Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Stress, mobility and things MS

When one has a chronic illness, not only does one's thinking change but also the way the world looks. I have friends who frequently inform me of business meetings, adult children issues, airport delays, recent vacations (usually to hot places) and other things that are age appropriate. I am supposed to get together with one of my best friends from college who had to postpone from June to July because of new job training. Obviously I am one of the more flexible people around when it comes to schedules!

I don't have business meetings or any meetings for that matter, except my MS meeting which is certainly not the pressure of some other meetings. I also shy away from writing group meetings except the one I belong to and feel comfortable in. Things that can create stress are not things that I come near. It took the MS world a very long time to come out with a statement that those of us with MS knew for all that time that stress actually really does cause exacerbations! Who knew until many of us started dropping like flies when in stressful situations. I think the day the MS Society came out with results of an empirical study stating that stress is bad for us, many of us (mostly me) posted smart alec comments on my FB page. Now please! Stress is not good for any of us but obviously some us are really not equipped to deal with it. A little sad in a way because we should be coping like everyone else. However, we are not like everyone else.

I use the famous expensive gadget called the WalkAide for mobility. Let me tell you what I've learned about this device since I got it almost three years ago. Things that touched me deeply included the compassionate people who really and truly wanted me to be happy, that includes the facility that manufactures it to the friends and family who support my every step! We all know corporations and this is one of them who need to sell, sell, sell. The friends and family have always hoped that I would sprout new neurons to re-establish communication with my brain. That of course hasn't happened. But I have learned something else. No wonder I'm not walking like everyone expected...I have several things going on in the same leg and the WalkAide only targets one of them: foot drop. I am using a spastic leg with no hip flexion, knee flexion or ankle dorsi-flexion to walk. In other words, a stiff leg with no prayer of bending. So the WalkAide is only making my toes go up with a little ankle stability. All this is happening which is why when I climb stairs, I have to pull my hip up so that my moving toes touch the step instead of bending my knee. I have since found this at   

The orthotic looks very cumbersome but makes perfect sense. The two straps give her leg lift, a small piece not shown behind her knee help put it in flexion and the strap on the tongue of the shoe give her ankle dorsi-flexion, or bring the toes up. This is the part the WalkAide does now. The part I like is there is no leg dragging because of the elastic straps. This can be worn under or over clothes.
Hip Flexion Assist Device (HFAD)   

Of course nothing is simple. I need a doctor's script and a PT to supervise the fitting. At least I found this. I don't mind going around and around the barn looking for anything to make my life easier!