An epic day

Yesterday was the Cambs ACF (Army Cadet Force) Open Day and I was there to do the photography. I knew this was going to be a very long day as we had to be at the Cadet Training Centre at 08:45, the event ran from 10:00 to 17:00 and I didn’t end up getting away till around 18:00. I took the wheelchair and my prosthetic leg and ideally needed to pace myself. I had been wearing my leg for longer periods over a few previous days to try and make it a bit easier for myself. I drove there without the leg on and used the wheelchair till about 09:45, I then put the leg on and prepared for photography battle.

Starting from the building (1 on the map) I worked my way out to the grass area (2 on the map) where all the fairground rides and stands were. As I was walking over the grassed area it was like nothing I had encountered before, uneven with dips and mounds it was hard work and slow going. After a stroll and chatting to people I decided that I needed two sticks instead of one so headed back to the building to get my other stick. As I was on my to the building the Training Officer asked if I would mind manning the control tent for a while. Our Padre was running control but Mrs Padre had arrived so I covered it while they went off for a while, he had his camera with him and was taking photos to help me out too. After retrieving the stick and as I got back to the corner of the tent I didn’t notice any change in the ground but there must have been a small mound, as I walked over it my foot didn’t clear it and the foot dragged on the surface which bent the prosthetic knee and down I went. I couldn’t stop myself but I think I slowed the descent with the use of the sticks. I came down on both knees which was painful on my real knee but thankfully two visitors saw me fall and helped scoop me off the floor. I thanked them but felt embarrassed about the fall and was a bit shaken too. After the Padre came back I spent the rest of the day walking around doing photography. The furthest point I walked to was the airfield (3 on the map) where the motorbikes and signals stand was. I spent most of the day standing up as I couldn’t sit on the hard plastic chairs. By 15:00 I was sore in the groin and my foot and ankle were screaming for a rest so I took the leg off.

The last part of the day was mainly displays on the square (4 on the map) and I did all of this in the wheelchair. I can only explain the feeling of the day to what must be similar to an appliance running on batteries. To start off with I was walking fast and strong which turned into the pace gradually slowing, towards the end I was slow and struggling big time with heavy legs and puffing and panting, all the way down to standing but really not wanting to move at all. I wish I was an Energizer Bunny, ‘It keeps going and going’ and I am sure over time when I am more active and use the leg more my stamina will improve and I will be able to keep going for longer. I was totally knackered after the day so it will be interesting to see how I am at the end of Annual Camp! It was the longest length of time I have ever had the prosthesis on for and probably the most I have ever done with it on. Despite the fall I was pretty pleased with how much I managed to do and I will mark the day down as another small achievement.


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