The traffic fairy was against us today, I texted my physio, Peita, just before her arrival. Parking is usually at a premium on weekdays on the street where I live, but “magically” she’s been able to locate a spot each week right outside the building, hence the adoption of the phrase, “the traffic fairy”.
That wasn’t the case today. As I watched and waited for car spaces to become available, I knew we had a challenge ahead. Unfortunately, I can’t go downstairs and stand in spot and wait for one. So I told Peita she would need to enter through the backlane way and I would buzz her in to the visitor’s carpark.
Unfortunately, I can’t do that from my apartment itself. And so I summoned up the courage to get myself into my apartment’s block elevator, take it downstairs, and make my way to the entrance, where I was able to let her in.
Despite its rather smooth appearance, the car park’s concrete floor is fairly uneven. Built on the side of a hill, there are parts which go up and down, and side to side.
To make my way across the surface, I need to take lots of small steps and vary the first leg I use when walking. The rule of thumb is that if I’m going uphill, I should step first with my intact limb. And if I’m going downhill, I should step first with my prosthetic limb. Even within a few metres, all of that varied considerably.
Peita suggested we immediately resume from last week’s session where I was beginning to walk in the back street, and then using a laneway that inclines upwards, make my way to Crown Street.
Once we made it to Crown Street, Peita suggested we should go a little further.
The pedestrian crossing across Crown Street is always a bit of a challenge, as cars will often fail to slow down. But armed with a pair of crutches and a carer, we were well and truly visible. “Take your time, they’ll wait”, Peita said urging me NOT to cross the road too quickly.
From there, we wandered further along Crown Street to other places I might normally visit such as the doctor’s surgery and the chemist. As we walked, I also told Peita about some of the bars and restaurants in the area. It was then we stopped and shot a short video.
There are still lots of things I need to continue to work on. You’ll notice from the video that I’m giving preference to the forward movement of one leg in relation to the crutch. I need to try to balance things out for the other leg too, which we’ve agreed we’ll do in next week’s session.
As we made our way towards Cleveland Street, we decided to see if Chemist Warehouse had any of the smaller “half” crutches which Peita thought would be better for me to practice with. They’ll make me walk more upright, and be less inclined to swagger from left to right. I was able to pick up a pair of the so-called “Canadian crutches” for only $37. Apparently, you can end up paying over $100 for a pair from other suppliers.
After today’s walk around the block, we came back and practiced a few exercises which may help with the body strength I’ll need, as the rehabilitation process continues. These are some exercises I can also practice with my support worker who comes in a couple of times a week, and who can be there to supervise me on some of them, in case there is a risk of a fall.
I’m feeling pretty pumped after today’s session for a bunch of reasons. First, it means a greater degree of independence. Second, it’s a tangible sign that things are improving. And third, because it’s given me a greater degree of confidence about going out independently in future, including a lunch with friends on Friday.