My trip to Regibase by Nigel Erb
Some 5 years ago I suffered a rare spinal cord stroke. I was living in London at the time. This left me a L1 Asia C paraplegic with no initial movement below my hips. Whether I would ever walk again was an unknown.
Throughout the past 5 years I have continued my physio, yoga, pool session routine each week having always held the belief that walking for me was still possible.
Significant movement in both legs has returned but I am still unable to stand or walk without aides ,such as the Gutter frame or a bar to lean on.
Not long after all of this happened to me I began researching on the net for something or some way that would help me to achieve walking again. There is so much research happening around the world on SCI and TBI. New techniques and technology has certainly offered the hope of physical improvement and maybe even full rehabilitation .
This led me to discover a new bionic machine called the Ekso skeleton. It was being used to help SCI and TBI patients rehabilitate. Immediately I felt that if anything was going to help me get up and running it would be something like this. I subsequently discovered that the Ekso was not in any facility in NZ or as far as I know, in Australia either. If I was going to have the opportunity to use it I would have to search further afield. A few options in different countries were available to me. Eventually I settled on Regibase in the Czech Republic. Regibase is located about one hours drive south of Prague.
Some email correspondence later and I was booked in for a couple of sessions there. This was 2 years ago. To my disappointment after a medical accessment by the physiotherapist at Regibase it was decided that ,using the Ekso might, due to the physical condition of my left ankle impact negatively on my leg.
I left Regibase vowing to return sometime in the future when and if I saw improvement in my ankle.
September of this year I returned to Regibase .
I must tell you how very impressive that place is. Regibase is independently housed within a 200 bed public SCI,TBI facility called Kladruby.
Im not questioning what we have here in NZ but having seen what was on offer re equipment, alternative physiotherapy techniques etc. there I have to wonder how up to date or innovative are we here..
Once again I booked a session in the hope of using the Ekso.
After an assessment by the head physiotherapist ….. it was decided there and then that I could now use the Ekso.
And use it I did.
I transferred from my wheelchair into the Ekso. Basically I was inside a robot. Operated by the physio, the Ekso raised me up to a standing position and began to walk me step by step. Whilst I supported myself with a walking frame. The physio instructed me not to do anything.”This first time just let the Ekso do everything, you concentrate on being as upright as possible.” Walking inside a robot was amazing and I immediately became convinced that a more intensive program using the Ekso would help me to achieve my goal. It will require a substantial amount of money so I will be fundraising for the next several months then returning there early next year.