The Aftermath Part 16:
A Fresh Start
I took a couple of weeks off during the holidays. With the New Year came a new therapist. During my initial assessment, he was horrified I was trying to walk with a cane. My strength and balance weren't adequate for that. He wasn't sure using a cane was even a realistic goal. He wanted to essentially start over, beginning with the parallel bars.
Motivation was not a problem. I worked hard, sometimes too hard, and he would tell me to quit. I went early, stayed late and even went in on my days off if the equipment was available. I worked so hard my clothes were soaked with sweat when I finished. This therapist was kind and encouraging.
After a month or so, he felt my prosthesis was not right for me, so I began the process of getting a new one. I went to a different prosthetist this time. He was also very kind and worked hard to design a user-friendly version for me. We got rid of the huge, hot and bulky Velcro and used a pin system instead. With this, the rubber sleeve I wore had a pin at the bottom which securely locked into the prosthesis providing much greater safety and stability. The knee had a spring system and was much easier to use than the first one. He tried to make it as light as possible.
Once I was used to this leg, I was allowed to venture out of the parallel bars with the use of a walker. Standard walkers aren't very strong, and mine was bent from all of the times I had fallen on it. The therapist suggested I purchase a larger, more stable one. It wouldn't be paid for by Medicare as they not cover durable medical equipment if you are getting better. I had a wheelchair already, so I couldn't move up to a walker.
I found it ironic that Medicare only paid for equipment if you were declining. Apparently the government does not expect the disabled to improve. I did scrape together enough to buy a good one; after all, I figured I would be using it forever. I chose one with a basket to transport things. Tying a bag on the front of the walker as most people do to carry items in destabilizes it as the walker is then front-heavy and easier to tip over.
I continued to work hard, but due to my impaired balance, I also continued to fall nearly every day. I had a few bumps and bruises, but no serious injury.
My attitude and outlook on life began to improve. When the opportunity came around to take a class which would then allow me to work with the disabled in a group home setting, I felt I was ready to start having a life again. After the class, I discovered they require a driver who has a car for all of the positions in this area.
Disappointed yes, but I was still thankful I had taken it because through the class I found a wonderful volunteer position doing crafts at an adult daycare. I also found a support group for those with mental illness. I was meeting people and participating in the community.
To be continued...