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February 13, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Steppin’ out without style.

Man disco skater lifting partner onto his shoulder. Charles Ayabar & Anna Galante Roller disco skaters. Sheepshead Roll-A-Palace. Brooklyn NY, 1979. (Discoskater/

Why worry with canes or wheelchairs when you can get a lift like this?(Discoskater/

Dressed to impress, she lurched across the room dragging that fancy cane behind her as if it were a fat, disobedient dog on a leash.

Who knows if it was result of attractiveness driven selected hearing or declining grey matter.

This was the one who for years smiled and lived in a total visual blur because “Men don’t make passes, you know. Glasses.”

No matter. In her own mind, glamorous still.

Quite so when younger: Perfect make-up. Strawberry blond hair cut and curled like a starlet’s. Wrapped in mink. Slouching with a debutante’s walk.

Won’t see herself as a Leaning Tower of Pisa buttressed to a gentleman ‘s elbow now.

A rollie walker was out of the question.

Instructions about anything was like trying to hand her fleeing dandelion  puffs.

Besides there was a real chance she might get a Rollie walker going, not be able to stop, and keep yelling “Where are the brakes on this darn thing?”

Think an unskilled but happy 14-year-old behind the wheel of a corvette convertible on a curved road during Spring Break.

Vintage photo from Moulin-Rouge 1899. Photographer Jules Beau (Nat. Lib.of France/

“If Cesar can do it, so can I.” (USPD/

In her late 90’s, we managed to get her into a wheel chair.

Once seated she quickly transformed into Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile.

Escorted in a golden chariot:  chin up, smiling to subjects along the way while urging great speed. Bingo was starting.

Getting from place to place with dignity is important.

Something you don’t think about until stroke, damage to the spinal cord or brain takes that skill away.

Sometimes an “unfortunate event”, leaves a person with an asymmetric walking pattern where one leg does not fully swing backward resulting in an uneven awkward gait.

It’s tiring, annoying, and darn embarrassing.

Regular shoe and GEMS rehab shoe on foot. (Image Moterum website)

She’d sniff, “You can call it a fancy name, but can’t fool me. Looks like a child’s toy.” The GEMS shoe is put on the “good” foot/side to force the weak side to work and reestablish ability. The spirals rotate to normalize walking gait as shown in the videos.(Image Moterum website)

To help people make great strides instead of walking like a cartoon, researchers have gotten very creative with GEMS.

Step into this Rehabilitation Engineering and Electromechanical Design Lab to try on GEMS: the Gait Enhancing Mobile Shoe (VIDEO)

No help for dreamy aunt, but maybe others with young enough brain cells to absorb the concept and instructions. The woman in the video offers real hope.

My Aunt would never consider wearing one of those – in public or any place with a mirror. Vanity has its’ price

Besides there’s not doubt she’d get rolling and start yelling “Where’s the brakes for this darn thing?

A step beyond.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Stroke patient in wheel chair strapping GEMS shoe on. SciTech Now episode 313 YouTube:Wpsu.jpeg

“Do these come in red? Red goes with anything.” (SciTech Now/YouTube/WPSU)



  1. easyweimaraner / Feb 13 2017 6:36 am

    that looks as if it is not easy to walk in this shoes… but it’s a way… and maybe once all people can walk it… btw: my granny refused to use the walking cane her doctor suggested… but she loved to go shopping with a rollator, because of the possibility to attach bags everywhere …


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 13 2017 9:48 am

      That shoe looks so much like my old roller skates, my ankles hurt from the memories. Fascinating idea as a good walking posture prevents injury to the “good” hip/knee.
      One of my uncles had a zooming motorized scooter he used everywhere. No problem getting on the back of the car. He loved it – and he knew where the brakes were…but we were a bit worried as he wore thick coke bottle glasses yet was still almost blind.
      We hope Molly will consider pulling us in a little red wagon when we get that old. We can hang bacon on a stick?
      Thanks for a staggering comment!


      • easyweimaraner / Feb 13 2017 10:15 am

        I had the same painful memory as I saw the disco rollers… I still have a scar on my chin from a time I thought I will be the next star od wheels :o)

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 13 2017 11:10 am

          One on wheels was unstable enough – asking me to link up with another?
          Now those were brave rollers! (“One must suffer for art”..a disco skater probably said that HAHA).


