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mike

Driving as a Bi-lat, how do you do it?

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I'm a Bilat below knee and I drive a normal manual car. When I asked the DVLA they said that there was no requirements.

andy

x

Hi Andy

The only reason I can think is that the DVLA may have now changed the rules, maybe because of improved prosthetics etc. it was quite specific back in the 1970's that I had to drive with hand controls and this is stipulated on my licence.

Ann

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I'm a Bilat below knee and I drive a normal manual car. andy

x

This to me is an example of: "You can learn things the easy way... and make them easy. OR You can learn things the hard way..... and make them easy". Which one has the greater benefits in the long run?

Like Ann said however, sometimes there are requirements..... and then - somethimes there aren't.

Personally, I don't like crutches of any kind..... when they aren't necessary.

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I'm a bilateral Right AKA, Left BKA, and drive a Porsche 911 (Tiptronic automatic) with my "feet" no problems.

I brake with my left BK leg - I did add a drilled aluminum pedal that is a bit wider to the left than the original just to be safe (with the original small brake pedal my left knee would occasionally hit the the steering wheel).

For gas I use the right (AK) leg, with the C-leg switched into second mode with no resistance on the swing but a limited angle. That way, I can pick the leg straight up and instantly off the gas. Admittedly it does help that the car is so responsive - the feedback is so instantaneous that there is no question whether or not you are on the gas or brake.

I do have a small block of wood on the floor in front of the gas pedal to rest my right "heel" on - not totally needed, but helps on long drives.

When I was in the rehab, they told me I would have to drive with hand controls, and that I should look for a big SUV or truck with "plenty of room" inside to "make it easy for me". I just shook my head and said NO.

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I think everyone should do what they feel they are able to do...within the bounds of any regulations to which they may have to adhere.

We are all amputees...but, I think we have to remember that, at the same time, we all have different mobility challenges. The challenges of a single BK are quite different to those of a single AK...which in turn are different to a bilateral BK...which in turn...etc., etc. In addition, there are some of us who have localised problems (e.g. their joints) and some of us who have systemic problems (e.g. circulatory problems).

When we talk about subjects like this, it's quite easy to fall into 'I'm better than you' mode, when, in fact, we are all different...we differ in age...we're from different countries...and we have different mobility needs...and therefore it is difficult to compare situations, which, I think, is part of the beauty of this forum.

Just as I, personally, have no problem with a fellow amputee who finds that they can not wear a prosthesis...I also have no problem with someone who uses an aid that I don't, to make life easier or more comfortable for themselves. Btw, in the past, I have been approached by a small number of amps from this forum who feel excluded because they feel that others wouldn't understand why they didn't use a prosthesis.

I spent my younger years striving to do things the normal way...which, in many instances, turned out to be the hard way, when I could have made life much easier for myself. I sometimes wish that I could have foreseen that pushing myself so hard, would lead to two joint replacements when I was still relatively young.

I believe that using a 'crutch', when appropriate can be a sign of strength...not weakness. People should strive for independence, yes...but they shouldn't be detered from using a 'crutch' if they feel that they need to.

Lizzie :)

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I spent my younger years striving to do things the normal way...which, in many instances, turned out to be the hard way, when I could have made life much easier for myself. I sometimes wish that I could have foreseen that pushing myself so hard, would lead to two joint replacements when I was still relatively young.

I believe that using a 'crutch', when appropriate can be a sign of strength...not weakness. People should strive for independence, yes...but they shouldn't be detered from using a 'crutch' if they feel that they need to.

Lizzie :)

I wholeheartedly agree with this Lizzie, I think that years ago the idea was to "normalize" people, which sometimes did make things very difficult for people.

Most of the time I walk unaided, sometimes I experience problems with the limbs and use a stick or crutches, sometimes I am unable to wear one of them and use a chair, when I do serious shopping I may use a scooter, by making use of aids such as these I actually increase my independence at times.

However, I didn't learn this overnight myself and it does really seem to confuse people, even the professionals.

Ann

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Personally, I don't like crutches of any kind..... when they aren't necessary.

