It doesn’t hurt, but it does feel odd

“That’s not your final foot. Your foot is still coming from overseas,” the prosthetist, Carl told me today, while he and a colleague, Will prepared the materials for another casting session.

Many of my friends keep asking me if this leg is my final one, and my response has consistently been, “Not quite yet.” I think there’s an assumption an artificial limb is just one “thing”. In fact, the prosthetic leg comprises several crucial components, including the socket, joint, limb, and a connector.

Last week’s fitting was akin to a “first draft.” Since then, we’ve been carefully monitoring my limb for any signs of discomfort, such as red marks or sweating, which could indicate pressure points.

The prosthetist explained that even last week’s fitting wasn’t an exact replica of my leg based on the initial casting. He anticipated changes in my leg size between the casting and last week’s fitting, so adjustments were made accordingly.

Preparing the mixture

Today, he didn’t perform a straightforward casting of my leg for these adjustments. Instead, he created a mixture of fast-setting material to fill the limb and then casted it based on this mixture. I couldn’t help but joke that it looked like one of the desserts we have at the hospital, with the assistant prosthetist saying that it resembled panna cotta.

Today’s mixture setting inside my current limb.

Once the mould was ready, they carefully wrapped it in plaster bandages once again. Now, they will commence crafting a new limb, and hopefully, it will be ready for me to wear sometine soon.

One significant improvement, I was told, will be the weight of the limb; it will be much lighter.

Today, Carl also asked me to choose the color of my new leg. Despite friends’ various suggestions, I’ve decided to play it safe and opted for a “pasty-skinned white guy” color.

The mixture has set, and is about to be wrapped in a plaster bandage.

To prepare me for leaving the hospital, which I hope to do next Tuesday, the intensity of my physiotherapy sessions has increased significantly. The twice-daily 30-minute sessions with the leg on, which include gym exercises, have now been extended to twice-daily 45-minute sessions. And maybe more over the next few days?

These sessions involve walking back and forth on parallel bars, as well as practicing walking around the room with crutches. I’ve also been mastering the art of stepping up and down stairs.

In between these sessions, I’m encouraged to keep my limb on for as long as possible to acclimatise my remaining leg to the sensation.

“Does it hurt at all?” has been a common question asked here at the hospital. My answer has fairly consistently been “No, it doesn’t hurt, it just feels odd”.

2 Replies to “It doesn’t hurt, but it does feel odd”

  1. I listened to an interesting ABC podcast about amputees today. I guess you have heard it.

    We will be in Sydney in mid October but after my all things Google deletion of last year, I don’t have an email address for you. If you could send an email to andrewhighriser1 at the gmail thingie address, maybe we can catch up.

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