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December 2015 Newsletter

Clark & Associates | December 1st, 2015

December 2015

Recognizing the Gifts We Have

“What if Christmas doesn’t come from a store? What if, perhaps, Christmas means a little bit more?”

If you’ve seen or read “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” you’re probably familiar with the above quote. Although it was originally written by Dr. Seuss (a.k.a. Theodor Geisel) in 1957, it has great relevance today.

Everywhere we look during the holiday season we are assaulted with commercials and ads for sales and specials and discounts. They tell us to buy more stuff because “it’s the holiday season so why not?” Dr. Seuss saw the same thing happening in the 1950s as the country’s recovery from World War II resulted in an economic boom and the commercialization of Christmas.

But, as the Grinch wondered, doesn’t Christmas mean a little bit more? Instead of something bought from a store, we should look to the gifts we already have in our life: life itself, our family, our friends, the ability to improve our lives and pursue our goals and passions. Let’s take a page out of Dr. Seuss’s book and look inward instead of outward for the true meaning of the holiday season.

We can’t guarantee you’ll be invited to “carve the Roast Beast” like the Grinch, but it will help you feel thankful for the blessings you have.


Happy Holidays from our family to yours!  Here are important dates and hours for the month of December and New Years Day.

  • December 24 – Offices closed for Christmas Holiday
  • December 25 – Offices closed for Christmas Holiday
  • December 31 – Offices Open 8:00 am – 12:00 pm  (Closed remainder of day)
  • January 1 – Offices Closed – New Years Day

Patient Spotlight: Year in Review

In this past year, we’ve highlighted the stories of 11 Clark & Associates patients. We include a Patient Spotlight section in each of our newsletters as a source of motivation. For those who are new amputees or are struggling with a physical disability that limits their mobility, our patient stories act as encouragement and inspiration.

We want to highlight each of our patients from the last year this month. Thank you all so much for sharing your stories. It takes courage to share this part of yourself that is so intimate.

January – Ken Earnest

“I knew that he was going to do everything in his power to help me get up and walking with a new leg,” Ken said. “[He] has always made sure that not only am I satisfied with the comfort of my leg, but that it works as I feel it should to keep me upright and safe.”

February – Larry Baldwin

Larry’s influence as a role model to the kids he coaches, the students who see him coach and the parents whose kids play for him cannot be denied. We are proud to have worked with Larry for his prosthetic care for nearly five decades. He is an inspiration to everyone, and we look forward to seeing what great things he does next.

March – Brooklyn Juhl

Lighting in a bottle at four years old, Brooklyn Juhl loves doing just about anything active. She gets it from her parents and the rest of her family, as they all stay active throughout the year. This winter, Brooklyn got to experience ice skating and snow skiing for the first time. Her high level of activity is remarkable not only because of her age, but also because she was born with spina bifida.

April – Pete Entringer

Pete worked with the staff at Touch Bionics to learn to use his new i-limb hand. The hand uses myoelectric processes to allow Pete to move the fingers using the nerves in his residual limb. Electrodes were placed on Pete’s skin above two pre-selected muscle sites so that when he contracts these muscles, the electrodes pick up subtle changes in the electrical patterns and send these signals to a microprocessor which instructs the i-limb to open and close.

May – Michael Hines

“I thank all of you at Clark & Associates, especially Travis, for giving me one of the most important things in life: to walk tall and feel the freedom and fresh air of every step with family and friends, and walk hand in hand with my wife, Teresa,” Michael said.

June – Mark McDonald, CPO, LPO – Employee Spotlight

Mark McDonald, CPO, LPO, is a certified orthotist and prosthetist. He serves as clinical manager of the Clark and Associates Des Moines office and provides experienced patient care in prosthetics and orthotics.

July – Mindy Minks Havens – Employee Spotlight

Mindy is an office administrator at our new Clive office. A six-year veteran of the orthotics & prosthetics industry with the Iowa Clinic, Mindy helps with patient intake and loves building relationships with our clients.