The key word in Jim's quote is "personally". It doesn't seem to me like he's preaching against anyone. He's simply stating what "He feels" works for "him". :)

Linda

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Lizzie, I agree wholeheartedly!

I have seen while visiting different forums, that there can be a bit of a snooty attitude when it comes to how an amputee can get along...

I understand that there are those who cannot use a prosthesis. Even simple BK's can have issues that don't meet the eye, you know? Today, I'm taking it easy -- using the chair. I overdid it very much yesterday and the scar tissue is so sore than whenever I step down in my socket, I have excruciating pain.

I will definitely use a left foot accelerator because this will work best for me. I tried using my left foot to reach over to the gas and it was very uncomfortable. I love to drive and I want to be comfortable when I do drive.

And (last, I promise!), when I go to a big store like Walmart or Home Depot, I take my chair (I can't count on a scooter being available). I'm working on building up stamina, but it just ain't there yet. And I'm sure not gonna give up looking for flowers, birdfeeders or whatever it is that I want! ;)

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PS... my post above has nothing to do with Jim and his accomplishments and his preferences! I'm very pleased with all that he can do -- and he has shared with me (from the beginning!) that he knew I would walk. Heck, he knew even before I did!! :lol: He knows these things.

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I couldn't agree with you two ladies more, but if I may;

I talk to people almost everyday, either by phone or by email, who tell me that they "can't" a. take their shoes off and walk. b. walk without a cane or crutches. c. will never walk right again. d. drive a car - period, and many many more. All, because their doctor or prosthetist, or a friend or someone, told them they couldn't. They won't even try.

Granted, this is all true for some. But many will be amazed, if they only would try. That is what I try to do here. It is my natural personality to try first and then find out what it is that I can't do, instead of taking someone else's word for it. I understand that not everyone is the same however.

Here, I try to give encouragement to those who may not have the will or the spirit to try on their own. That's all.

I consider the race car driver or the hockey player no better than the one who can only climb curbs, or walk a few steps on their own, (nor do they, I might add). What they do have in common however, is that they both try.

One fellow sent my a letter last week, and written on the back was - "What do you do for depression?". I wasn't sure how to answer that, because I never have depression - but, I am aware that many do. I didn't dismiss him, or tell him that I was better because I didn't have it. I just tried to give him encouragement to continue on with each little success.

I see our posts as sharing our: Experience, strength and hope In that order. I respect all that anyone accomplishes - when they try - no matter how large or small. As I said earlier, I see my goal as trying to encourage them to do so.

I do aplogize if I sounded belittling. That was not my intent - nor my nature.

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Linda and Marilynn jumped in ahead of me while I was writing my "thesis". :D Thank you for your kind words.

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I may have used the word you used (i.e. crutch), Jim, but I was aiming the posting at everyone...not you in particular.

As you know, I am up there with the high achieving or 'nutter' amps and whilst I feel that everyone should be as independent as possible, at the same time, I feel that we should acknowledge that sometimes people just can't do something we can...and they shouldn't feel isolated for feeling that they can't do this or they can't do that. For goodness sake, amputation can be isolating enough, without us isolating people still further!

Lizzie :)

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I feel that we should acknowledge that sometimes people just can't do something we can...and they shouldn't feel isolated for feeling that they can't do this or they can't do that.

Lizzie :)

Absolutely Lizzie. My only point is that everyone should be encouraged to live up to THEIR OWN potential. Not the high acheivers - or the low ones - but theirs. Unfortunately, without encouragement, many will not even try. We have both seen this.

Isolated because they CAN'T do something - Absolutely Not!!. But rewarded for doing the best that THEY can, and encouraged to do so. That's all.

From what I read, cwrm4 found the encouragement within himself to overcome the naysay'ers. Others may need some help with this.

And please allow me: I am not being argumentative. I enjoy a good discussion of differing view points, and respect what both of us are saying, but possibly in a different way. I actually think that we both are closer in agreement than not.

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And (last, I promise!), when I go to a big store like Walmart or Home Depot, I take my chair (I can't count on a scooter being available). I'm working on building up stamina, but it just ain't there yet. And I'm sure not gonna give up looking for flowers, birdfeeders or whatever it is that I want! ;)

Shortly after I "re-entered" society, I went to Home Depot, sans crutches. Once I got to the back of the store, I was so tired I started to think that I had made a BIG mistake. That front door seemed like it was 10 miles away! It was quite a helpless feeling.

