I have been an amputee for more than a decade, and during that time I have learned volumes about living with limb loss. Socket fit, liners, suspension systems and other related terms have become a normal part of my vernacular. The time when the jargon was unfamiliar and scary feels like a lifetime ago. Perhaps the most important thing that I've learned is that things will always change and that I will constantly discover new aspects of living life with a prosthesis.
The socket fabrication after my most recent surgery has been frustrating and labor intensive. Kudos to Elliot, my prosthetist, who never gave up on me or on the process. He continued to make adjustments, new molds and changes in the quest for comfort. When we finally got my leg to a point where I could wear it and feel okay, he pushed for improvement. By that point I was willing to accept the little discomforts that popped up through the day. Elliot continued casting, fabricating and tweaking because he wanted me to be pain-free from the moment I donned it until I took it off at night.
Last week I had an appointment for what felt like the 100th socket adjustment. I just couldn't find the words to describe what I was feeling, but I knew that it wasn't ideal and completely comfortable. I wasn't in pain, but I did feel an awkward soreness after I began to walk. As I grasped to find the correct adjectives, I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. I hate crying in public, especially when it is out of frustration!
Elliot had me take off my leg and thoroughly examined my limb. He handed me a new type of liner, one without the seals that I have been utilizing for years. I slipped it on, stepped into my leg and instantly felt normal. The indescribable sensations were gone, and my walking felt reminiscent of my pre-surgerical life. My tears turned to a glint as I informed him that he was not getting this liner back.
After all of the socket adjustments, the hours of work and worry, my issues were something as simple as a liner. While I love the seal-in technology afforded by my previous liner, my limb is just not healed enough to handle the pressure. The liner seals wrap around the surgical site, causing the torquing and compression that was so difficult to describe. I am now back in a regular liner, without the seals, and completely comfortable. While I am not thrilled about the prospect of wearing a sleeve again, even if I know it is short-term until my limb completely heals, I am delighted to be comfortable. I never would have guessed that the discomfort I perceived as a socket issue was really the result of a liner.
- 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.