On Friday, the 19th of July, I received my second socket, which is attached to my lower prosthesis….and it fits beautifully. It’s a new system, this new socket works on the suction vacuum principal….the other system I had, to start my life as an amputee, was the “pin” system.
A new amputee will have his/her amputated limb reduce in size a great deal in the first year. The surgery swelling and the loss of fluid in the limb will steadily get less and less as time goes by, due to healing, tissue reduction and fluid loss. It’s common for a new amputee to need up to four new sockets in a year.
I had to change prosthetic companies because my first prosthetic company was not willing to change my socket as needed. I wore a socket that was waaaaaaay too big for my limb, FOR AT LEAST 1 MONTH. Thats unacceptable.
Let me be clear about this entire prosthetic “game.” And believe what I tell you, it’s a game. Insurance companies won’t allow amputees to receive the very best prosthetic available, insurance companies want us amputees to start out with the lowest quality prosthetic and prove over time we deserve the very best prosthetic system. What that means is we take a test, called the AMP test, which is designed to see what “level” prosthetic we deserve based on our AMP test score, the levels are K1, K2, K3, K4. K1 is basic no frills standard type block of wood foot connected to a rod then a socket.
The higher K score you get on the AMP test, the better prosthetic you will get. Athletes who get amputations get K$ prosthetics. Average humans like me, who score at a K2 level get garbage. I scored ONE point below the 27 score needed to be a level K3. I got a prosthetic with a block of wood in place of a working ankle socket/joint.
As you can see in the slideshow above, there is NO ankle joint or socket between the foot and rod, making it damn near impossible to walk “normal.” For 50 years I’ve walked using a foot, ankle and leg/thigh. Insurance companies and prosthetic companies tell me I am not “ready” to walk with a prosthetic complete with an ankle that works like a real ankle.
This is coming from people who do NOT have a prosthetic nor do these people know what the hell I am capable of doing nor do they know what I CAN do. I am told I jave to learn to walk without an ankle first, then once I accomplish that, I can get a prosthetic, maybe, with a working ankle and start to learn how to walk with that ankle…..
Who does that bull shit logic make sense to?
Below is the time line for my progress……
This timeline is proof that I am not following the normal schedule insurance companies have set up for amputees. I am sick and tired of being told what I can and cannot do based on what other amputees can or can not do.
As Yogi bear would tell boo boo…..”I’m not like the other bears.”
Telling me I won’t be able to walk, control or use a foot equipped with a walking working ankle, this soon, is just bull shit.
I am pleased with my new prosthetic company, Hanger….
My final thoughts on this prosthetic mess is this……
I should be allowed to get whatever prosthetic system that works best for my life, lifestyle and peace of mind. Losing a limb or fingers is a traumatic experience in itself so making new amputees jump thru hoops to get the best prosthetic system available, which just might make learning to walk again easy, is wrong.
Here’s my common sense solution. If a new or recent or old time amputee wishes to start out with the very best prosthetic made, let them. If after a trail period of 6 weeks, that amputee can not master the top rated prosthetic with PT/OT help and a damn good prosthetists……then drop them to the level they are comfortable with.
This AMP testing is a joke and here’s why….. I was not tested to decide which type of prosthetic I should start with……USING A PROSTHETIC, BUT USING A WALKER. Thats as asinine as giving a new driver a driving test for an automobile using a motorcycle. Think about that for a second.
Here ends my rant.
This guy who you see here, below…..is the absolute BEST prosthetist ever.
Tim Zwanziger, CP
HANGER CLINIC: PROSTHETICS & ORTHOTICS – FIFTH AVENUE, CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA
Most insurance companies accepted