Road Glide banner

1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,384 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,384 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
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-solutions/products/dynamic-solutions/pro-flex-xc
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,384 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,384 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
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/prosthetics/lower-limb-prosthetics/solution-overview/empower-ankle/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,384 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
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.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,384 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,312 Posts
Thank you sir for your service and sacrifice! My prayers are that if an almost perfect ankle (hope that’s not a stupid thing to say) is not yet available it will be in the very near future!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,627 Posts
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??? >:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
467 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,384 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
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??? >:)

I got my little fur buddy about the time I couldn't walk much anymore and he is a great lap dog. He's a great alarm but I am not sure how much of a bite he will have.

Yes we all have challenges that we have to overcome. Some are just different. I like to share to try to help people understand what an amputee is going thru. If you aren't an amputee most wouldn't even know that there are so many options out there.

I currently use a pin lock system to keep my prosthetic connected to my limb. And because I ride a motorcycle it presents a challenge for my prosthesis. He has to move the release for the pin lock to the front of my socket instead of the standard position on the inside of the socket. The reason for this is because with the pin lock release on the inside of the leg it will hit the air cleaner and your prosthetic can come loose or actually fall off. I had a socket with the release on the inside of the leg and my socket did become loose because I hit the air cleaner.

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.
One of the things I have done is move my floorboards out 3/4" and I am going to have Soft Brake make me a custom rear brake lever. Because you can't feel with your foot any longer you now have to glance down and see where your foot is sometimes. I drive my truck using my right foot for the gas and my left to brake with. I have a restricted license now for automatics only. And the other restriction is that I have to wear my prosthetic to drive or ride my bike. :laugh::grin::smile:


I hope everyone finds this interesting and as I said before I am willing to answer any questions if I can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,384 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
And just to add my dog was my first small dog I have ever owned. As a kid I lived in Alaska and had a dog team of Huskies. I owned 20 dogs at the time.





Kuwait March, 2004 with my company commander next to me. I was the 1SG for my unit.



Iraq Aug 2004 chewing my company out for something they did wrong.



Don't piss Top off as he will put you in the front leaning rest position.



I lived on Red Man chewing tobacco, cigars and coffee for about 9 months. I was working 18-20 hour days 7 days a week.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,384 Posts
Discussion Starter #17

·
Registered
Joined
·
546 Posts
Awesome story, thanks for sharing. Being a vet and seeing plenty of people with prosthetics often wondered how that would work

You also look familiar. The Iraq Picts look like victory base
I was there in O4 where where you stationed and what did your unit do?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,630 Posts
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...
That last part speaks volumes to your character my friend......so many would have been disgruntled yet your view is that of greater discipline........well done Sir - You are the type of man I one day hope to see my Son grow up to be
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top