After purchasing the Topro Taurus at a Naidex exhibition, Melanie Reid, who left the hospital with an incomplete C6/7 spinal injury, has said that the walker has transformed her life.
Her husband bought her the Taurus after seeing her rehabilitation and mobilisation efforts decline after losing her intensive in-patients NHS physiotherapy.
Melanie explained: “Only the very wealthy could replace that with private physio – and we weren’t.
“The Taurus has been, without exaggeration, a game-changer and a psychological life-saver. It’s the single best bit of kit we’ve bought since my accident – an unpaid, ever-ready physio assistant. Without it, I would spend morning to night in a wheelchair.
“I use it every single day and would be utterly lost without it. It allows me to stand, pressure-relieve and exercise — both on my own, or with carers and family.
“Every morning, with my husband guiding the machine in front and my carer following with the wheelchair, to catch me if my knees buckle, I stagger up and down our living room as many times as I can for 20 minutes.
“It’s non-functional walking, in that I daren’t do it alone, and I can’t use my arms to do anything else while I’m standing, but the benefits are incalculable. It allows my organs to fall into their proper place; gets my cardiovascular system going – I puff and my heart races; stretches leg tendons and muscles; straightens my back; encourages bone density; and helps my paralysed bowels and bladder function better. There is no doubt it eases pain and stiffness in my legs and torso, and reduces the ache from pressure on my buttocks.”
As well as physical improvements, the journalist has said that it has benefitted mentally and emotionally too.
“Mentally, it lifts my spirits enormously, lets me see the world the way I used to and staves off depression,” added Melanie.
“I also use the device during the day — by myself, which means so much to me. I park my chair in front of it, brace my knees against the battery, and it raises me to a standing position where, alone, I’m quite safe. If I collapse, I can only fall back into the chair. Here I can stand, weight-bearing, using my elbows only as support, for up to five minutes.
“At night, I use it to get into bed. I stand next to my bed and my husband then removes my chair and pivots the frame around me, so that I turn and sit down on the bed. This avoids using a transfer board. I also use it whenever I have to change wheelchairs, avoiding transfers.
“The Taurus has been significant in reducing my use of painkillers, antispasmodics and antidepressants. It has helped to reduce my bladder infections and constipation.”
Melanie stressed that the walking aid might not work for everyone, as every disability and spinal injury is different.
She continued: “But if the Topro Taurus works for you, it’s priceless. And it’s dependable. After seven years of daily use, mine has only needed a new rocker switch and a battery. My husband and I fondly call it The Norwegian. We even took it to France on holiday in my mobility van.”
Paul Briggs, Managing Director of Topro, commented: “I am delighted to hear how much of a difference the Taurus has made to Melanie’s life in terms of her daily activity and on-going physiotherapy and rehabilitation.
“Anyone that reads Melanie’s column in The Times Magazine every Saturday can not help but be inspired by her and I would urge anyone who has not read it to take a look regardless of whether they are living with a spinal injury or not.”
Melanie Reid writes Spinal Column in The Times magazine every Saturday. She has received no payment or benefits in kind for writing this.