Yesterday I visited my local hospital to receive my leg splint from the Orthotic Department. We are hoping that the leg splint shall contain the spasms and enable me to rely on the wheelchair less.
The experiment begins 🙂
Imagine this: You wake up in the morning, your eyelids open but you can see nothing due to a spasm pulling your eyes back. You massarge around your eyes blinking violently, trying to beat the first obstacle of the day. Suddenly your sight is back! You celebrate silently, not wanting Benedict to realise you have won, in-case he wants to take revenge. Next you decide to dress quickly before he wakes up and realises what you are doing. You have your top half done, and one leg in your jeans, when suddenly Benedict strikes! Your right leg contorts, as if it’s trying to physically turn backwards, meanwhile your foot has turned under and is dragging along the floor. You stop, take a deep breath, and then start attacking your own leg. Desperately trying to get your jeans over it.
Bang! Your hurried attempts have caused you to fall backwards on to your bed. However you keep on wrestling with your leg until finally you have won. You are officially dressed. You look in the mirror, do you dare attempt to tame your hair and do your make up? With a quick glance at the clock, you decide to attempt to do it. Nervously you brush through your hair, and quickly put it up in a simple pony tail. Relief sweeps through your body. Now on to the make up. Your doing well, almost done. Then, suddenly, pain sears through your eye. Your right hand, which is holding the mascara brush, has spasmed, causing the brush to go straight into your eye.
It has now been two hours since you got up. You have finally managed to get dressed, with hair and most your make up done. Now you need to get through to the living room, so you can grab your bag. Splinting your right hand up first, so as to contain any more unwanted spasms, you slip your arms through your crutches and hop out your room into the hall way. You glance down at the shoes and bags scattered around on the floor like a minefield, and hop around them. Careful not to misplace a crutch or slip.
Now you have reached the penultimate hurdle. You squeeze yourself past the sofa and clothes horse into the living room. Reaching down you pick up your handbag, and swing it over your shoulder. You give yourself a satisfactory smile. You are beating Benedict’s obstacle course so far. You start hopping forwards. You go to squeeze back through the gab between the sofa and the clothes horse…when your right knee collides with the end of the sofa. The knock immediately triggers a spasm. Your leg is twisting side ways and upwards. Pain is taking over. Your balance is now lost. You haphazardly try to place your crutches in a position that will stabilise you. It is a losing battle. You fall backwards onto the other sofa that is just behind you.
After the spasm has calmed down, you decide to take on the final hurdle. This time you choose to leave the crutches behind. Hoping that it will enable you to pass through the dangerous gap between the sofa and clothes horse with ease. You jump up onto your good leg. Keeping your right one off the floor, bent slightly. With arms whirling round widely to prevent you from falling, you hop successfully past the sofa and back into the hallway. You have finally reached the front door! You do not have much further to go. You link your arm round a family member for support and hop out the door. In front of you lies three large steps. Each one looks like a mountain. It fills you with dread. Half of you wants to turn back around, go back to bed and claim defeat. However you hold your ground and preserver, refusing to give in to the evil Dystonia alien, Benedict. You bend your good knee, and cling to the railing with your working/free arm and hop up the huge steps.
You have finally reached your goal. You have reached the car that is waiting to take you to your doctor’s appointment. For the mean time, you have beaten Benedict the Dystonia alien.
Welcome to my life!
Yesterday I had a lesson booked with the R.D.A, I was a bit nervous about this due to the new tremor in my leg. I had emailed my instructor in advance to let her know that it may be slightly more difficult than usual to get me on. Her reply made me grin “Tremor or no tremor, we will give it our best shot”! She stuck true to her words, they gave it their best shot and managed to get me on! I hopped up the mounting block, then with my arms round two volunteers shoulders they lifted me up on to Connie so that I was sitting side saddle, I then swung my Dystonic leg over Connie’s neck and slid my feet into the stirrups.
