The past few weeks have been pretty busy. I got my new socket, and it worked well at first. However, my leg has continued to shrink to the point that I am currently sitting in my prosthetist’s office, having just re-cast for another new socket! I was excited about this socket when I got it because I can FINALLY wear normal shorts and tuck my shirt in. Before this, my socket was so big that I could only wear mesh shorts and tshirts. The socket is also much shorter than my last one, so the knee center was raised to the point that it is about even with my other knee. This is nice because the socket doesn’t stick out below the end of my shorts, as you can see in the picture.
It appears to be much more natural, and my gait is much better in this socket, but this past week it has been killing me because my leg has continued shrinking so much. This limb shrinking is typical for new amputees and a part of the process, but man is it a pain to deal with!
Unfortunately my phantom pains have remained pretty strong, making it hard to get to sleep at night. People have told me that they go away, normally when you start using your prosthesis regularly, but mine have yet to let up. Maybe I am just using my prosthesis sooner than others, I don’t know.
I realize that most people probably don’t exactly know what I mean when I keep talking about my socket. The socket is the part of the prosthesis that your leg goes into. In the picture, you can see my full prosthesis. The top part that is highlighted in yellow is the socket. The bottom part that is highlighted in green is the C-Leg, which is the “knee.” You want the socket to be as tight around your leg as it can possibly be, so that it is practically part of your leg. The problem we are having is because my leg keeps getting smaller and smaller. Within 2 weeks of having a new socket, it is entirely too large and it becomes very painful to walk with as a result. I just talked with a guy who was 3 years out from his amputation and he said it took his leg about a year to stop shrinking like this so he could actually get into a full time socket. That is what I have heard, and is another reason I like the List, because it just shows how much harder it is to accomplish this stuff here at the start!
Speaking of the List, I broke 90 on the golf course again, a week after I did it the first time. This time I shot an 85. It didn’t come down to the finish like it did the first time either. I worked on my driver a lot and finally got it pretty consistent, which always helps! That was the last round I’ve played. I went out and hit once in this new socket, but have started thinking about some of the other items on my list now… like surfing.
At my company we have something that are called “Summer Fridays.” It is basically an extra vacation day that you have to use during a specified month or else it just goes away. You have 3 days total, one for June, one for July and one for August. I have waited until the very end of the month, but am using mine tomorrow so that I don’t just throw it away. I was really hoping to be able to go up to Wrightsville Beach and try to surf, but Irene is putting a serious damper on my plans! I’m still really tempted to go since I have the 3 day weekend, but I just don’t know. I think it will most likely be a last minute decision that I make at around 6:00 tonight when I get home from ProCare (my prosthetist office). I keep updating the Weather Channel website with their projected path, and was happy to see that Wrightsville is now out of the “Extreme Danger” zone, having been downgraded to a comfortable “High Danger” rating. This gives me entirely too much hope that the idea of heading up there isn’t completely crazy. This screen shot shows Wilmington (which is just inland from Wrightsville Beach) in relation to Irene’s projected path. I hovered over it so you could see the projected wind speed for that area if you click on the picture to see the full-size image.
While I remain hopeful that my surfing plans might still be possible, I have been watching videos of this Filipino surfer who is also missing a leg. This is how I imagine I will be after an hour or two in the water.
Realistically, I’ll probably just wait and go up next weekend, over Labor Day.