Today I was walking into the Quik Trip and I felt something weird in my right leg. I look down and something seemed loose. I took another step and I began to stumble and I thought, “Oh no, I broke my foot.” This has happened before but usually I hear a loud snap first. This time the only thing I heard was me saying, “Ahhhhh!”, as I fell to the ground. What the heck was going on?
First, I looked down to see what happened and then the guy at the cash register of the gas station was standing over me with a look of concern and possible horror as my right leg was twisted and hanging about 3 inched off where it should be. He asked, “Are you ok?” And I told him, “Yes, my socket had come loose” and that only made him cringe, probable because a socket to him meant dislocation and for me it was just my prosthetic liner separating from my body. I said, “I’m not in pain and agreed to let him pick me up.” I dusted myself off, collected my pride, took a few ginger steps to be sure my leg was secure again and continued with my day.
I tell this story for a few reasons. One it’s nice when someone offers you some help, it wasn’t a crowd of people but at least I wasn’t just left there on the ground. I think people worry about helping others sometimes especially disabled people because they think I going to be a grumpy old man and tell them, “Leave me alone, I can do it myself!” I can’t think of a time I have ever turned down help when I needed it and sometimes even when I didn’t but knew the person asking was being truly kind.
The other interesting thing is how my leg fell off.
Over the course of a year I have switched from a high fat and carb diet to one consisting mostly of vegetables and lacking anything processed and I have lost 15 pounds. While that is a great thing for my health, it comes with its problems. Besides most of my pants being a little more roomy my prosthetic legs are roomy as well.
Those in the amputee community know about something called shrinkage, which is the reduction in size of the limb that has been amputated. This is common in recent amputees due to reduced swelling after surgery and reduced muscle in the limb due to a lack of use. It not that the person isn’t active but if the limb is half missing there are some muscles that won’t be used.
Well that isn’t the case for me. My muscles are firm and I don’t have excess tissue or swelling and I try to remain active. The problem is they tend to be the first part of my body that gets fat and in reverse also lose fat and water rather quickly.
In any case, it is a simple fix of putting tightening slants between the liner and the hard socket but it was funny just the same. So despite my efforts to eat healthy and take care of myself I was actually adding to the risk of falling over due to my prosthetics being too loose. The good news is I’m ok and looking healthy.