The Struggle Has Ended

Greg Hewlett passed away on January 17th after nearly eight years of battling colon cancer. While we grieve his loss, we are comforted to know that he is with his Lord.

If you would like to leave your thoughts on Greg, please see this thread.

If you would like to make a charitable donation in Greg's honor, please see this thread.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Week at Sabolich - Tuesday

Bill_with_test_socket.jpgTuesday morning, Bill unveiled the test socket. Bill Ethridge has been my personal prosthetist for about 15 years. His experience and instinct about what will work well and what will not amazes me. Prosthetics requires an incredibly diverse set of skills - anatomy, bio-mechanics, mechanical engineering, material science, and general tinker-and-fix knowledge.

I travel to Oklahoma City because of Bill. And because he is part of a large team of prosthetists like him who collaborate and persist until I leave with the perfect fit. Sabolich combines a rare combination of three ingredients - prosthetists with decades of experience, a sizeable team that collaborates at key points in the fitting process, and a culture of persistence until the client is walking as best as everyone involved believes possible. There is no hint of the time-is-money undercurrent that I have found at other places. And a new prosthesis is so expensive that I believe it is unwise for me to risk going anyplace else. So I keep coming back to Bill.

"You're not planning on retiring anytime soon?" I asked him (as I always do when I come up here).

"Not if my wife has any say in the matter," he replied.

So Tuesday morning, the test socket was remarkably good for a first try. First I tried on just the socket to see if we could even get it on and ensure reasonable snugness. It was. Then he put it on a brace so I could try it while standing. We discussed all the interior contours and lip of the socket. The test socket is see-through so that you can see the pressure on the skin. The material is a rigid plastic that can be heated and reformed, to a degree.

We went through a few such adjustments of the test socket. Each heat-reshape-cool trial takes about 45 minutes. After the first try, he connected it to a C-leg knee for a bit more realistic set-up. We went through about three total shaping rounds.

In the end, Bill decided we would create another test socket. The outer hip area had more space in it than could be accommodated by heating and reforming. So he scribbled some more markings on the socket, and sent me on my way. He spent the remainder of the afternoon creating test socket #2 and it should be cooled and ready in the morning.

test socket with bracket (no C-Leg yet)

quick-adjust connector

floor spacers - used to quickly assess and adjust height

test socket with C-leg setup


Sarah Hazel said...

So cool.

Chara Gafford said...

Very cool! How are you holding up between chemo sessions?