Medical March Madness

[By: Kimberly Foley; Des Moines, IA]

We’ve completed the first million steps, only six million more to go.
From strep throat to pneumonia, blisters to back aches, it is a learning process that we’re slowly getting better at. Our spirit walkers (marchers walking every step from LA to DC) and all those making this March possible, have gone through a lot.

Steve Martin (Kentucky) is one of our older spirit walkers. He has not missed a step since starting the march in LA on March first. However, this has not been without a cost. Initially, Steve developed such severe blisters (see graphic photo below) that he required crutches and the direct assistance of the medical team to get him through the dessert and return him to marching unaided. No longer a member of the “crutch walking” group affectionately known as the “Crips”.

Bob Cook (Iowa) is also one of our older walkers. He came to us with several existing medical conditions requiring that he use oxygen at night (CPAP) and insulin to control his Diabetes. Day after day he pushed through blisters and arthritic knee pain. Amazingly, he managed to lose approximately forty pounds and reverse the life-threatening conditions! We are very proud of Bob for his achievements.

Recently, one of our younger spirit walkers (Mack Mcdonald Wilkins – Michigan) started experiencing severe pain in a toe that he said he had broken two other times. Since he could not recall a specific incident that caused a new fracture, it is assumed that the accumulative effects of marching nonstop for the past seven weeks, has finally reared it’s ugly head. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do for a fractured toe. However, since Mack has no intention of missing a single step, he and fellow marcher Sean Glenn (Conneticut) devised a make shift foot splint with items found on the road and some duct tape they were carrying (see photo below). Mack walked approx 17.5 miles one day and 10 the next while on crutches (in the Physical Therapy world, this pretty much makes you a crazy person).

As a Physical therapist, a marcher and a member of the medic team, I have witnessed some amazing feats of courage. We have very loyal and dedicated marchers. The acronym “ICER” stands for ice, compression, elevation and REST. In the “spirit walker” world, I don’t bother suggesting the last letter.

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