In the next few days our family will be packing up and heading out on vacation. Robby, my seven year old son, is ecstatic to be going to the beach. He’s looking forward to spending his days playing in the surf, building sand castles and eating ice cream. With a little planning, I’ll be able to do the same!
Wearing a prosthesis to the beach can be a daunting tasks. Sand and salt have a way of wreaking havoc on mechanical components. Considering that a basic prosthesis can cost upwards of $15,000, protecting it from the beachy elements becomes of paramount importance.
There are a variety of waterproof prosthetic protectors on the market. I have found most to be cumbersome to don and quick to rip. A waterproof protector is of little use when a huge hole develops during it’s first use. After a lot of experimentation and trial and error, I have discovered a protector that is both easy to wear and durable. The Medline Curad Cast Protector provides an excellent barrier between my carbon fiber prosthesis and the sand and surf. It is comfortable to wear, and doesn’t require tape or acrobatic feats to don. As an added bonus, at less than $2 I don’t mind throwing it away at the end of our vacation!
Protecting the components is only part of the battle when it comes to ocean fun. The waves have a reputation of stealing, and prosthetics are not immune. I have heard too many horror stories about legs being pulled off by the undercurrent and swept out to sea. I can’t imagine anything ruining a vacation quicker than losing my leg in the ocean!
Thankfully necessity is the mother of invention, and there is an easy (and inexpensive) way to insure your prosthesis against theft by wave. A surfer’s bungee cord, hooked around the ankle and secured to the waist, will ensure that your device is always tethered to the body. If the waves do break the suspension seal, the prosthesis will not be swept away.
With my prosthesis properly protected and ready for the surf, I turn my attention to my biological foot. I am vigilant about foot care! Because I bear the majority of my weight on my biological foot, the smallest blister or cut can become bothersome. Not wanting to take undo chances, I always wear a water shoe in the ocean. I feel more comfortable having a barrier between my skin and the sharp shells, small animals and rocks that are strewn on the ocean floor.
Between my cast cover, the bungee cord and my one water shoe, I’m sure I’m quite the sight! But I’ve learned to not be bothered by appearances, and I know that I am being proactive about maintaining a functional prosthesis. I’m not about to let anything get in my way of fun with my family, especially my disability!
At UNlimiters, we’re always looking for products that help us live more independent and easier lives. Have you found a product that has improved your life? Let us know in the Shout section of our store and we’ll try to add it to our selection.