Jake lost his right leg 103 days ago. One hundred and three days since he stood on two legs. Think for a moment how long a day is. How many times you stand up, how many steps you take on an average day? Tomorrow he will walk through our front door on his own two feet.
We first heard about SRT from a physical therapist at St. Vincent. It was a day or two after his amputation and I’m sure our shell-shocked faces indicated that neither Jake or I had a clue what life might look like after the hospital. She told us that there was an amputee that frequently came to the hospital to meet with new amputees to answer questions or give some guidance. She asked if having him stop by would be something we were open to. We absolutely were, so when she came back that same day and said he would be stopping by the next day, I was thrilled. We had never even seen a prosthetic leg before. His name was Uriah and he works as a Patient Advocate for SRT. He made it clear that he was not there to sell anything–he just wanted to help answer any questions we might have. He was also a below the knee amputee and had his own recovery journey, and meeting him instantly helped the fuzziness of our future clear up a little.
We needed an education! Soon we were learning a whole new vocabulary–“shrinkers”, “liners”, “sleeves”… Was it “prosthetic” or “prosthesis”? “Prosthetists”? Oh my!
After Jake’s stitches came out, and he was healed up, we headed to the Amputee Clinic at the Neuroscience center (a place we had previously visited for the Muscular Dystrophy Association). The doctor and staff there gave Jake and I some more information and started getting the ball rolling for him to get a prosthesis! This is where it gets tough…
We decided to go with SRT because we got numerous recommendations from people in Indianapolis. So getting to hear from Uriah and John (both amputees themselves) about daily life with a prosthesis and seeing them walk around was amazing for Jake, so encouraging. It all seemed like it was going to go smooth and fast! A few weeks here and there and he’d be walking out the door on two legs in no time! We did not realize how hard it would be to wait those few weeks. Knowing what is coming and not being there yet was exhausting. We were just waiting for insurance to approve the payment for the leg!
SIX looooong weeks after our first appointment with SRT, Jake finally got the call. The call he had been waiting for, for so long! Insurance was approved and they were ready for him to come in and get fitted!
We opted to go for an “all-day” appointment, with his prosthetist Toby. Which basically meant, instead of coming in three separate times for three appointments, we just stayed upstairs in their lounge between appointments. The day went like this:
Casting; where they took a cast of Jake’s residual limb (or “stump” as he calls it)
Diagnostic; where they fit the socket on his leg with a clear plastic mold so they can make sure it fits well
Dynamic; where they watch him walk in the leg and make adjustments as needed
Then they use the clear plastic socket to make his real socket which is made from carbon fiber!
So that’s what we are getting tomorrow! We literally CANNOT wait!!!