I ended up sitting down on one of the display toilets for about 30 minutes to gain enough strength to get back to the front of the store! But, eventually, I made it.

Now, less than a year later, I probably go twice a week without even thinking twice about it. You'll get there!

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I talk to people almost everyday, either by phone or by email, who tell me that they "can't" a. take their shoes off and walk. b. walk without a cane or crutches. c. will never walk right again. d. drive a car - period, and many many more. All, because their doctor or prosthetist, or a friend or someone, told them they couldn't. They won't even try.

I do aplogize if I sounded belittling. That was not my intent - nor my nature.

No problems Jim, I understand what you are saying.

I think the problem is that even as amputees we are all so different. The other thing I would stress is that sometimes, unless people are given a correct fitting prosthesis, they often can't do things, however much they might try.

I know this because I have been in both camps, I was for many years very successful with the limbs, very few problems (you know,the one in the fitting room that gets asked to demonstrate) however, I have also been the person sitting there getting leg after leg which wasn't right and unable to do things which were normal for me with prosthetic limbs, watching others being successfully fitted. This is very depressing, even for a normally positive thinking person, it can really get you down.

Any of us can literally go from being very active, doing most things etc. etc. almost overnight because of badly fitting limbs, or problems with stumps, joints etc. etc., that is why I advise anyone who is having problems with their limbs to get them checked out and go back again and again and get it sorted out. Personally I took well fitting limbs for granted for so many years and probably felt that some people I had seen "were not trying", in fact all the way through I was told that I was successful because of how determined I was etc., and it took a prolonged period of problems for me to realize that this wasn't necessarilly so, for there I was trying harder than I had ever tried in my life and it just wasn't working.

Sorry for the rant.

I am not getting at you Jim or anyone else and I do agree that there will always be those, as in all walks of life who won't give something a go however I have been around a lot of limb centre fitting rooms and seen and heard a lot over the years and it is not always a level playing field.

Ann

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I actually think that we both are closer in agreement than not.

Well, seeing as we have both said the same thing in our postings, but with different words, I'm not surprised you say that - I agree! :)

I am naturally proud of my accomplishments (e.g. being pregnant and also looking after a hyperactive 3 year old, by myself, with an AK & a BK) and I encourage others as much as I possibly can, usually by example, but at the end of the day, we don't know what it is like to be in someone elses shoes, do we? If someone says, after having a good try at something, that they find they just can't do something, then we should accept their decision and respect their wishes and appreciate them for who they are.

Just out of interest, I've found that the important people in my life (e.g. my hubby & kids) always seem to be the ones who have said to me 'For goodness sake, Lizzie, just use your (wheel)chair, will you (?)...we all know you can do it...' (I'm sorry if this sounds too profound, but)...they give me the space to allow me to accept myself for who I am. B)

Lizzie :)

PS Marcus - I think cats & dogs have it slightly easier, as they're centre of gravity is lower and they're naturally quadrupeds...not bipeds like us. ;)

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And (last, I promise!), when I go to a big store like Walmart or Home Depot, I take my chair (I can't count on a scooter being available). I'm working on building up stamina, but it just ain't there yet. And I'm sure not gonna give up looking for flowers, birdfeeders or whatever it is that I want! ;)

Shortly after I "re-entered" society, I went to Home Depot, sans crutches. Once I got to the back of the store, I was so tired I started to think that I had made a BIG mistake. That front door seemed like it was 10 miles away! It was quite a helpless feeling.

I ended up sitting down on one of the display toilets for about 30 minutes to gain enough strength to get back to the front of the store! But, eventually, I made it.

Now, less than a year later, I probably go twice a week without even thinking twice about it. You'll get there!

:lol: :lol: :lol: I never thought of taking a rest on the toilet!! I have, however, been VERY grateful for patio furniture displays!!

I've gotten really good at getting up from a 'sitting on the floor' position. I told my mom that if I get really tired out, I will flat out sit anywhere!!

Thanks for your post, it made my day!

