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Marilyn

Question Re: Hangar

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Hullo! It seems that before I was an amp, there was some kinda "stink" about hangar prosthetics (am I spelling it correctly?).

What were the issues and do they still continue? The reason I asked is that yesterday I went to my knee guy in a new office. Lo and behold in the same office is an Hangar prosthetics office. This is just groovy because it is w-a-a-a-a-y closer than my current leggist's office. I asked my knee guy about them and he said he refers folks to them all the time. Hmmmm.

I'm generally loyal to all my practicioners, but once I do start working, it will be hell driving 85+ miles trying to tweak and all that with my prosthesis.

Hoping someone can steer me here... Marcus?

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Marcus, of course you are right. I've just been casted for my second socket and go back Tuesday for that first fitting. My first socket was truly hard to judge... I didn't have a clue what was going on and I couldn't walk on it for the longest time. After a couple months of pt, now I can sorta walk, but now the socket is TOO BIG!! Yikes! This second test socket will tell me way more than the first one. Thanks for your reply, I know you must be quite busy!!

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:blink::wub: I go to Hanger; I have gone to several others also. I think I am classified as the woman from hell :( :( plus I also have to deal with all the newbies (trying to fit) this crazy woman. :huh: If you can go to a prosthetist that will LISTEN to you, you have it made!! :huh:

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Hi Marilyn...

I have only been an amp for 4 years now, but I sort of remember a little of what you are talking about....

My thinking on this, (and it's only my opinion) is that, first, you have a little time. Go in and talk with them at the Hanger office. Interview the prosthetist.... After all, you will be paying them. Treat them just like you would a doctor or any one else... Then, at least, you will be making a decision based on a little more information..I'm sure that if they want your business, they will be glad to talk with you....Also, in Illinois, there is a state website where you can go to check on licenses of people to see if there was any actions taken against them. Would your state have a site like this. Ours is found under state licenses.....where people can also renew a license that they might have....(Nurses, doctors, anyone requiring a state license.)

If you are planning on attending the conference, Hanger usually always has a fairly large display with people you can talk with.. I think as with anything else...they are a company, but you can always get good and bad. They have to have done some good, or they wouldn't be as big as they are, I think....I can't say as I blame you on thinking about alternatives.. My CPO is an hour and twenty minutes from my house. If you are going for anything, you might as well figure at least half a day is shot. It was rough during tax time when days can be 12-13 hours long. He will come to the office on Saturdays, but only if it has to be..my problem is, most people want off hours and Saturdays, to get their taxes done.

My experience has been that the hardest part is during the first two years.. You are learning the ropes as you go. No one issues a hand book on it, you can only learn from places like this board.. A year or so from now, you will look back and realize how much experience you have gained.

Hope that I could be a little help...

Tammie

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:rolleyes::unsure: I go to Hanger; I have gone to several others also. I think I am classified as the woman from hell :( :( plus I also have to deal with all the newbies (trying to fit) this crazy woman. :blink: If you can go to a prosthetist that will LISTEN to you, you have it made!! :ph34r:

Ann, I've been thinking about this for a bit now (since Marcus posted to me)... I really, really like my leg guy. He does listen to me and he has done this for years and years. I'm gonna stick with him for now, after all we just casted for socket #2.

Goodness! I can't imagine YOU being the woman from hell! Such a sweet on-line person you are!

:)

Hi Marilyn...

.. My CPO is an hour and twenty minutes from my house. ...

Tammie

Hey Tammie, well my drive is almost as long as yours -- it takes me an hour (unless there's a traffic jam!). As I told Ann, I'm gonna stick where I am right now. My prosthetist seems to really know what he's doing and I like him... PLUS he wears a Limbstong bracelet all the time! :D Boy, I really hope I look back on this year and laugh at how hard it all seemed. That will mean I've progressed a bunch. But if I think on it, I guess I have accomplished a LOT in two months!

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Marilyn, socket #2 should be a revelation to you... I know it was like night and day for me! My leg guys kept informing me that I "didn't know what a good fit was" all through the life of my first socket, but I didn't realize how right they were until I took delivery on #2... and stuck my cane away in a corner the very next day. If your current guy is good, you'll know from this fitting!

I'm going through fittings on #3 right now... and this one has been a challenge. First test-fitting (this past Thurday) did not go well. Everyone there knew it... and after nearly two hours of trying to figure out why I was getting lateral displacement in a brand-new casting, they decided that we have to start from scratch again.

