As always, if you would like to start my amputee journey from the beginning click here
Unfortunately, it’s been difficult writing recently. I’ve had a lot of issues with my prosthetics, which nearly always leads to problems with my skin. I thought I should probably touch on this now, as it might explain my writing inconsistencies, but also, it’s probably an issue I’m always going to have, as are most amputees. Even though it’s taking me off the timeline a little.
I’m going to jump ahead slightly about my prosthetics, just so that my point of this post makes sense. But I will get back on track, I promise.
I was talking about my first private prosthetic in my last post, which at the time, was way better than my NHS one. We still had plenty of issues with it though. Each week I would go back to Pace with the check socket, and I would tell them that I’m getting a little bit of rubbing on the side of my knee, or it was rubbing some skin off on the back of my calf. And they would make a small adjustment to the plastic, then I would wear it for a few days to a week, before going back with more issues.
I was and still am very sensitive to small changes made to the socket. I can tell if a new prosthetic is a millimetre short or to tall, much to my prosthetists dismay.
I had check sockets for a long time, I even had more surgery on my leg, which essentially puts you back to the beginning, and it took about a year after that to get a definitive socket made. What I’m trying to get at, is that I have had a lot more socket issues than you normally would have according to my prosthetists.
Due to even more surgery on my leg in March 2022, and funding issues, I currently only have one finalised carbon fibre socket. I recently got my walking leg back with a check socket and it has caused loads of problems with my stump.
The day I got it, it was rubbing, so I was on and off it, switching to and from my finished activity leg. But because it had caused skin issues and some bruising this meant my finished leg also started irritating it.
I ended up with a lot of rubbing right down the front at the end of my fibula after a walk making it really painful. I had to keep my leg off, letting the air get to it for about a week until it settled down. And I don’t do well sitting still anymore, I’ve done far too much of that.
I managed to get back up and about a bit and took my walking leg back to have some adjustments made. Unfortunately, after going for another walk, it rubbed in the same place even worse than before, putting me back in my wheelchair and sitting on the sofa.
The first week wasn’t too bad, I managed to keep myself busy to a degree, but after getting mobile and then set back for another week, my head just went.
This is something that is hard to explain, and even harder to talk about. My main coping mechanism is being physically active and when I can’t be due to no fault of my own, I really take a hit. I’m sure I won’t be alone in the amputee community in this either, but I think it’s something able bodied people aka, “Norms” won’t really get.
When I am on a prosthetic without many issues I can function in society, reasonably, like anyone else. And I start to get used to it and adapt to what issues I do have. Then out of nowhere the use of my prosthetic is taken away and I’m thrown back into the world of being completely disabled again. Back in a wheelchair, back on crutches, with the shoulder issues I have flaring up. Bored and frustrated.
Every time I am forced off my leg and back into this disabled world, it’s like I have to come to terms with my disability all over again. Re-realising society currently isn’t accessible, and honestly, I don’t think it ever really will be, as sad as that is to say. Unfortunately, every time this has happened it’s got a little harder to deal with mentally, to the point I spent a lot of last week in bed.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not always going to feel this way about it I’m sure, we will get the prosthetics right and when I’m not still in a medical legal case things will be easier to deal with.
It’s been five years for me in this on and off position, due to two lots of revision surgeries, covid etc., so not all amputees will end up going through it and possibly not for this amount of time.
I have met lots of amputees who don’t even notice small changes in their sockets and their skin is way more tolerable than mine to irritation. So don’t worry if you are a recent amputee reading this, every one of us is different. Although it will more than likely be shit, and very hard to begin with, but it does get better and easier to deal with in most cases.
While I have been struggling the last week or so and people have been asking if I’m ok, I have been immediately going in my head to “you won’t get it, because you haven’t had to experience it”. This is making it very hard to be able to talk about, in turn making me shut off a little bit more.
I think that’s why I thought I needed to post about it, not only to explain why I’ve been a bit flaky but also so it’s out there for people that might be going through it. Or even for people that are around someone that might be feeling the same way.
If you find you need some support, don’t be afraid to speak to friends and family. If this isn’t possible please consider giving the Amputation foundation a shout at amputationfoundation.org or even get in touch with me via my contact page
I have also started putting together a page full of different amputee charities to fit various situations, that you can find here