Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lately everything has been going relatively well I have had no additional falls in essence life has returned to normal however it can be with MS. Having nothing new or exciting to share I decided to tell you a story a real one, while it may help some people please be advised it certainly can be hazardous to your health.

Walk a mile in my shoes!

One of my first symptom was foot drop you take a step and for some reason the tip of your foot does not lift high enough to clear obstacles it catches on everything. In the beginning it was just simply an annoyance not much of anything else I felt like a klutz.

This was at a time when I had no idea what MS was other than they sold carnations once a year, that was the extent of my knowledge so naturally I blamed my shoes went out and purchased a pair of Rockports, of course the symptom remained and in my ignorance I purchased a second pair just in case, denial?

I found that I was wearing out the tip of my shoe much faster than normal if you looked at the sole you could tell exactly where my foot was dragging. You must remember this was at the very beginning I had absolutely no idea what an AFO was hadn't even visited my family physician at this point. Seeking the advice of a local cobbler he glued a thick piece of leather wear my shoe was worn, in order to bring the sole up to its normal state the leather must have been 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick, great yet it lasted for less than a week. I decided to try using 24-hour epoxy, turning the shoes upside down making certain they were level I would fix a piece of masking tape along the edge of the shoe making certain that the tape extended well beyond the normal height of the sole. After carefully mixing the epoxy it would be poured onto the sole where the wear had occurred, with the shoe level and upside down of course with masking tape holding everything in place it was fairly easy to add the amount required in order to fill the gap, 24 hours later I'd remove the tape cut or file the excess and voila a repair which allowed the tip of my shoe to slide on whatever surface it encountered thereby solving my immediate problem. Every two or three months this procedure needed repeating as the glue would eventually crack and fall a more permanent solution was required.

In her last few years my mom suffering from dementia lived at a residence in Erin Mills, Mississauga. There I met a woman whose hobby before MS was curling, she spoke of some type of material the curling shoe manufacturer glued to the bottom sole of one shoe which was meant to slide on the ice. This was fixed to one shoe only as the other one was meant to grip the ice surface.

At first I must say the manufacturer was hesitant as they normally receive shoes from clients apply the material to the bottom of the right shoe and return it to the client, after all left their business. It wasn't surprising they did not sell the material on a retail basis especially for my intended use however after explaining my situation to the manager he agreed sell me a small piece approximately 8 x 10 permitting me to experiment with this new material.It's quite difficult to cut yet easy to install once it is, there is a side with brown lettering where the contact cement is applied and also applied to the bottom of the shoe, when both pieces are dry day bond immediately upon touch. After careful consideration and inspection of the wear my foot drop was causing to my brand-new Rock Ports I decided to cover half of the sole.

Our two-story home in Georgetown Ontario had 16 carpeted steps between the first and second floor, I was on the second when I tried my shoe on for the first time quite honestly I don't remember my trip down the stairs as it occurred with lightning speed luckily I did not cause injury but I certainly learned my lesson.

This necessitated a trip back to the drawing board and the picture you see of my shoe at the top of this post was the end result. Covering a small portion corresponding to the wear sufficed anything more was overkill, pun intended. This material glides plain and simple and best of all one application outlasted the life of the shoe.

As with everything else this worked for some time yet eventually I had to utilize a cane for support as well as that material on the tip of my right shoe, on one of our trips to Mexico we met a gentleman who also had MS he showed me this thing he was wearing called an AFO "articulated foot orthotic" it seemed fantastic, on my next visit to the neurologist I casually mentioned the device as he nonchalantly glanced at me and asked "would you like one?"

Now here was a neurologist who saw me struggling to his office every few months having difficulty etc. etc. etc. you would think he would of thought of offering an assistive device which would have helped me but no I had to travel to Mexico in order to meet a gentleman from Florida to learn about this device. Soon after a cast of my foot was made I will always remember that first step with the articulated foot orthotic, it felt as if I was walking on air absolutely fabulous. I would venture to say it added several years to my ability to walk.

This experience allowed me to make another conclusion, the more letters following the doctor's name the less they are in touch with reality. There I feel better now.

Have a great day I know I will

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