This week we remember the service of our veterans, who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free. We are grateful to those who gave their all to protect and defend our freedom at the expense of their own safety. The pride that our veterans showed when donning their uniform should be matched in the care we offer them following their service, and to honor them we thought it right to share some stories of their bravery and life after their service. Today we share military veteran and Infinite Socket user Paul Beyer’s story about how he aims to be an advocate of hope for fellow amputated veterans who choose to remain wheelchair bound.
I’m falling! There’s only one thing that I’m afraid of and that’s fear itself. I found myself afraid of falling because the prosthetic device I had didn’t work and I fell all the time. I’m a larger than life type of guy, Sniper Scout in Vietnam with a six second life expectancy, over 135 missions completed, you name it I’ve done it! The amputation really cut me down to size. Now I’m worried about falling? FALLING? The scenario desperately needed to change, so if there was something out there that could help my case, I’d embrace it and run with it.
One meeting with my prosthetist in Hawaii, and I was handed a Wired magazine. There, in the centerfold was the Infinite Socket™; I lusted after it. It looked so inviting, like somebody really cared in the production of it. I firmly believe ‘if meant to be it’s up to me,’ so I went after it and for the first time in a long while I got really excited about the prospect of having a product where my needs were put first and maybe, just maybe, I might not fall.
In Vietnam I did some pretty radical combat related things and came back home to see people judging me about what I did; it hurt. I tried to cover up the pain through my tough guy biker character until it became all too much and I couldn’t cope anymore. It wasn’t until I made a life changing decision that set me on the good road in life. It breaks my heart seeing other amputee war veterans going through the same ordeal but mentally quit. 70% of amputated veterans over the age of 60 melt into the material of their wheelchair because they follow the path of least resistance. They look at their options, rationalize them, get comfortable in their wheelchair and sustain that lonely helpless feeling.
Today, when I turn up at any VA hospital and my fellow veterans see the enthusiasm rushing through me now that I’m mobile and comfortable with myself, they begin to believe again. Sometimes people just need to be prompted and reminded that they are no different, that there is life after amputation. I want to talk to every veteran in a wheelchair out there… I want them to talk to me. A lot of people don’t have anybody anymore, and the fact that LIM Innovations has produced something that provides a hope to many immobile people goes a long way in providing a better option to life. It’s another chance.
There are people out there who are wasting away and need alternative options to start a better life. Imagine the feeling if you helped someone out and they came up to you and said “Thanks, you saved my life.” Now that’s what I’m after!
What I like about the socket is that with all the tissue and fluid fluctuation going all over the place, the ratchet actually captures it, encases it and you don’t have to worry about it. With the World Team Sport Challenge coming up Lim has given me something that I can crank on and tighten giving me all the confidence in the World to go out there and do it without my fear of falling. Time to get out of the wheelchair and back into life!