After about a minute of having my feet in the stirrups my right leg decided to spasm, it shot out sideways and upwards. The volunteers and my instructors remained very calm and Connie did not even notice. Thankfully it was not a long spasm, once it had passed we agreed that until my leg had settled down completely, I would ride without the stirrups. I was completely fine with this, and happily rode round without them. After a while, when I was certain it was OK to risk putting my feet back in stirrups, I did so, this time my body did not react.
My riding instructor does fantastic lessons, and I was allowed to do a lot more trotting this time. We did trotting in general, trotted in and out of cones and over poles, it was complete heaven! The three volunteers that stayed beside me, kept saying that you would never know I was disabled if you watched me ride, as I sat so well and had good control. I must admit them saying this really made my day! I have to have three people around me at the moment when I ride, due to my Non Epileptic Seizures, as I only had my last one a few weeks ago, so we have to play it safe.
I cannot put into words that happiness that riding gives me. I literally sit and grin the whole time I am riding, taking in every magical second of it! I cannot wait until next weeks lesson!
Last night I also attended my support/research group. I love these meetings, they are so mad and positive that I just there and smile. Despite both my leg and arm playing up whilst I was there, I had a fantastic time. The group is extremely supportive and I find that the different methods we are taught for coping with pain are extremely helpful.
Overall yesterday was an absolutely brilliant day. It was so worth the aches I have today. Despite the aches, if you put a horse in front of me now, I would still try and get on!
I paid a visit to my doctor today, as my Dystonic leg is still really bad, and the extreme tremor has been going on for 11 days now. I was hoping he would be able to prescribe me some sort of muscle relaxant to try to take the edge of it. I also wanted to discuss with him about being referred to an Orthotic department, to talk about getting some sort of splint or brace for my leg, as I have talked to and read about people who have tried this and good results.
My doctor was not to sure what to do about the tremor in my right leg, and said that hopefully it was just one of those things that comes and then goes. I am really hoping that he is right as I find this extreme tremor very difficult to handle. It has really restricted how much I can do, for example in the day when I am on my own, I literally have to spend the day in bed, as I need people to help me hop around. I have decided that if by this time next week it is still bad then I shall go back to my Doctor and ask for him to prescribe me a muscle relaxant just so we can see if it works.
He seemed rather interested in my suggestion to try a brace or splint, and has said that he will write a letter to the surgical Orthotic team at my local hospital, and we will go from there. This was very positive, as I had expected him to say it would be best to discuss it with my consultant first and let my consultant handle it.
Overall it was a very positive appointment. Considering my Doctor knows extremely little about Dystonia, he really does try his best to help me the best he can. I hope that in the nicest way possible that I won’t have to see him next week. Just going to have keep my fingers crossed and hope that my right leg calms itself down.
Today has been the highlight of my week and has distracted me from the new issues with my leg. My mum and step-dad took me out clothes shopping, which meant that I also got to push myself in my new wheelchair! I knew that trying on clothes and pushing myself would be exhausting, so I made sure that I paid extra attention to my right hand, so that I did not do too much and cause it to spasm.
All in all it was a rather successful day out! I managed to get some jeans and some lovely new tops, and I managed to push myself for longer than I had expected. From time to time my mum did have to remind me not to over do, I think I got a bit carried away with having some independence 🙂 In total I think I managed to push myself for about 40 mins!!!! This was a lot longer than I had expected. When I went out in my chair briefly the other day, I only managed about 20 mins, so this was a huge improvement!! It was a tiring but fantastic day!
I am going to go and see my Doctor this week, and see if he can suggest any medication that will help with the tremor in my right leg and talk about my ideas with him, and get his views on it all. I am also going to write an email to my consultant explaining to him the change in my leg and how it is affecting me and getting his advice on what to do about it, I shall also inform him of my ideas for treating my leg and get his opinion on that as well.
Today was exactly what I needed, some laughter, retail therapy and some independence. It helped me refocus my mind on everything, and see that although my leg is bad and making things really rather difficult, it is not the end of the world. I can still go out and laugh and shop like anyone else, the only difference is that I get to sit on a comfy cushion and attempt to tone my arms by pushing myself along at the same time!