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Thread: Questions for "Full-Time" Walkers

  1. #21
    Senior Member mr_coffee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Quote Originally Posted by uscmolly View Post
    I'm really trying to work to get my percentage of chair use down and walk more, but I'm struggling with a few areas. I hope those of you who walk full-time or most of the time can give me some insight into how you accomplish certain things. Here's some of my questions. If you could let me know your injury level and what equipment you use for walking, that would help too.

    1. If you use orthotics, do you leave them on all day?
    2. How do you handle showers?
    3. If you use a walker/crutches/2 canes, how do you move stuff around the house?
    4. Do you ever use a chair? Where?

    Any tips or advice on how to make the transition would be appreciated too

    1. AFO I wear all the time on my left foot. No issues with pressure soars or anything like that and I've been wearing it for years. I wear it constantly because if I'm in my chair I also had to walk to get to the chair. I keep the chair in my car so to get to it I walk to the back of the car and toss it out. Then when I'm done I just roll up to the car put it in and then crutch to the driver side.

    2. For showers when I'm at home I simply use a small chair I'll sit in. If no chair is there I simply turn the water on and I basically just sit at the bottom of the shower. Its not very comfortable but works well. When I'm in the shower I take it off of course.

    3. I use 2 crutches and I'm pretty good at carrying things with 1 hand while also holding onto the crutch. But I always use things that are easy to carry. So if I'm eating say cereal or something that would go in a bowl I use a cup instead. Cups are much easier to carry than bowls. Laundry is tough tho, much easier to do in a chair but I walk slowly and either kick the laundry basket to my room or slowly move it 1 spot at a time. It takes a lot longer but everything does if your crutch walking.

    4. When I'm in the house I keep the chair outside in my car. If I'm going to anyplace that requires a lot of walking I'll use the chair. If for example I'm food shopping or just shopping/exploring I use a chair.

    For a while I was totally saying, f the chair I'm going to walk everywhere. Well I did to it, but it really limited my ability to have fun. I really couldn't go anywhere that required me to walk long distances and if It did I had to take a break a lot.
    Last edited by mr_coffee; 06-21-2009 at 05:11 PM.
    C7/C8, T1 incomplete;

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  2. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    hampton bays new york
    Jon is right, I never would let the chair into my house. I struggled, and beat myself almost to death, I couldn't use it anyway, house is not large enough [ halls ] plus I had to walk up a flight of stairs just to the first level. the stairs became my parellal bars, the halls, loose carpeting needle point rugs, the ultimate challenge. I've fought, and came out a champ, well, it took 5 years, but I did it. Looking back now, I don't see any shortcuts I could have taken, and I don't regret it. It wasn't easy, pretty, or lack of motovation, today it feels great, yes I'm sore, can't go to far, do too much, but every day I challenge myself to out do the day before, whatever I can do. I'm often asked if " I have a death wish, I don't have to do this" live in my shoes, see what it's like. No I don't have a wish, but trying is better than not trying at all. I only wish that tomarrow is better than today. I will go on, survive, and triumph once again.

  3. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains

    I pushed myself really hard in my younger years to walk and try to do everything without a chair. About 10 years into it, I realized that I wasnt going places or doing things because it tired me out and walking caused alot of back pain.

    I bought a scooter. I used to feel really bad about using it because after all I did have the ability to walk technically.

    Don't be too hard on yourself. I got my stamina up to where I could walk a 1/4 mile track twice. But the pain it caused me afterwards wasnt worth keeping on doing it.

    I walk my dogs with my scooter as well as take it to the mall and any other places that require long distances. I love taking walks around the neighborhood or just window shopping down town. The only way I can enjoy doing those things is with the scooter.

    I would rather enjoy life riding as walking and not be able to enjoy chatting with my friends. I can't walk and safely do both sometimes.

    Dont be down on yourself for compromising. I realize my walking is going to get worse as I age so I am happy with the balance that I have reached between the scooter and walking with my cane/AFO's.

    Woman From Europe will gladly share her story as well. She is the same level as me and now uses a chair full time after walking for years.

    I don't want to miss out on all the enjoyable activities just because I cant walk while doing them.
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  4. #24
    Molly, you've gotten a lot of excellent ideas and advice already, so I'm not sure if this will add anything. But that's never stopped me before!

    When I was living that in that 'tween world of being able to walk but not very well, I was just the opposite of you -- I used my chair outside of the house, but got out of it as soon as I got home. Since the hubby and I are hermits and rarely go out, my chair pretty much stayed parked by the front door all weekend....

    ...except when I needed to carry things around the house. I found early on that the chair made an excellent shopping cart -- I would put whatever I needed to transport in the seat and push the chair ahead of me. This worked great for doing laundry. And my cats enjoyed hitching a ride -- it was pretty much a feline version of 'Driving Miss Daisy'.

    Of course this method only works if you have push handles on your chair, but I thought it worth mentioning.

    Keep up the hard work -- it sure sounds like you're making big gains.
    It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.

    ~Julius Caesar

  5. #25
    Senior Member Imight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    1. If you use orthotics, do you leave them on all day?

    -I've been using my AFO lately (right leg). I don't know if it's my shoes (seems like ALL of them have worn down since jan), but my knee is starting to feel 'funny' when I don't wear it. I am having issues with that long muscle (brain fart) that goes from like your calf to your thigh. Its very tight at the knee area- I only wear it when Im walking, and even then it matters how I feel and which shoes Im wearing. Soon as I get home, they come off instantly. I don't want pressure sores.

