Being an individual that uses two C-Braces (Orthotronic mobility system), I thought from the first time I saw the C-Braces I would encounter nothing but problems with the module on the outer portion of the C-Brace.
My first thought when I saw the C-Braces is, ‘How am I going to be able to walk with that bulky thing on the side?’ Little did I know that “bulky thing” on the side was going to change my life forever. So let’s not call it a module, let’s call it ‘Modi’ (short for motivational help). The Modi gives me the sense of security. They’re here when and where I need them, through every step I take, and it’s because of the Modi that I excelled very quickly with both physical therapy and everyday life.
I had a conversation with a fellow C-Brace user who was a unilateral wearer. My advice to this user was to first believe in yourself, and second, believe in the C-Brace technology. A person with a disability has to come to terms with it first, meaning accept and move on. That’s where believing in yourself comes in. Once a person believes that he or she can do anything they set their mind to, then they can accomplish anything. Next, you need to believe in the technology. For me it’s the C-Brace technology. I have bilateral C-Braces, so it was very hard at first, but once I figured out how to manipulate the C-Braces I found it very easy. Of course, not everything is easy, as I point out below.
Tight areas such as small aisles are always a challenge even if you’re not using C-Braces, so what I do is just shift my body sideways and walk side step to side step. Sounds simple, right? It is.
I recently found out while traveling on a plane that some seats just are not equipped for bilateral C-Braces. I really have no solutions to this other than be aware of your surroundings, try and take a seat with arm rests that lift up, or with no obstructions so the Modi can slide back under.
I definitely made a few changes here in my life, I’ll start by saying not every automobile out there will work, so beware. I found that if and when you are shopping for a new automobile and you’re a unilateral or bilateral user of C-Braces, sit in the vehicle and take it for a test drive to ensure there is enough leg room –not only to drive but be comfortable. Can you operate the pedals safely? I personally have found that having my orthotist set a bicycle motion feature in Mode Two of my C-Braces works best for me. When I’m in sitting position with my legs outside of the vehicle, I switch to Mode Two and then I’m able to manipulate the pedals, my vehicles are standard shift so there’s a clutch (so yes it is possible to still drive standards).
I must say my disability isn’t all of me, but it’s part of me. Remember, don’t give up regardless the situation, nothing comes easy in life and the harder the work the better the reward.