Wednesday, December 10, 2008
High Tech Help
I look at the clock and notice it is 5:38 p.m. I look at the empty stove and realize dinner will be late again.
In the distance I hear explosive sounds coming from the family room. My teenage son and his friends are bonding over the latest video game, becoming specially trained military men with the click of a button on their vibrating controllers. A teenage girl who looks a lot like me walks through the kitchen with a tiny gray phone pressed to her ear, lost in conversation with her latest best friend. Tucked in a corner of the dining room my eight year old points and clicks away on the family computer. Surrounded by this new world of high tech possibilities I have not been left behind. As I scurry out to the car to bring in the last load of groceries, my shiny metal foot bounces back with each step, providing an energy return feature that powers my day.
I have been blessed with technology not just in my ability to keep in touch with overseas relatives vie instant email, but by the new advancements in artificial limbs. It is one of the reasons I chose to become an amputee in the first place.
Yes, I chose this life. Five years ago I got mad. After living with a deformed foot that only seemed to deteriorate more with each passing year, I began a research campaign. I interviewed orthopedic doctors and scoured amputee websites. I visited prosthetists and held plastic feet and legs in my hands, inspecting them to see exactly how much potential they might hold. I read books and articles about the new advancements that were being made in this world of plastic and metal limbs. And I liked what I found.
It became very clear to me that the active amputee in this new millennium was living a much better life than I had been stuck with. I had never been able to walk well and hadn’t been able to run since I was a seven year old. A simple trip to do weekly grocery shopping could wear me out. In my research I found metal feet that bounced back with each step. It became apparent that I could finally have two good, participating feet when I walked.
We are in a new age. Cell phones and computer equipped cars are not the only life changing advancements out there. For the first time in history it’s possible for a metal limb to trump flesh and bone. And the advancements are not just for the super athletes and the mountain climbers. They are also for me.
I don’t need to run a marathon today, I just need to be able to shop the whole grocery store and still have energy left when I get home to make dinner, help with homework, and maybe throw in a few loads of laundry.
The only mountain I will climb today will be the pile of clothes that threatens to take over the floor of my daughter’s room. But with my new high tech leg I have no fear. I know I can get that pile down the stairs and tucked away in the laundry room with plenty of time left to meet my second grader at the kitchen table for a practice spelling test.
You can have your fancy new iphone and your realistic video games. My vote for best new high tech gear is the one I snap on every morning, just below my knee. It has given me an active life I thought was out of reach.