first dynamic fitting

Yesterday I went back to Prosthetics in Motion for the first dynamic fitting for my new bionic hand. Last time, we only had a test socket to work with to get the sensor sites right. This time, the arm was fully built and ready to be tried on. In terms of the creative process, this stage is like the first full draft of an essay before you edit and revise it for publication. (Yeah, I totally snuck an English teacher reference in there.) While it was fully made and completely functional, the arm still needed some fine-tuning to make sure that the fit and usability were absolutely perfect.

 

The arm, in all its glory

The arm, in all its glory

The arm itself is gorgeous, although it’ll look very different by the time I take it home in a few weeks. The body of the arm starts off as transparent, with all the wiring inside clearly visible. The thin red strips inside it are the battery packs, and the blue wires connect everything together. It’s pretty crazy how everything fits in the arm that way, isn’t it?

For this fitting, we focused on functionality and fit. So after making sure that the arm was the right length and size for me cosmetically, the prosthetists had me test out the arm again and asked about the fit of the socket. It pinched my small arm in two places when we started, but they stretched out and cut out parts of the socket to make it super comfortable.

We ran into some technical trouble when the thumb kept jamming and the sensors weren’t lining up properly against my small arm, but the guys went to work at diagnosing the problem and ironing out the issue right away. They really are an amazing team of prosthetists (and extra kudos to them for putting up with my terrible jokes and constant nosy questions)!

If all goes according to plan, I have one more dynamic fitting and one final fitting to go until I can take my new bionic hand home. I’m beyond excited!!!

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testing out my new hand

It’s been FOREVER. I know, I know! I’ve taken a very long break from blogging in the past couple years, but I’ve missed it like crazy and now I’m back!

A couple months ago, I decided to look into getting a new prosthesis with more functionality than my passive cosmetic hand. Now I’m about to become a bionic woman over here, and I wanted to make sure I document every moment of the process and provide a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make and use a new myoelectric hand. I’m getting a hand called the BeBionic, which is made by SteeperUSA. It’s absolutely gorgeous and looks futuristic as heck!

I can’t wait to introduce you to my new cyborg hand so, without further ado, here’s a video of my first fitting with the test socket and sensors.

 

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my life in GIFs: 10 things that cost less than a bionic arm

One question I’m asked frequently (after the inevitable “What happened to your arm?”) is this: “How much does a prosthetic hand cost?” Let’s put it this way – you know when people facetiously claim that something crazy-expensive costs an arm and a leg? Well, that’s pretty accurate. And while I’m not entirely sure how much a leg costs, I can assure you that an artificial hand is a big investment. A Myoelectric arm prosthesis (the kind that lets you open and close the hand) will set you back upwards of $20,000. And the cosmetic hand (read: the one that’s just for show) is not too far behind.

To put this information in perspective, here’s a list of things that my artificial hand most likely costs more than:

1) A car –

Unless you’re driving a Beamer (or something of equal or higher value), chances are good that my robotic limb is more expensive.

2) Breast implants –

I’m not saying I would get them, but I totally could… Let’s just say, I could look like Heidi Montag right now if I’d pursued this route.

3) A year of college –

According to CollegeData.com, a year at an out-of-state public college will set you back $22,203 on average. And if you decide to attend a public university in your state, my arm could pay for about two years. Crazy, huh?

4) A year’s worth of rent – 

Maybe this wouldn’t be so helpful if you’re living in (extremely overpriced) NYC, but you could definitely get a pretty decent apartment anywhere else.

5) A Louis Vuitton bag –

Actually, depending on which bags you pick, you could probably afford a whole designer wardrobe.

6) A small wedding – 

Granted, it wouldn’t be a Kim Kardashian/Kris Humphries affair, but this sum of money could buy a girl with simple tastes her Pinterest dream wedding.

7) A year abroad – 

You know that gap year some kids take between high school and college? My prosthetic could fund that in full and may even last you a few years after that.

8) Diamonds – 

Who cares about having an artificial fourth limb when diamonds are a girl’s best friend?

9) Laptops for the whole family – 

And I’m talking good laptops, something like the MacBook Air.

10) A year’s worth of concerts and music festivals – 

Concert tickets for big-name artists can get pretty expensive. With what it costs to buy my fake hand, you could probably even follow one of them on their next tour (that’s what? 20 concerts across the globe? With front-row seats?).

 

So the next time I casually say that I would “give my left arm” for something on this list, know that I am most likely actually considering it….

 

Peace,

Caitlin

 

(All images/GIFs in this post found via Google.)
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common reactions to my limb difference and what i’m thinking (in gifs)

I thought I’d express the sentiments in today’s post better with GIFs. Enjoy!

1) “Oh my gosh, I’m sooooo sorry about your arm!,” kind of like this:

How I respond:

What I’m actually thinking:

2) “I had no idea you were missing an arm all this time!”

How I respond:

What I’m actually thinking:

3) “How do you write with only one hand?”

How I respond:

What I’m actually thinking:

4) “You seem to do pretty well without that arm.”

How I respond:

What I’m actually thinking:

5) “I knew this guy once who lost an arm.”

How I respond:

What I’m actually thinking:

6) “Don’t worry. You’ll find a guy one day who’s not shallow and loves you just the way you are.”

How I respond:

What I’m actually thinking:

7) “That bionic hand is pretty cool.”

How I respond:

What I’m actually thinking:

8) “Can I see/touch it?”

How I respond:

What I’m actually thinking:

Peace,
Caitlin Michelle

 

(I do not own any of the above GIFs. They are from Tumblr and Google.)
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