Frank Meredith: Giving Up Is Not In My Vocabulary


When Frank was faced with amputation of his leg 3 years ago, he was faced with a choice. He knew that his future depended on his decision. His amputation surgery was scheduled on his birthday, but this was not exactly the gift he had in mind. However, Frank, as a retired paratrooper who served in Vietnam, was well accustomed to making the best of whatever life threw at him. He credits his army training with giving him the skills he needed to be able to take impossible or less-than-ideal situations like this and viewing them as opportunities. Giving up and quitting were never options for Frank.

Frank still vividly remembers the first time he met Tim. It was in the hospital not long after his surgery. He remembers waking up and seeing Tim standing by his hospital bed. Tim talked to Frank about what came next, and per Frank, Tim made "a very good impression" on him. Even before Frank left the hospital, he was pushing the boundaries and working hard. His physical therapist in the hospital watched in disbelief as Frank quickly mastered every test she gave to him.

Frank is a stubbornly independent person, and he was not about to let this hold him back or stop him in any way. He has had his struggles (even after getting his prosthesis) with more surgeries and setbacks, but no matter what, he kept pushing and kept going. Frank himself says, "If you set your mind to do something, you can do it! I haven't found anything that I couldn't do." Frank continues to work hard every day to keep his independence, and he has learned, "Don't take anything for granted."

We asked Frank what advice he would give others out there who may be facing amputation and are scared about what the future may hold. He said he would encourage others that, "there is life after amputation. It is not the end." One of the other keys to Frank's success was surrounding himself with the right people. People that help to encourage him when he has moments of frustration, people who keep him laughing and refuse to let him give up. Learning to go with the flow and no matter what life throws your way is so much easier when you have the right support network around you.

Frank's hard work and determination inspires each and every one of us, and his unique way of meeting every challenge with a sense of humor makes for some interesting stories (which he happily shares when he visits the office). He gets us all laughing right along with him.

When asked if he would recommend us to his friends and family, Frank immediately nodded and said "You do a good job." Then, with his trademark mischievous grin, he laughed and teasingly added, "and you are pretty nice people to get along with." We love working with Frank and look forward to helping him continue meeting each and every goal he has set.
Nanci Thompson: Relying on Faith and Family

Nanci Thompson's journey as an amputee started in September 2010, when she underwent surgery for the removal of a soft tissue sarcoma that had attached itself to her right groin. Doctors found a second sarcoma several years later, this time wrapped around her right knee area. After radiation and aggressive chemotherapy, surgeons told her the only thing that could be done was a hip disarticulation. A third one was found two years later, this time attached to the pelvic bone. This resulted in a hemi-pelvectomy on February 2, 2015.
 
Her biggest challenge so far has been not allowing herself to fall prey to the physical restrictions placed on her either by circumstances or people.  "I have had to adapt to moving around in spaces that suddenly seemed very tiny, and I have learned to allow others to help me even when I want to do things for myself," she said.
 
What gets her though these hard times is her faith and the love of her mom and husband. "For many years I have talked the talk of not letting life's difficulties stop me from doing the work the Lord has called me to do," she said. "Now I try to walk the walk, showing people around me that we cannot stop living just because life changes."
 
She encourages other amputees to remember that others have been through what they're going through, and to seek out support. It's important to ask for help when you need it, she said, because things such as daily chores can be overwhelming at times. "Most importantly," she said, "people who are struggling need to keep moving and keep trying.  Learning to walk with a prosthesis takes time and practice, but it is very much worth the thrill of taking each step."
 
Nanci's husband is also an amputee and works with Optimus Prosthetics. When Nanci needed a new prosthesis, she knew that this was the company for her. Glen Schober has fashioned a new leg for her three times, and each time she said it's been perfect. She also enjoys the programs Andrea Kinsinger and Jim Scharf have developed for her.

"During each physical therapy session, Jim's patience and his new ideas kept me motivated to want to do more.  I really needed that!" she said. 
 
Her friend Theresa recently started her journey as an amputee, and Nanci was happy to be able to recommend Optimus to her.
 
"I know that God put Optimus in my path to show me how to become a walking member of our society again.   What a blessing you all are to me!" Nanci said. 

Jim's Corner-   Half and Full Twists
 
Optimus Prosthetics Jim Scharf
Jim Scharf, PTA
The goal of "Jim's Corner" is to provide helpfu l information and be  a resource for those helping patients fitted with prosthetics learn t o use them correctly in order to enjoy a better quality of life as an amputee.

Last month we discussed "The pelvic bucket" and the core. This month's drill is to encourage some trunk/pelvic rotation, weight shifting, balance and core work. I will do standing half twists (a circular pattern if viewed from above); progress to full twists (a figure "8" pattern if viewed from above). The directions are as follows:
 
Half Twists
The clinician will stand either facing the patient's backside or back to back with the patient. We will pass the ball from one side to the other side. The ball is passed around the body and handed off to the partner, and then rotates around in an arc of 180° to the other side to grab the ball on the other side. Do a set of repetitions one direction and then do a set of repetitions the other direction.

 


Full Twists
The clinician will stand either facing the patient's backside or back to back with the patient. We will pass the ball from one side to the other side. The ball is passed around the body and handed off to the partner, and then rotates around in an arc of 360° to the other side to grab the ball on the other side. Do a set of repetitions one direction and then do a set of repetitions the other direction.




Jim Scharf, PTA, Prosthetic Assistant/Gait Specialist
Jim has been a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant since 1988.  Jim has worked with lower extremity amputee patients throughout his career.  He serves as a Gait Specialist and Liaison when prosthetic patients are meeting with their therapists. Feel free to contact Jim if he can assist you in any way at:jscharf@optimusprosthetics.com.
In This Issue
upcoming
Cincinnati Courses:

Course #3
11/01 12:00 PM
Tri-County Extended Care
 
Course #3
11/03 12:00 PM
Pristine Senior Living and Post Acute Care-Highlands
 
Course# 1
11/08 12:00 PM
Madeira Healthcare Center
 
Course# 1
11/10 12:00 PM
Christ Hospital
 
Course #6
11/15 12:00 PM
Cincinnati VA
 
Course #3
11/17 12:00 PM
Liberty Nursing Center of Colerain
 
Course #4
11/22 12:00 PM
Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital
 
Course# 1
11/30 12:00 PM
Drake Center
 
Columbus
 
Course #9
11/01 12:30 PM
The Forum at Knightsbridge
 
Course #6
11/02 12:00 PM
The Gables at Green Pastures

Course# 1
11/09 12:00 PM
Heath Nursing Center
 
Course# 1
11/22 12:00 PM
Summits Trace
 
Course #5
11/30 12:00 PM

 
Dayton

Course #1
11/01 12:00 PM
Kindred
 



Optimus Prosthetics, Dayton
8517 North Dixie Drive, Suite 100/300
Dayton, Ohio 45414
(937) 454-1900

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3132 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, Ohio 43202 
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4623 Wesley Avenue, Suite B
Cincinnati, OH 45212
(513) 918-2320
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