I Want The Same Prosthetic As A World Class Athlete.

UPDATE: The following is something I was NOT aware of and just learned today, the 29th of August, a few days after originally posting this blog entry…

Hi Steven,

I would like to offer some information that may help you and your situation.

Most prosthetic feet do not have an “ankle” attachment. This is because of several reasons. To begin with, a separate ankle component would increase weight and build height of the foot, which would limit the people who could use it to people with very short residual limbs. (By the look of your prosthesis, this may not be an issue). The weight difference would be very noticeable however, as it would be at the end of the prosthesis.

Another big issue, is that providing ankle motion would take some of the energy storing properties away from the foot, causing the user to use more energy for each step. There is only one foot that has active plantar flexion (toes pushing down), and it is a microprocessor controlled foot that is quite heavy and expensive. Other than the one, there are no feet that walk like your real foot. The feet that are available on the market are chosen based upon the evaluation, and this evaluation is supposed to take into account your “Expected” activity level after you get the correct prosthesis.

Most of the feet that are available today do have some flexibility, but it is usually at the heel (to absorb impact when walking) and at the forefoot (For energy return) under your body weight. The feet do not flex at the ankle location, instead, they flex under your weight and return to neutral when offloaded (Providing a little push because of the loaded spring). If the foot were to flex at the ankle, it would feel like stepping into a hole each step, because there would be no resistance or lift from the toes. (I have experienced this).

I have not seen any feet that work like your natural feet yet, and have been a prosthetic technician for over 8 years.

As far as having a prosthesis like a world class athlete, do you think you would be physically fit enough to control a prosthesis built for running and Jumping? These are built for specific activities such as sprinting, running, or jumping, and do not have a heel. they are not made or used for everyday activities such as walking or working. There are some options that provide a blend of both that work well, but only if you have really good balance and stability.

Another consideration is that Insurance companies do not pay for these high activity K-4 prosthetics. These are paid for by the patient or a sponsor for the event they are entering with the specialized prosthesis. I personally believe this is unfair, but have no control over this.

One of the things I learned quickly, was that most of the people you see on TV or in advertisements are not the average patients. These people were chosen because they are exceptional for one reason or another.

The average prosthetic foot is engineered to provide a lifelike feel during normal gait (Walking). The foot does not flex as much as your natural foot so that you have the feeling of Toe Off, instead of like you have stepped into a hole. The motion is inside the footshell, and that is why you don’t notice it. If you can make the foot flex by hand when you are not wearing it, it is not the correct weight and activity category for your body weight. It should take effort while pushing into the toe with the heel off the ground, and return to neutral before removing all of your weight. this is the energy storing feature of the foot.

I know I have written a lot here, and hope this helps you to understand how these feet are supposed to work. If you have any questions, please reach out to me! I have been an amputee since August of 2002, and have worked in the prosthetic field since 2005. I have tried almost every style of foot that is out there, and can provide feedback on each one if you like.

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Now on to my original blog post……..

I am once again pissed about my prosthetic. WHY?? Because I continue to see things on instagram, Facebook and other places that cater to us amputees, shouting the progress and accomplishments of other amputees who happen to be doing things I want to do, but I am limited by what I can do right now because I’m NOT a world class runner, soccer player, wind surfer, rock climber (Wall or Real Rock), ballet dancer or actor.

My goals since becoming an amputee are just as important to me as the amputees listed above, if not more so. I don’t get to progress as those amputees listed above because I am not the athlete they are….BUT MY GOALS FOR LIVING ARE JUST AS VITALLY IMPORTANT TO ME.

I’m stuck with this foot, with no ankle joint or flexible foot because I was tested on this antiquated Amputee mobility predictor (AMP) or K test. I was K tested using my hospital issued walker 3 months after my amputation surgery and returning home. NOT USING A PROSTHETIC, BUT INSTEAD, USING A WALKER, ON ONE LEG.

Now using common sense and logic, how do you test me for a prosthetic using a walker and NOT USING A PROSTHETIC? Thats like giving me a drivers test for a automobile using a surf board to administer the automobile driving test.

THIS is my current foot…..

NO ankle joint, just a block of wood. I was not born with this block of wood in place of a working ankle. I didn’t learn to walk 59 years ago on a block of wood.

