March 14th, 2016



So... Wednesday the flight surgeon cleared my left stump for takeoff. Or at least some weightbearing.

Friday I'd already made an appointment to get measured for a prosthesis. We planned to do the same wheelchair ambulance maneuver as on Wednesday, but this turned out to be an adventure in itself.

Now the stand and transfer wheelchairs in the hallway, including moving my seat cushion, worked swell. Except this one had me leaning way back. Fortunately the driver had a blanket with him, which he put along the back so I could sit up straight. Then there was the ramp.

For some reason the folddown lip to the ambulance lift ramp wasn't lying all the way down. The driver had to hold it down with one foot while pulling me up. Then when he went to engage the lift, a red light came on and it beeped. Eventually he climbed in, removed a plastic cover, inserted a handle and pumped it up manually until the light went out and then the remote ran the lift. I speculated that the pressure in the hydraulics might have been insufficient until there was a few manual pumps.

Mrs. Dr. Phil didn't ride along, because my aide Sabina and her trainee had to ride along, since this was a clinic visit. Of course that meant the driver had to leave his second wheelchair at Fuller, so he could fold down the second row seat. Mrs. Dr. Phil met us at Hanger on Cascade Road.

Lovely sunshine and blue sky. Backed out, rolled up to the front door, hit the handicapped button, let the door open, pushed forward and... S C R A P E... Yeah, the chair barely fit through the door into the entryway.

Second door swings open, we get pushed forward and... BONK.

The wheelchair does not fit. Huh. Pretty funny for a prosthetics clinic.

So... we did bring the folding walker. In theory I could stand and hop through the doorway and fold the chair and get back in. But would the wheelchair fit through the interior doors? Well, yes, they were wider. But in the end they got some channel lock pliers, took out a nut to remove a pin from the door opener, so the door would be opened all the way. With some scrapes, we made it through. A few bumps through the next two wooden doors. I was in.

Naturally we gave Tom a hard time about his ADA doors, but truthfully, bariatric wheelchairs are wider.

So, onto the main event. Ever proactive, I had Mrs. Dr. Phil bring two left shoes, so they could fit a foot to size 10½ 4E/6E and get the height right.

A plaster cast of my stump was made. Very similar to the procedure used on my left leg for making an AFO. Measurements of my right leg from the knee down in the same shoes.

This Thursday I go back for a first fitting with a clear attachment, so they can see how it fits. Then they'll make the real one and next week I shall hopefully have a leg.

Very exciting.

But the fun didn't end. Getting into the ambulance wasn't a problem -- I think the hydraulic pressure was back up. Except... as the lift ramp was swung up and the back doors closed, there was a loud SNAP and something hard from behind and to the left struck me on the cheekbone, just below the eye. WTF?

Couldn't find anything on the floor of the van and the skin wasn't broken or bleeding. When I was being unloaded at Fuller, however, the driver found a jagged flat piece of hard plastic sitting on the back of the shoulder of my shirt. I have it and will put a picture on Facebook -- update this post later. The driver figured the cover he'd removed earlier must have been pinched by the mechanism.

Funny, as long as no one lost an eye.


Did another sit and stand with assistance from the 17" mat table in RT today. This was smoother than last week. Hard to do with one leg. We'll get there.

And in a couple of weeks, I may be able to walk through doorways -- using canes or a walker. But it's coming.


Dr. Phil