The GOOD thing about the entire experience is that the whole prosthetics team was involved, they constantly asked for and considered MY input, and there was NO argument when we couldn't get the alignment right: just "there's a problem with the socket; we need to do it again and get it right."

I must admit that I find myself getting "picky" about my fit and alignment now... much more so than I was at first. Just as "they" develop expertise from experience, so do WE!

Good luck with #2!

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Cheryl, I've been told that the second socket will be a massive improvement! I think my leg guy is good so I'm hoping so. I'm also trying to not expect too much -- don't want to be radically disappointed!

I'm doing better all the time though, even on this wobbly socket. Went to the movies tonite and my friend chose to go out a side door that led out into an alley. A steep asphalt (for Lizzie) descent and then very rough walking through the alley. I still use my walker, but I'm moving at a really good clip! Whoo Hoo! I could actually do without the walker most of the time, but I don't always want to stop and add more and more socks. So I use the walker to get around that. Hope the new socket will do away with all that.

I'll keep you posted! :D

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My experience has been that the hardest part is during the first two years.. You are learning the ropes as you go. No one issues a hand book on it, you can only learn from places like this board..

Tammie

How true, I had no idea what kind of foot or ankle I had until last week when someone here was talking about it.

You don't know what you don't know!! :rolleyes:

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Marilyn,

Well, I think that for most of us, the fact that we are learning to "handle" what life has thrown at us in the beginning is probably a huge factor. We have to learn on the fly as we go.. Then, at some point, it occurs to us, that things aren't as fragile as we had thought originally. I think that the cost of all of the prosthetics is largely overwhelming at first too...In the beginning, we are afraid that we will ruin, wreck, break, tear, abuse and mishandle our prosthetics... Being a farm gal, ancient tomboy, and all round clutz, I've found that I worried way too much in the beginning. Well, I have had sockets break,(one being a test socket) locks malfunction,(in had to be in a public restroom of all places :o ) screw fall out, and misplaced I don't know how many ply socks.. and survived it all.. The socks always turn up somewhere, (that's what I get for going from office clothes to chore clothes) the lock episode turned into a laughable memory and a first for the maintenance staff of our local hospital. As for the socket breaking, it had to be in the middle of the fair grounds, but it was handled too...

Anyway, in time, I think it becomes apparent to us, that this is a tool for us to live our lives. We develope a voice, to tell them what we need, expect, and what works and doesn't. Which, for us, is the best thing in the world...That's as it should be.

I think we also find that our prosthetist is probably the closest person to us, other than a spouse... We rely on them to make us mobile again.

I think that it is always something that is in the back of our minds, I know it was for me, until I went to an ACA conference. It gave me the abiliity to talk with other CP's, to see what is out there as far as prosthetics, and make informed decisions....

Last year, a CP from Dallas, noticed my gate and made comment on it. He said that I walked very well.. that my CP is doing a good job... That one comment, helped me know for certain that I was doing the right thing...

Whewwwwwwwww, sorry for the sermon, I didn't mean to get so long.... it's just that this is something that is always on someone's mind, and it isn't easy to discuss in a couple of sentences....

As long as you are satisfied, that is really the main thing.. As for what you should know, you will learn, as you need to.........as you get more and more comfortable with yourself and how to walk... remember, it's early for you yet.....

Are you going to attend the conference this year?

Higgy

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Higgy, awesome words of experience you've given... and YES at first I felt "disabled". It didn't help that all my family bought into that also. And of course, until I got my leg and got up on it, I kinda was. But now we know better don't we?! ;)

I think that, for me, the last couple of weeks working out in the yard has really shown me what I can do. As a result, now even going to a movie seems like just another thang. It has boosted my confidence level so much.

Aw, crap! I wish I were going to the conference this year, but no. But for next year, I'm gonna give it my very best try! (I hope it is on the east coast, not west, but that's my selfishness!)

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I think that, for me, the last couple of weeks working out in the yard has really shown me what I can do. As a result, now even going to a movie seems like just another thang. It has boosted my confidence level so much.

Aw, crap! I wish I were going to the conference this year, but no. But for next year, I'm gonna give it my very best try! (I hope it is on the east coast, not west, but that's my selfishness!)

Unfortunately, next year, I would feel very safe in saying that it will probably be further west... I doubt that it will come back east until it has been very far west.. That's one of the reasons that we are working so hard to make sure that we can get to this one.. Hubby doesn't fly, at all, and I'll go myself, but I really enjoy myself much more when he is there too...(Guess I just feel too guilty going without him)..

