For the past two decades, I’ve been using crutches to carry out my daily activities, owning a prosthetic leg extension has never cross my mind, till couple of years back when I discover the opportunity. For years, I’ve being looking for ways to make my mobility easier and more sustainable with little to no physical or emotional side effect and have found so many effective and sustainable ways to use crutches with little to no side effect – if you happen to see me in person, you’ll know I got things figured out in the crutches department.
Now, it’s time to move to the next level of effective mobility – prosthetic leg or artificial leg extension is the answer I’m looking for. Even though it comes with frequent physiotherapy classes at the beginning before enjoying the benefit of it. I was fortunate to acquire a custom-made prosthetic leg extension and before having a physiotherapy I decided to take it for a spin – the first time using it wasn’t a walk in the park (excuse the pun). Here is what happened when I decided to spend the day with a leg extension without taking any therapy classes at the start.
Firstly, I love wearing fitted outfit and my trousers aren’t an exception – the prosthetic leg is thick and wide, this means problem and the feet of the prosthetic leg can’t bend because is made of metal rapped in rubber, putting a shoe on is a struggle too. Wearing baggy trousers wasn’t a plan and three-quarters aren’t an option in a negative weather environment – baggy it is then. Just like the saying ‘’it takes two to tango’’ so is wearing my shoes with the leg on. The negative side is changing my entire trousers collections because of the leg – on the plus side, it is an improvement and little improvement is better than none, if the compromise isn’t big and it’s cost-effective.
The main challenge with the prosthetic leg is walking with it. I tried to walk with it from my apartment to the university library to know how it feels and see if I can get used to it – it safe to say, I didn’t think things through. Fortunately, a friend of my brother come to pick us up to the university in his car and I was happy about it, because my expectations turns out to be different than I imagine it. After we parked at the university parking area few yards from the library – I was unable to walk with the leg for a good two minutes without feeling exhausted, it comes to a point where I must use Salihu as a support to reach the library.
After sitting down, I start to go with my day plan which was working on my assignments using the library computer. I was unable to work for a good thirty minutes without moving my leg from one angle to another to find the perfect and comfortable place to keep it. Long story short, I didn’t achieve any reasonable work that day. Apart from sitting problems, the prosthetic feels hot inside, even though the temperature was reasonably cold (about 8⁰ C).
Another challenging factor was putting weight on the leg. For the past twenty years-ish, I’ve never put weight on the leg and now that I’m trying to do so, its not cooperating with me. Since the day I use the prosthetic leg, the muscles of my leg have been in pain; I started to see the benefit of physiotherapy, which I’ll be starting soon. Honestly, using the prosthetic for the whole day was the best experience I’ve had in years, regardless of the challenges – beside every new thing comes with its own issues and challenges – a prosthetic leg can be one of them.
The prosthetic leg has many benefits. The first benefit was having the ability to be independent without crutches – as time goes, I will be able to walk without crutches or be less dependent of it than before; this is a big deal for me and probably to those in similar condition. Okay! Don’t get me wrong, I love being special and having the ability to stand out in a crowd. It is not easy standing out in a crowd especially if its not Job related. The hard thing a person can do is accepting who he/she is, and not what people want him/her to be, and having the ability to overcome the challenges that comes with it like stigma, is a plus. Few years back, I don’t like being called disabled and I get mad when people do, now I use that to my advantage for example if there is a queue and someone said ‘’let him go first he’s disabled’’ I always respond with ‘’thanks mate, cheers’’ – who doesn’t like saving time. Okay! Back to the point now.
The second benefit is not having ‘’kantar hannu (in Hausa language)’’. Another benefit is, there is no need of buying new crutches every few months or year. The only thing left now is to have some physiotherapy and see if using the prosthetic leg extension is worth it – now I prefer the way I walk but as the saying goes ‘’don’t dismiss it, until you try it’’, I’ll be given it a chance and see what the outcome maybe.
I’ll keep you guys updated. Because of this development, I have so many ideas on how I can help others with similar condition. Even though prosthetic are expensive, having it readily available in Nigeria will help a lot of people. Maybe one day I’ll be able to create my own prosthetic company to help others with my condition to have more mobility in and around their communities – hopefully soon.
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your thought in the comment box below. Bye for now!