Saturday, October 10, 2009
Taking a Fall
Last week I was at Joann Fabrics (To the guys who are reading this: I had a good reason for being there, but feel free to make jokes!) looking for iron on printer sheets. One of the reasons I'm so excited about the new sockets is that I get to customize them. There is an image that I want laminated into the sockets, but in order to do that I need to iron the image on to fabric. I had never been to Joann Fabrics before. The first thing that I noticed was that I was the only guy in the store. The second thing I noticed was that I was probably the only person under 45 in the store. I asked one of the women who works there where to find the iron on sheets. The lady pointed out an aisle at the back of the store.
I walked to the aisle, but became distracted by a piece of fabric at the end of the aisle before I found the iron on sheets. I had taken my hand off of my right crutch while I was looking at the fabric. When I was done, I put the fabric back and reached for the handle of my crutch. Before I had even touched the handle, my crutch fell apart!
I only saw what happened out of the corner of my eye. As my hand was coming down toward the handle I saw the crutch fall away from me, but the cuff of the crutch was still attached to my arm. My mind didn't really process this and, as I went reached for the crutch handle that was no longer there, I fell. I landed on my side and my back, with my legs (from hip to knee) up in the air. As I looked up, expecting to see my prosthetic legs, I realized something was very wrong. My right leg was missing!
Now, I've had that experience before, when I awoke from the medically induced coma four years ago, and I really never expected to have that very disorienting experience again. You would think that by now I would be used to looking at my legs and seeing nothing from knee to foot, but not when I'm wearing my prosthetics! It was actually quite a shock. I was still on my back, just staring at the socket on my right leg, which appeared fine, trying to figure out where the rest of my leg was, when the thought hit me that I had made a loud noise when I hit the floor and that all the women in the fabric store would probably come running any minute to find out what had happened. I couldn't let them find me laying on the floor! So I sat up.
What do you think I saw when I sat up? I saw my right leg laying on the floor in front of me, with the coupler that had (until the minute before) connected my C-Leg to the trial suction socket still attached to it. I had hit the floor hard enough that it had broken the epoxy that connected the coupler to the socket in half! I still had one good (hopefully) crutch, and if my leg hadn't broken I would have been able to get up and walk out. What was I going to do now? I began looking around for the women that I assumed would come to find out what had caused the loud noise. There was no one in sight.
I was about to call out for help when a lady, who was obviously not coming to find out what had happened, turned the corner of an aisle across the way. I looked up at her and said "hello, how are you?" She looked over at me and said "fine, how are you doing?" Obviously she had not quite registered the fact that I was sitting on the floor with two mechanical legs, one of which was not attached! My response to her questions was "actually, I could use your help." She took another look at me and said "OH MY GOD!! Are you ok?" Then the rest of the women came running.
I explained my situation and trusted the first woman with the keys to my car so that she, and one of the other ladies, could bring me the parts for my wheelchair. They were extremely concerned when I told them that it was in pieces, thinking that it was broken too, until I explained that it's meant to come apart! A few minutes later they returned and watched as I put it together. The real trick, was going to be transferring from the floor to the wheelchair. Something that I'm not good at doing on my own. I started to explain to the ladies how they could best help me, but then two women just grabbed me under the arms and lifted. (That part was a little embarrassing.) Once I was up I finished my shopping and then headed home.
One of the good things about getting new sockets is that I still have the old pin-lock sockets as well. When I got home I switched the sockets out and had two functional legs again! It's nice to have a back up. :)
The next day I took the broken socket to my Prosthetist so that he could fix it, which took about a week, and I could continue the trial period. After my visit with him I headed to UIndy where I demonstrated falling, climbing up and down stairs, and stepping over/off of curbs. The students got a big kick out of the Joann fabrics story, and were amazed at my ability to fall!
See you at church.
The buttons read: "I Walked With Jeremy"?
I'm just playing with ya Jeremy..I hope your ok!!! Next time go to the gym and fall, have some really big weightlifting female pick you up and this time get pictures..hahaha I truly hope your ok!!!!
See ya soon;
We finally got around to making a contribution in support of your team in tomorrow's big event. I hope we were succesful in getting it credited to your goal. Regardless..... we wish you and your team well in the endeavor. By the way did you notice on national TV earlier this week the appearance of the the "the hero of Tenniman (sp) Square" some years ago in China. He was walking quite well on newly acquired prosthesies.
Harry and Lilla