Monday, September 27, 2010

September 29.2010

I'm at the Penn Stater Hotel - having spent the afternoon working at my "part-time job". Drove up this morning - 140 miles - an about half way up I wondered if it wouldn't be easier if I took the prosthetic off. Everything feels crammed in the small floor space in the driver's side of the Prius. Stopped at a sane place and removed prosthetic and hit the road again. Must say it was a rainy and foggy trip - although when I could see the trees through the rain and fog, I realized fall was here and the colors were approaching glorious. Between the goldenrod in full bloom and the trees changing, it is a beautiful place. But back to the leg removal - this was the second time I had driven without the prosthetic in place. My immediate sense was one of vulnerability. Sort of like - I need that leg on to do whatever needs to be done. Not true of course because it is pretty useless and in the way on the road. Anyway, I must have gotten over that because I ended up playing "you pass me then I'll pass you" with a truck moving logs that was going 85 downhill and in the 60s up hill. When he was in front of me, the water coming off the back of him made it really hard to see. I think I finally got ahead of him - left him someplace in front of someone else.

That's the drive. I guess I 'got over it honey", the vulnerability thing that is. And I'll bet it happens again.

So, what's the learning on this trip? (Last trip was more learning about the bathroom at night. That learning was, move out of bed when you wake up, put the leg on, and go into the bathroom. Don't lie in bed half awake waiting for the urge to become urgent. Just get up, put on prosthesis, and do it). This trip I have forgotten the second gel liner. I have two gel liners for the residual limb. I wash one every morning and hang it to dry for the next day. So, I washed my gel liner this morning, hung it to dry, and forgot to take it with me. That means I only have the one I am wearing. I need to figure out how to "dry-clean" this one, so that I am not putting a sweat covered liner back on for two days. I think I can do this with baby wipes (which I did remember to bring - I wipe down the limb each nite after I take off the days liner).

I am getting better at living with this prosthesis every day, but I don't have it quite mastered yet. Probably never will - as usual - this is a journey, not a destination.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 15, 2010

I'm in Seattle visiting my friend, Jacqueline. Did my airplane run on Sunday. Overslept and missed the airport shuttle that was at my house at 4:45 am. Did not hear them calling on cell phone, which, of course, was downstairs and I was upstairs asleep. Woke up at 5:20 am and worried that I could make plane leaving at 7:10 am. Was out of house and in my car by 5:40 am. I had pretty much packed the night before. No time for a shower. Surprised that I could get body with leg organized that quickly. Made the flight with little time to spare. Security took a bit longer than usual. I have been wanded forever because of metal body parts but they did that little rub down test on prosthesis to check for explosives.

On the flight from Charlotte to Seattle, residual limb felt as if it was swelling some. I guess that's not surprising as body parts do swell up on long plane rides. I was reluctant to take off prosthesis for fear it would be clumsy getting it back on. Need to figure that out - perhaps on trip home.

Jacqueline and I are simply hanging out, lunching out with friends, talking a lot, reading some, and simply enjoying being with each other. And tomorrow I head for the Oregon coast.

Enterprise Car Rental is ready for me in Portland with car with left foot gas pedal. They have called me to confirm. Wonder if the pedal is similar to the one I have on the two vehicles at home. I hope so.

And that's my quick update from the northwest. Blogs are not nearly as interesting as life returns to a more ordinary state.

Oh - when I get home I get fit for a new socket for my prosthesis. Residual limb has shrunk such that current socket can't be adjusted any further. This could happen a few times before I settle in to my more "permanent" socket. Then, will I have a leg made that looks a bit more like a leg? I think I have asked that question before. Answer still not clear.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Another quick update. I put on real shoes this week. I took by SAS clogs to PT and worked to see if I could walk with them and the prosthetic. The answer is yes. So now besides the two pairs of New Balance sneakers I have been wearing for what seems like forever, I have added two pair of clogs to my footwear. Feels good!!

And the next news is that I went to see Bobby, prosthetist, to have socket made a bit tighter. It was getting wobbly, and I was up to 10 ply in terms of prosthetic socks. Bobby put a lot of stuff in the socket to make it tighter, but he says it is time to be refitted. So, he's gone next week and I'm gone for the two weeks after. When we are both back we cast the leg again, and use the cast to build the next prosthetic socket. (This could happen three or four times (or even more) before I am finally settled in my lifetime leg. It's because the residual limb shrinks from the continued pressure of the gel liner and the socket - and this is a good thing. I'm hoping a socket that's a little smaller will be a little lighter and also allow me to be a little less clumsy in some of my movements. Interesting question is "can we make this next socket low enough behind the knee that I can ride a stationary bike?' Don't know the answer but need to remember to ask Bobby.

The stationary bike thing is about building endurance. Mine is not great. I can walk for about twenty minutes and I am done in. I have tried the upright and the recumbent stationary bike and neither works. Simply can't move the knee to where it needs to go because the prosthetic hits the back and stops the movement. So, right now I am using the arm bicycle. Therapists say when I come back from journeying, we are going to try the pool - put me in with a flotation device, and have me treading water.

I've had a really busy week - lots of good friends to see and things to do. I'm heading back to work part time as soon as I return from my two week vacation (starts 9/12) and I want to return to my quilts. So life continues to be almost always interesting, often a treat, and some of the time, a serious challenge.