What about us normal everyday amputees who’d like to do things like walk with an ankle, ride a bike, rock wall climb or walk with no noticeable limp or hitch down the aisle for our upcoming wedding? I can’t even get a foot with a articulating ankle joint to mirror a real foot/ankle combination because I’ve been an amputee for 7 months…..BUT I’M NO WORLD CLASS ATHLETE. Just a Man wanting to walk “Normal.”

I need to be able to walk with the working limbs I were born with, and that includes a working ankle. Do NOT tell me I can’t use or be comfortable with a working foot/ankle joint when you do NOT know what I’m capable of doing.

I will close this blog post by saying this, I have progressed faster than the average bear….my timeline attest to this fact….

Time Line
January 31st, 2019…….Amputation.
February 4th, 2019………Discharged Home.
February 14th, 2019…..First Shrinker.
February 19th, 2019….Surgery Follow Up.
April 17th, 2019……AMP Testing.
April 17th, 2019 ……..1st Prosthetic Casting.
May 2nd, 2019…..1st Prosthetic Fitting.
May 16th, 2019…..Home With Prosthetic.
May 16th, 2019……Using Crutches To Walk.
May 17th, 2019……Using Walker To Walk.
May 19th, 2019…..Using Cane To Walk.
May 21st, 2019……Walking On My Own.
May 30th, 2019….Prosthetic Adjustment.
June 19th, 2019…..Prosthetic Adjustment.
June 20th, 2019…..New Prosthetic Specialists.
June 27th, 2019…..Doctor Writes NEW Prosthesis Order.
July 3rd, 2019…..Casting For New 2nd Socket (Hanger)
July 15th, 2019….1st fitting for new socket (Hanger)
July 19th, 2019….picked up new 2nd socket (Hanger)

The error in the system for getting a new foot is this…INSURANCE WILL ONLY PAY FOR A NEW FOOT EACH YEAR, MAYBE EACH 3 YEARS, DEPENDING ON THE REASON WHY YOU WANT A NEW FOOT. 

To be clear, I am ready for a foot that comes with an ankle, with a foot that moves like a real, human foot/ankle moves. I’m being made to wait anywhere from a year to 3 years for the ability to walk normal again…..BASED ON A TEST GIVEN ME 3 MONTHS AFTER THE REMOVAL OF MY LEG BELOW THE KNEE….USING A WALKING DEVICE THAT WAS NOT A PROSTHETIC….TO TEST MY ABILITY FOR USING A PROSTHETIC. 

Progress. Ability. Agility. Mobility. A Normal Life. These things are NOT the concern of a prosthetists, a prosthetic company or the insurance companies. 

Unless you are a world class athlete, a famous celebrity or can afford the prosthetists out of pocket.

Tell me, does this seem fair, right or the way it should be….to you.

Except for the grace of god, I COULD BE YOU.

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OUR New Normal…..

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You just got home from amputation surgery……. I am so thrilled you are doing so well and YES….taking your time to heal at your rate of healing is extremely important. NO two humans will ever heal exactly the same, so how you heal and how quickly you start doing “NORMAL” things the NORMAL way is all up to you. Take it as slow or as fast as what makes you comfortable.

Crying is how we deal with stress, and believe me, an amputation is all about stress. NOT everyone cries but if you do, ain’t nothing wrong with crying. Survivors deal with stress in positive ways. Cry as much as you need, and have your husband/wife/spouse/friend/family member….. just hold you when you need/want to cry. Human touch from a loved one is still the best medicine and healing power.

Going out into the world is the second best thing to do, for your sanity as well as to get accustomed to the public. I was a homebody but now I am out in the world daily, if for no other reason than to get fresh air. Before my amputation I had an infected foot, thigh and my limb was swollen to the size of a small tree trunk….I was bed ridden from August until my surgery in January. I didn’t go outside at all, couldn’t walk on that leg. Being able to get out now is a slice of heaven and…… normal.

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Lastly let me leave you with this….. NORMAL for us amputees has changed from before we had our amputated body part. Normal is now what we make normal. Remember, no matter how hard we try or wish or desire, our lives are going to be different. The NEW Normal is what works for us, not what works for “Normal” society. Embrace your new life, get yourself in the mind frame that how you NOW do things, from activities of daily living to shopping for groceries…..is now the new normal.

We all desire to do things the way we did them before our amputations…..that will get back to us in time, but we are different people now. If we never reach our full potential of doing things the way we did them before amputation….SO WHAT?!! The NEW NORMAL is what we should strive to achieve….the NEW NORMAL is what works for each of us NOW.Everything from getting dressed to making love, will all be just a bit different….or it might be A LOT different.

