Mas Socket Diaries - OCTOBER
Please refresh your browser
quickly, we update regularly.
12 October 2005
Well, in case anyone
has wondered about the break in between MAS fittings, I took off
for a week into the African bush and Mozambique. So awesome. Although
South Africa still has a LONG way to go when it comes to catering
for disabled people. I am fairly mobile, but very aware of mobility
issues for people a bit worse off than I am. In fact, I visited
the most beautiful town while away. One look at the WHOLE place
and I realised that it is COMPLETELY wheelchair unfriendly. I mean,
like everything. So, if anyone who is slightly ambulatory challenged,
please give Pilgrim's Rest a wide berth. Skip it
completely. Ngwenya Lodge near Komatipoort isn't much better
either (booked through RCI - the time share people in Africa). But
that, as they say, is another story.
So, nothing has
been done about the MAS since the end of September. A whole week
with no fittings. Double holiday!!
Today Marco phoned
me. He said "I've got good news and I've got bad news".
Oh crap! Who likes to hear that? And honestly folk, what do you
want to hear first? Gimme the.....erm...gimme the....erm, oh shyte,
just spit it all out at once why don't you!
I got the good news
I AM GOING TO BE
A WOMAN WITH A ICEROSS
SEAL-IN LINER !!!!! This has always been something
that I avoided like the plague. Like a wheelchair user should avoid
Pilgrim's Rest. For different reasons though, albeit with the same
passion I would imagine. A silicone liner in SA is an unimaginable
additional expense to a prosthetic limb. For someone like me anyway,
who doesn't have 3rd party or government insurance & compensation,
or a medical aid who will step out and offer it. Even though it
is purportedly an immeasurable aid to a more comfortable fit, and
more forgiving than the hard shell of a fibre glass socket.
There was no way
in hell I was going to try something that would make my life easier,
and at the end of the day, I could not afford. Worse than window
shopping. Another amputee told me that it was like driving a Merc
in comparison to a Toyota. No thanks, not me. I don't need to add
any more discontent to my life. I don't want to know what it's like
to eat cake when my staple diet is bread. What's the point?
extra smiles are adding years to my face), I am getting a silicone
liner. God is smiling on me. It is better than sunshine. And, dammit,
there are SO few people I can tell because they are able bodied
and have NO idea what this means. Marco made me a good offer. He
is a saint.
Marco du Plooy is
unable to advertise his services. Legal BS and red tape. I don't
know why. It's archaic, it's shitty, it's unfair, and quite frankly
it gets my back up and my claws out. As an amputee, how the hell
do you go about finding a prosthetist who is up to date with the
latest trends? Who is qualified to make you any number of different
sockets? Who still treats the making of an individual false appendage
as an ART, and is passionate about getting you walking, and walking
properly? Who gives a damn about your comfort, your activity level,
your financial status (like not selling you the most expensive limb
so he can make a quick buck), and YOU as a person?? Certainly not
in the yellow pages. So then WHERE? I don't know. He isn't allowed
to let you know. At least, not in the places where 'normal' people
would think to look. If plastic surgeons can advertise in glamour
mags that they can make you years younger with the flick of a scalpel,
why then not Marco advertising that he can get you walking and functioning
in an able bodied society? And in my humble opinion, this is by
far and away MORE IMPORTANT!!!!!!!
I don't give a continental
about medical ethics and the little Boards 'they' form when it comes
to this. At the end of the day, it's US who have the absolute RIGHT
to be able to choose the most competent prosthetic person available.
Then give us the damn information! Why shouldn't Marco du Plooy
be able to advertise the fact that he is one of the few qualified
MAS Socket builders? Why can't he advertise that he is a certified
C-Leg provider? Give me strength!
OK - I am officially
off my soap box. For now anyway. There's more to come, make no mistake.
Where was I? Oh
yes....the bad news.......
My heart sank.
My first thought
was....oh heck, we're giving up on the MAS. I'm not ready for that
yet. I want one. I know I complain, I know I'm a wuss, I know I'm
so knock-kneed that I give Marco nightmares....please, let's not
give up yet, I can change....
Marco : "We're
going to have to make another mould".
Bugger, he knows
me too well. But this time I am there like a bear for the next plaster
of paris experience. And I shan't huff and puff my way through it.
Or at least, I'll try not to.
God is smiling on
me. And it feels better than sunshine.
