The first ten days of Jake adapting to his prosthesis have been overall AMAZING. Jake’s spirits have always been pretty positive since all of this began, with the exception of a few dark moments here and there, but Jake 2.0 has arrived! With his new leg and his new outlook, he is a new man. I doubt that the old Jake would even recognize this Jake. He is diligently working out and getting stronger every day. He is even eating healthy food (vegetables even!). These past ten days have been the light in the tunnel that we needed!
As soon as we left SRT with his new leg, we went out to dinner! It had been quite awhile since Jake walked into a restaurant on two legs. It was pretty freeing. He did not have to worry about hopping to the bathroom, or losing his balance while trying to stand up. It was pretty nice, to say the least. The next day was technically “Day One” on his wearing schedule.
So he started off Day One, one hour in the morning, one hour in the evening. Then day two–two hours in the morning, two hours in the evening. He progressed like this until he was up to four hours in the morning and four hours in the afternoon/evening.
This went a lot smoother than I think Jake thought it would. He started walking for about 5 minutes each hour he was wearing it. I can’t believe how quickly he adapted. With long pants on, you can barely tell anything at all.
My parents happened to be visiting (aka “helping us install new kitchen lights”) and they were very impressed. At one point, Jake realized that it was extremely easy for him to walk carrying the walker. *Until he gets started with gait training with a new physical therapist, he is using the walker as a precaution. SAFETY FIRST!
On day four, Jake drove on his own, to a work lunch. It was so great! Nervous Nelly that I am–I made him send me a picture from the car.
Not All Rainbows & Sunshine
So one of the most important parts of this phase is making sure to do skin checks. Keeping his residual limb (stump) healthy is the second most important thing we can do. First is keeping his remaining (left) leg healthy!! So every time he takes his prosthesis off, we have to take a close look at his skin and make note of any areas that are red or feel warm. If there are any areas that stay extra red or warm for more than 30 minutes, we might have an issue.
So on day 7, we noticed a spot right near the end of Jake’s tibia that was extra red. We watched it and made special note, and of course I took photos to document the progress. It was still pretty red on day 8 so we decided Jake should cut back on how long he wears the leg. He only wore it to get from point a to point b. No extra walking in it until we went back to the prosthetist on day 10.
So at the appointment, we told Toby (remember him? Jake’s prosthetist) about the spot, and I showed him some of the photos. Before he looked at it for himself, he had Jake walk a bit and checked the fit. One of the things I have really been impressed with about SRT is how collaborative they are when it comes to making adjustments and evaluating Jake’s leg. So Toby got another prosthetist to come in and take a look at the spot, and overall how Jake was walking. So she took a close look also. Neither seemed too worried but did say that they’d prefer he stay on the wear schedule of 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening. They even got a third person to come look and give an opinion.The consensus was that it was not something we should worry about–but something we should monitor closely! It is most likely an internal suture from his amputation that is working its way out of Jake’s skin.
Next came the fun part, for me at least. Jake walks back and forth a bunch, and the pros watch him. It is so interesting to watch the process. They examine so closely how he takes each step and evaluating if there are any adjustments to make. It’s a lot like at the eye doctor “is this better? or this?” One of the pros noticed that he was dipping down a little on his right leg. So they made some height adjustments to the prosthesis. Jake popped the leg back on, and it felt better! Better in a way that he couldn’t quite articulate. It was an adjustment that was needed because Jake is building so much strength. His hip exercises had already caused improvement since we were there last (just 10 days ago).
They want to see him again in a week to look at the red spot, but aside from that, everything is going great! Jake can’t wait to be able to wear the prosthesis full time!