I stood, I walked and I did it in a robotic exoskeleton. This is no miracle and it is not the end of the story. But it is the first iteration of a device that some day very soon might offer an alternative to a wheelchair. My experience is that Ekso can’t go up stairs and it isn’t for outside use yet. But it is close and it looks like there are enough people prepared to challenge conventional wisdom to make it happen.
Now, I’m in Carlsbad just north of San Diego. I’m back at project Walk (www.projectwalk.org), one year after my first visit, to continue my ongoing exercise based recovery experiment. In short, I am using patterns of exercise to try to stimulate my nervous system to open different pathways around my damaged spinal cord. The ultimate aim is that I will reconnect my brain and paralysed muscles. And, on first assessment I’m stronger than the last time I was here in Project Walk.
There is no doubt that this has been an inspiring week for me and there is hope in the future that I might walk again. But life isn’t about the future. It is about experiencing life as it happens. As the days roll by in America and my mind races with what might be in the future, I’m in danger of missing the experience of life outside spinal cord injury. So, time to relax Californian style as the weekend hits.
If you’ve any thoughts about balancing acceptance of now whilst keeping hope alive for a better future please leave a comment!