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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
Systematic Chaos

which hand controls?

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I'm sure this has been asked numerous times and I've been trying to use the search function with no luck from my phone. My computer crashed. I was also trying to see if I had asked that before but this website I'm guessing is displayed differently on my phone.

So I'm finally at a point where I might have enough money to get hand controls and am looking at Monarch Mark IA. Or sure grip.

Any suggestions? They're going in a 72 Impala. Also what's done to the car on the install?

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If memory serves me, you are BK? I'm right BK and have a left foot accelerator. I would recommend you check into that before getting hand controls.

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Most BKs can do with little to no adaptive devices to drive. I know a few like Marcia who use a left foot accelerator. That makes a lot of sense to me. I'm a lefty so I don't need anything. I can even drive a stick shift without any adaptive equipment. I also know some righties who drive with their prosthesis or do a left leg crossover to the accelerator. It's just a matter of what you get used to. As long as you have feeling and use of your remaining foot, I would not invest in hand controls.

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I'm bilateral below knee and I don't use any hand controls at all. It is all about getting used to it, but you get used to driving more with your knees up than your feet. Good luck!

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Yes, I am BK. I'll check into that. Certainly would be cheaper. I'll have to go out there and practice. What brand of one do you use?

I don't know the brand. It was installed by a company here called Team Adaptive. They put lifts in vans, etc. So look for a company like that. I always say it's the best $250 I ever spent. By the way, I have nerve damage in my left foot too. I have done the crossover thing but am more comfortable this way. I have even driven in a parking lot with my amp foot. It would take me some getting used to. The adapter was the answer was the most comfortable and safe answer for me.

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I am LBK and can drive without adaptations. On a good day that is fine and I am happy to use my husbands manual car (stickshift I think in USA?) but on a bad day when there is a lot of pain I am glad to revert to my automatic (much bigger to take the whole family and a gas guzzler so not ideal for all the time)so that I do not have to use my left leg. You just need to consider all the options and alternatives before making your decision.

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I added a set of older hand controls to my Mazda mini van and find them--somewhat scary. It may be ME tho. YOu have to learn a COMPLETELY un-"natural" way of doing things. Now the newer ones may work better. Mine have a push/pull action---push forward on a ball about the size of a pool ball for gas and down for brake. The tricky thing for ME is the "break point" where gas meets brakes. I have to learn how to do this and NOT have the gas on while braking!

Also a LOT of wear and tear on the shoulders and arms---again, this could be because they are older models acquired from a friend. My husband and son-in-law were able to install them in an afternoon--most of that time was spent figuring out which parts to use since Friend had given us a large box of varied items that might be needed. They do kinda get in the way of the driver (but you get used to this) and they do need periodic adjustment (which you can easily do). I am a LEFT BK but I have ALSO lost the forefoot on the right and the use of the thigh muscles on the right which is what finally caused me to get these. You also can no longer use the "Tilt Wheel" feature but a custom install should be able to accomodate this.

You might want to check out some of the sites that have paralyzed people writing in---they have many many ideas about this sort of thing. When it was "just" my right foot I taught myself how to drive (even a stick) with the left foot so I suspect that the left foot adapter would be not that hard to learn. I can no longer move the thigh to move the leg to move the foot---and I have no flex in that ankle---makes for fun times! I think that if you don't have insurance you can find these on eBay for less than the adaptive places charge. And they just bolt on to the pedal as far as I recall. The ones that we put in do NOT alter the car in any way and can be easily removed if you get a new car--the newer ones are MUCH more "Brand Specific" I think. Oh and a SPINNY KNOB (suicide knob) is a MUST with these---again ebay is the place to go for both price and STYLE which is of course very important! And since we have a trailer we use it ALL the time and can't remember HOW we did without it! The "hard" part is actually getting the window DOWN or up---electric or manual how do you DO it and still accelerate? And tolls---you have to pull up, stop, put it in park, roll down the window, pay, and then do it all in reverse. EASY PASS TIME!!!! Oh and best to NOT tell your insurance co OR DMV about this. I have heard dreadful tales about ins co's either canceling or raising your rates sky-high to get your risky behind OFF of their books. And I have heard (but do not have confirmation) that some DMV's will yank your license and force you to RETAKE the road test etc.

I have heard that there are places that will train you to USE the hand controls and I am going to check the local one out in spring---like I said maybe it is ME and my fear that is making it hard. It did get easier after a while but still was tiring and I found myself VERY willing to let others drive. Probably a bad idea since I am not getting the experience I need.

Good luck and let us know what you find out and decide!!!!

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Over here in the UK you are not allowed to drive with your prostheses. Being bilateral mine are mandatory, stipulated on my driving licence and are a push/pull lever on the right hand side, just under steering wheel. Also have a spinner knob on steering wheel. As a bilateral I have only ever driven with hand controls, but when I talk to people who have had to change after years of driving with their feet, they do say it takes some time to get used to.

Do make sure though that whatever controls you have put on, you are there when they fit them, so you can sit in the car and the fit can be tailored to how you sit in the car, as you want to be sitting as comfortably as you can, it does cause wear and tear on the shoulders/back and your hands on long drives, so take that into account. Also, if you are using a similar sort to me, look at the models which have integrated systems for indicators etc. Mine currently don't have these, but some of the latest models do, and I think they would be very useful, as sometimes its tricky to be steering/braking or whatever and have to be doing other things like indicating/dipping mainbeam etc., when I get my next ones I will be looking at these. Also you might need to be letting your car insurance people know.

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while I was waiting for my prosthetic my uncle built a portable left foot accelorator for me. It worked great. He built into the floor boards of my truck and the wifes car attachment points so that it stayed in place . It only took a few seconds to adjust it to the pedal of each vehicle. I used it for nearly a year while learning to walk and drive again with my right leg. I am a rbk.

derrick

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