A little different or a LOT different, depends on US,…YOU….ME. No matter which one it is, IT’S OUR NEW NORMAL.

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Prosthetic Care Facility of Virginia: “Destination Prosthetics.”

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If there is such a thing as Amputee Heaven…..Prosthetic Care Facility of Virginia and their amputee program, “Destination Prosthetics”, sounds like AMPUTEE HEAVEN.

Has anyone heard of a program called “Destination Prosthetics” from a company called Prosthetic Care Facility of Virginia? I read about this program and this company a few nights ago and I am thinking of visiting them and enrolling in this prosthetic program. I’d like any 411 you might have on this program and this company. Thank you in advance.

Some information provided by the company on the program…..

What Is Destination Prosthetics?
Destination Prosthetics is a special program designed for amputees like you who want to achieve mobility, but are unable to receive the rehabilitation care needed in your own community or from your own prosthetist.

At Destination Prosthetics in the Prosthetic Care Facility of Virginia, you will receive intensive one-on-one treatment with no interruptions. When you come to us for assistance, we will review your limb-loss history, fit you with the correct socket and
components, analyze your ability to walk in our Gait Training Lab, and educate you in the care and use of the components.

We also offer adjustments as needed.
To be considered for Destination Prosthetics,
you must live more than 100 miles from
Leesburg, Va.

With a call to (703) 723-2803 or email to
mehattingh@nwlink.com, you can find
out if you qualify for this unique program
and assistance with travel expenses.

Who We Are
Prosthetic Care Facility of Virginia has received accreditation from the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics, Inc. (ABC), an independent, not-for-profit organization.

ABC accreditation for both practitioners and facilities is the most highly regarded achievement and represents attaining the most stringent level of standards in the field of orthotics and prosthetics. ABC’s evaluation of the Prosthetic Care Facility of Virginia included a thorough review of the physical facility and the quality of patient care.

ABC interviewed both staff and patients and conducted a review of organizational documents, including records of patient care.

“Prosthetics is not meant to be inhibitive or painful.”

How Do I Qualify for Destination Prosthetics?
Once you contact us, you will do a phone consultation with John Hattingh, CP, LPO, CPO(SA).

He will ask you for all your health and amputation information and after review, he will establish a course of treatment for you. At this point, you will be contacted by Michele Hattingh, Administrator, for all the necessary documentation needed for us to begin treatment.

This includes:
• Complete patient registration form
• Copies of all insurance cards
• Physician’s prescription

Michele will work with your insurance provider to establish what your benefits are and if you require pre-authorization. She will also check for your Out-of-State and Out-of-Network insurance benefits. This may also require a copy of your physician’s notes and/or a letter of medical necessity. We will work with you and/or the physician’s office for these.

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Our Specialties

• Trans-femoral socket design
• Silicone suspension systems
• Paralympic athletes’ prosthetic design
• TMR (Targeted Muscle Re innervation) Bikini Socket for Hip Disarticulation

Destination Prosthetics

A Journey to Get You Back to Mobility at the Prosthetic Care Facility of Virginia.

At the Prosthetic Care Facility of Virginia, we offer a special program to those who want to achieve mobility, but are unable to receive the rehabilitation care they need in their own community or from their own prosthetist.

Destination Prosthetics is a means for them to receive intensive one-on-one treatment with no interruptions. When a patient comes to us for assistance, we will review their limb loss history, fit them with the correct socket and components, analyze their ability to walk in our Gait Training Lab, and educate them in the care and use of the components. We also offer adjustments as needed.

To be considered for Destination Prosthetics, a patient must live more than 100 miles from Leesburg. We will help with checking out-of-state and out-of-network insurance.

Travel and Accommodations

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When all the necessary paperwork is in place and your physician and insurance is on board – Michele will arrange your flights and your accommodation.

Your flight is covered 100% travelling from your closest airport to Dulles (IAD) or Washington (DCA), travelling in economy. If you are unable to travel safely on your own for medical reasons, we will consider paying for one companion.

Any additional family members or companions must travel at their own expense. Your accommodation is covered 100%.
Plus, we will provide you a per diem for meals. Any other incidental charges are your responsibility.
If you are travelling with a companion at the expense of Prosthetic Care Facility, we expect that the companion shares your
room.

