This morning I was greeted with a snap, crackle and POP! Unfortunately, it was not my Rice Krispies but my prosthetic limb...
The carbon in a Flex-Foot Modular III doesn't usually snap in two all at once - which is lucky since there would be a lot of face plants if it did. Instead, over time, it starts to fray, crack and the foot gets softer and softer. Eventually, the foot starts to go downhill a little faster - this is what happened today - the noises were just more serious cracks developing.
As you can see above (barely), the carbon is pretty screwed up. I am now flexing on about half as many strong strands as before. That means the foot is pretty soft.
Given the state of the carbon, this foot is pretty much at the end of it's useful lifespan. The problem is that I don't have a new one yet... Therefore I need to get out the defibrillators and squeeze an extra week or two out of this thing. You can see my efforts at that in the video below.
So the good news is I am back up on the foot.... The bad news is that it is screwed and going downhill fast. (And the new one will cost thousands...)
This fix should buy me the time I need to get a new one though. There is A LOT of satisfaction in fixing your own leg. More amputees should have the courage to tinker....
When it comes to prosthetic problems, failures and general issues to do with my leg I have learnt that I can play a large role in getting the most out of my equipment. I don't have to run down to my prosthetist once-a-week for minor tune-ups or to get a small adjustment made. I have learnt over time to do a lot of these things myself.
If you are an amputee here are a few general things I'd recommend:
1. Learn how your leg/arm works.2. Ask your prosthetist lots of questions.3. Watch your prosthetist work on your limb - (it's better than reading 4 year old magazines).4. If your prosthetist won't let you watch ask "why not?" Then tell them you aren't comfortable with what they just said.... you want to understand how it works and how to take care of it.5. Don't be afraid to try making an adjustment on your own - just don't do anything stupid and break the prosthetic.6. When selecting prosthetic components be certain you understand why each one is the right one for you. Don't accept anyone else's opinion (no matter how highly trained they are) without thinking about it yourself.7. Consider your options, ask opinions, read reviews.... these things cost as much as cars - you don't just go onto the lot and ask the salesman which car you should buy... so don't do that with your prosthetics.8. Empower yourself by being a leader in your own care. Your doctor, physio, prosthetist, chiro, shrink, wife, husband, dad, mom etc... are your team but YOU need to be the captain.