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.

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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.

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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……

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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.

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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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What’s With ALL The AD’s On MY E-mail?

Every fuckin time I open my e-mail app……… I GET HUNDREDS OF ADS FROM PLACES I HAVE VISITED……..AND SOME PLACES I HAVE NEVER VISITED.

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Someone please explain to me why email applications can now bombard me, and you, with advertisements? Is this invasion and intrusion into MY private email something the federal government has agreed to, slapping us upside our heads every time we read our emails?

Let me be perfectly clear……. THIS IS NOTHING MORE THAN SPAM. 

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I hate advertisements. PERIOD.  Even all those superbowl ads fans go nuts over…….I HATE EM ALL. I tune in to watch a football game, not some dumbass company attempting to sell me beer, a car, some other bullshit I never knew I needed. So now I am pissed that my email accounts are advertisement goldmines for retailers of every type.

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Besides the obvious “big brother” thoughts, I have serious concerns over what types of ads are selected for MY email sidebar. I don’t shop at Kingsize nor do I use Centurylink communications….so why these ads, who decides what ads I am forced to see?

Ok, I’m done.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!bestmanpaintlive1b8pafilcuaa8odp

angryblackmanspeaks

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