I don’t talk about this part of my life openly on the forum, though I am not afraid to share information about it. Perhaps one day I will share openly. I am disabled from a medical condition I have battled for the last 30 years. It really started to affect my mobility after 2000, and from early 2006 onward I have not walked at all (I use a power wheelchair).
I worked really hard to stay on my feet and mobile for as long as I could. I can share some of my secrets with you, which might help you to rise up from chairs, and the like.
To get up and down from chairs requires strong thigh muscles. When my thighs grew weaker, this became harder. The thighs also help keep your thighbones in their rightful place, which holds your pelvis in place, which holds your whole spine in place. When the thighs go, your whole sitting posture gets screwed up. After 2000, I had to be conscious of the height of the chairs I sat in. I actually took a measurement, and found I could not sit in a chair-seat that was less than 17” off the ground, and I also stopped sitting in chairs without arms, if possible (I needed to be able to help push myself up using the arms). In 2003, I discovered a new trick. This entailed looping a belt around my thighs just above the knees, allowing about 4-6” pf space between each leg. This helped me focus the strength of my thigh muscles and kept my thighbones from splaying outward as I tried to stand up. It worked marvelously, and I used this method diligently until I could no longer stand to my feet.
I have lots of little secrets about methods and adaptive equipment I have used over the years to get the most out of what I have left. I am more than happy to share these with you as you grow weaker.
My medical condition is limb-girdle muscular dystrophy. I was not officially diagnosed until I was in my late 30s; though I likely have had this my whole life. It really did not start affecting me outwardly until I was 34 years old (1986). I was a career officer in the Marines then, and I could no longer pass the USMC physical fitness test (PFT). I was grounded from flying for 5-months in 1987 as I went through exhaustive medical exams at two different Naval hospitals in California. They did all the right tests, but came up with an inconclusive diagnosis and returned me to flying status. I wasn’t diagnosed officially until early 1990, after I was evaluated at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. The official diagnosis put an end to my military career, and I was given a medical retirement from the Marines in September of 1990, after just short of 16 years of active service. That is when I brought my family back to Pensacola permanently. From there, I used the GI Bill to go to graduate school at UWF, and then joined an environmental consulting firm, where I worked another 16 years.
I waged a fighting retreat from my physical abilities and pushed myself hard over the years. To this day, I try to maintain whatever independence I can muster. The wife has to help me with more now, and I haven’t driven a vehicle since 2008; but I do what I can. I have done all of my own occupational therapy, and even taught myself how to put a pair of pants on while sitting in a chair. I am more than happy to offer insights and information to you.
My name is Phil.
Well, this kind man would send me suggestions on how I could better get up as I was weakening with my ability to get out of chairs. I know also he contacted Bob to help him after his loss of the use of his leg. His quiet strength will be missed.
I had to share who this man was.