Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 15: Physio for first time

I was both excited and a little anxious heading into physio at the MS clinic this morning. My physiotherapist knew I was getting the treatment and this would be the first time we met after I got back. My walking post-treatment is always a little more stiff in the morning, almost indistinguishable from pre-treatment days except for the better balance. My left foot drops and I can hear it hit the ground with each step. It's strange that my energy, balance, and walking get better as the day proceeds, not worse like before. I used to get up and know immediately if my legs were going to be able to make it to a doctor's appointment or even from the house to the garage (70 feet). Now, the longer I'm up, the better I feel.

So, a 9 a.m. appointment wasn't at my best hour, but it would give my physiotherapist a good first look at my improvements. It was exactly two weeks to the day since I had been treated. She asked me to list my changes, so I began with swallowing, balance, heat fatigue, spasms... That last one caught her extra attention -- she said "those were a huge problem for you before." Yes, they WERE!

We decided against doing extentive strength testing, after all, it had only been 2 weeks and most of my time had been spent travelling, or so it seemed. So we headed for another major symptom -- BALANCE. Test after test, she would say "that's a great improvement from the last time" or "you couldn't do this test at all before." Finally, I said to her: "how often do you get to tell one of your patients that their balance has improved?" She just looked at me -- I knew what she was thinking.

We finished the appointment doing a bunch of strength building eercises to build up my hip and ankle muscles to support my improved walking. She thought the foot drop was probably muscle weakness and not neurological and that conditioning it, along with my better balance, would see it disappear for good. Just before I left, I asked her for a phone book and showed her I could read the itty bitty numbers without glasses.

Even though my hip muscles were sore from all the exercises, I felt well enough to go to the off-leash area with Landon to take Amber for a walk. We're trying to remember when I last was able to do any sort of recreational walking and we figure it must be about 4 or 5 years. The physiotherapist suggested I try walking with a walking pole to straighten my gait, so here's a video of me trying to get used to it. I think I would have done much better just walking with no pole whatsoever!

I walked aproximately 1200 feet before my left foot started repatedly hitting the ground. We were on grass and dirt paths, so the uneven terrain made it even more difficult. So, we called it quits and chalked up more discoveries of my improving abilities.

I really feel like I am going back in time. Must be at least 5 or 7 years so far...

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