Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Learning to walk

These are some pictures I took while I was in Albany. They're from my grandparent's basement.
I took the picture of the stairwell b/c the stain humored me. If you take a look you'll notice something a bit odd about them... there is no stain in the middle of the stairs. This is because my grandfather stained them with 1 leg missing and he had to sit on the stairs and stain beside him. The wood framing along the walls is an unfinished project he was working on.
The parallel beams are his exercise apparatus. He build this setup to practice his walking. Every day he'd go down to the basement to work on his walking. He was learning to walk for a second time, at age 77. This weekend I was sure to tell him how proud I was of his efforts to walk again after the amputation. Last summer I did a lit review of amputee gait studies and I knew he would be among a very small crowd if he ever learned to walk with his prosthesis. Elderly diabetic patients who receive a trans-femoral amputation are very unlikely to learn to walk again. Many of them never get a leg or throw it out after they give up on it.
Today my family heard from the VA... they said my grandmother could donate the leg and they'd use it as a teaching tool. I'm very happy about it, I'm glad it'll continue to get use.