Mad Scientist? Mad Skillz!

So life is back on track after a nearly week long trip to Orlando for the ACA Conference. I am just now getting back to a somewhat normal sleep schedule, and have finally gotten the “After Conference Boredom Blues” in check. I met a lot of awesome people and groups at the ACA, and I want to acknowledge everyone I can in a series of posts about the great work they are doing, or simply the great people they are.

Today the person and organization I want to share with you is the company, and it’s founder Dan Horkey.

Photo Courtesy of Kitsap Sun 2008

I met Dan late in the evening of my first night there.  He had recently sent a friend request to me on FaceBook, and I was pretty stoked about it. See, in the amputee world the guy is kinda famous, and the art he produces is amazing! When I met him, that’s pretty much what I said to him. I was surprised by his response to me, which was I was the famous one! I disagree, but that ought to tell you something about this man. He has a great attitude, and is totally down to earth about who he is.

And who he is… well he is an amputee who has put himself out there to help other amputees. Dan, through his company Prosthetic INK, provides one of a kind artwork for amputee prosthetics, both veteran and civilian. Wearing a prosthetic can be a hard thing, both emotionally and physically. “Able-Bodied” individuals tend to stare, and it can cause very awkward situations when they are talking about the weather but in their mind they are screaming “YOUR LEG! YOUR LEG!”

Prosthetic tattoo art provides self esteem, but it also provides an ice-breaking moment. It –among other things– allows the elephant in the room to be discussed. Instead of getting looks of pity and a sorrowful “I’m so sorry you don’t have a leg,” you get a look of awe and surprise and “wow, that is the coolest looking leg ever!”

That can make all the difference in the world to an amputee. We don’t want pity. We don’t need sorrow… We have already moved past that. Dan helps us express that with his artwork.


See? Cool stuff, right?

Instead of a plain old prosthetic socket, or a none-too-realistic heavy cover, you could have something like this!

This is just a sampling of the great work Dan Horkey and Prosthetic INK can do.

For those able bodied who read my blog, you may not understand the significance… But an amputee seeing this will be drooling right now!

Dan has gone from the basics above, to doing high tech chrome in every color you could imagine!

Not only that, but while at the conference I got to take a sneak peek at a prototype cover Dan has designed that will both fill out that ever-present slimness around the lower leg area that amputees get when wearing pants, and also provide protection to components of the prosthetic…. All without that dreaded silicone cover look.

Dan can do just about any design you could imagine on prosthetic devices as well as orthotic devices.

So, if you get a chance, go check out Prosthetic INK, or do like I do and follow Dan on Twitter.




Fingers 2.0

Everyone I talked to at the conference seemed to be amazed with my prosthetic fingers that I make in my garage. I am working on a *ahem* “next generation” set of fingers for myself, and lots of people asked me to share…. So, here is my work in progress on my Fingers 2.0


Gina accepts no compromises!

[This is a re-print of a FB post from my friend Gina, who like me is a retired amputee FF/EMT. Gina is an amazing person, and when I read her post I asked her if I could reprint it on my blog.. she of course said yes. I keep telling her she needs her own blog, and she says she doesn’t know how.. well, this post says otherwise to me! Enjoy…. N]gina pic

k, so…by now many of you have realized that I went away to Orlando to an Amputee Coalition Conference. Now, it looks like we just fooled around cutting up and being silly…and at times, we did. What I’d like to speak to next, is when we weren’t.
I met people with lots of heart, nerve, compassion, and yes, comedic genius these past few days. Everyone has a story, some more horrific than others. But each personal and life changing for them, their families, and friends. They came from 42 states and 3 countries (I believe was the stat) . They came alone, with families, and some even brought pets. All for one purpose. To be bigger than what happened to us. To be connected in our journey. To genuinely feel empathy and gather strength and acceptance in numbers.Those who followed my status’ of thankfulness know I learned to swim again, went to yoga, did a handstand, shower without a chair, met some very profoundly unique people who educated me with language and cultural barriers, and the highlight of my trip…wait for it….I RAN! I ran like the friggin’ wind! It was amazing! It was quite possibly my aha moment to jettison me from here. Pretty sure I’m still high on that feeling tonight.

So, why the picture below you ask? Well, those of you who truly know me, are aware of my “Happenstance” theory that people and events that are MEANT to be connected, are. That events, actions, people, run-ins, whatever…exhibit a bigger picture of connectedness that place happenstance in seemingly unrelated situations all leading to a bigger purpose. Well, the theme of this years event was a Sea of PossAbilities. Get it? Clever on their part, I know! So anyway, there was a little whale placed in everyone’s room, and at the dinner their we’re starfish all over the tables. I took this as confirmation of my theory (as if I needed it).

Remember the story of Jonah and the Whale? Jonah was asked to perform God’s will and warn the Ninevites. A task he evaded, hence being swallowed by the whale. While in the belly of the whale, he was thankful for being saved as he was drowning in the ocean. For 3 days and nights he’s thankful. Never questioning his fate. Not so sure I could be as dedicated, but ultimately the whale spews him out to carry on his work. Now, I’m not incredibly religious or preachy, but I’ve always been fascinated by that particular story and the more complex aspects of why he was intimidated to do what he had to do and why, but found it relative to my moment. Just as freaky, is my understanding of the story of the Starfish. From my teaching days, I remember (as perhaps many of you) the story of how a boy walks along tossing starfish washed upon the beach back into the ocean. A man asks him what he’s doing, explains that the beach is several miles long with hundreds of starfish, and that it won’t make a difference. The boy aptly replies as he picks up another starfish tossing it gently back into the ocean, that it makes a difference to THAT ONE.
Now, I’m not sure what my purpose is exactly. I know I’m a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, etc. I’ve lost my identity in my career (for now) and spend entirely too much time with chickens. But…if I remain thankful while I anxiously await direction, help those who need saving while on my path, and focus on how the things that lead me here…today…matter now, I’m sure I will be ok. Call it a stretch if you like, but to me…it was dead nuts on. I refuse to compromise who I am because of the limitations I’ve had to face. If the universe has a challenge, I say bring it…and it best wear a cup!

[Authored by Gina Kothe, and reprinted with permission]