The Right Tool For the Right Job

My name is Bill St. James. I was born with a neurological disorder called H.S.P. that causes spasms and muscle weakness. Throughout my life I was as active as anyone else, sometimes even more so. Therefore, as my 40th birthday approached, when I started falling and stumbling because I couldn’t keep my legs where I needed them, I became alarmed and went to my doctor. H.S.P. is rare and difficult to diagnose. It was three years before we knew what we were up against. During that time we employed various devices to try to keep me walking: Canes, loftstrand crutches, walkers, braces, lots of physical therapy. At the end of that we gave up and I sat in a wheelchair for the next 3 years.

I kept up with my P.T. continuing to dream of walking. I moved and got a new physical therapist who thought that we could still find the right appliance for me to walk. So, I came to Orthotics & Prosthetics Labs and had a consult with Ted Stelmat. He asked for my history. Then he asked my hopes. Then I told him my dream. He thought about the possibilities and he added them to my desire for my future against my physical limitations and provided me with “the right tool for the right job,” enabling me to get my independence back (and some of my life).

In just two weeks I have already worked up to 40 feet. More progress reports to follow.

                                                               Bill St. James



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