2. “Keep the Walker on the Floor”

When I first started physical therapy as an inpatient it took a while for PT1 to get me from sitting on the side of the bed, to standing, and then walking.  She held me up during those first few steps (although she told my parents “It’s not like I’m dragging her down the hall.”) and I wasn’t afraid since I thought I was dreaming and the whole walking experience was of the full-body-contact variety.  By the time I made it to Therapy Boot Camp at the next hospital I knew better and started being stressed at my inability to discern a pattern between how I felt on good walking days and bad walking days.  I was also stressed since I was well enough to learn how to walk with an assistive device, and so my love-hate relationship with the walker began.

Having never handled a walker before, I found the whole thing to be highly unnatural.  During the first attempt I remember PT10 put weights on the walker and a weighted vest on me so I would have more feedback on where everything was in space.  Sadly, I didn’t think they helped very much since I enthusiastically took my first step and went careening across the gym.  Everything looked sideways from my vantage point, including the cheering section of friends from my OR church who applauded my shaky and uncontrolled movements.  There were lots of attempts after that day, and lots of lectures on how to use a walker properly.  My favorite was, “Keep the walker on the floor.”  My therapists would say this to me with completely straight faces, but I thought it was so funny.  I thought that if I came to a corner or something I was going to position that walker however I needed to.  But apparently lifting it up is frowned upon.

So after a year of having “Keep the walker on the floor” running through my head, I was thrilled to finally pick something up yesterday and put it where I needed it.  I was at Vision Therapy (www.visionhelp.com) and OD4 had me do an exercise while standing and then taking a small step with one foot as I worked my way around the clock thing.  Thankfully I didn’t need him to stand by and catch me if things went badly since I asked for a stool to put one hand on (as close as I’ll ever get to parallel bars while at VT) while doing this activity.  When it came time to switch eyes I had to use the opposite foot so I picked up the stool and put it on the other side.  OD5 said she would have been happy to do this for me, but I told her I was thrilled to finally pick something up!