Crap is right!!! I was hoping to get the chance to meet you too. We sound a lot alike, and we would probably have a ball.... There are so many words in a conversation about what was and what is, it's just hard to discuss some of them sometimes...I have no doubt that in a year, you will be amazed at how you are doing when you look back. You got over one of the hurdles with out even knowing it, when you said that you weren't as "disabled" as you thought, and that your family had bought into it too... I have a friend who became an amp because of diabetes, he will always be "disabled" and he will never walk again, because he chooses not to... Me, I have a really hard time understanding that.... For me... I figure that I am just "differently abled", as they say... My whole life changed in a heartbeat, but, I'll fight for every step to regain what I can, knowing that I will never be the same....I had way to many injuries for that. I just do them differently....

You are doing so great, keep up the good work.

Hig / Tammie

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I hope it is on the east coast, not west, but that's my selfishness!

Marilyn, I don't think that's selfish at all. I too hope it's on the east coast next year :rolleyes:

I would really like to make it to a conference one year, all the way from over here - and this year was going to be the one. But it looks like it's not going to happen now. However, if I hear it's going to be on the east coast next year, I will definitely try harder to be there.

Chicago would be a better option though, just so I can pop round to the Sanicki residence and get wasted with Linda whilst discussing the fate of our old shoes ;)

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Sorry, Higgy (and the rest of the "East Coast Rooters"), but I'll be pulling for the West Coast... the closer to SoCal, the better! However, I'd be willing to throw in with the "East Coasters" if they would just hold it in July or August, rather than June... it's that time frame, more than anything else, that's keeping me from going this year. They've picked one of the few months of the year when I'm NOT able to take vacation time. Arrrgh!

"Disability" is quite a concept. I also am NOT "disabled" -- to my mind, a truly "DIS"abled person would have to be deaf, blind, mute, missing all four limbs, AND in a coma... in other words, no possibility of interaction with others or self. Of the two, I actually prefer the old term, "handicapped," as that denotes an extra challenge, rather than an overall lack of function. "Differently abled" is probably the most accurate term I've heard... but it has this "giant-mouthful-of-political-correctness" quality that just -- well -- just irritates me. ("Differently moods" me?) My own phrasing isn't any shorter, though: if asked, I say I have "mobility challenges"... if pressed, I expain that "my left leg is a prosthesis." Eventually, it dawns on them that I'm an amp, but by then we've been talking (and I've likely been moving), so the realization doesn't seem to unnerve them quite as much. (That was a real problem for me at first -- when/why/how to tell someone -- but I'm beginning to get the "knack.")

There was one day, though.... I'd been at this for, I guess, about seven months; I was waiting for the authorization to have my second socket cast; the first socket was SO big and SO ill-fitting, and I had SO MUCH lateral displacement that, even with 18 ply of socks on, I was severely bowlegged and an inch shorter on the left side than I was on the right. (It was my own fault... I'd somehow gotten it into my head that I should "tough it out" rather than bug my CPO for yet another adjustment to my leg. Yes, he read me out royally when I finally gave up and went in.)

Anyway, I was sitting there, waiting for the glue to dry on the latest round of padding to be added to my socket, my hip aching from the displacement and my tibia throbbing from the beating I'd been giving it for the past week or so, chatting with my prosthetics tech, who is a BKA himself. "This is the first time since all this began that I've actually felt disabled," I told him. He must have been reading my mind -- or, more likely, he'd been there himself -- because he said the perfect thing: "Yeah. Crappy feeling; isn't it? Don't worry; we'll patch you up today, and when you get the new socket, you'll be FINE."

Perfect. No "you have to be strong and push through the pain".... no "but you need to realize that you DO have a disability"... just a straightforward acknowledgement that my current situation stank but that improvement was on the horizon. Just exactly what I needed to hear.

I've never felt "disabled" since.

take care... cherylm

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cherlym

Not a problem.. They moved the conference to June this year, trying to give the kids a better shot at going.

Having it timed in August, a lot of the kids couldn't make it because they had to return to school...The kids camp is in July, but it's a little different than the conference... I'm sorry that you won't be able to make it this year... However, I would look for it to be more your direction next year. The last time it was in California,in 2002 ,I think, it was held in San Diego.. So, they will get closer... I'm sure of that.. I just don't know if it will be next year or the year after... Susan T. said they try to make it available to people at least once every 5 years..