No Prosthetic Issue Cannot Be Solved

John Hattingh CP, LPO, CPO(SA) is an educator and leader in prosthetics. His attitude towards his patient is “No prosthetic issue cannot be solved.”

As the clinician of Prosthetic Care Facility, John Hattingh utilizes his engineering background and years of prosthetic experience to take his patients to the highest level of function and mobility possible. He is always looking for the best methods and technology to help his patients.

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John Hattingh is certified in microprocessor knees, bionic feet, and myoelectrics for upper extremity amputees. Specialties include transfemoral socket design, silicone suspension systems, Paralympic athletes’ prosthetic design, Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR), hip disarticulation and rotationplasty.
His high success rate in helping his patients achieve mobility and function is attributed to the fact that he harnesses his experience and knowledge with his patients’ motivation to be pain free.

Industry leader John Hattingh brings more than three decades of patient care to his practice. He previously managed his company Northwest Prosthetic and Orthotic Clinic in Seattle, Washington for 20 years before taking a sabbatical in his native South Africa, and then relocating to Virginia.
A member of the National Rehabilitation Association and American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association, John Hattingh is accredited by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and
Pedorthics, Inc.

To learn more about this program and this company, visit their website at

https://www.prostheticcarefacility.com/

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Why Don’t/Won’t THEY Listen To Me?

I have been writing, the past few months, about my experience with ignoring my diabetes and how ignoring my diabetes diagnoses caused me to have my right leg amputated below the knee. During the past few weeks that I’ve been writing this account of my hard headed dumbfuckery, which was ignoring the management of this disease, I have often talked about the issues I have with the prosthetic system. 

To recap: I started off with a prosthetic company that would not listen to me when I told them I needed a smaller socket……because the socket I had at that time was too big. The socket is the black carbon fiber bucket looking thing shown below….

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This socket was huge by the time I had been wearing it for 6 weeks. The fit has to be correct or wearing an ill fitting socket will cause skin issues such as blisters, sores or skin irritation to the limb. I visited my former prosthetists twice to complain the socket was too big/ill fitting and requested a new socket.

He didn’t listen or pay attention.
I immediately found a new prosthetic company and a new prosthetists. Below is the newest socket and it also happens to be a new system, a suction system. The old system was a “pin” system.

This is the new socket…….

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You can see the size difference between the two sockets and if you can see that difference, you may wonder why the old prosthetic professional couldn’t see that difference….and make me a new socket that fit properly.

There is a lot of misinformation in this medical profession of prosthetic legs. I am not that familiar with the issues concerning other limbs or fingers but I’m guessing there are some issues with those amputations as well. It seems people who are responsible for the prosthetics used to assist us amputees in walking have a hard time listening to us who are doing the walking using their prosthetics.

IF you do not use a prosthetic daily, but are responsible for making and showing us how to use a prosthetic for the first time, might I suggest when a new amputee comes to you with ideas on how to make THEIR prosthetic work better FOR THEM,….YOU LISTEN.

I happen to be the one using the prosthetic, everyday, so when I tell you something is uncomfortable and then tell you exactly HOW to fix that problem for me, so MY prosthetic fits MY limb better…..LISTEN.

YES, I comprehend you’re the professional whose been doing this prosthetic thing far longer than I’ve been an amputee……but here’s where the rubber meets the road…….. I AM USING THE VERY PROSTHETIC YOU ARE NOT USING, HAVE NEVER WORN, DO NOT KNOW FIRST HAND HOW IT FEELS OR WORKS FOR MY LIMB.

Every amputee is different. We heal different. We progress different. We need different things done to get us where we need to be in order to live a somewhat normal life, which includes walking. The endgame, the goal is to walk. As normally as possible, using the BEST prosthetic system that gets us mobile. Mobility is the reason any amputee uses a prosthetic.

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This foot you see above, WITHOUT AN ANKLE, is NOT how we were born nor was it how we learned to walk. DO NOT tell me I can not start out with an ankle joint on my prosthetic foot because I wouldn’t know how to control an ankle socket/joint….when I was born with an ankle socket/joint and learned to take my first steps, 59 years ago, using that ankle socket/joint.

That insults my intelligence and my ability to get back to being normal by walking normally.

If I tell you MY prosthetic needs to be adjusted or modified to fit my limb or enhance my walking and mobility needs, PAY ATTENTION, THEN DO WHAT I ASK/SUGGEST.