  2. Kate Crimmins / Feb 13 2017 7:18 am

    OMG! We are related. This woman had to be my Mom’s long lost sister! I couldn’t even get my mother into a wheelchair to go shopping at the mall (which she loved). What would people think. Sign of being “less than.” My mother was never “less than.”


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 13 2017 9:39 am

      And to get them to apply, much less use, those hanging car tags that allow them to park close at the grocery store and places. You’d think you were branding them as defective. “Those are for people much worse than I am. I can manage. We need to save those places for others who need them…”
      “You’re 97 years old – for goodness sakes use them to make sure you get to 100!”
      Stubborn sturdy folks (and not going to listen to any indication they are aging and could use some help)
      Thanks for wheeling a comment this way

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Bean / Feb 13 2017 10:52 am

    Lord love a duck! You mean someone would expect me to try to walk with that GEM thing on my foot! I’m not going to be a very cooperative old person if that’s what is expected of me. Too weird, I’d fall.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 13 2017 11:07 am

      Maybe if they added rhinestones or racing stripes…It looked pretty chunky when I first saw it, but that stroke victim in the video might cause me to reconsider. I did notice it’s not like they strap them on and toss them out in the street – all in rehab walkway with an escort with a firm grip on a harness. Maybe like a patch on a child’s lazy eye – but more awkward and certainly not passive effort by the patient.
      Engineering meets medicine. What a world we live in. Thanks fro strolling by with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ally Bean / Feb 13 2017 11:11 am

        Good point. It doesn’t look like you’re sent outside to hike the Alps first thing. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Anne Mehrling / Feb 13 2017 11:39 am

    I think it looks exciting. I’ve walked with a cane and a limp, but I walk like a normal person now. If I’m going to be disabled in the future, I say be flamboyant with it.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 13 2017 7:14 pm

      The body is a finely engineered unit. How cool they’ve found new way to give it a tuneup when needed. Thanks for walking in to comment

      Liked by 1 person

  5. heretherebespiders / Feb 13 2017 3:37 pm

    I work for a company that sells medical equipment-this is something we don’t have! I recommended ‘knee walkers’ a couple of years back, and now we have them. I will send this link on to management.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 13 2017 7:12 pm

      Totally intrigued by the merging of engineering and medical treatments. Hope the info helps someone. Thanks for rolling on by with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  6. shoreacres / Feb 14 2017 8:00 am

    I laughed when I saw that kinetic board — the large version of the GEMS. If that’s not a perfect analog to the pitching of a deck in rough seas, I don’t know what is. That’s exactly how we have to maintain balance on a boat. Neat to see the principle put to such creative use.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 14 2017 6:08 pm

      Darn if you aren’t right about that rolling deck (One hand for the boat. One for yourself) We used to say our kid learned to walk quickly and had excellent balance because of so much time on our sailboat. I need to check into those doctors/researchers and find out who’s got the boat and what kind…has to be a sailor – lots of creativity appears while quietly on the water. Thanks for rolling in with that idea


  7. Littlesundog / Feb 14 2017 8:07 am

    Jeepers! Is this some kind of sign?? Just yesterday I sprained my right ankle pretty badly at the burn pile. I’m laid up today. Now I’m just hoping it’s a sprain and not a break. I’m wondering how on earth I’ll get anything done for a while? Ha ha
    Technology is simply amazing, isn’t it? I marvel at the caring and desire to help others in need. I watched my dad go through a couple of years of continual therapy after his stroke. The body itself is amazing, but engineering technology and medical research are really making some great advances.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 14 2017 6:12 pm

      Please take it easy and let that ankle rest a bit. Sometimes a sprain can hurt and be as difficult as a break. (Hmmm…weren’t you deer kids discussing time needing to be spent sitting quietly recently?)
      These shoes such a fine marriage between medicine and engineering – they are so similar with the structures they work with. Hopefully the study trials will prove the shoes use and lead it to becoming mainstream therapy. So important to not damage healthy parts of the body while trying to recover from stroke or injury. Sometimes it is an era of good wonder. Take care and thanks for hobbling in to chat


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