    2. How do you handle showers?

    -Shower bench at home, tho I do stand sometimes - at other peoples homes, I stand and clean my upper body, when I get to the lower parts, or areas that require me to get off balance, I lean against the wall or hold a handle, and squat enough to get to my calves and feet.

    3. If you use a walker/crutches/2 canes, how do you move stuff around the house?

    -I have enough strength to kick boxes or things on the ground or I just use one crutch to push. If its lets say a couch. I put my crutches on the couch and push like an ab would. If its REALLY heavy I just lean against it, and sway my weight, and inch it. If it's something that needs to be carried, put the bag on the handle. so i really never carry it, I just lift it up when I move the crutch foward.. and if its too much to handle, I ask for help.

    4. Do you ever use a chair? Where?

    -yep. in the house. like right now. it has become my deskchair, and indoors, the only time Im really walking is to leave. When I go to the kitchen I use my chair, because I can't hold things if Im using my crutches, but I do have to stand to get things from the cabinet and to reach the microwave, but then once I get said items I sit back down because again, I need them on my lap because I can't hold my crutches and a cup of tea or a plate of food. (this is why I need to get on a single cane, it will make opening doors and holding cups and plates so much easier.) I also need my chair in the morning because I have no meds in my body and my legs are too stiff. usually I get up, transfer to chair, get to my meds which are at my desk, stretch, and start my day reading emails/news/forums. once Im done, the meds have kicked in and Im ready to hit the showers (another reason I have a shower bench is so I can do more stretching as Im cleaning) then I start my day.

    -outdoors: When Im going some where I've never been, say if I have an appointment somewhere, Im not certain of the distances, I just play it safe.

    If Im with a group of people as to not keep the group slowed down. I also bring my chair to the mall and to play pool.
    Last edited by Imight; 06-21-2009 at 07:04 PM.

  6. #26
    Senior Member foton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Northern VA
    Hello uscmolly,
    I am T12 para and I am using KAFOs on both legs for the past ten years on everyday bases. I use them 60% of a time, which is much more than a chair. I use the the swing-through gait to walk.It was not easy at the beginning to adjust to them, but it was for me the only way to stay active. Of course, they are not the perfect way to walk, but I have much more independance with them. I do live and work in the city. Very often it is faster to get around in them than brake down the chair and put it back. For three years I have used metro to get to work just using braces, no chair.I also prefer to use them in the office.
    It is interesting, but I have noticed a lot of people in braces in Europe but not in US. Maybe the older cities are much harder to make it chair accessable?
    Anyway, when I am in the chair I do not put braces on. I have a Colours Eclipse chair without crutch holders. Plus, that chair is not camfortable to sit in it with braces on.
    Very often I have braces on for entire day. I do watch my skin, though.
    The only problem which I have with them are ... bowel accidents. I can control that issue whan i use the chair, but walking is the problem. I have no choice but to use Depends .
    Since my hobbies are carpentry and landscape photography braces allowing me to still do those things.
    Last edited by foton; 06-22-2009 at 04:40 PM. Reason: add the sentence

  7. #27
    I put my kafos on in the morning and take them off in the evening when i get home from work, I found using under armour heatgear works best for me under my braces, i use my chair 90% of the time but find the kafos handy for work when I have to get upright.

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by arndog View Post
    Molly - I think you are doing great and it will be interesting to watch your percentage of chair use at home decreases over time. Wouldn't it be a personal satisfaction to spend 24 hours without getting into the chair and reporting it back here? But like you said, we will never not need the chairs once the afos come off. What is the worst that will happen if you fail? You will be exhausted, your body will hurt and you will only get stronger and do better the next day.
    Do as much crutch walking as you can - it will get your upper body stronger too. Hey, what about using a rolling walker at home and then you could walk and carry stuff on the rolling walker which has a basket. Do you have a rolling walker, you know what "old" folks use?
    Actually the worst that could happen is you get exhausted and you fall down and break something due to your osteoporosis. I broke my hip in 2012 and just learned the other day that it never healed.

  9. #29
    Junior Member jkizer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Placentia, Ca
    Hey what's going on USCMOLLY-

    My name is John and my injury level is C5-C7 incomplete with cage, hardware, etc... I actually don't really use anything to walk anymore but I did start with a wheelchair, forearm crutches, walker, 4 prong cane and finally just a simple cane. I have gain the ability shower normally like before but i did use to use a shower bench with a sliding board. Since i can walk pretty good I am able to carry things with both hands, people is very surprise that I am a quadriplegic. I do about 97% of the things like I did before my injury, I drive with no hand controls, I swim, lift weight, etc... the only thing that I can't do yet is run but hopefully by another year I will begin to jog again. Don't get me wrong I use to be totally paralyzed, I had no legs, 1 arm was good, no trunk, no bladder or bowel control which I have gained back as well, my doctors say that it's a miracle how I healed, I truly believe by faith that God has healed me.

    I mainly used a treadmill, a walker and pool therapy in my years of recovery from day 1 out of the hospital, keep in mind it took me 4.5 years out of my 6 years to begin to show signs of recovery so I've only be walking for about 1.5 years, balance was the last thing to come back which gave me the true ability to walk.

  10. #30
    uscmolly has not visited our site since 2011...she is most unlikely to see these responses. Not sure why a 8 year old post is being pulled up for discussion.

    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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