The ReWalk! Have you seen it? The FDA approved exoskeleton robotic legs for paraplegics to walk again! This system is not made to fit everyone. You must be between 5’3 and 6’5 and up to 220lbs. This leads those who are very tiny or very tall out of luck. It also carries a very hefty price tag of $70,000 for a personal unit! There are other physical requirements as well. You have to be able to use the crutches to balance yourself. That requires good arm strength and shoulder control. Your legs also have to have the strength to carry your own body weight. If you have severe atrophy or osteoporosis than this device is not for you. Between the crutches and casing I wonder what you can do besides sit and stand using this thing. You surely can’t carry anything and walk. You can’t run. The US approved model can’t go up and down stairs. What can you do other than walk?
My wife was looking into this device for me. Often times I wish I could not so much walk, but run through the grass chasing my children. I want to crouch down behind couches and play real hide and seek with Tay. I want to jump in the pool and splash them. I want to climb trees and hang upside down from branches with Bella and act like a monkey. Those are the things I miss in life. Walking would be great, but the ability “to walk” wouldn’t do it for me at this point in my life. That sounds strange doesn’t it? No one wants to be in a wheelchair. What the heck is this guy talking about? After talking to the doctor it turns out that I would need to have a full knee replacement to consider using the ReWalk. I do have muscle atrophy but it’s not severe. I am lucky enough to have an FES bike at home and a personal therapist. I do have significant osteoporosis in my hips and legs from being paralyzed. I do everything I can at home on a daily basis to keep my body as strong as possible in my situation.
For me it’s not about the ability to walk. It’s about those moments and sensations that I feel I am missing in my life. The ReWalk will not left me feel the grass or sand between my toes again. It will never allow me to freely run and scoop up my kids in the grass. It won’t give me those things and no device will provide that. I can live with that. I can keep my money and wrestle my kids on the couch and laugh from tickle fights until it hurts to breathe. When there comes a device that will give me those things I will consider looking into it, but for now I am as happy as I can be wheeling myself around in life.