Disability Transport Strike:
I endured a disability transport transit strike since last writing. While I considered several strategies to cope with the disruption, in the end there was little impact on service. Local taxi companies were able to meet the demand and quite often I found that I had better times than with the dedicated disability transport service. After about six weeks on the picket lines, not much was won or lost by the unionized drivers other than their pay cheques for that period
New Powerchair Update:
Got my new powerchair but can't say I'm totally pleased with it, however I'll leave that for another post.
After the hospital's outpatient physiotherapy closed down, I went to a private physiotherapy clinic in hopes of continuing therapy & hopefully progress. Those who have followed my posts know that what I found in the general community was rather disappointing. (Read about that here) Most private clinics are geared towards treating sports injuries, home injuries (trips, falls, sprains, motor vehicle accidents, etc.) and have little or no resources, if not experience, in treating patients with serious injuries brain or spinal cord injuries. While the therapists were quite professional, there was little more they could offer.
Last October (2012) I joined a local gym in hopes of maintaining my strength and flexibility, if not improving on them. I also wanted a facility that had a pool where I could use the water's buoyancy to work on my balance and walking. Finally, with the reduced physical activity associated with being trapped in a wheelchair and the refrigerator always shouting out invitations to your boredom, I wanted to persuade my metabolism to at least try to fight my weight gain.
The Gym I chose is quite impressive! The first of this franchise in Canada. 58,000 square feet with three swimming pools -one huge outdoor leisure pool for summer fun. and indoor multipurpose pool and the third with lanes for swimming lengths or perhaps buoyancy assisted walking in my case. Second floor is all gym equipment as far as the eye can see. Treadmills, stationary bikes, an apparatus for every muscle, free weights, etc, etc. Top floor has basket ball & squash courts plus special function rooms for group activities. They have a three story rock climbing wall/structure. A life lab can monitor your progress through physiological testing. Pilates, massage, whirl pools and all the rest. When the body is satisfied, you can reward yourself with an on-site hair salon, nails & facials, and even a small restaurant serving only the healthiest of choices. Oh, the towels are included as are amenities such as shampoo, razors, shave cream and such. Beautiful upscale facility
I hired a personal trainer for one session to introduce me to some of the gym equipment that they though I could use. After that, I made an effort construct a routine primarily focusing on leg strength and flexibility for starters. The routine takes between 1 & 1/2 hours to 2 hours per session and I try to attend every second day. While I make an honest effort to attend, life often has other ideas - for the most part I do stick to this schedule. It can be a bit of a challenge on weekdays when I've already spent eight hours at my job. Tack on up to three hours more in wait & travel time to and from work although I live only about 12 minutes away from my workplace. After an 11 hour workday, it is not always easy to motivate yourself to head to the gym for another 2 hours.
Anyways, it has paid off to some degree. Muscle mass has significantly increased and my wife claims I have lost weight although I fail to see it. I wanted to gain strength and lose some weight before adding the pool routine. Unfortunately, the increased strength alone really hasn't translated into additional stability.so I will have to add the pool very shortly and see if that will help.
It is quite frustrating! I can stand. I can just about take a few steps without holding onto anything. However the stability is still rather week. If I feel I'm starting to go over, it is difficult to recover and straighten up to the vertical once more. I have excellent plantar flexion (standing on toes) but much less dorsi-flexion (turning foot up at the ankle). I can even wiggle some toes to some degree -a bit of improvement after being totally paralyzed from the waist down when discharged from the hospital.
Pain however, is another matter. It remains my constant companion!
Okay, below are some photos taken at my gym of some of the equipment I currently use. In addition to the pool, I hope to add some upper body equipment to my routine in the following months.
After the warm-up I generally find which apparatus is free and don't worry about the order of the exercise.