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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum


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About trwinship

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 05/28/1953

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  • Amputation Type:
  • Amputation Date:
    July 27, 1997
  • Amputation Cause:
    Type II Diabetes
  1. trwinship

    Water/beach activity leg

    OK.... what you've described is NOT AN ENDOLITE AQUALIMB. The pylon is moulded from carbon fibre impregnated nylon, there are no metal parts aside from the alignment bolt and clamp bolts holding the top housing to the pylon. There is no part of an Aqualimb that could be described as a 'perforated metal bar'. I don't see any reason why the outer surface of the limb would let water in either. It is not made from silicone, and is about 3mm thick. Whatever is used to suspend the limb from the stump is not related to the type of limb, but the method employed by the prosthetist. This isn't Aqualimb related. Again, attachment of the stump to the leg is not nearly as strong , this comment doesn't relate to the Aqualimb, as the attachemtn parts of the limb to the socket are exactly the same in design, as a 'normal' limb, but made from more corrosion resistant materials. The Aqualimb has had to be subject to the same testing as other limbs, so for it's weight rating, it is no different from any other limb in this regard and can not be described as any less 'strong'. So don't write it off Olive! Jeez, now I'm not sure what this is--are they made differently for the U.S.? The box says 'Endolite Aqualimb'. A previous pylon (the one that broke) was made out of what appeared to be aluminum, a bar with holes drilled in it, apparently to save weight. I cant see the current pylon, but it can be felt through the plastic as a bar with holes drilled through it. My current one is about three years old--are they making them differently now? The suspension system I have is just a silicone sleeve--not something I'd want to kick with. The leg itself is certainly strong enough to swim with, just not the suspension.
  2. trwinship

    Water/beach activity leg

    I'm interested to know which parts corrode if it would be possible for you to say? The main structural parts won't... let me know please if you wouldn't mind. Screws? As for the floating, I can imagine that yes, maybe a couple of stratigically placed holes may help? Oneblueleg--the first Aqualeg I had snapped (internally) at some point connecting the foot to the pylon. The pylon itself is a perforated metal bar--I couldn't see exactly what the nature of the connection was, but my pros showed me a fairly large bolt that was completely rusted through. The second one I had snapped at the pylon, again near the foot. This time the pylon itself snapped at what looked to be a highly corroded spot. The leg is a pretty basic limb and foot covered with plastic (looks like the same stuff they make dolls out of). It is vulnerable to water getting in through the silicone ribber sleeve that holds the stump to the socket. This may not fit exactly or (more likely) develops pinholes that admit some water in the shower. Because of the metals used, and because the attachment of the stump to the leg is not nearly as strong as a "regular leg" I don't recommend it for swimming or beach walking. It's intended just to get you to and from the shower and is a little too delicate for normal walking--it's priced accordingly too.
  3. trwinship

    Water/beach activity leg

    Hi Olive--the Endolite Aqualimb mentioned by OneBlueLeg, unfortunately, doesn't work well as a swim leg althoug it's fine for the shower. I have one, and it doesn't take well to being fully immersed; the internal parts are not all that water resistent, and are supposed to be protected from water by the silicone sheath that holds the leg to your stump. I found out the hard way there are components inside it that will rust or corrode! It also has no way to admit water so wants to float if you try to immerse it.
  4. trwinship

    Excess Baggage

    To be honest here, I do have some sympathy for the airline. It's a low-cost carrier and every pound means that much more expensive fuel. The key phrase was "EXTRA legs" which the man indicated he wanted for convenience--nobody was keeping him from wearing his regular legs. He indicated the airline would have let him bring a wheelchair aboard at no cost--but would that be true for an EXTRA wheelchair, intended as a spare? I agree that it would have been simpler for the airline to have avoided the PR headache and just give him back the ten pounds, but I see some headline-grabbing here as well. It always makes me uncomfortable when we effectively say, "We're handicapped, but we want to be treated like everybody else. Unless, of course, we want special treatment."
  5. trwinship

    Long John Silver Crutching

    OK, on only a slightly facetious note, who can describe to me (in 500 words or much much less) the secret to walking with just one crutch when not wearing a leg prosthesis, a la numerous Robert Newton-esque L.J. Silver wannabes. The crutch goes on the side minus the leg, yes, but when I try to do this I topple over the minute I try to move the crutch---no leg, no crutch on the ground for a moment. Is it all just balence or am I missing something? Works well, apparently, in the movies! And no, not everybody has the requisite peg leg on that side, either. Thanks for the help, me hearties. Arrr!
  6. trwinship

    Should I be classified as disabled?

