MY LEFT FOOT

I turn 63 on April 3. I’ve always been precocious, but I never realized what that could mean once I hit 60.  My below the left knee amputation is scheduled for April 5, 2018. I haven’t had too long to wait, nor do I have a lot of time to Brood.  Unlike the novel or movie in which the left foot is the only thing that works, my left foot is the one part of me that really doesn’t work at all anymore, except as a pain generator. Let me tell you, amputation will be an improvement.  There is a 20 to 25 percent chance it will relieve most of my left foot pain. Phantom pain is present in up to 80% of amputees. On the other hand, or foot, my left ankle fusion was 1 of only 3 complete fails in the 300 ankle fusions done by my surgeon. This time, being in the 1% is no walk in the park.  So the odds don’t worry me.

I plan to walk again, and to do that I need to replace my left foot and ankle with a prosthesis, which will still allow me to use my knee. Yes I will use a wheelchair, walker, sticks, forearm crutches all based on the length of the expedition. I want to walk around Gimli. It’s a block to the beach and a block to Kris’s Fish n Chips and two blocks to Flatland Coffee and the Ship and Plough. Longer distances will still likely be navigated in my van, once I pass my retest. Groceries and pizza and the Winnipeg Free Press are delivered right to my door. Once I have my license back I will be able to drive to get groceries, though delivery is great on the coldest winter days.

My plan is to buy a manual Drive All Terrain knee walker/scooter from Walton Medical Supply in New Brunswick which cost about $600, pictured here.  I will begin only once my stump heals and I can comfortably place my knee on the scooter. And I raise the money to pay for it.  I am fortunate to have a wheelchair provided by the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities, but knee scooters are not currently available. All Terrain is the key word here. I am constantly frustrated by how the smallest crack, ridge, or bump of ice, becomes insurmountable in a wheelchair. Likely I will use it even when I am wearing my prosthesis,. Using the knee scooter is faster than walking. If you go to my Facebook page, I am using one after leaving the Cornerstone in the Village. Here’s a Jimmy Bang for you. More about him and the pain room later.

JIMMY BANG’S BONE SHAKING BLUES

Manual wheelchair users learn quickly you need to go over the obstacle large wheels first, that is backward.  I’m smart enough to want a four wheel rather than a three wheel knee scooter, with wheels are big enough to make the Drive990X useful. It will allow me to keep pace with family and friends. If everything turns out well I may be able to walk even greater distances with the prosthesis  (which I’m told, takes 30% more energy than normal, begging the question, uh, normal, like how?).   That’s the most optimistic possibility.

I rented a smaller knee scooter for one of my other six osteo surgeries since 2010, and it worked great – indoors. It’s also way easier to fold and put in my van than a wheelchair. What I’m after has 12″ wheels up front. A scooter like this puts you at eye  level, and gives you the balance to stand on one leg.  I already know how to use it to rest when I need too, or in my apartment in the kitchen. I’m waiting to  hear if Scott Carman has found anyone willing to work at the Ship and Plough April 2nd which is a stat holiday. I’ll only know that after the pubs weekend full of St Patrick’s  celebrants. I could use a little luck of the Irish at the moment. I’m hoping to have a fundraiser or two to raise $750 and order the All Terrain Knee Walker. I’ll keep you posted. Walton is giving me a break on the purchase, but I want to make there’s a bit of breathing room. That’s right Corporal Patient. Breathe!

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This entry was posted in Music for Men Over Fifty: Poems of Love and Surgery, pain room blogish, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

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