My First Week+ with a Wheelchair

After getting the Charcot Foot diagnosis, I went and got myself a wheelchair, so now I have crutches & the wheelchair.

The first few days were kind of getting mentally used to the idea of having to use it continuously for an unknown period of time. A period which is most likely going to be from several months to a year or so.

While doing the brainwork, I did a couple of rounds with the chair outside, at the backyard and around the house, testing how consuming it is for the arms.

And yes, it really was and is consuming. Felt totally exhausted already after a few minutes of the first stints, and ended up avoiding going outside for a few days.

My upper arms are like so weak, no real power in the muscles whatsoever. But that will probably change for the better in the coming days and weeks – the more I roll the more I will gain power.

Indoors use included

Indoors, I really didn’t use the wheelchair until the weekend, when I heard new cracking sounds from the foot, paired with moments of pain in different areas of the foot. This was due to me walking with the crutches (ok, used only one), failing to keep my weight off the leg.

So learned a lesson, and started to take the warning speeches (by the doc, nurses and fellow charcot patients) more seriously. By eventually starting to use the wheelchair indoors also, I’m now maximising the time the foot is not under any weight load.

There still is the bathroom where I’m not taking the chair with me, so a few steps with the crutches has to made. Hope the foot can endure that.

Malformed and warm

Fast forwarding to this week, on Monday I had the foot therapist appointment at the hospital. I went there with an invataksi (cab for disabled people), and boy it felt good that there was somebody handling the chair (with me in it) to the car and off it, with a wheelchair lift in the rear of the car.

At the hospital, they checked the foot externally, stating that yes, it’s still swollen and malformed, and the crushed bone material is kind of pushing itself outwards from the side and the top of the foot.

Temperature difference between the right and left foot was 7 degrees celsius, well exceeding the typical 3 degree difference minimum usually linked to Charcot feet. The left foot was 27°c, while the right (Charcot) foot was 34°c.

They’re going to take next x-rays of the foot in a couple of weeks, and the foot doctor will update me on the situation in a week from that.

Progressing neuropathy and indoor shoes

In addition to addressing the Charcot, the therapist did a simple polyneuropathy test, which revealed that it has progressed a bit.

The test was done with the therapist poking with a monofilament in different areas of the feet while I kept my eyes shut. Did not feel anything until the stick hit a few centimeters upwards of my ankle, and the same thing repeated on both feet.

I was also instructed to start using indoor shoes because of all the risks the feet are facing. But we’ll get back to that with the therapist after this whole Charcot situation starts to settle and hopefully stop progressing. Will be a regular visitor to the therapist in the future.

Getting to know the chair

After getting back home from the hospital with another cool invataksi, I was determined to really start using the wheelchair indoors. By doing that I’m not only gaining strength to the arms, but also getting to know the wheelchair better.

I can make a 180-degree turn in half the time I could last week, and I now know better where to go backwards and where not. I can use my left leg as an extra force in some moves, and I totally am getting to know the best ways to transfer stuff with me and the chair from point A to point B. And so forth.

I have to say that I absolutely respect every wheelchair user, especially long-term ones, with getting through the everyday life with the chair. Hats off.