    Lot's of good advice here, Gaby. I'd have to agree in gneral that you are not "Disabled". However, the one point I would add is that in most cases the rules for eligability for things like scholarships are pretty clear,and if a BK amputee with a useful prosthesis qualifies, then you qualify and your doctor's note affirming you are amputee should be it. The rules for things like parking stickers are pretty clear, too, at least here in Ohio--if you can't ambulate normally without the prosthesis (hopping on one foot doesn't count!), you qualify for the card. Printed forms of these rules are usually available, often on the Net. If your doctor won't sign a form after reading the rules (assuming they're unambiguous), find another doctor. The rules in Ohio do have a funny, but exasperating, side--your doctor has to reaffirm every five years that you are still an amputee. I always carry this image of my doctor studiously examining me and saying, "What, my good man, that thing hasn't grown back YET?"
  7. trwinship

    Beware: A word to the Wise the Teacher said!

    The American Cancer Society weighs in on this topic: Radio Frquencies and cancer
  8. trwinship

    Nerve Damage

    Lisa--I'd certainly share CherylM's suggestion that you get multiple opinions on this. Many of us also have nerve problems of various sorts, but not too many conditions require further amputation. Without knowing the specifics of your case, and really without wanting to pry, I am wondering if the nerve damage being referred to here might actually be the result of poor circulation--blood flow--in your stump. The potential problems associated with lack of blood supply could be the major reason for further amputation. As you consult with other doctors, be sure you understand fully what you are being told and keep asking questions until you do. Don't be afraid to be a nuisance, just get the answers you need. Be sure to see the right doctors; if they are actually talking about a blood supply problem, be sure a vascular surgeon judges the case. If it really is a neurological problem, I recommend seeing a neurosurgeon in preference to a neurologist. I don't know why, but neurosurgeons just always seem to me to have a better grip on clinical reality! Above all, remember it is your body. If this is not a clinical emergency, then it is elective surgery and YOU do the electing! Good luck!
  9. trwinship

    Jan Ertl contact info?

    It's a bit of a long shot, but you might want to see if leaving a message for Heather Mills in the "Contact" part of the HMM website might get a response. Jan Ertl did her stump revision and there might be a chance someone might have the contact information if you messaged them directly. Up on the "Invision" header on your screen it says "Heather Mills McCartney"--if you click on the name it takes you into a different part of the website with a separate "Contact" button. Good luck!
  10. trwinship

    Tiger's Debut

    Thanks, Austin, for those references. I had seen them before and thought it was likely they were the ones you were referring to. Note that the 1997 presentation give by Dr. Ertl does not refer to the current ongoing V.A. study--as far as I know, no data from this study have been released. The 1997 results Dr. Ertl presented point out the problem the Ertls have--they show good results with the Ertl procedure but offer no formal comparisons with other techniques. In other words, what would the results have been like if a similar group of patients had competent surgery of another type? You look at the Ertl results and say, "Compared to what?" Plus, the results in the 1997 presentation appear to have never been published in a peer-reviewed journal. That's what I believe (I hope!) the V.A. study will attempt to do, objectively review techniques and patients, and why it's so important. Don't get me wrong, I'm really not anti-Ertl. There's no question many who have the procedure get very good results, and I don't want to discourage you from having it done. Like I said before, it really might be better, especially for very athletic amputees. But I do worry about the personal endorsements and enthusiastic reports that may border on hype. I'd like to see some objective evaluations that make it clear this is really a superior technique. Although I know that such studies are really hard, I'm bothered by their absence over more than 80 years. If the Ertl technique is a LOT better, it should be provable. Or, maybe I'm just thiking too much like an isurance company!
  11. trwinship