(Chicago would be great, Afet..... For us that is only about 250 miles away.....I hope that at some point they get it there too.)

You are so right about not being disabled. Me, personnally, I don't give it much thought until there is something that I can't do at all.... (However, for me, my amputation is only a small part of it. ) We do have a handicap, no question. It's just a matter of how we look at it. Sometimes, it only takes a different perspective on something..

I think at some point, we all feel vulnerable. It's only natural. It's just a matter of how we cope with what we are feeling..

It sounds like your CP's prosthetics tech had definitely been there... As I said before, this stuff doesn't really come with a hand book and having someone like that, who has already been there, is worth it's weight in gold. When I got hurt, there was no one in this area.And no support groups either. No peer visitors, nothing. So, if it wasn't for my CP who is married to an ak, and the boards, I was pretty much winging it. The doctors were concerned with the brain injury and my coping, but no one thought about anything else...

Anyway, we have all ended up here.... and found a great bunch of people for resources and support when needed......

Higgy

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I have heard rumours that next year is either Atlanta or St Louis. Supposedly they couldn't find a place out west that would handle us.

rayb

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I have heard rumours that next year is either Atlanta or St Louis. Supposedly they couldn't find a place out west that would handle us.

rayb

Either one of those places would work for me! (see, there is the selfishness coming through again!)

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Well, I can see the sense in wanting to include school-age kids, so I guess I can't gripe... but maybe LATE June next year? Out here, school is still in session until the end of the following week... which is why I'm stuck here. (I'll be busily organizing graduations and preparing for summer school while all you folks are off enjoying yourselves.) Aside from the time frame, Minneapolis would have been GRAND... it's one of my favorite cities, and I have family scattered all over the state, most of whom I've not seen in 15 years or so!

Higgy, you're so right that just talking to someone who KNOWS is priceless. One of my strongest memories of this whole experience came to me courtesy of that same tech at my CPO's office. I'd been working with him for a while, and I liked the fact that he was an amp.... but he was SUCH an active, agile amp that I had a hard time believing that he was a viable role model for a plump middle-aged gal like me. Then, one day while waiting for glue to dry, we started comparing our amputation experiences. "I remember waking up after the surgery," he said. "I lifted my leg, and it felt so light, and I thought, 'whoa... this is for real.'"

My thoughts exactly... and in that moment, I understood that there truly was an "amp community" and that we all had things to share and learn from each other.

take care... cherylm

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Joe, after some thought, I've decided to stick with my current CPO... we are developing a good relationship, he listens to me and he sorta understands my warped sense of humor and he throws it right back at me! B)

He just told me on Tuesday that there is another gentleman who wants the "fancy" socket. So he and Bob (the guy in back) worked extra long just doing the fancy Harley socket for this fellow. Apparently, they had to "cook" some black material to a certain heat. Seems like me and the harley guy are my guys first clients who insisted we don't want the cosmesis... So he is willing to listen and learn.

He's been at this for decades and he's a keeper!! Probably worth the hour it takes to get there.

:D

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Marilyn,

I meant to respond to this post earlier but I got busy with the girls and other duties.

Anyway my local Hanger office is 20 mins from my house but like Joe has commented I will grow a foot before I step foot in a Hanger facility. I had a bad experience with Hanger a few years ago the CP couldn't even make me a check socket that fit he tried 2 times. I moved on and now I drive an hour one way in lots of traffic to my CP's office and to be honest it's worth the drive. I won't go anywhere else and if my insurance won't pay for my leg I'll have to figure something else out. If you feel comfortable with this guy I say stay with him because I hate to say this but you'll be needing him for a long time.

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Hi Marilyn,

I am with the others in saying that if you are happy with your current person stay with him. I am now in the process of being fitted for my fourth leg and am really appreciating having been to the same person all along. As I have learned where the sore spots etc are on my leg, so has she, and after going through nearly 5 months of test sockets it looks like we have finally managed to make one that is perfect. And I honestly think that that is because (a) she is good and (B) we have been working together ever since I got my first leg and we have both seen it evolve. And a lot of evolving it has done!

One one final thing i really would say is that I am just coming up to my first year anniversary of getting my leg and it just keeps on getting better! I feel like with my third and fourth sockets I have just made leaps and bounds. I have been much more particular in ensuring that the fit of my fourth socket is absolutely completely comfortable than I was with any of the others, and I really think that this is because I now KNOW what should be comfortable and what comfortable feels like. And it makes such a difference. I have finally abandoned my stick (still have a huge emotional attachment to it, but I have forced myself to say goodbye) and everything really is feeling back to normal.

