Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Two Articles from June

From the busy month of June, there are two stories I'd like to share today.

First, the encouraging recovery of Jacques Matellus, who suffered a cervical spinal cord injury in 2019.  A year later, he is walking again, expecting far more progress ahead!  

Second, the recent injury of Officer Shay Mikalonis.  Officer Mikalonis was shot in the head June 1st and has been diagnosed as paralyzed from the neck down.  He is on a ventilator and soon to begin rehabilitation.  His injury is extremely serious; please remember him and his family.

Please keep both of these men and their families in your thoughts and prayers in the days ahead. 

Friday, June 19, 2020

Sensation and SCI

Sensation after spinal cord injury is complex.  Every SCI is different, and in many ways, feeling and sensation are a testimony to the amazing intricacy of the central nervous system.

What do you physically feel after SCI?  It truly varies from person to person.  Some people have no sensation and no movement or muscle function, others have complete sensation and no movement, and yet others have no sensation and full movement or at least some ability to stand or walk.  Personally, I have a mix of sensation and function.  It's relatively little of what anyone else might call "normal" sensation, and more of what you might call "deep" sensation: noticing pain, the discomfort of a big wrinkle in a pant leg, or pressure on a bony part of the knee, for instance. 

An interesting aspect of sensation is how much you notice it when it's gone.  I have a much harder time walking without seeing my feet.  This is because the body subconsciously relies so heavily on feeling.  (Proprioception is the term for your body's awareness of where it is and how it is positioned.)  But if you have ever heard people say that they knew what had happened as soon as they suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury, it's true that you can tell the difference before and after injury, and it can be in an instant. 

Questions or suggestions?  Please comment below!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Video: About KAFOs

If you'd like to know more about what knee-ankle-foot orthotics are, how they work, and how they are worn, this video is for you.  More to come about both KAFOs and AFOs.  Questions or suggestions?  Please comment below!

Monday, June 1, 2020

Video Update (May 2020)

My video update today shows my progress using AFOs (ankle-foot orthotics).  In years of working with orthotics, I've found the trickiest transition to be from KAFOs (long leg braces) to AFOs (braces below the knee).  As always, every spinal cord injury is different, so not everyone would find this to be the hardest change to make.  For me, regaining knee function has proven a challenge.  Plus, the last time I was closest to making the switch occurred right before the discovery that my leg was what the doctors called "impressively" broken.  The broken leg had nothing to do with using KAFOs or AFOs.  It had everything to do with osteoporosis, a side effect of spinal cord injuries.  But whenever AFOs come up, I worry that something else might happen — and that others, thinking it had to do with the orthotics, will miss out on the benefits of KAFOs/ AFOs!

In future posts, I'll be saying more about both KAFOs/ AFOs, including what they are and how to use them on a daily basis.  I'm also going to talk a little bit about osteoporosis.  These are some of my most requested topics.  If you have questions or comments about what would be helpful, or if there's something that you're curious about, please contact me or leave a comment below.