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African holiday Oct 2005 Part 1

African holiday Oct 2005 Part 2

My Accident in 1995

Are new amputees unrealistic?

Finding the CP you want

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MAS Test Socket Photo's AUGUST 2005

Building a disabled friendly house

What to do when a new amputee comes home

Glossary of Terms

Can a planned amputee take control of their pain?

Lightning Hazard???

Skydiving with an Amputee

Paragliding with an Amputee

Your Responsibility to your Disability

The Phantom of Pain - by Alistair Plint

Lesley's RBK Story

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How 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 advertisement.

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 simple.

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.

Your designated 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



Chronic Pain Chronic pain management by Dr Mitchell

To be or not to be Active Living article by Kimberley Barreda

John Callahan Paraplegic humourist - not for the feint hearted

Disability sport in South Africa DISSA

THE ANGRY GIMP Awesome must read site!

Marco Du Plooy My Pretoria based prosthetist

Sleeve Art by Fred's Legs

Employment Guidelines from SA Dept of Labour for PWD's & employers

Amputee Resource - Al Pike CP

MAS Socket - information

Fly SA - Paragliding

Co LeDahu - Personal Website

Jam Ally Entertainment - where Ally works

Eric Morse - Para-sport photographer & friend (Canada)



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