The other day I was just faffing around at home in the kitchen doing the dishes or something, and it suddenly dawned on me how easy it all was. I was walking around without any help, doing something completely mundane and ordinary, and this time last year I couldn't even carry a mug across a room because I was on crutches, and I got really really emotional. It is just so great when you can see your life coming back together.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that you are doing brilliantly anyway, and it just keeps getting better and better and in years time you will without a doubt turn around and be amazed at how everything you are doing is soooo easy, when you know it was so difficult when you first started out, and it is a brilliant feeling.

Take care,

Fiona x

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I went to Hanger this week just to check it out. The guy was nice and everything but I felt like a number, not an individual. I think that is the main reason I have stayed with the guy I have now. He stays late, comes in on weekends and I have his home and cell phone numbers. It's not very often you find that.

It was good to get a second opinion but Hanger didn't have anything new to add at all. I also checked Merit Care here and it takes a month and a half just to get in for a consult! I call Larry and I can get in right away, anytime.

I'm extremely frustrated right now with how things are going with my leg but I don't think it is the prosthetist. We just need to keep trying different things. I got a smaller liner and everything still pulls down so I'm convinced that it is the pin system. So that's what we're going to change next.

I am concerned though because there is a big difference between my stump and my thigh. I've lost a bunch of weight but my thigh is still much larger than my stump and I'm afraid the suspension liner will roll down and we won't be able to get the suction that we need.

Has anyone encountered this?? And if you have was there a way to solve it??

Carol

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Fiona, except for the fact that I'm going through fittings on my third socket instead of my fourth, our stories could be from the same person! I'm just past one year since my surgery, and it IS amazing just how wonderfully mundane my life is becoming! I'm still doing enough "first time since..." things to feel excited or challenged, but the challenges are getting easier to meet, and the "excitment" is becoming more a feeling of satisfaction.

WHY I LIKE MY CPO: Like Fiona, I've developed a "history" with my prosthetist and his staff. I'm comfortable there; we communicate well; they know all the developments with my leg. But beyond that, they are committed to "doing it right."

My first two socket-fittings were fairly easy affairs, with check sockets that needed only minimal adjystments. Socket #3, however, has been a challenge. The check socket was a disaster, and we spent a very long and iirritable morning trying to make it even come close to fitting properly. And when we could not manage that, they looked at me and said:

"We obviously have a problem. We can't fix it on this one. We need to re-do the socket. It needs to fit properly." No excuses, no complaints, no insinuations that I had unreasonable expectations. "It's broke/We'll fix it." And they did. I had the first trial of the second version of socket #3 yesterday, and the difference was night and day.

I'm extremely fortunate that their office is only a couple of miles from my home... and an even shorter distance from my office. But I would gladly drive a substantial distance to work with this group of genuine professionals!

take care... cherylm

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cherylm

Boy how lucky you are to only be a couple of miles away.....

It makes for some really long days having to travel the distance we do...

Carolyn,

I have had problems before with the whole system pulling down, (wearing a pin system) but for me it is usually the fact that it is loose somewhere.. If it is, then it tends to want to piston off of me.

Other than that, I can't offer much more help.

Hope the suction systems works, please let me know will you?

Higgy

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...The other day I was just faffing around at home in the kitchen doing the dishes or something, and it suddenly dawned on me how easy it all was. I was walking around without any help, doing something completely mundane and ordinary, and this time last year I couldn't even carry a mug across a room because I was on crutches, and I got really really emotional. It is just so great when you can see your life coming back together. ...

Take care,

Fiona x

Fiona! It was only yesterday (literally) that I realized I was walking around in the house without a walker or cane! Oh, it's not a pretty walk (I find myself waddling back and forth!), but I just stopped and said, "well what is THIS?!" It is damn amazing after (like you said) not being able to even carry a drink from one room to the next... It is just plain amazing! And what others (and we, before our respective events caused us to lose a limb) take so much for granted!

I've noticed some looks of what could be pity in the eyes of strangers... I want to stop them and say, "Hey don't pity me! I'm happy, see!"

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... If you feel comfortable with this guy I say stay with him because I hate to say this but you'll be needing him for a long time.

Yep, like FOREVER!! :D

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