I’m posting in the present today just to show off my new running blades. I finally received them on Tuesday. It was a long process, from the time I was approved for a grant by the Challenged Athletes Foundation , until yesterday.
I was approved back in July 2016, however, there was a small hiccup. Running blades need to be custom made for each individual based on their level of amputation and weight. The blades that I received were from Ossur, an Icelandic prosthetics company. They are a well-known prosthetics companies around the world. The set that I received were made for a guy weighing 250 lbs! I weigh 100 lbs without my prosthetics! So, they had to be sent back to Iceland and they had to custom make another set for me. That took a couple of months. Once the right weight category blades were received I went in for the fitting process. My wonderful prosthetists quickly went to work and learned that they sent the wrong adapters. ***sigh***
Patience is something I lack. It’s also something I’m continuously learning. Starting with the approval process for my first set of micro-processor controlled prosthetics to starting a business to finally getting these blades.
When all the proper parts were finally in, there were alignment issues. Alignment is a major component for balance in the lower-extremity world of prosthetics. I had to return for a few alignment sessions. My clinic is great, but they’re not used to working on running blades for a bilateral above-the-knee amputee (AKA). Finally, a rep from Ossur happened to be in town about two weeks ago and he managed to squeeze me into his busy schedule. So, the legs were all aligned and now the sockets needed to be laminated. I’ll write about the whole fitting process in another post.
I finally took my new running legs home. I was going to wait until the next day to try them out at a local high school running track, but couldn’t wait. The school is less than a mile from where I live. So, I went to their track at 9:30 at night and did three laps, trying to figure out how to get the blades to work. From a slow-motion video the Ossur rep showed me of another bilateral AKA running, I’m basically launching myself in the air with these blades. One “foot” is on the ground for such a short time–just enough to compress and launch me. (Similar to running with real feet.) By the end of those laps I felt as if I had a good idea of what I needed to do. I think a big part of it is getting over the fear that I’ll fall. It was that same fear that I had to overcome when I first started walking again. I’ll figure it out. That phrase has been my motto since losing my legs.