Questions for fellow BK amputees.
T. C. Harp
tcharp1 at cox.net
Sun Jun 9 09:35:59 PDT 2002
Well Greg, let's take these questions one at a time.
I'm a very active Right BK and I'm right handed. I'm not as tall as
you, but I'm fatter. I weigh 230lbs. I was an Iron worker before my
accident. Mostly high steel welding. This is a job that required
extreme balance. I also ski as often as I can get to it. I ride my
motorcycle pretty much constantly. I never ran very much.
Three people told me that it is too bad that I lost
my right leg since I am right handed. They told me that
my right foot is my dominate foot and since I lost it,
all my balance will never be the same,
I'm thinkin' they must be giving you the worst case scenario. I have
not had any major problems with balance. I have only fallen once in the
two years since my amputation and that was because my leg fell off when
I hadn't properly installed it. (hint: do not try to quickly get to
telephone when in the shower. Call them back.)
I will have more problems with proprioception or knowing where
prosthetic foot is in space, I will stumble more, and I
will always need to have a car with a automatic transmission and
a major modification to the accelerator pedal or I cannot drive
Everyone is different, but I find that I have very little problem
knowing where my foot is in space. Hell, it right where it should be
No, I don't stumble any more now than before my amputation. Probably
less as I have quit drinking.
Neither of my vehicles is modified from stock in any way. I took my
drivers license test in my '97 Chev pickup. No problem. I work the gas
peddle with my prosthesis and the brake with my left foot. The only
drawback is that I cannot floor it. Saves gas and tickets. My Harley
is likewise unmodified with regard to driving controls.
When taking the Motorcycle safety course, I received the highest score
in the class on the driving portion of the test. My Texas license has
no restrictions on what equipment I need to drive either vehicle and
makes no mentions of my prosthetic limb.
This really makes me mad that I was not given
that information before I made the decision to amputate
and since the accident I drive all the time with my left
foot and an automatic. Are all the negative things they
said about me being a right BK amputee versus a left BK
amputee correct? Why does it matter which foot is
amputated when it comes to wearing and walking with a
prosthesis? I have checked and have found that I will
be able to pilot a plane again. However, I also have a
need to drive vehicles with standard transmissions. I
cannot afford to adapt every vehicle I drive with
special features if it is true that a right BK cannot
drive without this. Also, what about rental cars as I
travel fairly often?
I drive my girlfriends 2000 Mustang often and the only problem I have
found is getting into and out of that little sucker
Another question is why both prosthetists were really
shocked that I did not have a bone bridge done in my
stump. It is called a ertyled fusion or something really
close. They said I could have it done later since I have
a longer stump than most amputees. They told me it would
be necessary if I want to run any distance and I am a
runner at heart. What is this procedure and why did my
surgeon not do it? The prosthetist thought it was
because my surgeon was too old and behind the times. He
is around 50 y/o and I thought he did a neat job, but I
have only dealt with one stump up close and that is
There are only selected doctors that do this procedure. It is nice, but
usually you can get by without it. Most BK amputation are not done
using the Ertl procedure. It can be done latter, but the healing time
is 6 weeks.
Also, because of my size and build, they said
prosthetics are just not made
for people like me and they will likely only last half
the length of time as a smaller person. They told me
that running is likely to cause many problems with my
size and that without the bone bridge, I will need a
much more accurate fit in the socket and still may not
be able to run. I will search the world to find someone
to make a leg for me to run with since that is
something I really enjoy. Why is it that all the
amputees I have seen on the
internet are shown running and participating in the
Olympics and they do fine while I will have nothing but
trouble? The prosthetist told me that I would need
a "sloppy fit" liner like a
TECH because it is more forgiving for me not having the
bone bridge and due to my build. The silicone liners
require too tight a fit and my stump will not allow
that. Why not?
Because of your size (and mine) we have a smaller group of prosthetics
to choose from. My case is more pronounced due to the length of my
stump. I use a low-profile Flexfoot VSP and I have found NO activity,
including jogging and skiing, that I cannot perform. I haven't tried
water skiing yet, but I'm sure I can do it if I can keep my leg on in
I have been told by other members to forget about the
bridge because it is not a time tested procedure and
they feel it offers nothing a plain old BK does. I do
not know, but I do not want to have more surgery and
start all over again unless I absolutely must. The
issue about driving a car and a right BK is obviously a
big deal to me.
Any help in any of this will be greatly appreciated.
You should probably talk to another CP. These guys you're talking too
seem to be real downers. I don't think they are giving you correct
The most important thing to remember is that no one knows what you will
be able to do except you. Don't let anyone limit your drive or desire.
If you want to do something, there is a way.
Hang in there. Try to make it to Anaheim in July. It will open your
TC in TX
RBK, 3/00, I-beam
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