The Best is Yet to Come in 2016
It’s a new year and you’ve got a chance to make a new start.
You never know what you can accomplish until you try. If you don’t succeed the first time, that doesn’t mean your goal is unattainable. It simply means you have taken the first step in figuring how to achieve your goal.
As Thomas Edison said when working on the light bulb, “I have not failed. I have just figured out 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
A reminder that January is National Thank You Month so don’t forget to show your appreciation for those who have helped you become a better person in 2015. Also, mark your calendar for this month’s Amputee Support Group meeting!
- 1/19 – TLC Amputee Support Group Meeting, 2:00 p.m. at Covenant Hospital Cafeteria
Patient Spotlight: Christian Arnold
My Life as a College Student, Amputee & Aspiring Prosthetist
Back in 2008, I was on a local youth football team. We were playing in the championship game, and everything was going well until a member of the other team stepped on my right foot. When I took my cleat off after the game, there was a swelling mass on the bottom of my foot. Upon examination, the local doctor said we should see someone with more expertise. Soon after, I found myself at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. It was here that the doctor told me I had been diagnosed with cancer and that I had a choice: amputate below the knee or try to save the foot and risk the cancer spreading. I opted for the lower risk option, and in January of 2009, I became an amputee.
I think the biggest challenge I have faced since my amputation has been finding an elevated vacuum system that can keep up with me. I’m a pretty active person, and consequently, my prosthetics are always taking a beating! My current pump has been holding up very well, but there is always room for improvement.
My experience with Clark and Associates has technically been brief but is off to a great start. My clinician, Mark McDonald, CPO, LPO has worked with me from the start. He has been a great help over the years and is very good at his job. Although Mark is a fairly new addition to the Clark and Associates team, I believe he will continue to be a great asset not only to the company but to their patients as well. I always enjoy visiting his office in Clive, and I tend to learn something new every time I’m there. With Mark’s help, I have truly made incredible strides in maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. I participated in basketball, football, track, and marching band all throughout middle school. During high school, I shifted my focus to band and my part time job, but continued to work out and stay active. None of this would have been possible without an excellent clinician, and for that Mark, I thank you.
I am currently attending community college for an associate of applied science degree. I love to play the trumpet and bass guitar, I love playing video games, and I also enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer. My interest in prosthetics and my desire to improve them has compelled me to pursue a master’s degree in prosthetics and orthotics! I have not decided on a school yet and I’m not entirely sure what part of the field I want to go into, but I cannot wait to one day make a difference in the field and in patients’ lives.
Employee Spotlight: Traci Kastli
Traci maintains insurance and billing, with her main responsibility being in working appeals and denials, becoming more familiar with “L” codes each day! Starting just two months ago, Traci already feels like a part of the team.
“I love the people I work with,” describes Traci. “I feel welcome and appreciated, also feel that I can bring ideas and information, and it will be considered.”
Outside of work at Clark & Associates, Traci loves spending time with her three kids, Aaron – 27, and twin daughters, Alex and Sam – 22, and a grandson who just turned 7 months old. She is also kept “hopping” by her two crazy beagles, Spencer and Caesar!
We are thrilled to have Traci in our Clark & Associates family, and look forward her bright future in our organization.
Amputee Tips & Tricks
Over the next several months we will be presenting a series focused on tips and tricks for successful use of a prosthesis. The prosthetists at Clark and Associates have collaborated in an effort to present a collection of helpful information that can be utilized by amputees. We hope you find this series both interesting and useful.
There are several things that might prevent you from wearing your prosthesis and maintaining the lifestyle that you are accustomed to. Infections certainly fit into this category and are something we all want to avoid. The trouble is, an infection can incubate easily in a prosthetic socket – a non-breathable, warm environment where the natural oils from your skin can interact with sweat creating a natural breeding ground for bacteria. Signs of infection include pus/drainage, hot spots, fever, sudden pain, blisters and rashes. So what steps can take to take to help prevent developing an infection on your residual limb?
- Wash your residual limb at least once per day. More than once if you have a tendency to sweat frequently or if you are prone to infections or rashes.
- Use an antibacterial soap that is free from pigments and scents
- Avoid using alcohol-based lotions as they can actually dry out your skin, making it more susceptible to breakdown
- Instead, use a small amount of baby oil to keep the skin soft and moist
- To aid in controlling sweat, use Secret Outlast Clear Gel (no stick deodorants)
We hope the steps above are helpful and look forward to discussing liner care in next month’s installment
Ask the Clinician: Travis Carlson, CPO
There are devices available to help with toe drop after back surgery.
Q: “I recently had back surgery and my toes on my right foot drag when I walk. The doctor said this will be temporary, but is there anything I can use to keep me from tripping when I walk?”
A: Sure! It is not uncommon to have some temporary paralysis after back surgery, especially if the surgery was performed on your lower lumbar spine. For some, the paralysis subsides after a few weeks, while it can last longer in others. However, there are many simple devices that can help in either case to assist you when you walk by picking up your toes so you don’t trip. Most of these devices slip right into your shoe and extend to your mid-calf, and are hardly noticeable when wearing long pants. They allow you to walk safely while recovering from surgery.