Thats all for now…..we’ll see how this amputation thing goes……

Just in case I’ve not made myself clear in past post….DO NOT IGNORE YOUR DIABETES……OR YOU WILL END UP EXACTLY LIKE ME.

diabetesstrong

 

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!000IGNORING DIABETES

My “NEW” System (LEG)

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.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!new socket

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.

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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.

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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……

timeline1

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….

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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

Certified Prosthetist

 

Tim Zwanziger, CP

HANGER CLINIC: PROSTHETICS & ORTHOTICS – FIFTH AVENUE, CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA

866 5th Avenue, South EastCedar Rapids , IA 52403

Phone: (319) 364-2767
Fax: (319) 364-1031
Hours:Monday – Friday, 8 A.M. – 5 P.M.Clinic Info:24/7 on-call emergency support
Free Parking
Most insurance companies accepted
ABC accredited

 

Slow Down. You’re TOOO Fast.

Prosthetic companies need an amputee on staff. This has become more evident to me at each visit I have with prosthetic experts who are responsible for the development of my progress toward walking “normal.” I am puzzled how an expert or “specialists” can actually be an expert or specialists…….on what I need as an amputee……when that expert specialists HAS NEVER BEEN AN AMPUTEE.

Something that makes Me go Ummmmmmmm.

Way back on February 4th, when I cane home from the hospital after having my right leg amputated below the knee, my limb was huge from the surgery and from swelling.

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The swelling decreases over a matter of weeks, as the fluid in the limb goes back to normal and distributes to the other body parts as needed. This is why it takes weeks before a new amputee can be fitted for a new prosthesis. The wound has to heal properly and the sutures must seal the wound before a prosthetic cast can be made of the limb.

Soon after the healing process has reached a point determined by the specialists, you get your limb cast for your new socket…..

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It IS a process and this process I fully understand. Whats troubling to me is the process has been developed by people who have never walked with a prosthetic. It’s exactly like asking a carpenter who works only with wood, to build a cast iron shelf….or a better analogy would be….asking an aerospace engineer who has never flown an airplane or spent one minute flying in an airplane, to design a better version of the Airbus A380-800.

People who have never worn a prosthetic can not know exactly the needs and everyday concerns of those who wear a prosthetic as a way of being mobile every single minute they are up and moving.

This is my brand new prosthetic, it’s almost 2 months old…..

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There are two very important issues I have with this current prosthetic….. ONE is it’s not equipped with an ankle joint/socket, so walking like “Normal” as one does who has a working ankle, is impossible. TWO is the socket, which is this carbon fiber part of the prosthetic….. thats the black part that resembles a bucket….

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…….Is toooo big for my limb. I have progressed far too fast by “normal” standards and need a new, smaller socket to walk comfortably and normally. That means my limb has shrunk faster than expected and I have created a problem for the prosthetic company and the insurance company that is paying for this prosthesis. My quick advancement from this first prosthesis to the next level socket that fits a smaller limb …..is too fast and that means the prosthetic company needs to make me a new socket that fits…..and charge the insurance company…..AGAIN.

Below you’ll see MY timeline for MY recovery……which is different than what the prosthetic company OR the insurance company is accustomed to seeing from patients.

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HOW DARE ME heal so quickly, get my amputated limb down to a normal size this fast, start walking on my own and needing an ankle joint like normal people, this gosh darn soon? 

What the hell is my problem, why the rush, I’ve only had this first prosthetic since May 16th, 2019….a mere 39 DAYS. HOW CAN I EXPECT THE INSURANCE COMPANY TO GET ALL EXCITED ABOUT MY SUPER SPEEDY RECOVERY, WHEN THE INSURANCE COMPANY HAS TO PAY FOR THIS STUFF?

I am NOT supposed to be out and about this soon…..

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As you can imagine, I am getting a new, better, prosthetic company with a prosthetic specialists who is indeed, special. Instead of using the pin system I currently have, to connect the prosthetic to my limb …….

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I’ll be using a more stable connection method…..vacuum/suction. A sleeve will create a suction vacuum to keep me seated/connected to the prosthetic socket. The video I am showing you below is what I need…….this 59 year old man is who I desire to be in a few months.

I could go on and on and on about all thats wrong with this prosthetic game. There really needs to be a human being who uses a prosthetic on a daily basis so that human being would know first hand what an amputee needs.

I started a GoFundMe account to get the funding needed for this new vacuum suction socket. If you are able and feel the desire to help me get the prosthetic I need, please feel free to make a donation at GoFundMe.

