Today I pulled out the Bionic Woman t-Shirt some friends gave me a few years ago when I first got this new leg. I haven’t worn the T-shirt yet because I haven’t felt like I was deserving. I had this incredible state-of-the-art knee yet I couldn’t walk around the block without stopping for a rest. Lindsay Wagner I was not.
When I first took possession of this leg, with the new knee (the C-leg), and I put it on in my prosthetist’s office, I became emotional, overcome by the significance of this new technology and what it means for people such as myself and the quality of our lives. I am now able to twist at the ankle when I walk, something I didn’t even realize my real ankle does naturally. I can walk down stairs, one foot over the other, instead of taking them one by one like a toddler. I can walk over uneven ground (which, to an above-knee amputee is anything outside the house) with the confidence that my knee won’t buckle. This knee is amazing in its ability to support my body weight when it is bent.
I have a “peg leg” that I use when I’m around the water. A metal pylon is attached to a simple socket. At the end of the pylon is a basic rubber foot. Walking in a peg leg makes me look like Peg Leg Pete. Makes me want to chug whiskey form a jug and cuss. And it makes me think of all the amputees in the past who lived with so much pain because of these crude ill-fitting prosthetic legs.
I recently read an article in last month’s National Geographic about the bionic age of replicating body parts, from eyes and ears to arms and legs. While my leg is not as advanced as the arm the article highlighted, which is crudely controlled by brain messages, I am so appreciative of technology and proud to be a small part of this historic time in prosthetics.
My Bionic Woman t-shirt is in the laundry, getting ready for me to wear tomorrow. I feel like I deserve to wear it now. I will never be Lindsay Wagner, but I’m claiming what I’ve got. And what I’ve accomplished.