Aging With Cerebral Palsy

I fell down the other day while going into the guest bedroom where I keep my clothes (Because, why not?). Before then, I haven’t fallen for quite some time.

I used to fall a lot. Sometimes I would fall when I drank one too many. It was like my mind and my legs detached, and I forgot how to walk – my knees would give out. Other times, I would feel a sharp pain in my leg, and then I would drop. The pain was so acute, almost as if a knife stabbed my knee. I would go down like a rock.

I have Cerebral Palsy (CP). I am nearly sixty. Between the spasticity in my legs with the heavy impact of my steps and the aches and pains that come with age, well let’s say they have taken their toll. It has only been the ten to fifteen years, that science has been studying the affect of aging with having Cerebral Palsy. In that time, they have discovered that most people with CP suffer pre-mature aging that is the early emergence of signs of aging before actually reaching old age.1,2

Five years or so, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my hips and knees. This condition caused me to fall more frequently. The pain would hit, and I would collapse to the ground. My falling became so frequent that I sought medical assistance.  I went to my primary physician, who suggested a knee brace and better walking shoes. He also referred me to a Physiatrist (A physical and rehabilitation specialist).

I was supposed to get in and see the specialist for about six weeks, but I got an appoint me to see him three weeks later. When the doctor saw the brace, he told me to ditch it. The doctor could see that I was walking strangely. I explained I was experiencing even more pain than usual. The doctor told me I would require arm braces. I felt disappointed. Any hope I had at finally acquired a specialist after all these years went out of me like a deflated balloon. The specialist must have noted my disappointment because he decided to let it go and rescheduled another follow-up appointment.

Three weeks later, I returned with the acceptance that I would now require crutches. Although I was not too fond of the option, I knew I would comply as there appeared to be no other option. You could imagine my surprised when the doctor gave me another option – a pill (well, four to be exact). He said we would give the medicine a try and if it didn’t work, then I would require crutches. I was elated. My dread of having to use crutches, turned imediately to joy.

The medicine worked. The spasticity in my legs eased and I was walking without the thumping and banging on the pavement. The pain in my knees and hips subsided.

Where once I fell four or five times a week, I now only fall two or three times a year.
—Robert Confiant 28 March, 2021

  1. March 15, 2021. Flint Rehab. Aging with Cerebral Palsy: What to Expect As You Get Older, https://www.flintrehab.com/aging-with-cerebral-palsy
  2. Nov 1, 2017. Cerebral Palsy Society. Adult life with CP Cerebral Palsy and Premature Aging, https://cerebralpalsy.org.nz/adult/teen-adult/

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