Thursday, December 31, 2009

My new leg

The process of getting a new artificial leg is just that - a process. You can't just buy one off a shelf or order one online. One has to be made for you. That's why I have been putting it off for a long time. My old leg didn't fit right at all anymore so I had lined the inside with countless band aids to help with the discomfort; the outer support liner was cracked so I had wrapped duck tape around it to keep it together; and the computerized knee was making weird noises...sometimes refusing to charge at night. It was a wreck but I had adapted. That's what I do.

Now don't judge. I wasn't being lazy by putting it off. The process is so time consuming, and anyone who knows my life knows that time is one thing I DO NOT have. You have to start with an appointment where they make a mold of your residual limb (not a quick appointment). Then you have to go in for an appointment where you try on a "test socket." This test socket is a very hard clear plastic material so that they can see your leg through and look for air gaps. Since my leg is held on by suction it has to be air tight. This appointment is even longer than the previous as they mark the leg then take it in back and cut & mold it - then you try it on again and they mark it get the point. Next, you go for the "final fitting." I say "final" because it's never the final appointment. During this appointment they have your actual leg all done and they only do minor tweaking of alignment and fit. Then you wear it home. Usually after a few days of wearing it you realize what's not quite right and go back in for more alterations.

You get the point. Deciding to get a new leg takes a pretty big time commitment. Well, long story short - too late, right - I got a new one and it is pretty cool. I designed it myself. I gave my prosthetist fabric with puzzle pieces so that they could fuse it into the plastic - a permanent union of the two things in my life that cause me daily struggles: amputation and autism. Since I didn't really feel like posting a picture of my mother-of-two body in a bathing suit so you could see the leg, I just took a picture of it by itself. Awesome, right?

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