Life as an amputee, there is one....... - Road Glide Forums
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Life as an amputee, there is one.......

So I get asked all the time by people is I am happy I had my amputation done and if I would do it all over again? My answer to them is always HELL YES. Before my amputation I had a daily pain level of a 4-6 and that was with taking a TON TON TON of pain medications. I was taking so many pain meds that I would stop breathing when I would sleep which messed up my sleep to the point I would only sleep for 20-40 minutes at a time. I was hurting so much I had stopped walking or standing due to the pain and gained weight to where I was weighing 300lbs at one point. I'm not short but at 5'10" tall it was not a good weight for me.

To explain more I need to tell you why I was in all this pain.
I was deployed to Iraq in 2004 and on 19 Oct 2004 my life changed completely. A soldier who wasn't trained on a machine gun tried to load it and had what the military calls a ND (negligent discharge). 9 rounds went off and luckily I was the only soldier hit. The bullet went thru my right leg approx. 1" above my knee where it shattered my femur, severed my femoral artery & damaged my perineal nerve to my lower leg.

So being a new amputee I am still learning all about how things work and all the options available to me. Back in December I had asked the VA about getting a different ankle because my current one throw my knee around when I am walking on uneven ground. There isn't any currently available ankles on the market that can duplicate all the movement of your real ankle. This is always one of the issues when you have an amputation either below the knee (BKA) or above the knee (AKA) and you use which leg first initial to indicate which leg so I am a RBKA.

So back to the VA. I had asked about getting a different ankle because right now I have what is called a Fix Ankle Prosthetic.
So the VA enrolled me in a 3 foot/ankle study where I am going to get to try out 3 different types/styles of ankles. I went to the VA last week to get fitted to each of the new sockets and to get my height dialed in on each new ankle. On a random selection it was decided which ankle I came home with last week. And as luck would have it I came home with the same ankle I have been using up til now. This coming Tuesday I will be going back and coming home with a different ankle. I do this for 3 weeks and then after wearing each ankle for a week and giving my evaluation of what I liked and disliked.

So now my other two ankles are:
1) Mechanical/Hydraulic
2) Computerized/Electronic: Biggest issue with this ankle is that the charge on it will only last 4-6 hours depending on how much you use it. You do have spare batteries but I'm thinking on a camping trip how I would recharge the battery. And you can not get it wet like you can either of the other two ankles.

Since I haven't worn either of these other two ankles but for about 20 minutes each I can't say what I think of them yet. From the short time I was allowed to wear them I liked the mechanical one better. The computerized ankle weighed a lot more than either of the other two. The only way I can explain it is for you to wear a 4 or 5 lb ankle weight on one leg for a day. Imagine swinging that much weight off the bottom of your leg every time you are walking.
Once I have worn each ankle for a week I then go home with all three ankles for a month. They will each have step counters on them to monitor which one I wear the most. Then I go back and give them an evaluation on all three, unfortunately I do not get to keep all three ankles when the study is over with but it does give me the chance to try 3 different ankles out. And when the study is done with then I can make an educated decision on which ankle I would like to have next.

So I forgot to explain my current ankle/foot. It is a fixed ankle meaning it doesn't have any bend to front or back. Nor any side to side. If I lived in the city it would most likely be a good ankle for me 90% of the time. It is made with 2 carbon fiber blades that loop under to act like leaf springs so that when you walk on it the force of your weight compresses the blades to help you walk easier.

I'll continue this in a short. It will be multiple posts since I can only do 8 pic's at a time.

WILDMAN

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Here is an x-ray of my right leg. There are 12 screws holding my femur together plus bone from my right hip when they did a bone graft. BTW that hurt more than being shot.



Here is what my original ankle looks like. It is a mini carbon blade like the ones you see on TV when the person is running.







I forgot to take a picture of this setup on the scale but with the socket, pilon, foot, cover & hiking boot it weighs 5lbs 0oz. Why does this matter? Because most of the weight is down low so when you walk you are having to swing that weight at the end of your leg. So put a 5lb ankle weight on your leg and walk around with it for a day.

This ankle is made by Ossur and is called a Pro-Flex AC: https://www.ossur.com/prosthetic-sol...ns/pro-flex-xc

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Last edited by Wildman; 06-25-2019 at 12:40 PM.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Now the second ankle I got to test out was a mechanical ankle that has 8* of motion. Man let me tell you I was IN LOVE the minute I got to walk on this as it allowed me to have some flex where I hadn't had any before.