Have a very happy week folks,……see you next time.

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The Prosthetic Game

I discovered years ago that having an extremely high IQ, and also having common sense and a gift/curse to identify bullshit immediately…….are not the best qualities to possess in this world. 

I started this blog, after a years absence from bloggin, to educate the people who might be experiencing diabetes issues….like me….because they chose to ignore their diabetes diagnosis…….like I did. Now it’s turning into an anti insurance, anti dumbass prosthetic company rant fest.

AND I hate that.

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Clark & Associates happens to be the company I chose to get my prosthetic limb through and I am afraid that decision might have been a mistake. Now don’t get me twisted, the employees are nice enough and are somewhat competent at what they do……but lets face it, it’s damn near impossible to be knowledgeable about a “thing” without experiencing that “thing” first hand.

If you’re not a cancer patient, it’s very difficult for you to know what a cancer patient is going through and whats best for that cancer patient, because each cancer patient is different. And each cancer patient must be treated as a person unlike the last cancer patient you may have dealt with in your job of dealing with cancer patients.

Case in point…….

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This is my current leg and it has no flexible ankle joint….which makes walking the way I’ve been walking for the past 59 years, IMPOSSIBLE. Clark and Associates tells me the process for learning to walk with a prosthetic limb is as follows….. You get the most basic prosthetic limb, which has no ankle joint, and you get used to walking on that first. Once you learn to walk without a flexible ankle (an ankle that rotates, bends and flexes like a NORMAL ANKLE WOULD/SHOULD) then you move on to a prosthetic limb with a somewhat flexible ankle joint.

This somewhat flexible ankle joint is better than what I currently have right this second, but still not the normal ankle joint we all were born having attached to our foot. After I am proficient at walking on a somewhat flexible ankle joint, then I am blessed with a normal flexible ankle joint,…..WHICH I SHOULD HAVE FROM DAY ONE. 

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My prosthetic, pictured above, has NO movable/flexible ankle joint, which makes walking up/down stairs near impossible for a first time amputee. Telling me I must first learn to walk with no ankle, before I can get an ankle to walk on, which is the normal way we walk as humans, is asinine as well as just plain stupid. Why learn a task, like walking with a prosthetic limb, three times when you can learn this task once, from the start.

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THIS is what every amputee should have from day one, so the process of walking is made as easy and comfortable as humanly possible.

NOT this garbage………

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…….which has NO ANKLE JOINT WHATSOEVER….making the task of walking “normal” impossible.

I am a very advanced patient, and here’s what I mean by this statement. I had my right leg amputated on January 31st of 2019. Went home on February 4th, 2019. Received my first shrinker, to help with swelling in the amputated limb on February 14th. Received the final shrinker, before being fitted for my first prosthetic on March 14th. Took my AMP test, which told the insurance company which type of prosthetic they would be paying for on April 4th. On April 4th I was also fitted for my prosthetic limb and seen by an orthopedic specialist who wrote the order for the prosthetic limb.

Came home with the prosthetic limb for the first time on May 16th, using crutches to walk. On May 18th I switched from crutches to a walker. On May 19th I started walking with a cane to assist my mobility. On May 23rd I started walking with no assistance from any mobility device.

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On June 1st, I went out to the grocery store with Grace my fiance, walking on my own, with no mobility device whatsoever. I came home with my prosthetic for the first time on May 16th…and by June 1st I was out and about running errands walking on this new prosthetic with no cane, walker or crutches.

aaaaaaaaaaa

Clark & Associate tells me I am not ready for a real prosthetic with a real ankle joint that flexes and rotates because I have to “get used to” walking on a foot with NO ankle joint FIRST. In other words…..I have to learn to walk abnormally on my prosthetic limb before I can learn to walk normally…..on my prosthetic limb.

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As you can see from the image above, Clark & Associates offers a plethora of prosthetic limbs but the culprit here happens to be the insurance asswipes, who decide the process of who gets a prosthetic limb, how they get said prosthetic limb and more importantly…..if they qualify for the best possible prosthetic limb or the bare bones NO ANKLE prosthetic limb……which is ME.

So I’ll be jumping through prosthetic hoops and just chillin…..until I am qualified to walk normal…with an ankle that works, like normal…..like I had for the past 59 years…… ALL BECAUSE I CHOSE TO IGNORE MY DIABETES DIAGNOSIS AND BE A HARDHEADED DICKHEAD.

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