The healthy human body is an amazing biophysical machine. Designed to work perfectly with all the pieces operating as one and in sync, it propels us effortlessly through life with an extraordinary system designed to heal itself from most of our stupid redneck dare challenges or daily mishaps! And although the older we get, the slower we are to heal, it still seems to get the job done and keep us moving through our daily routines. That is, until something crazy happens to it, like for instance, having a limb whacked off, then the original architecture is changed forever. When that happens, we too are changed forever. The advancements in prosthesis technology are also amazing. Whether it is the Touch Bionics hand by Prodigits or the military-grade X3 knee by Ottobock, the direction the industry is flying towards is sure to only make life easier for amputees in the future. One day we might even find ourselves as part human, part robot, and the closest to “being back to normal” like before our amputations. Exciting prospect for sure!
HOWEVER, the cold hard dreary Debbie-Downer reality of being an amputee is, once we start our new life as a member of the one-leg or arm club, our body will NEVER be EXACTLY like it was before and it will never operate EXACTLY like it did. Ne-e-e-e-ver! Got it? Let it sink in! Now pause, and let it sink in again! Yes, we can get really close to where we were before with the use of the latest technology available, but it will NEVER be as efficient and as effortlessly and as comfortable as it was when we were living in our own skin. Now, read that twice, or a dozen times. Yet, given this cold ugly fact of life, I still witness newer amputees finding themselves chasing some imaginary rainbow that does not exist; that they believe will get them back to exactly as their previous “normal” state. Unfortunately people, it just ain’t gonna to happen. Man cannot grow limbs.
Now, I know a bunch of my readers just thought to themselves, “Well that is a crappy thing to write!” and you would be right about what I wrote, right?! It is crappy; however it is the truth. The best we can do as amputees is to get as close to where we were before. As close. But what does that mean? Well, if you ask an insurance company, they believe it means simple ambulation no matter the vehicle. Like for instance, mine was satisfied they could cut off my rehab because I was able to get myself around in a wheelchair for the rest of my life! What a joke! It wasn’t good enough for me and I’m sure it wouldn’t be good enough for you. So, if you’re like me and a walker or wheelchair is not good enough, all we are left with is getting the best technology possible and moving forward with all the new pains of our imperfect technology. What I mean is, no matter how good a socket fits and no matter how comfortable your prosthesis seems to be, no technology can compensate for all the physical changes our amazing body goes through in a day’s time. If you wear your prosthesis long enough or if you do certain things like we did before, there will often, if not always be some kind of pain or complication, little or small. For example, when I was in homicide and working long hours, at the beginning of the day when my leg fit nice and secure, I always had to leg fart a few bubbles out of my socket during the first hour of wear. And then, after the 14 or 18th hour of wear when my leg lost volume from the long day, I had to contend with a looser fitting leg that was not quit like it was in the morning. And often that loose fit caused a little suction spot on my stump that annoyed the crap out of me; bearable but annoying. But hey, what should I have expected, it wasn’t my real leg and it wasn’t going to work like my real leg…EVER! So I kept going while knowing my prosthesis would never be perfect at all times like my old skin and bones. What I’m saying is, at some point, as a new amputee, you must come to terms with the fact that a prosthesis cannot fully and exactly replace your original part. Ever! I’m not saying you should be satisfied with a marginal or shoddy product from a your leg or arm guy or gal, but I am saying, if your chasing the rainbow that will lead to the perfect and always pain-free or comfortable prosthesis that will transform you into the person you were before, you’re wasting your time. Get it right, learn to accept and manage your issues and then keep going.