I have started this post ten times over the last ten day, maybe even the last 6 weeks. I am going to try and lay out where we are in our journey currently.
Jake’s stump has shrunk down so much over the last 4 months! It quickly became obvious to everyone that he needed a new socket after about 3 months in his first one. Over these past few months, Jake has literally learned to walk again and has a complete sense of freedom and independence, which has been an amazing thing for me to watch.
So we went for our all-day appointment, Jake was molded, diagnostically observed, and fitted for his second socket. The first socket came at a time when he was vulnerable and hoping for a miracle. This socket came when Jake was ready to challenge and advance his progress. Four days after the all-day appointment, we went in to get the new prosthesis and try it out. The difference in size was staggering! His new socket literally fits inside the old one. It was a fun visual to show how far he has come.
This is the point in the story where all the sunshine and rainbows fade a little, and the reality of Jake’s life as an amputee comes into focus.
Friday when we left SRT with Jake’s new socket, and Saturday afternoon we went to the movies and halfway through Jake’s knee was in so much pain he had to take it off. On the way to the car, after the movie, he felt a twinge of pain. Sunday we took it easy, and Monday morning Jake called to get in as soon as he could be seen. Monday afternoon we met with Toby at SRT, and went through some of the concerns. Toby made some adjustments and made an area of relief in the socket to help with the pain point on the lateral femoral condyle. Jake left feeling immensely better.
Then Jake’s work week got really busy, really fast! Monday to Thursday he averaged about 6,000 steps each day. Which is a lot! By Thursday afternoon, we were grateful that we had an appointment set up for followup Friday morning.
When we got there Friday morning, I was pretty worried about the spot on his leg–the redness and swelling appeared to get worse, and the level of pain Jake was in every day was starting to get worse.
We learned that Jake’s limb is a little bit “traumatized” by the change in the socket. This is not uncommon. But basically the story of Jake’s residual limb would go something like this…
(Right before the new socket) “Wow, this socket is really big and I get all these socks as padding–yay! There is so much room in here! I might be shrinking, but I get all this room to do it in!
(The day of delivery) “Ok, ok, this new place is a little smaller than the last, but it’s cool. It will be fine!
(Day fo follow up) “What the hell is happening, this area is TOO SMALL! Get me out of here! I’m not happy!! I need more room! This is crazy! I will get out here!”
So, what happened is his leg basically swelled up because it was not used to the constant compression of the socket. He isn’t able to get all the way down into the socket, so the end of his limb is “hanging” (not touching the bottom). Which caused some edema, and is a sign of concern. The recommendation is that for the next 7-10 days Jake is not going to walk unless he has to. So he will be working remotely from home. The pain he is in while trying to walk ranges from 6 on a good day to 9 on a bad day. Hopefully, all this rest will help his leg calm down and the swelling to go down.
We go for a follow-up again tomorrow and will see how things are going. We are keeping spirits up and know that this is all temporary until Jake’s limb is stable after a few years, he won’t have so much fluctuation and can stay in one socket for much much longer!