I’ve just bought some disabling boots – they’re the snowboarding pair mentioned the other day – and it’s my ankle tics they’re disabling, not me.
They arrived yesterday and so far I’m happy to report, they’re incredible. They’re so rigid, when I’m wearing them my ankles can’t move or turn over at all. They’re allowing me to walk unaided for the first time in two years!
But although these miraculous boots make me much more mobile, they don’t solve all my walking difficulties. They don’t, for instance, help control the tics in my knees that mean I suddenly bend over or fall down every few steps, and even with them on my walking’s still pretty chaotic. But surprising though it may sound, falling to the floor is a lot less dangerous and painful for me than trying to walk with my ankles constantly twisting, lifting and turning over. The tics in my knees are much more predictable, and my kneepads absorb most of the impact.
I wore my new boots to work for the first time today and I was able to walk around in the office with relative ease. I explained to my colleagues and the children that I’d still fall down a lot, so they wouldn’t be alarmed. I enjoyed being able to move around on my feet again, even though my style of walking makes it pretty exhausting.
Dropping down at work is manageable, but on the street it’d be a lot less safe. The other big consideration is that if I have a ‘ticcing fit’ and my wheelchair isn’t nearby I’m stuck wherever the fit starts.
Before I used a wheelchair I used to end up with many more fit-related injuries. So I’ll still be using my chair when I’m out and about. But at work and at home I’ll be using the boots – the joy and excitement of being able to walk, even chaotically, is indescribable. I absolutely love them, not just for what they’ve enabled me to do – but because they look good too!
Photos: Matthew Pountney