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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Test Walk

Chances are good that if I am on the computer, I have a social network site running somewhere on my browser. Between my social media work and my own need to socialize with my friends, I am constantly checking various pages and groups. When I am done with my professional tasks, I frequently spend time writing to my friends or updating my own status.  While I am often criticized for being on Facebook and Twitter too much, I feel like I have the perfect excuse. I am working!

One of the many attributes of Facebook has been in its ability to connect amputees of various experience levels and needs. We are talking, exchanging ideas and connecting more than any other time in history. Although being the only person in a community with limb loss can feel isolating, one only needs to log onto the Internet to realize that they are not alone and that they are part of a wonderful and viable community.

Before Facebook, the only time I was ever able to discuss prosthetic components and compare experiences was while I was sitting in my prosthetist's office waiting for an appointment. Now I can pose my question on a page and receive dozens of comments within minutes. I can't help but think that the abundance of information must be a mixed blessing for the new amputee.

Whereas I'm able to whittle my way through the comments to ascertain the core information, it might be overwhelming for those with less prosthetic experience. After all, most amputees have strong feelings about the prosthesis that they utilize. It's hard to remember that what works for one person may be disastrous for another.

I liken component recommendations to a pair of jeans. My college roommate loved Levi's. She swore up and down that they were the "perfect" jean and used to tease me for wearing Lee jeans instead. To prove her point, I remember her insisting that we go to the Gap so that I could try on the amazing jeans. As she stood triumphantly waiting for me to come out of the dressing room, I was performing feats of contortion in an unsuccessful attempt to pull up the zipper. My hips were, and incidentally remain, too curvy for Levi's. The only way I knew that the "perfect" jean wasn't right for me was by trying them on.

Although searching for information and soliciting feedback about components is valuable, nothing compares to actually trying the device. I love my Proprio foot and Mod III, but I have friends who do not like the way these feet feel when they walk. They prefer a different type of foot which they feel as strongly about as I do about mine.

Preferences, experiences and tips are a valuable tool when it comes to shopping for a prosthesis, but the ultimate decision should not be based solely on that input. Like a pair of jeans, you won't really know how it will work for you unless you try it on and go for a stroll. Never forget that you're buying it, so you deserve the opportunity to give it a test walk first!

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