do you find a prosthetist who will give you what YOU want??
Please bear in mind that this is written
from a South African amputee's point of view.
It is purely a meanderous musing from where I am at the moment.
And probably where I shall stay for a while...
Today is a freezing
cold May day in SA. Wrapped up in a blanket, I was paging through
one of our popular woman's magazines when I came across a full page
A nose job clinic
in a state-of-art surgical facility, who have performed nearly 20,000
procedures over the last 30 years. You can book yourself in, have
a look at what they offer (here dear, what about THIS nose for you
today), and come away with a new and improved face.
Just like that.
You don't need to
be referred. You don't need to have a medical reason. It's all very
Now I understand
that cosmetic surgery has been around for years and years. I understand
that it will probably never go away as long as there are people
who are not happy with their God given looks. Nothing wrong with
that. Nothing at all. It is your body, you have complete control
over it. You have the choice.
Now see, there is
the kicker. YOU HAVE THE CHOICE! You can leaf through a magazine
and choose the best 'supplier' (if you will) according to how glossy
their ads are, and what exactly it is that they specialise in and
have on offer.
So barrel back with
me...you are an amputee...you have been a good child and done all
your research into prosthetics and found what you think you'd like
to have, or at least test drive. You have the money/insurance, you
are a consenting adult. But how do you find a prosthetist who can
actually give you what you want?
Let's talk knees
for a moment here. There are loads to choose from. But not all prosthetists
are qualified to fit them. A lot of the up-market knees require
the CP to go for a course on how to check for a good candidate,
and how to set the alignment so it works.
or chosen prosthetist may very well be clueless when it comes to
setting you up with a C-Leg, or a Rheo knee. What then?
Let's talk sockets.
There is a huge amount of ongoing training that happens with our
CP's to keep up to date with the latest trends and designs. What
happens if the new Mexican MAS socket has bowled you over, and it
is what you have decided you'd like to try. There is an intensive
training course that the CP has to do in order to make a true MAS
socket. What if your prosthetist can't make them. What then?
Where do we, the
Joe Schmoe Amputee public let our fingers do the walking to find
someone who can give us what we want?
I'll tell you where....
Nowhere. No advertising
allowed. Sorry for you. Our CP's are bound and gagged by their very
own profession's ethical code. I can find you any number of clinics
who will chop off your nose or increase your bust. I can find you
specialised dentistry clinics who will grind away all your natural
teeth and give you fine looking caps. Let's face it - we can find
almost anyone in the yellow pages to refine, define, change and
rearrange the way we look to the outside world.
How much less important
is becoming a mobile and productive person? Surely the disability
of an amputee is worth far more than the facial lift of someone
who could age gracefully with no tangible consequence on their ability
to be useful to their community?
The answer has got
to be a resounding YES. My missing leg is more important than someone's
prominent nose. And getting somebody like me up and going again
is certainly less invasive than trimming off a nasal profile.
Taking 10 year's
worth of smile lines off of someone's face is not more important
than getting a 17 year old amputee walking, giving them their lives
back. It is not more important than fitting an elderly amputee with
a decent leg so they can maintain their independance.
And yet we are pursposefully
kept in the dark. Important information is carefully kept hidden.
To what end? To now say "nobody cares" might be construed
as flippancy, but I shall maintain that stance until someone can
explain this ludicrous reasoning. It is archaic and unforgiveable.
There is a CP I
know who placed a small advertisement in a health section of a newspaper,
letting amputees know that he was qualified to supply and fit a
certain type of power-leg. He was officially reprimanded, a formal
complaint lodged against him. Oh puhleeze, give me strength!
So if you are a
South African amputee reading this, please remember that you have
a CHOICE. And you have the absolute RIGHT to be treated by someone
who is qualified in the prosthetics that YOU need.
Not all car mechanics
can work on all makes of cars. Prosthetists are the same.
Finding the CP you
want? You may as well spit into the wind. It seems that even in
the new and improved South Africa, amputees are still having the
proverbial finger waved at them.
My two cents...a
resounding HERE HERE to freedom of speech and the power of advertising.
20 May 2006