a while. So, it's all about walking from this point on!
Here we go again....
Keep up the good work, Jeremy; I'm sure it'll pay off very soon!
Hearing your name mentioned in the Olympics (I'm sure you know that but for the lack of one "r", the name of the U.S. track team silver medalist would be spelled the same, too), I was reminded to check your blog. Had gotten out of the habit when you didn't post for a couple weeks. We're SO glad to hear you can stand again!!!
Also, we'd recommend that you tell your doc about those miserable leg cramps. Maybe it's a result of your recent, aggressive exercise regimen, like you suspect. Or maybe it's a simple chemical deficiency. A wonderful woman I knew, who lived to be 106 and 'adopted' me when I was her social worker in Indy, took a prescription for quinine sulfate to relieve chronic bad cramps in her hands and feet. Her med was called Quinamm, which is generally an agent used to treat malaria, but may also be used to treat cramps. Maybe your doc could check this out. You certainly don't need to deal with any more pain you might be able to avoid. :o)
Keep up the great work and lots of love from Florida's 'forgotten coast' - though unfortunately, not forgotten by Tropical Storm Fay, which reportedly will be bearing down on us very shortly with 50mph winds and tons of rain.
Paula & Kenyon
I'll talk to you soon,
One of the downsides of getting in shape is getting out of shape while recuperating from illness or injury (or surgery!) It can make a body almost paranoid--best of luck in getting back on your feet soon (and with no more of those murderous cramps!!) Pop used to dose himself with quinine; I don't remember what he used it for, though.