Author Topic: Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)  (Read 9188 times)

Offline lucky1304

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Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)
« on: October 23, 2008, 08:53:39 AM »
Hi all,
I was reading some posts here yesterday because we had a family meeting with the prosthetists yesterday and I was trying to get a feel for what type of knee most AKAs prefer. Of course, I quickly realized that it's pretty variable....

My brother M is 31 years old and was hit by a car two weeks ago. He was on the shoulder of the highway and had left the car to check a tire. He was hit and didn't see a thing. The doctors couldn't save his left leg. It was amputated above the knee. The real kicker is that he doesn't have medical insurance. His medicaid application is currently being processed.

My brother is doing really well. He is being released from the rehab facility tomorrow. We had a meeting yesterday to talk about prosthetics. I think the staff (PTs, doctor) were really pushing for the C Leg, but Medicaid will not pay for it (big shock, right?). But then it talking to the prosthetists yesterday it sounds like the C Leg has some limitations that a mechincal leg does not? It's all sort of confusing, and although the prosthetists were extremely helpful and my brother is supposed to be at one of the best rehab places in the country, I'm a bit confused. I tried to do some research last night but didn't find much out there from other amputees, which is the kind of information that seems like it would be the most useful?

Other than all this, can any of you speak to what I can do to help support my brother as he goes through the process of rehab? His spirits are very good right now, and he says he feels lucky to be alive. But I worry that he may hit some down periods in the coming months and I want to know how best to support him in this journey. Any tips or insight you guys have would be helpful. This has been a lot of info for all of us to absorb!

Offline lucky1304

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One more question
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2008, 09:02:53 AM »
If you can offer any good resources for my brother and me to read/review, I'd appreciate that as well!!

Offline Oneblueleg

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Re: Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2008, 09:20:06 AM »
Here's a manual you may find interesting...

http://www.oandp.com/resources/patientinfo/manuals/akindex.htm

It's a big subject and can only really be something which can be dealt with by knowing your brother and seeing what requirements he has, what abilities he has, other injuries etc. The type of stump will come into it too, whether it's long or short etc.


Offline lucky1304

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Re: Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2008, 09:30:49 AM »
Thanks! That does look helpful. I sent the link to my dad as well. Appreciate the help!

snowbear

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Re: Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2008, 01:11:28 PM »
Hello and welcome! I hope you find some useful information. Many thoughts are with your brother. Hes lucky to have you looking out for him. :)

Offline pyourke

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Re: Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2008, 03:07:11 PM »
Welcome... I had a similar accident 35 years ago and lost both legs above the knee. I currently use Mauch knees and have for many years. I've read that C legs aren't recommended as your first ones, but maybe someone that uses them can comment.
Peter
BAK since '74

Offline Steve C

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Re: Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2008, 03:19:19 PM »
Welcome. I am a BKA (below knee amputee) so my hardware/legs will be different. Being as young as he is is a plus really. He'll bounce back just fine. As you mentioned their will be tough times. Physically and emotionally. There will be days where it seems like 1 step forward and 10 steps back. I wouldn't have himself work himself too hard at first. If he gets a blister he can't wear the leg.
While in the hospital I learned to write down everything. My questions and their answers. I'd be waiting to ask them something and they'd step in the room and I'd forget the question.

Where ever I go, I'll always have one foot in Ireland   /   I'm not a complete fool. Some parts are missing.

Offline Joe A.

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Re: Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2008, 04:21:15 PM »
Don't assume that any hardware is better because it's new or costs the most. The choice in hardware is a very unique issue that takes into consideration many known and variable planes of geometry. Talk to the Prosthetist and ask about upcoming trade events offering "M" as a fit model which could result in a free limb.

Also look into, "Stubbies". These are leg products for AK's that don't use any knee at all. They are very inexpensive to make and most practitioners will have a foot or two laying around that they may part with.

Support "M" not matter what he wants to do and remember that not all amputation survivors ride a prostheses at all. Many are quite happy using wheelchairs or crutches which he's going to need to keep around anyway. It's his choice. Don't let someone who's probably getting a kickback from the hospital for the referral decide or put pressure on him in any direction.
Private discussions regardless of topic are welcome by writing to kapunui@windstream.com

Offline Oneblueleg

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Re: Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2008, 05:24:14 PM »
Many are quite happy using wheelchairs or crutches which he's going to need to keep around anyway. It's his choice.

By the way, I've been a Right AKA for over twenty five years and in all that time I've not used a wheelchair or crutches... never had the need to...  just an artificial leg...

snowbear

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Re: Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2008, 08:22:07 PM »
Many are quite happy using wheelchairs or crutches which he's going to need to keep around anyway. It's his choice.

By the way, I've been a Right AKA for over twenty five years and in all that time I've not used a wheelchair or crutches... never had the need to...  just an artificial leg...


Same with me. Once I got the leg the wheelchair went in the basement and has stayed there for 5 years now. I'm LBK for 5 years now due to complications from a birth defect.

