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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
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driving as a double amp

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Hello to all! I have a question for anyone who might be a double amp and driving. When I first had my surgery, I thought I would have to have hand controls installed on my new, small SUV. I have always been a 2 legged driver, braking with the left foot, accelerating with the right. There were about 4 years of students who were taught that way. I found that I am able to drive without the hand controls. I was worried about the braking, but that was the easiest. The accelerator was a little harder because you don't have the sensations, and the pedal sits a little lower, but I find that I use more of my knee and the heel of my foot when I accelerate. I checked with the Department of Motor Vehicles in the state of Illinois in the United States where I live and they have no restrictions on not using hand controls...they only say that you must have your legs on when you drive...which I thought was pretty funny! My doctor and my physical therapist both agreed that I have the ability to do this...just wondering if anyone else is doing this? I must admit since I am a newer amp, that for trips where I'm going to be walking, I do get tired of taking the wheelchair along, but I still need it when where I'm going is going to entail alot of walking. Since I am still on my first set of legs, I'm hoping that eventually, the prosthetics will feel more comfortable and I can walk longer distances. Thanks for the advise on the driving, haven't done alot of it yet, but have practiced in heavy traffic and iI'm getting more used to it. I missed driving so much!!

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When I started to drive (** years ago) I was told I had to use hand controls. As well as being bilateral I have a few joint problems and I'm missing a few muscles, so I think the advice was appropriate. However, rather than seeing the use of hand controls as a defeat, I've actually found them a bonus as I can drive when my legs are out of action (believe me, when it takes at least 3 months for your legs to recover from surgery it's a BIG plus! :) ).

It's really good that you've managed to drive with your legs and if it works for you then it's brilliant! B) But, it's really 'horses for courses' and there's really no right way...just your way. :)

Lizzie :)

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Thank you for the advise Lizzie! I'll just have to see which way works best. So much planning and work goes into everything I do at this stage. I'm hoping this gets easier as time goes by...thank you again.

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The "thinking about everything you do" is one of the harder parts to get used to... fortunately, it does get easier as you get more experience and everything stops being "new" to you.

For about the first two years, I was constantly encountering "new" situations and having to stop and think my way through "how to do this." Now, at 3 1/2 years, I mostly don't have to think about most things I do. When I do encounter a "new" situation, it kind of draws me up short... but it usually doesn't take a lot of thinking to work out my solution.

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My father is bilateral LBK/RAK and doesn't use foot controls for @40 years now and does well. However, Lizzie makes a good point about being able to drive w/o legs on.

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Lizzie makes a good point, I have spent more time without legs than with for one reason or another. I would have had a hard time getting around without hand controls plus I do find it easier to drive using hand controls.

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Since I was 2 when I became an Amp, I obviously never could drive with both feet. I am only a right amputee, but I drive with my right foot and do great. Sure, it took me longer then the average person, and it was deffinatley harder, but once I figured out what I needed to do, it was fine. Its weird how I can tell how much pressure I need, but it just works.

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Shelby, do you know what part of your right foot you use when you accelerate? Is it more the front(toes) or back(heels)? It seems like for me to get the correct pressure when I accelerate, I use the middle section of my right foot or towards the back(heel). I am learning that whatever works for me..is neither right or wrong, it just works! :) Thank you for your perspective, it helps so much to hear from others. Have a great day!

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Shelby, do you know what part of your right foot you use when you accelerate? Is it more the front(toes) or back(heels)? It seems like for me to get the correct pressure when I accelerate, I use the middle section of my right foot or towards the back(heel). I am learning that whatever works for me..is neither right or wrong, it just works! :) Thank you for your perspective, it helps so much to hear from others. Have a great day!

Hi Flip

Having been a bilateral b/k since age 12, I have always driven with Hand Controls, and have no problem at all. Living in the UK, Like Lizzie, I really had no choice about it, and the DVLA has written it into my driving licence. However, when I started learning to drive, before I officially took to the road, I did have a lesson on an unused airport road to try out the foot controls, my driving instructor had never taught an amputee to drive. I know I also felt it quite difficult to apply the correct pressure, and it also meant me holding the foot at an awkward angle, which was quite tiring.

However, if driving with the foot pedals works for you, all well and good, the feet I were using at time when I tried were pretty basic, so may be easier with todays feet.

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Shelby, do you know what part of your right foot you use when you accelerate? Is it more the front(toes) or back(heels)? It seems like for me to get the correct pressure when I accelerate, I use the middle section of my right foot or towards the back(heel). I am learning that whatever works for me..is neither right or wrong, it just works! :) Thank you for your perspective, it helps so much to hear from others. Have a great day!

I use the middle or more towards the heel as well. Its weird how it works, but like you said, it just does :)

You have a good day too!

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Hello Flip:

I drive with hand controls...........and have no desire to do it any other way.................however................. I have a female friend who is as you are and she drives via prots no problem......her car is an automatic though.

As well, i am aware of a fellow who is the same as myself (bilat aka) who drives a standard transmission with his prots..............................goes to show you that all is still possible with a bit of determination.

ED

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