    Tiger's Debut

    Boy, if my keyboard gets any more gummed up.....
  12. trwinship

    Tiger's Debut

    Austin, could you please point me to the web site where yu saw preliminary results for the Ertl amputation study the V.A. is running? I've been very interested in this study and haven't even seen the inclusion protocols, much less any data. Kind of unusual to have anything published before the fully analysis has been completed, which I thought wasn't supposed to be until next year. Thak you!
  13. trwinship

    Tiger's Debut

    Austin, most forms of amputation will allow a certain degree of weightbearing on the ends of the tibula and fibula once healing is complete, which takes something like a year. At one time, mostly before World War I, nearly all prosthetics bore the weight of the body directly on the bone ends. This was uncomfortable or downright painful for many in the long term, not to mention leading eventually to bone deterioration, and prosthetic design has stressed other suspension strategies ever since. Even the Symes amputation is intended to only provide weightbearing for very limited uses--like Sue says, getting to the bathroom at night. The Ertl bone bridge may indeed be better for weightbearing, but I don't know of any surgeons or prostheticists who would recommend much of this. Why aren't more Ertl procedures performed? As I mentioned before, over the 80+ years it has been available, no one has really proven it's better. The majority of Ertls are done as revision surgery, with the intent of correcting specific problems caused by poor results from a primary amputation. You can't very well amputate both legs, one by Ertl and the other by another technique and compare the two! There's no easy way to objectively compare techniques. It may be that the problem is that studies performed to date compare results among all amputees, not just the more athletic ones. It might be that among that subgroup the procedure is really superior. But the main reason you don't see more surgeons doing Ertl amputations, as the Ertls themselves have pointed out, is that many insurance companies do not pay extra for the procedure. It takes about twice as long to perform an Ertl amputation as other techniques, and is considerably more involved, yet the surgeon, staff, and hospital may not be reimbursed more. Why won't the insurance companies pay more? Well, they say if you want truth seek neither religion nor science, but find a good set of insurance actuarial tables! Insurors have never been able to demonstrate superior results, for them, from the Ertl technique. This is the reason the Ertls are so anxious to get the results from the current comparitive study completed: it would provide justification for a higher level of reimbursement.
  14. trwinship

    Austin's Intro

    Note to add: (geez, wish we had an "Edit" button!) The IPOP did mean I was never really in a wheelchair, which was an advantage around my house. However, the inflexible foot was uncomfortable to wear if you weren't walking so I often took it off. The problem was that for the first two weeks or so after surgery I couldn't stretch enough to put the foot on or take it off by myself (it was held on by setscrews, so you had to always have an Allen wrench handy at all times), meaning I had to have someone around at all times anyway which sort of negated the "no wheelchair" advantage.
  15. trwinship

    Austin's Intro

    Tigertatt, I had an IPOP when my amputation was done ten years ago. In this procedure they encase your stump in a protective shell (in my case a hard fiberglsss cast, more recently they have removable plastic shells) with a pipe fitting that allows a temporary foot to be fastened. And, sure enough, within 24-48 hours of surgery you are up and "walking", which is to say moving on both feet with a lot of help! The foot had a pressure sensor in it that would not allow you to place more than 10 pounds pressure on it initially to avoid putting too much stress on the surgical wound. Was it a better way to amputate? Well, it was a popular technique with some surgeons back then, but I get the impression it is not as popular now. I don't think it really hastened healing or getting into a permanent prosthesis faster--from what I've read here, I don't think my recovery was faster or better than that of others I've read about on this site. The IPOP technique also required a good deal more than the normal level of coordination amongf surgeons, prosthetics people, and rehab staff, which had to be expensive. One advantage--my stump was encased in that big ol' fiberglass cast which was good armor when I fell, and I did fall! Overall, I get the impression that the IPOP was another innovation which did no harm but never quite lived up to its publicity.