Back to Marco today,
feeling quite good about the visit and looking forward to meeting
that this little silicone sleeve costs around R8000. Marco says
that just looking at it won't help justify the cost. He says that
after wearing it for a year, then it will start to make sense.
We have to remeasure.
What a thing. Tape measures, calipers, rulers, thingeys that measure
angles (and pinch your skin if you're not careful). Marco measures,
and remeasures. And then we do another couple of measurements just
to be sure.
Well, mould making time, sigh. But
this time, the plaster of paris goes on over the liner, so it really
doesn't feel as bad as usual.
The socket is going to be bigger
than before, to accommodate the liner. The girl side of my brain
worries a little that I may have to shop for a larger size jeans.
Not a bad day - I am out of there
in 1 hour.
20 October 2005
I wake up with a smile on my face
realising that I am going for my first test socket with my liner.
I have visions of putting on the test socket and skipping into the
Well, not quite. There are a couple
of changes to be made and they're a bit too much to change on the
test socket. Marco will make a new test socket.
The liner feels strange on my leg.
Not unpleasant though.
Now here is my absolute delight.
Remember how I battled to pull the other test sockets on? And I
even sprained my thumb (YES I DID)? This little baby slides on -
just like that! I kid you not. And it gets better...it just slides
And when it's on, it stays put.
No moving around. Marco hangs onto the end of the socket and tries
to pull it off. I hang onto the chair and try not to fall off. The
socket doesn't budge.
I am in love with
my liner. Good line for a country song don'tcha think? I skip off
into the sunset in old faithfull. It's a good day.
25 October 2005
Back off to Marco to try out the
new test socket. I am ready to take it home today, liner and all.
Unfortunately today is not the day
for skipping off into the sunset with the MAS. Three hours of tweaking
and aligning and pondering have left Marco with no alternative but
to make yet another test socket. The socket is slightly too small.
I'm not getting into it properly, so the ear isn't doing it's job.
However, the liner
is behaving well. Marco and I have a little 'moment' and he says
to me : "Well Ally, you may not be able to walk in the leg,
but you've got good suspension". I have to laugh. Good observation
Ah well, I leave slightly disappointed
because I'm not wearing the MAS home. But I'll be back tomorrow....
26 October 2005
Feeling a bit tired, battling to
keep my business going and get all the Marco visits in, but I am
pretty sure that today is the day. Yip, today I will get to take
home the new socket.
The first thing I notice about the
MAS and the ear, is that I am finding it a bit hard to feel exactly
where the ear should be going. The liner is getting in the way I
think. And I'm feeling a bit confused. I ask Marco to check every
time I don the socket because I'm not sure.
And the ear feels
very long today. Marco says it could be because of the new way I
am donning the socket. Before, I would "pull" my leg and
all the excess skin into the socket. Now, I am "pushing"
the limb into the socket - so perhaps the ear feels more intrusive
because there's more skin sitting outside the socket. It kind of
makes sense to me. I'm willing to work with that theory for the
I get all the way into the socket
today, and I am hitting the bottom on the outside of my stump again
(that old knock-kneed story). The shelf just under the ear gives
me a bit of trouble so Marco moves it slightly down.
I really don't know how he manages
it (sneaky) but Marco gets me to agree to go and see a physiotherapist
to get strengthening exercises for my residual limb. If I build
up the right muscles, I may overcome this adduction problem.
Ok, well I am leaving on old faithfull
again today. Marco will make some changes to the test socket and
I will come back on Friday afternoon.
As I leave, Marco phones his physiotherapist
to make an appointment for me on Friday. He's busy. What a shame.
Ok - back again.
Marco agrees to see me after hours as my day runs to hell. I get
there at about 7pm and I'm ready to try this new socket. I think.
I battle to get
into the socket with the liner. More so than usual. I feel as big
as a house. But I'm not really. Am I?
I walk up and down,
and up and down, and I sink a bit further into the thing, but it
feels so tight. I'm hot and bothered. I think Marco might be as
well. It's ok. But that's all. Just ok. No great shakes.
So I sit down. And
that's enough for today. Bloody ear nails me again. What is it with
the damn ear? I ask Marco if I should maybe try to sit down more
gently, more like a lady, less slouching. He feels where the ear
is nailing me and he decides that it's not going to work. Something
We call it a day.
Go to MAS Socket Diaries