"New AFO Brace"Cover

In this episode, I went to get a new ankle-foot-orthotic (AFO) brace. basically, a rigid ankle brace. Things got emotional.

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

Yeah! You are tuned in to the What’s The Matter With Me? podcast, “New AFO Brace.” What up! What’s The Matter With Me?

In this episode, I went to get a new ankle-foot-orthotic AFO brace. Basically, it’s a rigid ankle brace. Things got emotional.

But first, the What’s The Matter With Me? podcast is sponsored by Hoppin Hot Sauce, the best sauce in the world.

(sings the Hoppin Hot Sauce jingle)

All right. Hoppin Hot Sauce. Best in the world. Surf it on over to hoppinhotsauce.com.

Recap

Last week we talked about the new format and recovering from microvascular decompression surgery, again.

I went to get a new AFO brace.

I went to the same disabled practitioner that was featured way back in Season 2, in an episode called It’s Fall:

“He came to get the doctor right away. Something was different. It was my first time working with a disabled care provider. It was great. I thought that was great and I told her so. I said, ‘Hey man, it’s cool. What you’re doing is cool to see someone disabled that’s a care provider. I really like it.’ She had a disability you could see right away.”

Cool. It’s cool to listen to the old episodes. Cool when they come back around.

Being treated by a disabled practitioner is a good thing

I came into the office, it was cool to see her again and she told me she even listened to the podcast. She asked me about it and whatever. So shout out! And that was so cool. I enjoy being treated by a disabled practitioner. I think it’s a good thing. That was great. But what happened next was more complicated.

We did the exam and she wanted to fit me for a new AFO brace.

My old brace was cracked. I knew I needed a new one, but she wanted to fit me for a new style. I know I have problems with the style I have. It’s making a big callus on the arch of my foot where my ankle bangs into it. It’s uncomfortable. I’ve had the same style for many years. I’ve had three or four of the same model.

So she said, “Hey, the shape of your foot has changed. Your heel doesn’t contact the ground. That makes you unstable.”

I was like, “Yeah.”

So she was like, “I think you might need a new one.”

Fitting a new AFO brace

So to fit you for a brace, what they do, more or less, is put your ankle in a cast. I mean, there’s different ways, but this way is, they put your ankle in a cast, cut you out of the cast and then use it to make the brace.

Emotional attachment to my old AFO

She left the exam room to get all the stuff, like the plaster stuff, and whatever. To be honest with you, I feel an emotional attachment to my brace because it helped me walk for the past several years, like five years, seven years, a long time. I’ve walked a lot in that time and I couldn’t have done any of it without my brace. I’m attached to it. I think it makes sense.

My previous experience was difficult

Before I got the brace I’m in now, I was fit for a different brace the same way, at the same place. And it didn’t work. They misread the prescription. It wasn’t what the doctor had asked for and it didn’t fit in my shoe. And worse, I wasn’t ready to accept it. I wasn’t ready to accept myself with this thing. I limped home with the brace in one hand and the walking stick in the other, and it felt like no one can help me.

It was a super lonely feeling. I felt very alone. I felt like there just was no way to make it better and it made me very sad. I have never really told anyone about it.

Naming the feeling

So back to the doctor’s office, she was off getting stuff to fit me for a brace and meanwhile I’m thinking of that sad story I just told you about last time. I have brain damage in my brain stem and it causes me difficulty regulating my emotions. I get angry, I cry and I’m sad, really easy and it’s a lot of work for everyone. I started to get sad. The practitioner came in, I told her I was thinking about last time. I told that sad story and it was hard. I started to cry. She gave me tissues. You know, I was, like ‘man-crying.’ I was leaking and moaning.

She gave me tissues and then I told that bit about the difficulty regulating my emotions and it helped me get a grip. Sometimes my therapist says that when you’re having fear or anxiety about something, the best thing to do is to name it, and many times it will lose its power over you.

Strategy for the future

Then she fit me for the brace. I made the appointment to pick it up and everything was normal. Sometimes it’s good to say what’s bothering you, I guess.

Thank you for listening to the What’s The Matter With Me? podcast.

New episodes available at whatsthematterwithme.org, Apple podcasts and wherever you download podcasts. You can email me on the contact page, and I will give you the greatest shout out. A really great shout out, maybe the greatest ever.

Thanks for tuning in. I’ll catch you next time.

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