Frankie, the Spectral Leg and other thoughts

Recently, I had a new spectral leg aka brace aka AFO prescribed.  I finally have seen  a physical rehab doctor.  This is the first time I have seen a doctor to evaluate my walking.  Apparently, the second spectral leg was totally bad for me and has made me worse.  My right knee seriously hyper extended.  Dr. O has let me know that he is letting me off easily as I really should be in a brace up to my hip.  And I am supposed to wear it from when  I wake up to when I go to bed.

A few problems with that.  I am known for both wearing and not wearing shoes.  I used to wear super high ones at work .  And I would kick them off during meetings.  My old, late boss used to say “Sweetie, I pay you enough to buy shoes that fit.”  (He didn’t)  The first thing I would do when entering the door, was kick off my shoes.  I spend most of my time barefoot.

The new spectral leg is TERRIBLE.   I call it Frankie, short for Frankenstein.  My physical therapist says I should call it Roboleg. And the walker, the Protective shield.  NOT!  Frankie, it is.  Frankie has bolts like Frankenstein’s monster on the ankles.  My cousin says it looks like a villain in a Bruce Willis movie would wear on the top of his head.

Frankie is uncomfortable.  I can see how it helps me walk.  I can’t get past four – six hours. My foot still burns. And it is so ugly.

You know what has always bugged me?  When people are challenged and have bad eyesight and they are given those glasses with the heavy black frames and the coke bottle lenses.  I mean, seriously, is this necessary?  In this day and age, can’t people have nice glasses?  I had a best friend who was legally blind in one eye and her glasses looked nothing like that.

So, it hit me, why in this day and age, should I have to wear something ugly, hard plastic with bolts?  It does not suit my life.  I do not like ugly.  I like dresses.  Frankie does not  work with dresses.  Frankie has to be worn with big, ugly black sneakers.  Frankie makes me look crippled, disabled and old.  This impacts my health.  I have read about 3D printing and how it is changing people’s lives.  Why can’t I make my own?   I told my physical therapist my plan, she agreed!  She told me I was one of the most determined people she’s met and if anyone could do it,  I could. She has even offered to advise on the technical bits.

I went to the rehab doctor the next day.  Of course, I am smart enough not to mention my plan to the doctor.  I was very vocal about its ugliness, its nonfit with my lifestyle.  I walked out of Manhattan during the 2003 blackout in flip flops. His take? Well, I could maybe get it in another color.  Yes, the fitter already suggested purple butterflies.  However, to paraphrase Tom Lehrer’s The Great Lobochefsky – Plagiarize! Accessorize! I am contemplating “outfits” for Frankie.

I have begun the research.  I’ve looked online for braces for design ideas.  Rude awakening.  My first spectral leg which was billed at $1000 is available on Amazon for 35!  What I want is something that is not going to be obtrusive yet provide the support.  No bolts.  Maybe clear?  Rigid but flexible so I don’t look an escapee from a bad zombie/mummy movie.

I also have begun to look up some of the terms associated with my conditions – knee hyperextension, foot drop. My bad, I never really looked these up in detail.   What an eye opener.  My father was a meticulous researcher.  He would be so angry with me.  Well, I also have a hanging that says “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.”  So, I am forging ahead.  We will see what I come up with.  3D printing is in my future.

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