Janet was waiting for me in the living room at Connect in anticipation of our meeting with Tez this morning and waisted no time in getting on with it. The AFO seems to fit Janet well, she complained of a little irritation on her ankle bone last night but all was well today as she was wearing longer socks. Tez took her through the basics of getting out of her wheelchair, instructing Janet to get as far forward on the seat as possible before trying to stand. That works every time but Janet often forgets. Although walking all the way to the kitchen last night was a significant accomplishment, Tez wants to return to basics as far as Janet’s walking goes. She is still reluctant to put much weight through her right leg and has very little control of her right quadriceps, if any. We had Janet stand with each foot on a scale and she was putting about thirty pounds on the right leg, all the rest of her weight was through her left leg. Tez believes confidence is a huge part of this issue and has developed some exercises to help build strength in that leg and therefore confidence. For the next few weeks there will be no long walks but a lot of standing, Shuttle, bike and stretching work with the focus being on the right leg. The bike rides will consist of a warm up period using both legs followed by pedalling with only her right leg. Same on the Shuttle combined with everyday use of the Standing Frame and lots of free standing as on the scales. Jess joined us in the gym later and showed me the new mat exercises for Janet. Both involve “bridging” which forces Janet to activate her quads. These can be done at home too as can the standing of course.
That was a full morning so to give Janet a break I brought her home for lunch before her doctor appointment this afternoon. Her transfers in and out of the car with the AFO were excellent and I can sense Janet is more confident in those situations. The doctor visit was good with no major issues to discuss and Janet will return in March for a full check up, something she hasn’t had since well before she got sick.
Back at Connect Janet was determined to get her exercises over and done with so foregoing a nap it was off to the gym she went. After a warm up on the Shuttle, Tez popped in and coached us through what he’d like Janet to do on that machine. It was a huge help and a real eye opener to see just how little Janet has been using her right leg. I’ve always supported that leg while she’s worked on the Shuttle and realized today that that was enabling her to use it in a way that circumvents the quadriceps. Tez agreed that no support and the minimum weight is the way to go now and to try and force Janet to use those muscles. She had a very solid workout and I think will actual enjoy the Shuttle more using it this way. Next up was the Standing Frame and although she was visibly tired, Janet stood nice and straight for forty five minutes. After dinner we were back in the gym for some one legged bike riding. Again, we are back to basics here, at the lowest level and with me assisting on the upward part of each revolution. Janet didn’t enjoy this ride very much and I think measurable goals will be hard to show her for a while. I hope she hangs in there.
Janet was eager to read Open tonight and we were able to YouTube another scene out of the book to bring it to life again. Very cool. She didn’t last long watching tennis tonight after a physically demanding day. Praying for a deep and healing sleep tonight and a productive day tomorrow.