Friday, April 5, 2019

Why a prosthetic leg is like a toaster oven.

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While people are seemingly sympathetic to the average amputee they are seldom aware of the daily indignities and inconveniences the average amputee faces.

My husband generally walks just fine with the modern miracle of his prosthetic leg but he needs to park in a handicapped spot.  Why? Because he can't get OUT of the vehicle unless the door is completely open as his leg doesn't doesn't cant or twist, it only moves forward and backward. It is like trying to exit a car in a total leg cast.

When my beloved is in a suit you might notice he walks with a limp but you wouldn't guess he was missing a leg.  Small children and little old ladies generally run him over at wedding and in church lobbies!  When we are in crowds I cajole my husband to wear shorts- people are much nicer about not crowding him and giving him room to walk.  These bad boys don't turn on a dime you know.

So about that toaster oven.  We had an old Black & Decker toaster oven for over twenty years and it worked magnificently.  Toasted, "ovened" and everything.  Only design flaw was it had a sliding toggle switch to turn it on. This wasn't an issue until "somebody" in the house tossed a load of groceries on the counter in a politically incorrect plastic bags and, you guessed it, leaned into the toggle switch, melted the bags and the groceries and nearly started a house fire. That led us to get rid of the said toaster oven and get a new one.  We have been the proud owners of 3 toaster ovens in 5 years since then because they have malfunctioned , broken or just plain don't toast.  In these days of planned obsolescence they are not repairable either.  We have given up and reverted to a slot toaster.  Our back - up is a nineteen FORTIES toaster that still works.

My husband lost his leg 12 years ago from complications from a blood infection.  After he was healed enough to wear a prosthetic he was awarded a truly spectacular top of the line C leg. It had a computer microprocessor that mirrored his gait and aided his gait.  It was amazing.  After almost ten years it started to die.  Not unlike and old laptop.  It would give out while he was crossing the street leading to over 60 recorded falls.  Insurance fought us for 1 full year before they replaced it with a mechanical "foot on a stick".  As this is better than falling in the street, he made do.  And then, it broke. Weeks out of warranty.  So we are battling for a new leg.  What does one do in between you wonder?  One's helpful prosthetist gives one a "loaner leg" or loaner knee, or loaner part. Whatever you need until your paperwork comes through and you have a piece of equipment you can use to get back to life. Oh, and the visits to the clinic have eaten up six days of work in the last six weeks.  Thank God for an understanding boss and flex hours.  Others are not so flexible with their employment.

So after in the last 2 years my husband has had FOUR legs or loaner legs.  And last week he fell down again.

We want the Black and Decker back.

PS - Having an amputee in the family is cause for a lot of dark humor in our family.  Lots of "one foot in the grave" comments among friends.  Once w
e rinsed off Bob's shower leg and left it, naturally, in the shower to drain.  Our poor middle schooler house guest went to take a shower and screamed to her mom - "Mooooooommmmm, there's a LEG in the shower and it has a CROC on it. We were not sure if she was more upset about the leg or the Fashion Disaster that is the Croc.  Be warned, if you come to visit, it lives in the downstairs closet...


Unknown said...

We didn’t know Uncle “Ped” well...he died when we were very young, maybe 4 and 5. Aunt Hannah lived a very long life and was a generous woman. When my brother got his driver’s license in 1973, Aunt Hannah hadn’t been driving much (she was in her 70s by then), so she gave him her 1960 Chrysler New Yorker (silver, complete with huge fins and push button controls). Needless to say my brother was thrilled and painted a batmobile insignia on the driver side door. A few weeks later he went to put something in the trunk....and yes, there we found uncle Ped’s fake leg! Complete with a nice brown oxford leather shoe. We had no idea he was missing a limb. It was both funny and scary. I guess he didn’t miss it.

Theresa said...

Must have been the spare! Ba-da-bump!