Day 61

Electrifying

It’s surprising how much of my day revolves around electrocuting myself. The FES (functional electrical stimulation) device applies small electrical pulses to paralysed muscles with the aim to restore or improve their function. I have used electrical stimulation my whole career as it is fairly common place in rugby. The main difference is that in rugby it is used to prevent atrophy after operations and in neuro it is more commonly used to encourage muscles to fire in order to facilitate movement. I was in need of both.

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One pad is placed on the nerve ending whilst the other finds itself on the desired muscle, the electrical current then links the pads and causes a contraction. My main focus points are the tib-anteria muscle to promote foot lift and the finger flexors and extensors to aid hand function. The FES machines can only be used during treatment hours but luckily my step brother (also a professional rugby player) has his own which I have commandeered for the time being. This allows me to spend hours working on maintaining some muscle mass. It’s all very well creating those connections to the muscles again but without the strength you can’t use them functionally. Don’t get me wrong, I still couldn’t fight my way out of a paper bag but I really feel as though I have benefited from the atrophy work.

The surgeons have reviewed my latest scans and I have finally been allowed to take the body armour off. Although this makes me slightly more vulnerable to lightsabre attacks it’s a huge win on the comfort front. Last night I was caught by a surprise sneezing fit which has resulted in me aggravating my neck. Sneezing with a broken neck is no laughing matter however the faces I pull trying to stop them apparently is. This time I failed and the result was no physio, bed all morning and a possible re scan. Not ideal, but I don’t think I’ve done any lasting damage. 🤞🏻😬👀

P.s. Had to stay still so thought I would spend the afternoon trying something new. Although the results are 💩 the process was very therapeutic and I am now feeling very zen, whatever that means. ✌️

 

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