Introduction — Norman Corwin is one of our newest friends in the UPWalker community; he suffers from severe stenosis and lives at La Costa Glen in Carlsbad, California. He used to be 6'1" but is kyphotic and was measured much shorter in height than he actually is, due to his bent over posture. He started using the new Large size UPWalker and after just a few weeks, he's having tremendous success (and he is measuring close to his original height!). Here is Norman’s story.
Norman suffers from severe spinal stenosis and was bent-over in pain walking with a traditional cane. Now with the UPWalker, he's walking upright comfortably and enjoying himself!
One of our UPWalker team had an opportunity to interview Norman recently, and he was very gracious in sharing his experiences with us.
Norman, first off, thank you so much for joining the UPWalker community and sharing your experience with others; we’re so glad the UPWalker has helped you!
I’m happy to talk with you, and you can ask me anything you’d like to know.
UPWalker: We’re on a mission every day to help customers who suffer from walking challenges caused by breathing ailments, painful arthritis, stability issues from muscle weakness, neurological impairments, injuries and other debilitating issues. What types of walking problems were you experiencing, what led to you getting an UPWalker for yourself?
For a long time, I’ve been walking in a bent over position, using a cane (I’m legally blind, I can see but can’t recognizes faces easily, I can see shapes and light and dark). I have spinal stenosis, so it hurts sometimes to walk. Everybody that looks at me is thinking, “What a pathetic sight to see someone bent over like that.” I’ve been working with a physical therapists for two years now, and doing exercises in between the sessions, trying to get myself straightened up. I was using a cane, and pushing down rather hard to try to help myself to be straighter as I walked along.
Years ago, I broke a hip and used crutches, and when I tried to use a cane, I didn’t like it. I’ve used one recently (the white with red kind) to let others know that I can’t see very well, but more and more I’ve been trying to use it to straighten up by pushing down and it’s uncomfortable. I also have a drop foot, and I have to be careful not to stumble, because it can drag on one side.
UPWalker: Can I ask how tall you are?
Norman: I would’ve told you maybe 5’8” or 5’9” in my bent over position; I was 6’ or 6’1” in my earlier life. My physical therapist measured me last week and since using the UPWalker, I measured 5’11”.
In my earlier walking style (bent over), if you measured my height, you would measure the back of my head where it curves over, you wouldn’t measure the top, because it was out of line, it was forward.
UPWalker: How did you hear about the UPWalker?
Norman: My wife was going to physical therapy; she came back and told me they had a walker there, and said the physical therapist said “It might be good for you.” I went down and took the thing for a test drive, and wow, it really seemed good!
UPWalker: What did you feel like from the first try in the UPWalker?
Norman: It felt really good! It supports your forearms, so you can stand up, and gives you references to how straight you are...because if you’re walking along not thinking about it, you don’t know whether you’re walking straight or not, and I was not before. But with the UPWalker, I’m straight, and I know I’m straight. And the amazing thing is, my spinal stenosis never hurts when I’m using the UPWalker.
UPWalker: Can you describe the experience of walking in the UPWalker?
Norman: Stating it very simply, when I take the UPWalker out, I walk around, going at a pretty good pace, and I feel like I’m having a great time...whereas before, to make the same walk with a cane was tough, it was drudgery; I’d get wiped out with fatigue eventually. But now, it’s very liberating to be able to walk this way. We have beautiful grounds here, I go around and see them (as well as I can see), enjoy the breeze, and there’s no struggle.
Norman walks at good pace with his UPWalker, he doesn't feel fatigue anymore, and the UPWalker's supportive design relieves pain from stenosis which he suffered while using a cane.
UPWalker: What are some of the things you’re rediscovering now that you couldn’t enjoy before?
Norman: I’m much more mobile, I can go see friends that I want to see. My wife and I usually walk together, and we’ll cross the complex here, and pop into our friends’ apartments and things like that. Just being able to move and not be dragging and not be worrying is a very different thing, and there’s a joy in being up straight. When you walk around in this thing, everybody remarks about it. My wife says, “You’re famous all of a sudden, because everybody you run into speaks about it”, and that changes the experience too. Many will say things like, “Wow, that keeps you up straight”.
UPWalker: How long do you feel comfortable walking around now, with the UPWalker instead of the cane?
Norman: Well, I haven’t gotten to the point where I feel tired or have to sit down or anything, I can keep going for a long time. My wife and I walk together, and she’ll stop and sit down. We’ll sit down together, because we’re together, but that’s not because I have any wish to rest, I can just keep going.
UPWalker: Does your wife also have walking challenges?
Norman: She has severe scoliosis, and lately she’s taken to walking with two canes or walking sticks, but she likes to stop and rest more than I do. Before, that wasn’t true, but with the UPWalker, I don’t run out of steam.
There are a lot of people around our complex here using walkers, and some of them are bent way over. I don’t know all of them personally. A couple of days ago, we met a man coming back from lunch and he was using another type of walker; he was having problems with the pressure on his arms, and it appears he’s going to get over to physical therapy and try the UPWalker demonstration unit and give it a try. My guess is, as more time goes by, a lot more people are going to try it.
UPWalker: Beyond walking more comfortably every day, do you have anything fun planned that you haven’t been able to do recently?
Norman: We have collapsed the UPWalker, put it in the car, and traveled with it. We took it to the San Diego Bontanic Garden, and it’s on a hillside with paved and unpaved pathways that have been around for a while, so it’s not real smooth. But I didn’t have any trouble at all with my UPWalker. It’s a pleasure to go there this way, whereas before, I was putting most of my attention and energy into just getting along the path.
UPWalker: Thanks so much for sharing your story with friends in the UPWalker community! We’re grateful to be connected with community members like you, and our team at UPWalker wishes you walking enjoyment and best of health.
If you'd like to learn more about how the UPWalker can help your loved ones who suffer from mobility challenges to rediscover walking capabilities, independence, and a more active, healthier lifestyle, we'd be happy to help you. Click here to order and to watch the UPWalker video online, or you can call toll-free to order at 1-800-716-3185.