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Mas Socket Diaries - NOVEMBER and DECEMBER 2005

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Tuesday 8 November 2005

New plan of action. Today Marco and I are going to take a complete scan of this leg and hip of mine. Not just a normal X-Ray, but one of those new-age scans where you can look at the bones, the muscles, the tissue and move the pictures around, look at them in 3D - you know - like in a cyborg movie.

So off we go. And this is really going to be the deciding factor we think. Because after this, we will know exactly where everything is, the angle of the bones (for the brat-ear) and if this doesn't result in a socket that fits, then chances are nothing will.

I should quickly mention that Marco took one week recently (ok it was the whole week, but still) and he made a gentleman a MAS socket and it fitted perfectly. So what's the problem here I wonder? Maybe it's me.... Mmmm, something to ponder.

I get to look at the scans, and it's quite weird to see myself like that. I don't know if I like it. Marco is going to get all the exact measurements from this, and he is going to rebuild a test socket. Because now he can see EXACTLY where everything is.

Ok - we are both pretty sure that this time, it's just gotta work.

Monday 21 November 2005

I arrive at 13h00 - on time like a good patient. Marco brings out the socket. Mmm. He shows me the scan pictures and how he did the measurements. He thinks that the ear has been nailing me when I sit because we didn't get the angle exactly right. It makes perfect sense to him. I nod in agreement. Yes of course.

The moment of truth. We are trying to be subdued about this. "Cautiously optimistic" comes to mind.

But first I need to weigh myself. I feel like I've put on 100 kilo's. I can see Marco trying not to smile. And what do you know - I've put on 1 kg. I still feel like a whale. Marco says it's not that bad. He's a nice person.

And the socket goes on ok. And I get in fairly easy. And the ear is ok, I think. Not hurting. So far so good. So we attach the rest of my leg to it and I go for a walkabout. Not bad. It's tight, but Marco is happy that it's definitely not too small and we think that after about a week I should be used to it.

There are a couple of things that need to be changed - cosmetic things. But essentially we are happy with the socket. But we are being so careful not to get too excited. At the same time, though, we both think that we have FINALLY got the fit we've been looking for.

He looks at me. I nod my head. He says "Ally, I think this is it."

We decide that I need an appointment for about 6 or 7 hours to get everything fixed up and aligned properly. I'm going back on Wednnesday and I say to Marco "this time I am leaving with that socket!"

He agrees. And even though we should be shouting from the rooftops, we are still not going to jinx this good thing by celebrating just yet...

Monday 05 December 2005

I've been back to Marco twice, and have finally taken the MAS home. There is still something 'not quite right' although I'm not too sure what it is. The ear seems to nail me when I walk, although sitting and standing are comfortable. I have a feeling that I may be donning the socket incorrectly. The ear perhaps should be more towards my inner thigh, instead of slightly cupping the rear of me. I think that if I try it that way, it won't catch me so badly when I walk. But that means going back (sigh) and having the alignment adjusted. I think I'm going to do that later this week. In the meantime - here's a quick look at the top bit of the socket. A bit messy, yes, but that's because it's a test socket and Marco has done a fair amount of grinding away, and building up.

Thursday 23 December 2005

Ah, where are we in the MAS travel log??

I have been back to Marco 3 times. It seems that the ear was slightly too far back, so Marco chopped it off, and moved it a bit forward. The liner has been REALLY hurting me at the bottom of my stump. Hard to describe really. It felt like I wasn't getting into the socket deep enough, and that I was "bouncing" into the liner when I walked - so that my skin was being stretched and pulled. When I took the liner off every night, my skin was angry and red, swollen and bruised. Very OUCH! No can do - couldn't walk through that one. It occurred to me that perhaps I wasn't destined to be a woman with a liner.

Someone told me that their liner also did that when it was new - like it was 'attaching' to the skin. He suggested taking a 1 ply liner, snipping it off to about 6 inches, and putting it onto the bottom of my stump before putting the liner on. INSTANT RELIEF! Like magic, I swear. Ok, one problem solved.

But that damn ear - it was really hurting - like it was rolling over the bone with every step I took. I was back to walking with a crutch. I convinced myself that I was as big as a house, and that I wasn't getting into the socket properly.

So I went to see Marco again last night - was there from 4pm - got home at 10pm. We tweaked and fiddled and prodded and did the palpate thing (clever word huh?). We built on, shaved off, aligned, re-aligned, flared, huffed and puffed, ah - everything.

Turns out, I was too deep in - even though I thought I wasn't getting in enough. Go figure. That's why Marco has "CPO" after his name, and I have "blonde amp" after mine.

We fiddled with the ear, and the shelf (bigger bugger than the ear I tell you), and eventually I said - that's it - let me go home.

And even though I had walked myself into a state of crippledom before I got there, I walked out with hardly a limp.

The liner is still nailing me a bit at the bottom back of my stump, but I have a weird indentation there (where they stitched me up), so we think that if we fill the socket up at that spot with alginate (sp?), then it will go away.

The test socket is now about 2.5cm thick on my hip side (bad bad bad for a woman - makes you look more podgy than you really are). The bottom of the socket needs to be made smaller according to Marco and his measuring tape & callipers - but we will do that next week or next year.

BUT - I am walking! Stickless once again! Out and about, and no longer feeling precarious!

The liner is definitely the right size. I thought maybe it was too small. Marco just shook his CP head. And measured me (again) to put my mind at ease.

*Sigh* Patience of a saint, that Marco.

We are taking steps forward, big ones.

And I didn't chuck the liner at Marco in disgust. Or the MAS for that matter. When I got home I even did a little leap for my mother, hehehe. Not that I am a leaper mind you, but it's nice to know that I can if I want to... :)

Progress - 'tis a good thing.


Monday 26 December 2005

I haven't worn the leg as much as I should have these last few days. It's not that comfortable, and the ear seems to be giving me a few problems. It's not as bad as it has been in the past, but it's an irritation. Perhaps I am sinking too far into the socket, but the ear is digging up into my butt quite a bit.

I guess I shouldn't complain too much, I might have spent a lot more money Christmas shopping had I been as mobile as I would like.

Tomorrow is my birthday - I guess I will don the leg again and see how far I get through one of our malls. It's the start of some of the great post-Christmas sales, so it will be a very good time to properly test drive this leg.

If I come home exhausted and broke, the leg will get the thumbs up from me. If not, the bank will heave a sigh of relief, and I will put my car into auto-pilot mode and go back to see Marco.

Go to MAS Diaries January 2006





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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

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Co LeDahu - Personal Website

Jam Ally Entertainment - where Ally works

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