Friday, 15 March 2013


I went to physio-therapy this morning. It's not as simple as all that. The physiotherapy clinic is in the South Calgary Health Center, the new hospital on the edges of the barren wastes of southern Alberta, as far south in the Calgary city limits as it is possible to go without a passport. It's about a 45 minute drive from my apartment to the clinic and my apointment was at 9:00. I had to get up on time today.

Going to the clinic has changed somewhat over the last couple of months. As my legs have deteriorated the emphasis has shifted from retaining mobility to stretching dead muscles in order to minimize cramping. The muscle loss in my legs is stunning; the large upper leg muscles hang like dead meat, flopping about as I move my legs from side to side with my hands. The loss is now visible in my lower legs but not as much. I have lost about 100% of the use of my left leg and 85% of the use of my right leg. Oddly enough I can still scrunch up my toes, so if I had a way to retreive what I can clench I could still pick up stuff with my toes. I can't.

The physiotherapist worked with me today on stretching the muscles that are atrophying in my upper legs. As these muscles die the tissue becomes less and less limber. The lack of use means they sit there and tighten; there is nothing happening to cause them to move so the just seize up. This means they are more prone to cramping. There is no strengthening exercises here, no sweating or workout. This is plain and simple stretching to keep things loose.

I have never needed a physiotherapist in my life so this is an all new experience. I've never had back trouble except when I've actually damaged it, nor have I had any other sort of muscle trouble until recently. Basically my body has always been a machine; I fed it, I worked it, and when I damaged it, it would heal itself. Now it needs help.

At the close of the session we talked about my getting an Ankle-Foot Orthotic. These suckers cost about $1,000. Fortunately there is a possibility that AADL (Alberta Aids to Daily Living) will cover 75%  of the cost but I won't find that out until I actually order the AFO. This devices is intended to reduce stumbling by lifting my toes, avoiding the dreaded toe drop. I am only getting one for my left foot at this time as I still have some small movement in my right foot. Once that goes I will either have to get another or give up walking altogether, even in my apartment with my walker which is where things are right now.

We also talked about Home Care for daily physiotherapy. The muscle wasting will become more and more significant, both in my legs and as this disease moves into other parts of my body. The physiotherapist has recommended that we look at having someone come in daily to work with me on these muscle stretches. It means more intrusions and more dependencies.

Plus, I was reminded once again that I cannot drive and enjoy a Timmies. I picked one up on the way back from the hospital. No worries, I thought, I'll drink it at work. Except I can't carry a coffee and drive my wheelchair either. So a perfectly good Timmies sits in my truck while I type away here at work.



  1. Oh my love this makes us both so sad doesn't it.
    But the physio will help with the cramping. Take all the help that is offered to you. Times have changed and you can no longer rely on your body to work for you.

  2. We need to get your wheelchair a cup holder!