Wednesday, July 11, 2007
If I only had a knee...
While Elaine was talking she spoke about the surgeries, and how at the beginning the concern was about my feet. Of course, they quickly realized that, in addition to my feet my right leg would have to be amputated above the knee but, they tried to save as much of my left leg as possible. Initially they had saved my left knee but more tissue died and they had to go higher. It's ironic to me that my left stump is now a good two inches shorter than my right. (I don't use the term "stump" very often but it is the correct medical term. Early on I found it insulting because they are still my legs. Overtime I have grown more comfortable with the term; especially now that I have a set of detachable legs in addition to the residual ones.)
I remember not believing that I would ever be able to walk again, regardless of what the doctors were saying, the fact that I didn't have either knee was immaterial to me. It wasn't until I started walking with the prostheses that I began to realize how important that left knee would have been. It would have allowed me to stand up much easier. It would have given me the ability walk better and with more stability. Most likely I would have been able to walk with only one crutch, which would give me the freedom to use one hand for other things. I might have even been able to climb up and down steps going forward instead of side ways.
Of course, this is all speculation, which is why I don't dwell on it. There's no point in wasting energy wishing for what you don't, and won't have. A month or two ago I was walking into a gas station and noticed a person coming up behind me in the reflection in the door. I was wearing shorts, as I normally do, and stepped aside to let the other person open the door. As he approached I said "I think I'll let you get the door", and was surprised when he replied "yeah, I have one of those two". I turned to look at the man. He was probably in his mid to late fifties and was wearing a pair of long shorts. I didn't notice the below knee prosthetic he was wearing until he lifted the leg of his shorts. His prosthetic had a cosmetic covering on it to look more like a normal leg. (This is something I've opted against adding to my legs.)
He held the door for me and, as I was walking in, made the comment "this is hell for me but it looks like you've got it much worse." Once we were inside I told him that I'd like to have at least one knee but that I'd accepted that this is what life is like now. He went on to complain about how uncomfortable his prosthetic was and how much he hated it. I wouldn't necessarily describe mine as comfortable, but I have grown used to the way they feel and don't really think about it much. The man commented on my attitude and I told him that he should focus more on how lucky he is that he has a good leg and and two good knees.
As I paid for my gas the cashier put his elbows on the counter, leaned forward and, in a great impersonation of a bartender, said "how ya doin'?" I smiled and said "this is life now, and I'm living it, there's no point in looking back." He said "that's great" and gave me my change.
Hopefully the C-legs will give me the ability to walk with one crutch and regain the freedom of one hand. They'll definitely allow me to walk better, with increasing speeds, and with more stability. Sadly, I'll probably still have to go up and down stairs sideways, and I'll always have to do a balancing act when standing up, but that is a small price to pay for mobility. I'll be receiving the feet within the next few weeks.
The feet will actually give me some push off the ground when I'm walking, which will also allow me some increase in speed and they'll move much more like a natural foot as opposed to the ones I currently have. Renee says I should notice a difference immediately. If you're interested you should do a google search for otto+bock and click on "I'm Feeling Lucky". This will take you straight to the web page for the company that makes both the C-Legs, and the C-Walks (feet). Once you're there, do a search for C-Walk and that will bring up info, and a picture of the new foot. Unfortunately the feet must have cosmetic coverings to fill out a shoe. I'm disappointed by this. You'll see why when you actually see the foot.
While you're on the Otto Bock site you should also do a search for C-Leg so you can see the legs I'll be getting. I won't be getting cosmetic coverings for these. When you see the picture you'll understand why.
Growing up we would think what our world would be like when we got older. Now, I'm not so sure that the world I had envisioned in my mind is the one that I am proud to say I live in today. There was no mention of violence, no mention of pain, no mention of other activities to numerous to mention however, the power of prayer was always mentioned in the household.
So, people pray with me for the missing, the unfortunate, the blessings, and the ones still to come.
May God carry you through your world of what you thought it would be growing up....