August – Kelly Kupferschmidt

Kelly has been a long-time patient at Clark & Associates, having started working with Dennis Clark when she was two and a half years old. Kelly was born with primary peripheral neuropathy, a medical condition that affects an estimated 20 million people in the United States at varying levels of intensity.

September – Kaily Ramage

At six months old, she received her first prosthesis, followed by a revision at 3 years old. Now, after working with Clark & Associates’ Pat McTaggart in our Dubuque office, Kaily is on her seventh prosthetic leg. However, none of this has put a stop to her level of activity or her dreams. She’s so active that Pat actually had to make a patch for her liners because they get worn down from her playing soccer and T-Ball and doing dance and gymnastics.

October – Barbara Grassley

Twenty years and counting…I take each day as it comes, just thankful I can put both feet on the floor and go about my daily routine. I enjoy my children, grandchildren and the greats, too. I encourage other cancer patients and survivors whenever I can and am so thankful for all the blessings I have been given.

November – Jaymie Noffke

For Jaymie Noffke, life as an amputee started at the age of 2 when she had bilateral above knee amputations as a result of a tibial deficiency.  Jaymie was born without a tibias – the bone connecting the knee and ankle, and amputation was the only solution that would allow Jaymie the ability to walk.

Misconceptions About Amputees – Part 4

We conclude our series on misconceptions about amputees this month with our fourth and fifth installments.

Misconception 4:  We’ll never walk normally again.

Truth:  You may have seen amputees limping, leaning to one side, or shuffling their feet, and wondered if that was a common lifelong issue for those who have lost one or both of their legs.  While some amputees may not return to a completely normal gait pattern for a variety of reasons, a quality prosthetist can provide a strong likelihood for walking without any noticeable deficiencies.  A properly fit socket along with appropriate componentry are necessities for amputees attaining positive functional outcomes.  The aforementioned necessities must be combined with a strong physical therapy regime for amputees to reach their full potential.

Misconception 5:  We can’t go back to work

Truth:  While some amputees may find it difficult to adjust to work, or may find it physically improbable to resume a career with excessive physical demands (such as construction), most amputees are able to return to work after a period of healing.  The fact is, returning to normal activities including work, is good for both the heart and the mind.  In some cases, amputees are drawn to a completely new career as a result of their experiences.  In either case, having an amputation does not spell the end of career related goals and aspirations.

Ask the Clinician

Sifting through medical jargon during a visit to a physician’s office can be rather overwhelming.  In the world of orthotics and prosthetics, we too have our share of three and four syllable words, along with a vast array of acronyms that can become a little challenging to dissect.  So for patients needing orthotic or prosthetic services at Clark and Associates, what questions should patients ask of the clinician to help provide a clearer understanding of material that might otherwise be intimidating?

Clark and Associates Resident Andrea Sherwood (MPO) had this to say.

Patients should feel comfortable asking all of their questions.  As the old saying goes, there is no such thing as a dumb question.  As prosthetists and orthotists, we are here to help you.  We usually find that somewhere along life’s journey most of the patients we work with experienced an incident of some type that changed the course of their lives.  Whether that incident was trauma related or simply the result of disease progression, patients in need of our services typically have many questions on their mind as they deal with change.  From functionality of a device to the way it looks cosmetically, we as clinicians want our patients to ask questions so that we can work together for the best possible outcomes.

With the holidays upon us, I think of it like this analogy.  How many of you do holiday baking or cooking without a recipe?  The baking of a homemade apple pie or making turkey gravy may be common knowledge to you.  However, this is not common knowledge to me!  I would need to ask you many detailed questions even after receiving basic instructions of the process.  The same is true for orthotists and prosthetists.  At times we take for granted the common knowledge we have about various devices and their functions.  And while we always discuss the directions for utilizing a device, you may have some specific detailed questions that you need answered in order to best move forward.  So when you’re in a patient room deciding whether or not to ask a question, remember, we appreciate questions and want to do everything possible to achieve the most optimal outcomes for you.