Click the picture for the story of Calypso, the Three Legged Green Sea Turtle, and why she's my symbol

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Boot Camp: Week 2

My have gotten more and more spread apart as I got more and more tired from Boot Camp. Notice this one is the week after boot camp. I was going to wait until I uploaded the pictures and movies off my camera but I left it in Maryland! It's on it's way back so I decided to post in the mean time. I'll post pics and vids when I have them.

Over the weekend I went kayaking! It was a blast and I'll be doing it again, for sure! The only bad thing was of course I got sun burned (pasty white boys tend to burn). My legs were both angled with my knees toward the outside of the kayak so only the inside of my legs burned. It didn't really hurt, it just made my legs look really unusual. I think I'm going to have access to a kayak this summer so I should be posting about this again soon.

After a relaxing weekend it was difficult to return to the riggers of boot camp. Things were very similar to the previous week. I increased the amount I walked with both one and two canes, I walked on the Therastride, walked on the free walking harness, I walked with the AFO (ankle foot orthosis), etc. Read the last couple of entries if you want to see more on those.

Rigidity Splint

On Tuesday the rigidity splint was made. This essentially is a cast of my foot with the foot flexed backward. Since my foot naturally drops down (I have no muscle control of that foot) my ankle joint has become unnaturally tight. This is especially bad because that tightness causes the knee to buckle if the ankle is braced; this makes walking with an AFO considerably more difficult. The hope is that this splint will keep my foot in a more neutral position and slowly loosen my ankle up. If it will loosen up my ankle it's definitely worth a try.

Picture this with a slit down the center so I can take it on and off.

The cast was made very quickly on Tuesday. It should surprise no one that I had it made it green. The therapist who made it took it back with her in order to finish all the adjustments that needed to be made. At the inpatient gym it was accidentally thrown away by one of my old therapists. Not to name names but it starts with S and ends in ephanie! I mean come on, you really threw it out! (just kidding, love you tons!) So a new one was made, which took all of 20 minutes so no harm done.

AFO and my knee

If you haven't seen it already you can see the video of my kneecap moving due to my quads. This is significant because it means I can temporarily (about 5 seconds) hold much of my weight on that leg. We've been using this new found skill to walk without my full leg brace. It still needs lots of work but I'm starting to get the feel for this new mode of locomotion (it's been a year and a half, so it's new to me). I'll keep you posted on the status of this as it progresses.

Though I'm not going to be able to wear when I walk all the time, I've got a custom AFO on the way. I'll send pictures when it arrives, which could be a while.

Underwater AFO

My main therapist had an idea of combining the work I'd done with the AFO and the work I've done in the pool. We were able to take the AFO underwater because the AFO that I've been using is just a simple piece of plastic and velcro . Since the water supports much of my weight we have been able to focus on the work of individual muscles that need strengthening without worrying about the ankle dragging. This is the most stable I've felt ever!

Home Plan

Every time I go to Kennedy Krieger for boot camp I leave with a packet of stretches, exercises and recommendations. This program is what shapes my PT program from now on. It is my chief resource for everything PT as it focuses on my weakest areas. It focuses mostly on my left leg as well as strengthening of my core. I'll share bits and pieces as they become more relevant but its guidance will play a part in all of my recovery from this point on.

It was sad to leave again but I'm glad I won't have to keep that pace every single day. It was good to recharge my mental batteries with a boost of energy from therapists, family, and friends. I'm now armed with a new program and an reenergized will to succeed.

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