I have a role model-his name is Don. He’s been a client of mine for a few years, and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a couple of years ago. You may remember a blog I wrote about Don within the past year about a client with Parkinson’s that I started on coconut oil to help with that dreaded disease. Don has contracture in both knees (contracture is where the ligaments stiffen like concrete and one is unable to move the joint normally. In Don’s case, his knees don’t fully straighten-they are bent at 30 degrees which makes it very difficult to walk. Don is confined to a wheelchair most of the time, but he still wants to walk. I have had him using a tall walker where he can rest his forearms on pads on the walker, and he does quite well. But, in order to walk, he needs a couple of things to happen. 1) A procedure to lengthen the ligaments behind his knees, and 2) Increased strength in his legs. To accomplish #2, I’ve been introducing the smaller walker most are familiar with-2 wheels with skids on the rear. We started this regimen two weeks ago, and it was a slow go for the first couple of days-maybe 30-40 steps on the smaller walker, 2 or 3 sets, interspersed with steps on the bigger walker. Hard for Don; yes. Many of my clients would have mailed-it-in. But not Don. He pushed himself on and on. Last Tuesday, Don did something that touched my heart and I will always remember, especially when I complain about this or that little pain, here or there. We started out on the big walker for 200 steps. Don then did 80 steps on the smaller walker, with excellent strides. Another 150 steps on the big walker, another 80! on the smaller one. 100 more on the big walker, at which point I noticed his right knee starting to buckle on him. Don then went to the small walker, determined to reach 200 steps. The first 20 looked good, the next 20 were pure heart. His knee buckling with every step, Don refused to quit, trying to get to 200. He ended up taking baby steps the last 15, but he did it! With no complaining! I love that man, and only hope that if I were in that same situation, I would do the same. Don has the will and the drive to want to make the most out of what years he has left (Don’s 88 years old). He is a hero to me.
Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.