My View, Ben Parkinson: Longer legs are proving to be hard work

Ben Parkinson at Doncaster Rovers
Ben Parkinson at Doncaster Rovers

It’s been a very busy week for me at the hospital – but all good news.

After months and months of waiting I finally have my new long legs! They have a very posh title of X3 Geniums and, like everything else for disabled people, they cost an absolute fortune.

It’s been a very long process because first of all I had to be cast with new, very tight-fitting sockets.

Everything about the new legs is different, from the way they attach to the sockets to the way you walk on them and even the way you charge them.

They are also very heavy as they are meant to be almost the same weight as your actual leg. I have them for a trial period of one month, during which time I’ve got to prove that it’s worth me having them. I was told by the hospital that by the time the trial is over I have got to be able to walk a few steps on them. So of course, I walked straight out of the hospital, down the ramp and into the car. No messing.

If I’m honest they are the hardest work I have ever done.

The extra weight means that they are very tiring to wear until you build up enough strength. But they are also the easiest legs to walk in by miles. It’s very difficult to describe, but you have to get your weight into a totally different position over your toes. That’s not the easiest thing in the world to do when you don’t actually have any feet! But once you’ve mastered the technique, they are an absolute dream to walk in.

The first problem that we had was with the new charging system. You don’t plug them in like the old legs, its all done by magnets, with a row of lights telling you how much charge you have. However, because we were so excited at getting the legs, we didn’t pay enough attention to the instructions and couldn’t remember what the lights meant and I encountered a power outage in the middle of the drive. Very embarrassing.

I know how lucky I am to get these new legs. I have a friend down south who lost all his limbs due to a bug.

He is my age but he’s not allowed high-tech legs because of the cost. I know what difference they are making to my life and I can see how hard it is for the others who aren’t allowed them – just because they weren’t in the military.

I hope things change soon and that the cost comes down so that everyone who needs them can get them.

It couldn’t have been better timing that the mighty Doncaster Rovers offered Pilgrimbandits a collection day on Saturday for the Bradford game and I got the chance to show off my long legs by taking the ball into the middle of the pitch.

Many thanks to the team, and everyone who supported us and came for a look at the new ‘maroon machines’.

I just wish they had brought my team the same luck they have brought me!