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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halloween 2014

This year’s Halloween costume came together at the last minute, but I think it turned out okay.

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when your ‘last resort’ is your ‘dream come true’

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If you had told me even five years ago that I would be experiencing a major career switch before the age of 25, I would have thought you were crazy. I was IN LOVE with my social media position at the Oxygen Network, and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. I was also fortunate to have an amazing boss and mentor (whom I still love and admire like crazy) who later brought me on with her as the digital marketing coordinator for a political news network. When that network was sold to an international news network, however, I started to realized that maybe social media was not the right career path for me. I loved creating content and curating the various social pages, but the job became increasingly focused on the marketing aspect of the business with little room for creativity. (It’s not like you can be super creative when you’re reporting facts and news stories.) And that shift wasn’t particularly exciting for an artsy and nerdy English major who is happiest when she’s dreaming up new ideas and working on creative projects.

10628626_10152804020652642_9176936420018892715_nI knew that I had to make a major change in my life when, after being laid off from my job in early spring, I was surprised to find that I was actually elated and relieved. I was free. But free to do what? I had an English degree and absolutely no desire to pursue a career in law (can you seriously picture me in a drab old court all day?). So what’s a girl to do? Remembering my childhood dream of becoming a teacher, I reluctantly took education classes and figured that was my only option. Teaching was a career choice I had always kept on the periphery, considering it my Plan B in case I was on the verge of becoming a starving artist or something like that. But after giving it a lot of thought and spending the summer in Norway, where I did some deep soul-searching and (as cliche as it sounds) discovered myself a little better, I decided to give this teaching thing a shot.

1979508_10152801864832642_7612538560193325680_nFlash forward just over a month, now that I’ve been teaching for nearly four weeks, and I can’t imagine why I’d been so reluctant about choosing this profession. I think I was born to be a teacher. Is there anything more rewarding than knowing you’re educating and inspiring a love of knowledge in the next generation? Is there anything cooler than doing whatever you can – from wearing a book-themed shirt to handing out Ninja Turtle and Frozen stickers – in order to make lessons relevant and exciting for today’s kids?

In the upcoming posts, I would love to share more about my new life as a teacher. I still love to write about growing up with a disability and sharing stories about others with disabilities who have accomplished amazing things, but my life is about way more than just my nonexistent hand. And I really want this blog to reflect that.

 

Peace,

Caitlin (or Ms. P, as the students like to call me)

 

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why style matters

IMG_0180Like most other red-blooded females in the universe, I LOVE shopping. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something so exhilarating about buying new clothes and then pairing them with other pieces in your closet. The idea of following fashion and obsessing over finding the perfect outfit may seem frivolous (my boyfriend always rolls his eyes at me when I bring up this topic), but your clothes are actually a big part of how others view you and how you act. What you wear is an outside expression of who you are and what you like. Some studies even suggest that the way you’re dressed also influences your attitude and how you feel. And it’s not like it’s legal to walk around naked anyway, so why not give a little thought to how you present yourself to the world?

IMG_0767Although it seems like some people expect those of us with disabilities to care less about our looks and what we wear, that idea is far from the truth. I can’t speak for everyone, but I do know that I (and several others I’ve both met and followed online) love nothing more than the opportunity to doll up in a cute dress and pearls. That said, I’d love to introduce you to a few style blogs that happen to be written by women with disabilities and that are definitely worth a follow.

1) Spashionista

1b5bcb7a9064abd7f474291dad3c67c1Alicia is a ‘fashionista over 50’ whose quirky and fun style makes you wish the stick-thin 20-something runway models would be a little more like her. Every outfit perfectly captures her personality and sunshiney attitude. And aside from sharing her personal style, Alicia also advocates for animal rights and has rounded up a group of ‘roll models’ (I’m one of them!) to prove that fashion and happiness are for everyone.

2) Threaded

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Haylee may still be in college, but this girl is already on her way to becoming the next big fashion designer (I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll see her on Project Runway someday soon.) She’s a master seamstress who designs and creates her own gorgeous outfits that leave you thinking, “Oh my gosh, she made that?!” Yup, that’s talent.

3) Manufactured 1987

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Jillian, an FIT grad and NYC native, writes about the latest in the fashion world and shares photos of her own daily outfits. She’s also completely badass and makes me wish I were brave enough to rock her unique hair color. Oh, and she’s a model in the most recent Nordstrom catalog. No big deal, right?

 

These women have the style and confidence that I admire and aim to exude in my own daily wardrobe picks. They take the idea of self-expression to another level and make sure every outfit they wear says, “This is me. This is my personality. And I know I’m awesome.”

 

(Just as a side note: I’m hoping to include more topics, like style and fashion, in this blog in the near future. I still plan to write posts on disability and living with a physical difference, but I would love to include some other content as well. What do you all think?)

 

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