Offline lucky1304

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Re: Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2008, 08:31:32 PM »
By the way, I've been a Right AKA for over twenty five years and in all that time I've not used a wheelchair or crutches... never had the need to...  just an artificial leg...

This is something I'd been wondering about, so it's interesting to see it addressed here. I asked the PTs how most AKAs get around and they did say either crutches or their prosthetic. My brother is VERY eager to get his prosthetic. But I have a friend who is a PT that has worked with amputees, and she has warned me that the fitting/learning process can be frustrating. I'm not sure if my brother thinks he'll be able to put it on and just go....

It's interesting--his prosthetist wears a prosthetic. I guess she was born without a limb, but I'm not sure how high up her prosthetic goes. She was wearing pants when I met her, and I didn't even know until someone mentioned it later.

I think the two knee choices they presented were the C-Leg and the Mauch. I'm not positive about the Mauch though. They were calling it something that started with an "M," so close to Mauch but it almost sounded like it also had an "L" in it. But they were also calling it the S & S. It sure it a lot to absorb!

My brother is being released from the rehab hospital (he's at RIC in Chicago) tomorrow. So strange. It's only been TWO weeks since the accident. I can't believe that two weeks ago he was in the ICU on a ventilator and now he's being released.  It's something else.

I appreciate all the help you guys have offered!

Offline Steve C

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Re: Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2008, 03:03:25 AM »
I would tend to use crutches the odd time and the chair a bit less. I find I cannot carry even a cup of coffee when using crutches which would make me use the chair. I like being self sufficient and not have to ask someone to bring me things.

He will learn how to walk again using the prosthesis. Learning to walk is not done in one day. He'll wear it for a little bit one day and get used to it. He may have spots that get sore and the leg will need to adjusted. Then he'll take it off till the next day where he'll wear it a bit longer. He'll learn how to walk on inclines, steps etc. Chances are he will over do it one day and may need to not wear the leg for a few days while a abrasion heals. It will feel like the end of the world but we all go through it. At least I did.

As far as 'hopping around' to get places. I was always told not to. It puts alot of strain on the ankle. When you only got one, take care of it.
Where ever I go, I'll always have one foot in Ireland   /   I'm not a complete fool. Some parts are missing.

Offline Oneblueleg

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Re: Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2008, 05:15:40 AM »
OK lucky, an S&S is a version of a cylinder that controls swing and stance, hence the S&S... it's a hydraulic cylinder held in a carbon fibre frame. It controls stability through the stance phase of the gait cycle and swing through the swing phase. The other type of hydraulic cylinder is swing only, which is for higher activity use, it doesn't stabilise on the stance phase.
These are made by two main manufacturers, Mauch and Catech (Catech cylinders are used in a product known as Mercury Hi Activity frame, this might be the M word if it wasn't Mauch).

Offline herb

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Re: Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2008, 09:08:55 PM »
Hi Lucky - here is a link to the amputee coalition of america.
http://www.amputee-coalition.org/
They can provide a lot of helpful info and can put you in tough with local amputees who can help him get used to his new situation. If he has a skilled prosthetist and the right training, he should be walking quickly. My prosthetist had me walking between parallel bars set at waist height moments after i first put on my prosthesis. I used a mauch knee for years and was very happy with it. I currently use the c-leg knee and it is definitely an improvement over the mauch, but it is quite expensive. You may be able to find prosthetic components on ebay or find prosthetics that are not being used for little or no money. If you list on this site what your brother needs, somebody may have just what he needs that they are not using anymore. Peglegs are very inexpensive to make and could help your brother walk until he gets insurance again. I use a pegleg when I go swimming, or boating, or skiing. Good luck, Herb

Offline chrysochloridae

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Re: Introducing myself (my brother is a recent AKA)
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2008, 11:45:53 AM »
think the staff (PTs, doctor) were really pushing for the C Leg, but Medicaid will not pay for it (big shock, right?). But then it talking to the prosthetists yesterday it sounds like the C Leg has some limitations that a mechincal leg does not?

Hey Lucky,

The C-leg certainly is a fantastic piece of kit, but (like with all prostheses) it does have its limitations. The limitations being its battery life (once the batteries run out then the leg defaults to having no movement at all - so you walk with a stiff leg); Water is another limitation, although you shouldn't really take any prosthesis in water, the C-leg is exceptionally vulnerable to moisture frying the microprocessor (unless you pay another small fortune for the plastic 'rain protector' to go over it)! Other big disadvantage is that your warranty is void if you don't have it serviced twice per year by an Otto Bock Registered Technician - this can be a VERY costly business!

The current trend (in the UK) for high activity limbs for Military Personnel (as far as i am aware) is to use a Hydraulic knee such as the Otto Bock 3R80, Endolite KX06 or Ossur Mauch (i think the reason is that they are preferred is because they are easier to service than a Computer Controlled knee - the last thing you want when your running away from the Taliban is for the battery to give out!)   

Have they given your bro an idea about Socket, knee or foot type yet?