The Olympics are always a fascinating two-week event to watch (Even more so, the Paralympics that come a few weeks after!!) Although I enjoy watching the ice skating, curling, and speed skating competitions, my favorite of the two seasons (winter/summer) is the Summer Games. Last summer, the Olympics were held in London–which I found fabulous as Britain/UK is on the top of my own “Mel’s World Travels” sort of wish list. I had been reading several books on the reigns of the different kings/queens and through some church history already, so when CBS would air the “interesting things of London” segments, I felt like a school kid.
At that time, I worked early morning shifts and would be home by lunch for the rest of the day. This meant that I had the chance to watch the afternoon events that you don’t normally see in the evening time as they get crowded out from the more popular ones. I got to see sailing, archery, table tennis, equestrian, judo, fencing, taekwondo and I watched some weight lifting. It was all very interesting.
Every sport has an attribute in which I feel they put more attention to more than another sport would focus on…for example: soccer: kicks and feet motions; synchronized diving: timing of the downward movements; equestrian: pose and maintaining your horse; rowing: upper body strength; and my favorite, because I have none–gymnastics: BALANCE!
I should correct myself: I don’t have much balance, but anymore these days even my “much” balance does not account for much. 😉 I could venture to say that I somewhat occasionally perform floor exercises like a gymnast, but less graceful in the air, more flapping of arm movements and I never land on my feet (quite the opposite.) However, the balance issue is currently being worked on during these past few PT sessions and ones yet to come. My rehabilitation doctor at Children’s prescribed for me to get ankle braces. These aren’t just any ankle brace–they are AFO braces. (I like the abbreviation–it stands for Ankle-foot Orthotic.) They look like this:
What you see is what it is–huge, feels like hard plastic, from knee past the toes bondage for your feet. So far the only fun part has been my display of cool designed knee-high socks, which I actually only get to wear on the right leg as the neutral colored compression stocking takes the left leg. But with jeans on, nobody notices anyway. Otherwise, these AFO’s are hard work! I feel I am training for the Olympics, except in my case, I am “re-training” my brain to use the muscles that have weakened after years of atrophy. Also, these braces are helping my right ankle to stay straight when I walk (but I feel it trying to twist) and in time, I hope the added weight my left leg gains from the weak right side will balance out too.
The exercises so far have been small but aiming at balance. It is unbelievable how it can make your legs feel like Jello within a few minutes! We took another strength-goals test today to see how I am progressing…even though it has had two DVTs, my left leg is the strong leg! But that doesn’t surprise me. Usually by the end of my session, I am ready for the braces to come off, but today I went an hour longer after my PT left and did normal routine things…then I was ready to take them off! The walker proved to be a useful resource in stability as I walked around the house just fine today; best part was when I needed a break, I locked the wheels and sat for a minute to catch my breath.
This is only the beginning. Change will not happen over night…it is going to take time, effort, and a lot of sore muscles. In the end, I should (and hope) be able to wear the braces regularly in a day; I anticipate less falling, but that may just be inevitable.
I am ready for the challenge: it makes me feel like an Olympian.
The Olympic Stadium. Athens, Greece.
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. Job 23:10 ESV