I recently posted this to the Amputee Coalition of America’s facebook page. I want to share this with you all, and then afterwards expand upon it..
Just had to share my excitement! 6 months ago I bought a gently used right side College Park Tru-Step foot on eBay. since then I have found lots and lots of other right sides, but no left side, at least in my price range. so several months ago I was a guinea pig at an OT/PT CEU hours conference. I met a person who is themselves a single BK amputee, and knows how to get feet. I told them what I had, and what I still needed. I pretty much said “gimme a free foot” and they pretty much said “pfft yea right.. I can’t do that.”
Real nice about it, but up front about a no go. So, I continued to search for the left side.. No joy.
Sienna Newman, one of the great people on my prosthetics team, told me to hold out and wait, not buy a left side yet.. and guess what? A few weeks ago, a box was dropped off at KY Prosthetics in Louisville, KY, just chock full ‘o a left side foot, and various parts for my right side I already had!
We have been waiting for my liners to come in, so I can get liners and new feet on all in one shot.. and I go Monday for that. I have been through two sets of liners in six months.. I wear them out!
Why, you might ask, did my prosthetics company just not work a new set out through my insurance? It’s because I don’t have any. My insurance coverage ran out one year and two months ago.
Since then, my prosthetics company has made me 4 sets of sockets, (8 total) with another set coming in July. They are paying for and going to a class to make a new kind of socket for me simply because I want it. Everything I need takes double, as I am a DBK. If I need it, I still get it, regardless of my ability to pay right now. 10 total sockets, and all the supplies I need, without a single question.
I like my CP Velocity feet I have now, but the Tru-Steps are just awesome.
But not nearly as awesome as the person who helped me get the foot, and my prosthetics team from Kentucky Prosthetics and Orthotics in Louisville, KY.
I get asked often why I travel three hours for my prosthetics. This is why.
Can’t wait for Monday!
Pretty groovy, right? Free foot, and still getting support from my prosthetics company for more than a year without insurance.
But, that doesn’t really tell you much, so, let me put it into perspective.
The new foot? the trustep? Let me show it to you…
Now, here is the type of feet I have now.. Also College Park, and great feet.. The Velocity..
See the difference? Again, perspective..
Look at the velocity… I have some friends (best friends, actually) that have a street legal drag race car. It’s a Dodge Demon,, and it is totally badass. totally! (I’m looking at you, Jenny and Bob!) It can be driven on the street, but it is more at home on the straight track. It is built for speed on the flat track. Hopped up motor, beefed up undercarriage, and all the trimmings for go-fast down the track.
More perspective, the “cheetah legs” you see some amputees running in, those are like top fuel dragsters, they are made for one thing.. Going REALLY FAST… those are not regular daily wear feet.. Just like a rail dragster is not meant for daily use on the road.
Now, the trustep? Just scroll back up and look at it. Independent front suspension. Articulating ankle.. This is like a brand new Dodge Ram 4X4 with a turbo diesel. It is meant for on road and off. Hills and valleys. Those tough spots. You can go fast in it, but you can just as easily lock it in 4 low and dive off into the mud hole.
That is what the trustep is.
My walking should improve immensely over tough terrain. Because my current feet are made for high return on flat surfaces. to put it into perspective for all of you, here is my comparison of what things feel like now as opposed to when I still had my legs:
Flat surfaces=flat surfaces
flat grass= walking in river rock- slightly unstable
clumpy grass and/or a gravel driveway= big rip-rap rock
Everyday inclines=super steep slopes
that’s what it feels like. I have no ankle control. It is what it is. But, with the trustep, this should be different.. At least a bit better, and potentially a lot better.
Now, look at the two feet themselves. See the connection parts? Look how much taller the velocity is the trustep. I am set as short as I can be on the Velocity, and I am still two inches taller than I once was. I will lose those two inches with the trustep. That means lower center of gravity, better balance, easier sitting and standing, and easier climbing steps.
I will lose a little height, but I will be gaining so much more.
Now, moving on to other perspectives.
Now, I could potentially BUY A NEW CAR with what this foot costs. Could you imagine your local car salesman at a big dealership handing you the keys to a brand new car and say “Here ya go.. Take off.. No charge!”
Nope, not gonna happen. Not without a reality show and lots of media coverage. And you still paying the taxes on it 😉
Now, to take the analogy a step further. Keep in mind, I have not had insurance since around April of 2011. That’s a year and two months ago!
Imagine buying a car from a dealership that only sells custom made cars. Perspective: for the cost of my legs, I could have bought a new Porsch.
So you get your new custom car from the dealership, and the warranty runs out. the dealership not only gives you brand new tires every six months, but also a full new custom made frame and suspension every time you need it. and they build it by hand!
I am a bilateral below knee amputee. that means I need two of EVERYTHING. I have had about four sets of sockets made for me since my insurance ran out. that’s 8 sockets, people. the process is not simple. it goes like this:
1. Individual molds of my distal ends have to be taken.(office visit one)
2. Exact replicas of my distal ends have to be cast from these molds.
3. Plastic test sockets have to be made from the castings of my legs.
4. I have to be test fit from the test sockets. (office visit two)
5. Corrections have to be made to the test sockets by heating and custom molding to perfection.
6. New plaster castings of the sockets have to be made from the test sockets.
7. Carbon fiber sockets have to be made from the new castings. they have to add all the mounting hardware, make it perfect, or I can’t walk in them.
8. Install, final adjust and tuning. (office visit three)
That is what it takes to get me a new set of sockets. and they have to make TWO OF EVERYTHING.
Under those sockets I have to wear liners. they are supposed to last six months. I have been through TWO SETS of liners in about six months, but I am really active. these things are not free, but when I need them, I get them.
More perspective for you. I want a new design of socket. They are a new concept for BK amputees, and by all accounts, are totally awesome. an evolution in sockets. Google RCR sockets to see them. My prosthetics company has not been through the training to make them. But when I decided I wanted them, they decided to apply for, pay for, and take the educational courses to make them for me.
The classes are in July, and so my sockets will be made shortly after that.
that’s like your custom auto dealership sending their mechanics to a course to make NEW FRAMES and SUSPENSION for your custom out of warranty car. And not charging you. Making the new frame and suspension, and installing it, and just handing it over.
I would not be where I am today without the support of KY Prosthetics and Orthotics. they have stood behind me every step of the way. Insurance or not.
To the person who helped me find a foot…I am simply overwhelmed that you believed in me enough to do this for me.
And Matt, Sienna, Tommy, Mike, and all the rest at KY Prosthetics that have helped me, stood behind me, pushed me, and put up with my stubborn self.. I can’t properly put into words my gratitude for your efforts. It is humbling and overwhelming all at once. Thank you.
I get asked why I travel three hours for my prosthetics care… This is why. All of the determination in the world would not have gotten me out of a wheelchair and walking if not for the efforts of my Prosthetics Team.
I am very lucky, and I wont ever forget why.
And I can’t wait ’till Monday!