Tag Archives: Prosthetic

Spring Cleaning My Prosthesis

Using a prosthesis, I am used to garnering stares and unwatched attention when I’m in public. When I was a newbie the second glances and stares used to bother me. As I’ve adjusted to my disability, embracing my potential and rediscovering my self-esteem, my feelings towards the gawkers have tempered.

A prosthesis is not commonly seen, and it is normal to look at anything that is unusual. I have come to realize that the visual interest I receive is not derogatory but is simply an unintentional reaction. The majority of people probably don’t even realize that they have turned their heads for another glance. Accepting that it is my prostheses-and not me-that has become a lightening rod for stares has been empowering.

Over the years I have become oblivious to the looks and second glances when I’m in public. (I suppose when you experience something multiple times on a daily basis it becomes second nature.) My little boy used to cheerfully wave at every onlooker, which was perhaps the best way to bring attention to their staring. As soon as my little guy started waving, the look of shock and embarrassment wafting on the faces of the offenders was utterly priceless!

Although most of the time I don’t notice the attention, every Spring it becomes magnified. Wearing jeans during the winter, I gradually adjusted to blending in with everybody else. Returning shorts and knee length dresses to my wardrobe expose my prosthesis. Anytime my leg is visible I receive more looks in public.

I know that people are going to look, so I want my leg to look as clean and neat as possible. The socket itself is easy to clean, I just wipe it down with a damp towel. My foot shell requires more effort, but removing the scuff marks, stains and caked in dirt is not impossible.

I’ve learned that a Magic Eraser can save me a lot of time and elbow grease when I want to clean my foot shell. Most of the marks can be scrubbed away with minimal effort, leaving the foot shell clean and ready for Spring. I find myself walking with new confidence when my prosthesis is sparkling clean. I tend to hold my head up higher and walk with more purpose which is a good thing, because I know that people are watching!


Black Light Remedy

I want to apologize by not posting a blog last week. Although well-intended, I was unexpectedly sidelined. Wednesday night I went into premature labor, and Thursday morning I delivered my second son. He is a preemie and small, but healthy. Needless to say, little Timmy has already wrapped everybody around his tiny little fingers!Image

It has been eight years since I’ve cared for a newborn. Obviously my “mom amnesia” had skewed the memories, allowing me to forget the exhaustion that ensues from the near constant night feedings. To complicate matters, Timmy has been put on a strict feeding schedule to promote weight gain, necessitating that we wake him every 90 minutes to feed. Considering that it takes him approximately 45 minutes to take a half an ounce, I am able to sleep for 30 minutes at a time. To say that I am becoming worn down would be an understatement!

One of the most frustrating aspects of the constant feedings lies with my prosthesis. I cannot simply hop up and feed the baby like my able-bodied friends. I have to take the time to don my liner and my leg, assuring that I have a safe and comfortable fit, before proceeding to take care of the baby. Done on a hourly basis for several days and I started to notice small holes develop towards the top of my liner.

Knowing that liners are quality tested for a certain number of wearings, I began to worry that I was going to exceed this number because of the midnight feedings. Although not ideal, I began to wonder if I could simply keep my liner on between feedings. I worried that wearing it for extended periods during the day and night would compromise my skin health, so I contacted my prosthetist.

After listening to my concerns, he revealed an industry “secret.” Although it is preferred that the liner be removed for at least 6 hours Imageconsecutively each day, the recommended time is not a requirement for skin health. Putting the liner, inside out, under a black light for 15 minutes will kill the fungus and bacteria which might have developed from wearing it for extended periods of time. I was also encouraged to put my limb under the black light to kill anything which might have latched onto the skin, but only for five minute intervals.

With the help of a black light, I am now able to keep my liner on throughout the never ending midnight feedings. It may not sound like a huge victory, but for this sleep deprived Mom eliminating the liner step to the routine is a relief. I wanted to share the black light tip because I am confident that I am not the only amputee who has encountered a situation where the liner needed to be worn for extended periods of time. When it does occur, it is nice to know that there is a remedy available- in the form of a little black light.

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