The Walking Quad


This past week I finally managed to rejoin the Kunming walking program! On Monday, my big brother Colin supervised my walking for the first time since I injured my knee well over a month ago. My knee is not quite healed, but it is substantially better.

To start off the morning, we participated in our usual military song and dance routine … sounds silly but the morning routine is a lot of fun all the same and helps everyone get warmed up.

Our Morning Military Song & Dance

Before we started to engage with the day’s work, David’s 16-year-old sister Rusty, who also lives in Kunming, serenaded us with her ukulele and simultaneously entertained us with her impressive gymnastic skills!


As my regular readers will know, Rusty’s brother David is 21 and has participated in the walking program for the last year.

Our Local Gymnast

Our local gymnast!

Our Morning Entertainment

Our morning entertainment

As you can see from the pictures below, the physical therapy team first helps me up to stand and remain stationery a few minutes so I have a chance to adjust my blood pressure.

Once I start walking, there is one therapist behind me pushing my legs to walk, 2 therapists positioned either side helping me hold up my upper body, and one physical therapist in the front of the walking frame so it does not roll away from me.

Preparing To Walk

Preparing to walk

25 Step Tango

Starting my 25 step Tango!

360 Degree Perspective

Stepping up the Pace

Steady At The Helm

Relaxing with Xiao Kong for 30 minutes of standing after walking.

Walking is a lot harder work than I had anticipated. Initially, I thought it would be quite easy as somebody is just walking my legs forward one by one. As it turns out it is a lot more complicated than that.  I have to use my shoulders and upper body to push my elbows into the walking frame so I do not fall down.

As many of you know I am a C6 quadriplegic, which means that I presently do not have use my triceps. Before the accident I had no idea how useful the triceps muscle really is, and as it turns out the triceps muscle is one of the most important muscles in the arm. The triceps are used to push down, which is the name of the game when you’re using the walking frame. I have to compensate using my shoulders and surrounding muscles since my body currently does not recruit enough of the triceps muscle to be functional.

I was able to walk four straight days in a row and on each day increase my number of steps. I walked 25 steps on Monday, 53 steps on Tuesday, 55 steps on Wednesday and 90 steps on Thursday. I would usually walk between 20 – .25 steps and then rest for a few minutes before getting back up again.  I was supposed to go to the gym on Friday, but unfortunately my knee started to act up again so I played hooky with my brother.

My brother and I went to the Wyndham Hotel for a scrumptious sushi lunch followed by a couple of cappuccinos with a pair of Padron cigars. 🙂


My idea of heaven!

My brother leaves this Sunday and I cannot tell you how incredible it has been to have him here these last 10 days.

I promised many of you a blog on my Dad’s world pain management tour, which I’ll post mid next week.

7 responses »

  1. Wow, I’m so happy to hear GOOD news from Kunming! Amazing progress! I look forward to hearing what your Dad finds out re the latest on pain. For his info – our Nicholas has a Metronic Synchromed intrathecal pain pump running a mixture of baclofen and bupivicaine (some people with spinal cord injuries or MS run a mixture of morphine and baclofen). It works OK for Nick and his pain is well controlled with the addition of oral morph and lorazepam. But he’s still in bed most of the time 😦 Nevertheless, he has a good life, friends, lots of interests etc. But I wish he could be more active, so I’ll be watching this space!

  2. Ali, you inspire me with your internal strength! Progress looks great. We are right there with you every step of the way!

  3. Dear Ali,
    Steve and I talk about you each day with love and amazement. So great Colin has been there with you. Steve is home now so we are doing the family thing….even a visit from Sayler who went to a St. Georges wedding.
    Progress looks promising and you look great! Big hugs and I love Uschi’s garden….she does bloom where she is planted! Barbara

  4. Ali, you now have at least three tetras (a.k.a. quads) in mid-Missouri watching your progress. A father of one is now planning a trip to Kunming because of your posts. Stay the course…

  5. What a beautiful sight to see you upright. It must be an amazing feeling for you. One day st a time…one step at a time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s