Prosthetics- My Mother Learned to Walk Again
Results of Osteomylitis
Watching my mother these past seven years with a prosthetic right leg has shown me has taught me what determination can do when facing an overwhelming lifestyle change. My mother is not a diabetic. She had broken her ankle many years ago, and during surgery they inserted screws and some type of plate. Her ankle started giving away, and the orthopedic surgeon stated she needed an ankle replacement.
I won’t go into all the gory long story of the errors this doctor made, but my mother ended up with osteomyelitis, which is a bone infection. For her it was MRSA. We tried to save her leg for one and half years using numerous procedures and multiple hospitalizations, but when the leg was amputated below the knee (BKA), she got her life back.
My Mother's Prothesis
Following her Leg Amputation
She was admitted to an excellent rehab hospital after the amputation and started physical therapy. In the meantime, we sold her home and built an addition on our home.
My father had passed away several years before this time, and she could not live alone. Rusty, her dog, and my mother moved in, and it has worked out very well. My husband adores her also.
Inside of a prosthesis
A prosthetic doctor prescribes the prosthesis and adjusts it as necessary. They are very expensive and my mother is fortunate enough to have good insurance to cover the costs. Sometimes it takes many adjustments to see it fits properly.
Even a faction of an inch can affect the patient’s ability to walk well. There are numerous other supplies needed as well, and they are pictured below. As a point of information, it is much more difficult to learn to walk again following an above knee amputation.
Learning to Walk with Cane
When she came to live with us she used the walker and continued in-home physical therapy. She was fortunate, because she had very little phantom pain, which happens frequently to amputees. In case you do not know what that it, when limbs are amputated sometimes pain is felt in the missing limb. These sensations original in the spinal cord and brain, appearing very real to those that suffer.
My mother was using a walker, moving slowly and did not want to go out much at first. You cannot realize how difficult it is to live without a leg if you have not had this experience, particularly when you are a senior citizen. When you awake in the morning, sitting up and getting to the edge of the bed to put on the prosthesis takes balancing yourself.
Some of Her Struggles
She wears a soft legging at night to keep her stump the same size, as some swelling may occur at night. She has is a tight fitting silicone rubber liner that goes on the leg first in the morning. It has a screw in the end to lock into the leg. Then, she must use rather thick cotton socks before inserting her stump into the prosthetic leg. She also uses oxygen at night due to congestive heart failure.
When I wake up in the morning I am quickly off to the bathroom, then brush my teeth and head to the coffee pot.
I can’t imagine having to get balanced on the edge of the bed and go through all those steps just to get my leg on. We do keep a bedside commode by my mother's bed for those times when making it to the bathroom is not feasible.
During the day she may start out with two socks, but end up adding many more as her leg changes sizes throughout the day. She is on Lasix for her heart problems now, but the number of socks has always flucuated throughout the day.
Srockings and Nightime Sock
My Amazing Mother
My mother worked to get stronger from the day she arrived at our home. She ultimately learned to walk using a cane. She had to sell her car due to her increasingly poor vision last year, so we take her to doctor appointments and for other occasions.
She broke her hip about about 8 years ago, which put her back through physical therapy. She now uses a walker permanently, but she no longer drives, nor plays Bridge. Then, she fell again a few years and broke her pelvis, but she recovered fully. She cannot do much around the house like she once could but lives a full live as much a possible. We will celebrated her 94th birthday in January, 2018.
How a Prosthetic Leg Works
There are more than 1,500 amputees from Iraq and Afghanistan. The prosthesis that the wounded vets often use allow them to run and be much more active than my mother.
Science have made some great advances for these vets. The vets deserve that and more. They still have to make adjustments throughout their day, and at their age they have a long life of living with a deficit. It is amazing to watch some of the vets compete in a race wearing a prosthetic leg. It shows us all that you can overcome difficulties in life.
The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.