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

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Accidents

Last weekend an accident happened that would shoot me to the next level of ambulation. While walking around with a friend a wire on my leg brace broke. There is a wire on each side of the leg brace so I was able to make it back to my car without too much trouble but it became clear that I needed to have my leg brace fixed.

I gave the broken brace to my orthotist, who sent it off for a tune up from the manufacturer. I attempted to use Roboleg, the computer controlled leg brace, in the mean time. I soon remembered why I stopped using Roboleg: the brace is heavy, clunky, and difficult to control. I was quickly getting more and more frustrated.

I had used my AFO (Ankle Foot Orthosis), the ankle brace, in therapy and at the pool but I had yet to use it for any length of time out in the real world. After only one day with Roboleg, I decided to put on my AFO and try wearing it while my leg brace was being fixed.

I trialed out the AFO on a school day, with great results. I expected to feel more tired than usual, which I did. Other than this I didn't suffer any great consequences from the switch. As I continued to wear it throughout the week I felt more comfortable, stronger, and more mobile. Every day my endurance improved and I was able to walk farther. An added bonus is that the AFO can be hidden under my jeans, making me a little less obvious (though the canes end up giving me away).

Me walking without canes with the AFO. I can only do this for short bursts right now, but this is my future.

These experiences spurred on the inevitable epiphany:
I don't need my leg brace any more!
I knew this day was coming but until this week I didn't realize that the time had already come. This accident caused me to move onto greater devices of mobility. I have pure chance to thank for huge improvements to my walking. I can use a brace that has no wires that can break, no computers that can malfunction, and is powered by my own muscles.

I have my leg back again!

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