Getting my prosthesis replaced (2010), part 2: having the socket cast

So, this is a little in retrospect, but here it is!

The new socket is progressing well – a few weeks back I went in for my cast, which is always when things start to feel a bit more real! For me it’s all pretty uninteresting at this stage since it’s been a regular happening from when I was a kid, but I imagine it’d be a bit weird for someone new to being an amputee!

So for the uninitiated, here’s what generally happens – off go the trousers and replace with a weird off-white cotton unitard that goes down your real leg and over the stump. Tie the end off under the stump pirate-style, cut the shoulders on the unitard and tie it like a toga to tighten up on the correct side of the body, stand over some plastic sheeting and have cold, wet plaster wrapped around your stump 😉 Having a good amount of balance helps for this bit, so I’m right at home since I’ve been an amputee since I was a baby.

Anywho, after a bit the wet plaster starts to set and turns from being cold and wet to warm. It’s kinda weird, but I’d hazard a guess it isn’t unlike having a cast put on your arm or leg after breaking a bone or something. Once it’s set, off comes the cast and you clean yourself up by brushing off the plaster. You’ll invariably get plaster seeping through to your underwear, so if you don’t want to ruin your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles undies, wear something expendable 😉

Actually, particularly to the guys, I have a piece of golden advice – if you’re being cast over your stump, I’d recommend shaving or waxing your stump in prep, because when that cast comes off, all that hair’s coming with it.

Was it inappropriate to go into that kind of detail? Hopefully not. After all, you’re going to have to deal with it, so not talking about it won’t make it go away or anything 😛

Anywho, so that covers getting the cast done – next time I’ll be talking about the test socket stage. I’ll continue to update as we go, so just keep track of the 2010 New Prosthesis tag for all the posts related to this topic.


Gastro sucks

I was intending on following up on the last couple of weeks’ worth of posts with new material, but got knocked out with gastro last week. Bugger.

Anywho, there should be at least another update this week, then regular updates from next week – I’ve got a couple of martial arts movies to waffle about, as well as some updates on the new prosthesis being put together.


JUMP, and why you need to see it

JUMP promo image

At this year’s OzAsia festival, Wifey and I were lucky enough to go and see JUMP, a martial arts comedy show from Korea that’s been doing the rounds internationally. We went into this one blind purely running off the official press release on the website because it sounded quirky and interesting. Turns out our impressions were pretty accurate!

The story’s simple and stereotypical – the story is set around a Korean family (Father, Mother, Uncle and Daughter) who train diligently in martials arts as directed by their grandfather. There’s also the son-in-law, who the grandfather’s actively trying to setup with his granddaughter. Part one deals with the daily training regime, part two deals with the “incident” – a couple of guys decide to break into the household, and combat ensues. The show finishes with a run of acrobatics and martial arts, while the scenes are broken up with the great-gandfather offering some comic relief.

The concept itself seems a little staid, and that’ll probably bother some. However, there lies a certain genius in the way the show has been put together. Given the language barrier, the show relies on physical comedy and over-the-top exclamations to communicate with foreign audiences. This presents challenges, but great opportunities as well. There are wonderful pop-cultural overflows with the use of English quips and more than a few tips of the hat to martial arts flicks of years gone by – I’m particularly reminded of a lot of the physical comedy present in movies from the Shaw Brothers and some from Golden Harvest from the 70s and early 80s. There are also tips of the hat that echo animation and hollywood flicks, some of which are subtle or possibly unintentional, and others not-so (such as the amusing interpretation of the 360° camera work from The Matrix).

Of course, there’s also the acrobatics and martial arts, both of which are awesome to see in action. I realise that over-the-top martial arts choreography popular in action movies from HK/Korea/Japan is often frowned upon by some martial artists, but I love it – it’s entertaining even if it isn’t practial, and a great demonstration of human physicality. The acrobatics were great as well – lots of wall jumps, tumbles, flips, and so forth. Daughter does some nice-looking work with a bo too – not sure if it’s more dance performance than forms-based, but it looked cool, so that’s fine with me 🙂

JUMP’s strength is in its physical action rather than its originality, but the execuction and sense of humour adds depth and makes it stronger for the sum of its parts. If it happens to come back again, I might have to see if we can drag a few more people along to the show, as I reckon my brothers, mates and fellow students would probably enjoy it as well 🙂 Highly recommended.


Reading some local amputee blogs

I went hunting for some amputee blogs the other day and stumbled across two new ones I thought were interesting and wanted to share.

The first one is Ordinary Situations, and is written by a fellow Aussie who lost her leg at a young age and details a variety of topics, including some of the challenges/experiences she’s had as an amputee. Unless I’m having a crazy moment, we’ve actually spoken over e-mail before, but I didn’t realise she had a blog as well, otherwise I would have put it up in my link resources sooner! She’s tagged all her amputee/prosthesis stuff together as well, so it makes it easy to read up on what’s been happening with her. It looks like she’s done a me and has dropped off the blogosphere, so hopefully she’ll come back again soon for more posts!

The second one I’ve added is Active Amputee, a blog by a below-knee amputee living in Queensland who originally hails from Canada. I certainly wont hold his heritage against him though, as Wifey and I are fans of Canadians – not only are they polite international travelers and gave the world Degrassi Junior/High, but they also produce 80% of the world’s supply of maple syrup, possibly the greatest condiment in the world. Anywho, as the title suggests, Mike’s a very active above-knee amputee, and when he’s not sporting a shiny new prosthesis with a bright red Canadian maple leaf, he’s doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro. His travel posts are also great, including the travel tips he’s put together.


Back at training!

Well, kinda back at training – didn’t make it this week due to some leg stuff, but I did get back last week 🙂

It was great to be back in the dojo and train with everyone after such a long break. The workout was fantastic, and being able to practice the two-person drills with other students was great – to help with muscle memory I’ve been practicing them solo while recovering from everything, and managed to form a couple of errors I’ve had to work on. Getting there though!

What’s throwing me a bit at the moment is some of the differences in executing some of the solo uke techniques. Compared to the relative/comparative linearity in Shotokan, performing the same techniques in Koryu Uchinadi is a little different, so it’s time to break old habits! The changes make sense in the spirit of the KU syllabus/philosophy and the links back to traditional Okinawan Kenpo suggest a definite Chinese influence on the techniques. I’m enjoying the use of kake-uke as well – this was taught at higher levels in Shotokan, but I’d had some exposure to it a good few years back when I was training in a Shotokan/Goju hybrid style, though the instruction and execution of the kake-uke wasn’t anywhere near as extensive as it is in KU.

We also did some other drills in class that I wasn’t all that proficient in, but with help from my fellow students, I got there in the end! It’s all learning, so it’s not such a bad thing to be humbled by new techniques and training with more experienced martial artists.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to train drills, combinations and go through some of the standards we use. I’m finding that the nature of KU is lending itself to doing some work on the boxing bag at home, so that’s been great as well. I’m looking at getting my form up to par, and once I get my new leg, I’ll look at posting a couple of videos showing how I perform some of these techniques for others to see, with an emphasis on how I compensate for techniques with my prosthesis. I’ve been meaning to get onto that all year, and I’m determined to get something up before x-mas!


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