Matthew’s new training arm was delivered a few weeks ago.
It is in the form of a ‘stick’ (made by Integrum in Sweden) and is making a world of difference already. At around 20 centimetres in length, it allows Matthew to move things around and hold things, so he was very excited when he was able to stop something rolling off the table, and he’s even managed to catch a ball. He has found himself able to pick up some scissors and move them to where they should be kept: “I can be helpful again.”
The ‘stick’ will be worn for a while before more weight can be added, because the full prosthetic arm is very heavy. Matthew’s been training with a myoelectric arm in rehab and has found he’s got more control than expected, so he’s feeling very optimistic. He was able to peel a banana with his stick, so what he will be able to do with a full arm is anyone’s guess!
He did have a scare with his right hip, which has always been the problem joint, and over the past few weeks had found himself progressively unable to put any weight on it at all. This was a concern, because he had been spending hours on the tilt-table at home trying to build up strength in his bones in preparation for legs and walking.
A few weeks of rest was followed by an x-ray which discounted the possibility of a stress fracture, so Matthew tested the legs out over the weekend and found he was again able to walk on his training legs without too much pain. So bed rest was beneficial, even if it was frustrating.
So it’s been a great few days after a few steps backward.
On a different note, we’re also preparing for the launch of ‘Will to Live’, Matthew and Diane’s story, in two weeks. It will be available nationally from 21 July in bookstores and online.
The book is written in Diane and Matthew’s voice. It provides Diane’s account of the events leading up to his illness, the decision to save him, and dealing with his early recovery, and Matthew’s account of his recovery and rehabilitation.
We took some time to consider whether we would proceed with writing the book, but we have received so much feedback about how helpful it has been for others to hear how Matthew and Diane have dealt with what happened that we decided to give it a go. Throughout the journey, we’ve heard the phrase: “There’s no book on dealing with this.” This might or might not be that book that will help someone else, but we know that we were searching for one during those deep dark days in hospital in particular, and any story of hope or story that gave us ideas about how to cope was a shining light even for a moment.
The official launch will be in Brisbane on 25 July and we would dearly love anyone available and interested to join us for the evening. You can register your attendance with Riverbend Books. The launch itself will be held at Bulimba State School, and our thanks in advance to our great friend Suzy Wilson and her team at Riverbend for organising the evening. We’ll look forward to seeing you there, and I’ll provide another update with some photos of the ‘stick’ shortly.