Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

. .
4 pages: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

Duotone of Chistopher ReeveSince his accident, Christopher Reeve has worked tirelessly to bring funding and recognition to a host of spinal cord research projects. He has detailed his experiences and his "realistic optimism" that a cure is on the horizon in a book titled Still Me. Alan Alda met with Reeve recently at home in Westchester County, NY.
- - - - - - - - - - - -


CR: Believe it or not, it's a bicycle. It was given to me by a company called Electrologic of America. You sit in the seat wearing spandex shorts that have electrodes in them.

AA: Now does the electrical impulse make your leg move forward and drive the pedal?

If insurance companies would pay for this, you'd see people getting more recovery quickly.

CR: Exactly. The electrodes stimulate the thigh muscles and the quads to make you ride the bike. I started out only being able to do about 3-5 minutes before the muscles would fatigue. Now, I can do up to about a half-hour.

AA: Is there something about moving the pedals that's important as therapy… it goes beyond just stimulating the muscles, right?

CR: Right. One of the keys for anybody who's paralyzed is achieving motion, because this is important to circulation, muscle tone, bone density and cardiovascular work. This bike particularly helps to get rid of unwanted bone growth in the hips and also gets your heart rate up. It's considered experimental. Nonsense. This is really essential and everybody should have it. It's quite expensive because there's only a small market for it.

Photo of exercise equipment
Reeve lobbies insurance companies to cover exercise equipment for the paralyzed.  

AA: Ironically, if more people had it it'd be cheaper and more people could afford it.

CR: Exactly. Right. If insurance companies would pay for this, you'd see people getting more recovery quickly (Read about Jen Penko's experience with this issue). You see, even a small amount of recovery makes a big difference. For example, if and when I get off the hose [ventilator], I will no longer need around the clock nursing, and that'll save my insurance company a fortune. Right now, it costs about $400,000 a year, so they wouldn't have to pay that.

AA: The tilt table has a kind of an additional psychological value for you, I think, social value.

CR: It reminds me I'm 6'4".

AA: Seeing the world from another couple of feet up must be an important thing.

CR: It's a very important thing, now and then, to be reminded that I'm really tall.

AA: Your son gets to see you standing.

CR: Right. It reminds him to look up to me.

AA: I bet he doesn't have a problem with that.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
4 pages: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

return to show page


Born Again NervesI Might Walk!Moving MemoriesNerves of SteelMind Over Matter Teaching guide Science hotline video trailer Resources Contact Search Homepage Contact Search Homepage