One of the most challenging aspects of adjusting to the new leg is adapting my hobbies accordingly. For now, at any rate, I have to forget about cycling, playing tennis and badminton, tai chi – in short, anything I used to do that requires bending the knee. I have seen special legs advertised on the Internet with adjustable knees and plan to explore that further, once I can manage to walk unaided on the one I have now. I was looking forward to doing more of my favourite pastimes, such as crochet and playing the harp, but unfortunately arthritis in the fingers of both hands has rather cramped my style. Meanwhile, I concentrate on walking for exercise.
For the past few years, walking was extremely painful. Now it’s just slow, but no more pain! I’m gradually increasing the distances I can go without having to pause for a rest on the rollator seat. The idea is to build up the strength again in the good leg, plus increase the core strength so that ultimately I can get a suction cup on the prosthesis, instead of the harness around my hips to hold up the bionic leg. In winter the socket keeps me warm, but in a hot summer I’m a walking puddle by the end of the day!
Ever since I got my first library card at age 6, I have been hooked on reading. Now, with the aid of the iPad and the Kobo e-reader, I can indulge my habit much more easily. I regularly borrow books from our excellent public library, both hard copy and e-books, without which my habit would cost a fortune! It is also a pleasure to actively participate in our local book club, which has introduced me to a range of books, fiction and non-fiction, that I might not otherwise have explored.
Another great source of material is the CNIB recording studio, where I have been a volunteer reader for over 30 years. For example, I am presently recording “Justin Trudeau: The Natural Heir”, a fascinating biography of our current Prime Minister. It is so gratifying to be able to continue this valuable service, where the only real challenge is sitting still for the 3-hour recording session without Beluga, my stump, cramping up.
Puzzles and Games
Again, thanks to the iPad, there is a plethora of puzzles and games available for free. My favourites include Sudoku, cryptic crosswords, codewords and jigsaws. These hopefully keep my brain from atrophying even if the rest of me is not performing at full par, but in any case they are fun.