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Prosthetics- My Mother Learned to Walk Again

Updated on October 3, 2016
Pamela99 profile image

I have been writing about medical issues and all the new medical advances since spending 22 years in the nursing profession.

My mother

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My photo

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

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My photo

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.

Silicon Liner

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My Photo

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.

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

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My Photo

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 still drives a car and goes to play bridge despite the fact, she has sustained several falls over the years.

She broke her hip about two years ago, which put her back through physical therapy. She now uses a walker permanently, but she still drives and plays Bridge. The, she fell again last year and broke her pelvis, but she recovered fully. She cannot do as much around the house as she once could but lives a full live as much a possible. We will celebrate her 90th birthday in January.

How a Prosthetic Leg Works

Wounded Vets

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.

© 2013 Pamela Oglesby

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  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

    That's amazing Pamela, your mother sounds like an amazing woman to have been able to adapt to her new life change, good luck to her, and thanks for an amazing hub, nell

  • Pamela99 profile image
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    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    Nell Rose, My mother really is a strong woman and has not let all these problems beat her down. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

    God bless your mother! What an uphill battle to fight at her age. She certainly has courage and perseverance we can all admire. I would say she's a bit lucky to have a daughter like you as well. God bless you both.

    Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

  • Pamela99 profile image
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    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    Mary, I appreciate your comments very much. I have always been close to my mother, and she does have a lot of courage. Probably a good example for me. Thank you.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    It is amazing the advancements they have made in this field of medicine, and what is more amazing is your mother....90 years old and still going strong. That is one determined lady for sure.

    Great information, Pamela, and quite a testament of hope and determination.

  • Pamela99 profile image
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    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    Billy, I hope her story inspries others. We were told when she first checked into the rehab cener that they had a young lady who decided she was not going to learn to walk at all, which meant living in a wheel chair for the rest of her life. I am so glad my mother is a fighter and works to still enjoy her daily life. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    This is a great story, Pamela. I admire your mother's determination very much. It's wonderful that she can still do so much in life!

  • MartieCoetser profile image

    Martie Coetser 3 years ago from South Africa

    Oh, the damn errors made by doctors and professional medical staff! The SHOULD be perfect! (Let me dream on!)

    Pamela, your mother is indeed amazing - a role model for all of us. And so are you :)

    Thanks for sharing this most inspiring info about prosthetics and a woman's determination to walk and live again :) I wish your mother the best of happiness and health ahead.

  • Pamela99 profile image
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    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    Alicia, I am so glad she is able to have a life where she can still have friends and enjoy her days. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile image
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    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    Martie, Thank you so much for your comments. They mean so much to me. My mother is certainly a determined woman. Thank you for your best wishes.

  • JannyC profile image

    JannyC 3 years ago

    Awe inspiring. I got teary eyed your mother is so inspiring. Wonderful hub!

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

    What a wonderful story of endurance and determination. I see you in your mother. Prosthetics are so valuable, so many young women and men coming back from the war, giving them the mobility to move and live a better life. Thank you for the info. Well done indeed...

  • Pamela99 profile image
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    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    Janny C. Oh, thank you so much. You are so sweet and I appreciate your comments so much.

  • Pamela99 profile image
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    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    Ruby, I hate to see the numbers coming back from war without their limbs, yet so many have adapted so well to all the new types of devices. My mother is certainly a determined woman. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

    This is a lovely, loving tribute to your strong, determined, beautiful mother, Pamela. Please give her my best regards for continued good health and much happiness.

    You are fortunate to have her still with you, and she is very lucky to have you and your hubby close by. God bless you all.

  • Pamela99 profile image
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    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    drbj, I believe we are all fortunate to have each other. I will give her your regards, and they are much appreciated by us both. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments.

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

    Oh, Pamela,

    How wonderful and such a loving tribute to your precious mother! What a blessing no doubt to be able to move about once again. Wow. Thank you for sharing this wonderful, beautiful and insightful hub here.

    God bless you and your mother, Faith Reaper

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    Faith, I didn't really think my mother would ever walk, let alone drive and play bridge again, so it is a bit of a miracle. Thanks you so much for the comments and the blessing.

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

    Wow, Pamela. I have empathized with those who had prosthetic legs but never really thought about what it meant, you know?

    Your explanation and detail brought it into focus. We take for granted so much. Like you say, we hop up in the morning and rush off to do this and that never thinking it. Your precious Momma has a full plate and it sounds like she faced the mountain and has climbed it.

    Voted up and shared...Angels are on the way to your Momma and to you this evening ps

  • Pamela99 profile image
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    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    Patricia, I think you explained her situation very well. We see the soldiers running with prosthesis and never think about what it takes to take a bath or shower as they need a special chair and so many other things are difficult. My mother has really been a trooper. Thank you so much for your comments. Love the angels and sending some back to you. Sleep well and be blessed.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Incredible progress and you explained so perfectly all the best your mother.

  • Pamela99 profile image
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    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    DDE, Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

    A wonderful and loving hub on how times change and also the great spirit of one very special lady. Thank you for sharing Pamela.

    Eddy.

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    Eddy, What lovely kind words. Thank you so much.

  • fivesenses profile image

    Leena 3 years ago from new delhi

    Really amazing and a very heartwhelming account of things...we all have problems but I cannot even imagine what its like without a leg...wishing you and your brave mother all the very best in life.

  • Pamela99 profile image
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    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    fivesenses, Thank you so much for your very thoughtful comments.

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

    It's wonderful to see this story of successful help for an elderly person who needed an amputation! Your mother is indeed a role model! An aged person's general attitude plays a major role in the adjustments needed, but supportive family members are an equal help. Telling the story of your mother's situation will be helpful to others--thank you.

    As you know, I had to consider the possibility of helping an elderly relative through the process and then living with an amputation. I always felt that with the right help and perspective it would have been a success. Odd thing to say about an amputation, but still true.

    Also, when I was a toddler my parents lived on a Navy base when I was involved in an accident. I'll always be thankful that we were there because in a small town's local hospital (1957) my right arm would have been amputated. Sadly, those doctors had much experience with serious wounds. I am thankful that what they learned from those experiences can be used to benefit others, however. Bravo to you for mentioning that our vets deserve the best care we can provide them.

  • Pamela99 profile image
    Author

    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    RTalloni, Once my mother got osteomyelitie (bone infection of MRSA), we found to save her leg for a whole year. Once she had the amputation she got her life back. I always appreciate your commetns so much.

    It is so fortunate that you arm was saved when you were a child. I love pets also, so that is a no-brainer. Thanks.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

    We just can't watch close enough how the elderly get treated. Your mother was so lucky to have you looking over her.

  • Pamela99 profile image
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    Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

    Jackie, I hate reading about elder abuse, and knowing some have it so tough. I appreciate your comments.

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