When I became an amputee, I felt like I had lost control in many ways. When I was ready to be fit with a prosthetic, I felt as if I were desperately treading water in an unfamiliar world. I didn't understand the jargon, the process, or my options. I was happy when I was handed a leg and blindly trusted that it was the correct device for me. After all, I accepted that my prosthetist was the expert, and I assumed that he knew best.
As I have delved more into the world of prosthetic care, I have learned that my experience is not unique. Many amputees become overwhelmed and confused by prosthetics. Unfortunately, not everybody is fortunate enough to have a phenomenal practitioner. I have discovered that there are a lot of prosthetists who are not providing the highest quality of care.
So many amputees settle for poor prosthetic care simply because they don't realize that they could be doing better. Complaints about ill-fitting sockets, uncomfortable components and difficulty with mastery of the device fill my email inbox on a weekly basis. It frustrates me that so many are suffering because of a poorly fitted prostheses.
My advice is simple: if you are experiencing pain, you need to speak up. When you don't understand why you are being fitted with one component over another, ask for an explanation. If your prosthetist isn't listening, you need to go to somebody who will not only value your opinion, but also realizes that your thoughts are paramount!
As patients, we always have a choice. It is not only your right but also your responsibility to ask questions, to learn about the product, and to make informed decisions. By simply accepting a prosthetic because the "expert" said it is best, may compromise your quality of care.
I have received more bad haircuts during my lifetime than I care to count. That being said, I never go back to a stylist whose work has forced me to wear a hat for six weeks. Using that premise, why would I continue to go to a prosthetist who manufactures uncomfortable, and many times unusable, devices? It is okay to change prosthetists, even if he or she is "really nice," in a quest for better care! You deserve it!