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...........there will always be those, as in all walks of life who won't give something a go........it's not always a level playing field.

Ann

Exactly. I agree with both statements. Nothing in life is 100%. It is not those that, Can't but those that Won't - try, that I am referring to. No statement can encompass all situations. I was talking in general. Like I said to Lizzie, I believe that we are all saying the same thing and are basiclly in agreement.

Thank you for allowing me to exchange these thoughts with you. I continued to do so, (possibly longer than I should), in hopes that someone reading this will see themselves and be encouraged to TRY. That is all that I was asking.

Besides, I was admonishsed early in life, (by my father), never to argue with a woman. Not necessarily only because of manners.... but as a man --- I could never win. :lol: :lol: :lol:

And Marilyn - Yesterday in Lowes Home Center, I had to sit and rest on a display of roofing nails. Not because of my leg, but my heart circulation started to falter and the angina crept in. Legs aren't the only thing that slows us down as we get older. But, yesterday and today I tore the roof off of our back deck and rebuilt it, by myself. I've been putting it off for sometime because of chest pains, but I took it slowly. A normal 6 to 8 hour job in three days (I'll finish tomorrow), but nobody here is going to fire me. Just because I can't do it the way that I used to..... doesn't mean that I can't do it at all.

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I think the discussion has gone way off topic in this thread.

Mike was asking how other bilaterals drive.

Please try and stay on topic.

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I was reading Neal's topic on driving with a manual transmission and wondered how other people in my situation manage.

I'm a Bi-lat BK of 3 years and got back to work as a sales rep 9 months after amputation. I now drive an automatic with hand controls. I was told by the DVLA in the UK that this was a legal requirement. I drive around 30000 miles a year and find using the hand controls very comfortable.

I have tried using my feet but find the constant lifiting from the gas pedal to the brake tiresome and uncomfortable.

I would like to just use my feet but as stated above I don't find it practical. Do I have to practice more and it will become more natural or do you think the amount of miles that I do I will just find it too tireing.

I'm just interested to see how others cope.

Best wishes Mike.

Mike, I'm only RBK but I've tried driving an automatic using my right foot. Yes I can do it but as you've pointed out it is a bit of a pain as you use your knee to make the fine adjustments that your ankle used to. There is also the issue that your foot can get caught on or under the pedal. Normally this is easily sorted out but in an emergency, such as a young child dashing out in front of you, that split second can be all that's needed to cause a fatal accident (or to enroll another new member to this forum).

I searched the DVLA website to find out what the legal requirement is and I couldn't find anything that specifically stops you from driving with your feet but I do remember when informing the DVLA about health changes that they require you to be able to control the car SAFELY at all times. It's a bit of a wooly statement but that wording could be used against you in court if you were to be involved in an accident.

To be honest, if you're happy and comfortable with hand controls I'd stick with them.

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Thanks everyone for your feedback, it has been most useful. Also thanks Afet for getting my enquiry back on track.

Best wishes to all.

Mike.

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Mike, I'm only RBK but I've tried driving an automatic using my right foot. Yes I can do it but as you've pointed out it is a bit of a pain as you use your knee to make the fine adjustments that your ankle used to. There is also the issue that your foot can get caught on or under the pedal. Normally this is easily sorted out but in an emergency, such as a young child dashing out in front of you, that split second can be all that's needed to cause a fatal accident (or to enroll another new member to this forum).

I searched the DVLA website to find out what the legal requirement is and I couldn't find anything that specifically stops you from driving with your feet but I do remember when informing the DVLA about health changes that they require you to be able to control the car SAFELY at all times. It's a bit of a wooly statement but that wording could be used against you in court if you were to be involved in an accident.

To be honest, if you're happy and comfortable with hand controls I'd stick with them.

Muz, I agree. As are you, I'm only RBK -- but safety first!

Mike, hand controls work for you, so I'd continue on.

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I think the discussion has gone way off topic in this thread.

Mike was asking how other bilaterals drive.

Please try and stay on topic.

You are right Afet. I do believe that I got this one going off track. My apologizes.

Now, with all the advice and/or opinions, I agree with Marilyn. Stick to what is comfortable with you. That is what I do.

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