I was born in New Jersey before moving to Port Richie, Florida in 1975. Ever since I can remember I’ve always been a do-it-yourself kind of Woman, raised the old fashioned way, moving on my feet, and making a living. I worked in a supermarket years ago behind the deli counter, before moving into electronics, where I did everything from designing, to building, to fixing different electronic devices. I’m already 91, yet have always had the drive and determination to do everything myself, including all my own yard work. Even to this day, I get out there in my electric scooter to pull out all the weeds.
Years ago, I had a hip and knee implant, and I wasn’t able to kneel or walk with my new knee. The doctor said I was throwing down scar tissue and put me into surgery three times to resolve the issue. The third time in surgery, I picked up an infection, which lasted for five months. On Mother’s Day in 2013, just after the infection had cleared, I went out to eat with my friends and Daughter. On the way to the restaurant, my knee buckled and the replacement fell apart. As a result I had my leg amputated above the knee.
I found out about the Infinite socket through James Bond at our local Florida amputee meeting. I went to a meeting and saw Lynn De Cola, a representative of LIM Innovations. The initial reaction to seeing the Infinite Socket at this meeting, was that it looked far more padded and comfortable. I wasn’t going to get cut around the groin because the brim seemed padded all the way round.
Since wearing the Infinite Socket, the biggest change I have noticed is how comfortable it is when I drive. It just doesn’t bother me anymore, whereas with the other one, if I drove for two hours, it would cut me across the top of my limb. I call it my dummy leg, and have a bracelet around the pylon by the foot; replicating the same setup I had when I was a child in New Jersey. If I leave the house, I always wear the socket, and bring my scooter to ride the long distances as well.
The biggest thing I’ve accomplished so far was to be able to drive my car again. When I was a child, my Uncle had a fishing business and used to fall asleep behind the wheel after hours pound fishing and delivering his catch. I’ve been driving since I was 14 years old, back when you had the letter H as a gear shift. After my amputation, my independence was greatly affected by the painful experiences I had when driving in my old prosthetic socket.
Another great difference is the adjustments I can do myself. My old prosthetic was like a barrel, with adding or subtracting socks being the only form of getting a good fit. The guys at Sonlife P&O are amazing. They really care about my happiness, and sorted out the alignment so I can wear a little heel or a flat shoe when I get dressed. I also wear a cover on my hardware, as people have said it doesn’t look natural. It’s like a sock, that slides over the socket and components, and gives me the confidence to do what I want to do.
Currently, I’m taking care of my friend who helped me through my amputation. He has dementia now; the good Lord wants me to help people and so I do. I just came back from a cruise hosted by Amputee Coalition. We went to Saint Thomas, and it was beautiful. One of the amputees in my group fell off the footpath in his scooter and tipped over sideways. So my time currently is filled with helping out some of the people who need it most.
My oldest Daughter and her children live in South Dakota, and my goal for the next year is to go see them in the Spring. I've already picked up the map, and it's now up to me to go and see them. Due to the mobility I now have, and the comfort I experience when driving, this dream no longer seems out of reach.