Before I tell you about yesterday’s physio session let me quickly bring you up to date with the prosthetic leg situation since last Wednesday. Thursday bruised and couldn’t wear it, Friday was the same as Thursday, Saturday at Twickenham for the Rugby so didn’t wear it, Sunday I couldn’t get in it (nearly launched it in frustration), Monday I tried again to see if I could sit in it and get the leather band to give and Tuesday managed to get in it a bit better but still pinching where the band joined the socket. That was the update and I hope it was quick enough for you.
I was the only one at physio this week so to kick off the session I did my warm up on the rowing machine without my prosthesis on. I only managed 5 minutes instead of my usual 10 as it seemed harder on my right leg for some reason. Following the warm up it was time for a lie down, not for a rest but some hip and stump stretching. I am struggling to keep my hip flexible at the moment because most of my time is spent sitting, it is great to get a really good stretch in a physio session. Next came the bit I was dreading, it was time to try and get my prosthetic leg on.
I tried to think positive and worked hard at trying to raise and lower the stump in the socket while controlling the donning sleeve to try and get all the skin pulled through. Although there was a bit of a struggle, compared to last week it went straight on, there was a small pinch but all in all it felt pretty good. I started to walk up and down the gym with two sticks which was walking miles better than last week, all because I could get it on properly this time. I was bending the knee well, not scuffing the toe, not twisting the foot as much and it felt much better. I was then asked to walk without the sticks, slightly less stable and I started rolling on the outside of my right foot to try and keep my balance. Then came an unexpected request, my physio asked me to march across the gym, I asked if she wanted me to swing my arms too and she said that wanted a fair swing. I felt a bit of a Muppet but I did it and was told that apart from the arms it looked much better. My physio noticed that as soon as she told me to march I braced my core and held it which resulted in a more stable movement and it felt better too. Next she brought out a metronome, which was itself out of time, but after some jiggling we got it right but it was a bit slow. I was asked what speed we marched at but I couldn’t remember, I told her that when I used to teach timing to cadets I used the words ‘Sausage and Eggs’. The heel of the left foot strikes the ground on the S of the word sausage and the right heel hits the ground on the E in Eggs. I demonstrated the theory which worked and my physio was that impressed with it she wants to use it with one of her other groups. I was asked not to stop at each end of the gym but to turn around in three steps, I used the TLV method of an about turn on the march while still trying to use the Sausage and Eggs timing (in my head). As mad as all this sounded it actually worked and I was walking at a fast pace with a reasonable stride, not a million miles of a slight jog. I then went in between the parallel bars where a mat was placed on the floor with a small ring and a hockey ball inside the ring. The idea is to stand on the prosthetic leg with the toes of my real leg on the hockey ball, this is to help improve my balance. Very challenging but it works all the leg and core muscles as I fought to stop myself from losing my balance. I finished the session with a bit more walking, I just wanted to carry on but my physio stopped me as she didn’t want me to be too sore that I couldn’t wear the leg for a couple of days again.
It was the best physio session I have ever had and the leg felt the best it ever had too. I did end up with a very small bruise just from a small pinch and although it started getting a little sore it went away quickly. My physio was extremely impressed with my walking and I was really happy with the way it went too. Obviously I will always look like I have a limp or bad leg but I don’t think it looks really bad, in fact I think the walking feels like it looks worse than it actually does. I will have to see if I can continue getting the leg on every day or how much the stump changes but at least I feel there has been some massive progress made. I just have to slowly build up the time using the socket, my stamina, muscles, control of the leg, my core and harden the groin and bum bone area, bring it on!