Now this ankle weighed 5lbs 3oz so it wasn't that much heavier than the ankle I had been wearing.

This ankle is also made by Ossur and is called a K2 Sensation: https://www.ossur.com/prosthetic-sol...ith-dp-flexion

WILDMAN

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Last edited by Wildman; 06-25-2019 at 01:04 PM.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Now is where the FUN begins, I get to wear a powered ankle. When I started this study I thought I was really going to like a computerized ankle since I am a little techie now and then. This ankle is made by Ottobock and is battery powered. This ankle because of how much it weighs I did take pictures of on a scale.
Again I weighed it as a complete prosthetic or as I say "My Leg"



7lbs 9.7oz!!! That is a lot of extra weight hanging off the end of my limb.
The battery only last 4 hours if being used continuously. The next issue is that while it is water resistance it can not be submerged in water. I would guess trying to ride my bike with this ankle wouldn't be fun either and if it was raining it might damage it. They give you spare batteries but they are also heavy and you have to carry the charger around and it doesn't have a 12V adapter.



The battery alone weighs 11.3oz so having to carry the 2 spare batteries is just a PAIN.











So as you can see this ankle is also VERY large and all that weight is down low. The added weight was making my back hurt and I didn't walk as much during the week I was wearing this ankle. But it was interesting to get to experiance and try this ankle out.

This ankle is made by Ottobock and is called an Empower: https://www.ottobockus.com/prostheti...empower-ankle/

WILDMAN

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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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After testing each ankle out I was given all three "LEGS" and allowed to bring them all home. And then I got to choose which ankle I wanted to wear each day.





Guess which ankle I wore during the month I got to test all three ankles out.

Yep, the K2 ankle was my favorite during this time. I wore it the whole time and really liked it. Having that articulation made me walk smoother and I felt allowed me to traverse uneven ground better.

Because I liked the K2 so much after I was done with this study I asked to get a mechanical type ankle as my next ankle. This is one of the good things about the VA. They will try to accommodate you if they can and if there is a valid reason for it. Becasue I was doing this study I was researching other ankle on the market currently plus I happened to run into a Ossur rep one day while I was at the VA. After talking about my life style and what my activities were he suggested I check out the Ossur Pro-Flex Pivot. This ankle had 27* of motion. Lucky for me the VA here in Seattle happen to have a Pivot for trial so I was fitted with this ankle at the end of my study.







And at 5lb 7oz it really isn't that much heavier than the other ankles I had been wearing. I've been wearing this ankle now for a month and just LOVE it. Until you don't have that flex of an ankle you can't understand just how great it is to get it back even if it is only so much.

On 13 May 2019 I took my skill test to get my endorsement back. I had my leg amputated on 14 May 2018. So just one year later I was back riding my motorcycle. And here is a little more info. I weighed 276lbs when I went in for my amputation. One year later I am down to 230lbs and I haven't changed my diet at all. Just being able to be active again has allowed me to lose that weight.
Here I am riding my RGU for the first time since my amputation. This was on 29 April 2019.

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WILDMAN

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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Why did I make this thread?

For a few reasons.

1) To let people know what having something like this happen to you doesn't mean you can't do the things you did before.

2) I think a lot of people assume once something like this happens to you that you aren't able to do a lot of the things you did before. So this might educate some folks.

3) There are many amputees out there who ride and I wanted to share for them so maybe they might try out different ankles on the market.


This is me 3 months after my amputation walking my dog when I had come over to visit my mom.



If you have any questions please ask and I will try to answer them for you.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 01:43 PM
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Thank you sir for your service and sacrifice! My prayers are that if an almost perfect ankle (hope thatís not a stupid thing to say) is not yet available it will be in the very near future!
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 01:48 PM
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Awesome news about the endorsement. Glad your new prosthetic is working out for you.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 02:18 PM
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I thought that was interesting. And I have to get it out of my system to say that I hate you have to mess with all of that at all. And I have to say that I think it was a great idea to post this as info for others. Your challenge came to you in a unique way - glad you survived! - but I've come to know that a WHOLE LOT OF US eventually have major challenges to adapt to (speaking from experience) and I think you're laying out a great model to follow for others. Great to see you riding again and best of wishes with this and future ankles.

I assume the dog is for protection???
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 02:32 PM
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Thank you for your service. Very good info. I know of a couple amputee's that ride in my area and I always wondered how they did it.
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