I have been feeling a little discouraged lately about my progress. I have written about this previously but this this is a little different, instead of being discouraged about my progress per se, I am more discouraged about my lack of endurance.
Even though I am able to walk short distances in these short legs, I am so fatigued when I am finished that it takes several minutes to recover.
For example, if I walk 25 feet (which is a long distance for me) it may take my residual limbs 10-15 minutes to recover. I have voiced my concern about this seemingly long recovery time to my physical therapist, Chris. Chris explained about the amount of energy it takes to walk on prosthetic limbs, something I am well aware of, however, I was wondering if my recovery time is longer than most?
First of all, it has been estimated that an amputee, especially a bilateral above knee amputee, uses up to 200 times the amount of energy to walk on prosthetic legs as a "normal" person does to walk the same distance. Think about that for a minute, to put it in it's proper perspective, if I walk 25 feet on my prosthetic legs, I use the same amount of energy as a person wtih natural legs would use walking 5000 feet, which is close to a mile!
When I think about it in those terms it doesn't seem as trivial.
What I am really curious about is, do my vascular issues hamper my recovery time? In other words, those people who have lost their legs through a tramatic injury like a car accident or a war injury may not suffer the long recovery time when they walk on prosthetics, because they do not have, nor have they ever had circulatory problems.
This troubles me to some degree because these long recovery times mean that to accomplish a task, you have to rest longer after having walked to where the task is to be accomplished, than the task may actually take to begin with. Does that sound like it might be frustrating to you?
I think the best way to combat this long recovery issue is first keep everything in it's proper perspective. Although my accomplishments with respect to distance walked, may seem minimal to me, it is nonetheless an accomplishment given the fact I have no leg or knee components.
There are other people in my situation who are unable or unwilling to do many of the things I am still capable of doing, and for that capability I am grateful.
Another way to look at this might be to remember that perseverance is the key to accomplishment. If you do not persevere, keep working at it, you will never be able to build up the endurance necessary to walk successfully for any distance.
We all deal daily from a lack of delaying our gratification, wanting everything, and wanting everything now. There are so many things in life that can be ascertained, but many of those things take a lot of time and a lot of work.
Rather than being discouraged by the fact that something is difficult or takes longer than we had hoped, we should redirect our focus on what we have already accomplished and realize we will get to where we want to be, through being sharply defined toward our goal and reamining positive.
One of the best ways to overcome discouragement is to persevere, keep working at what we want to accomplish and believe in our ability to do just that.
I am as guilty as the next person doling out advice that I, at times, would be well advised to listen to what I myself have said or written.
If you are going to talk the talk, you also have to "walk" the "walk."
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