Johnny Byrd: Keep on Moving and Stay Strong

Imagine, if you can, going through 41 years of your life with a wound on your foot that never completely healed. The frustrating cycle of surgeries and setbacks would be enough to break the spirit of most people, but it did not break our patient Johnny. Johnny was injured in 1975 while serving in the military. Doctors tried to repair the damage to his foot and ankle by adding rods and plates to his leg and foot. After 45 surgeries, Johnny's foot and leg were still unable to heal completely, and he kept getting infections. In the spring of 2016, Johnny was faced with the very difficult decision whether to go through with amputation surgery or continue living, as he had been, with chronic wounds and no promise that they would ever heal.
Johnny did finally come to the decision that it was time to go through with amputation surgery in August of 2016. At first, he struggled to come to terms with how life his might change. He was concerned about how others may view him or treat him differently now that he was an amputee. He wondered if being an amputee would prevent him from doing what he wanted to do and if he made the right decision. However, he now looks back on those concerns, and he is grateful that he did not allow them to dissuade him from going through with his amputation.
Less than 2 ½ months after his surgery, Johnny was walking again on his own without needing crutches or a cane or assistance of any kind. This was a huge morale boost for Johnny, and, as he puts it, "I'm happy I can get around [now] like 'normal' people."  The day we delivered Johnny's prosthesis was a special day for us as well because we were able to give Johnny's prosthesis to him on Veterans Day. It was a touching way for all of us to be able to honor this veteran and thank him for his service. We wholeheartedly agree with Johnny who said, "I'm a winner, not a loser!"
Johnny's had these words of advice to others out there who may be where he was not so long ago, wrestling with the tough decision of having to go through amputation, "Stay Strong! Keep pushing forward and don't give up. It is all about will power. Life is too short to give up. You gotta' keep on moving forward."
We are truly honored and privileged to have the opportunity to work with Johnny, and we were truly touched to hear Johnny share in his interview with us that he would absolutely recommend Optimus to his family and friends. "Optimus treats you fair and does what is right! They are always here to answer your questions and help." This is truly our passion at Optimus: to partner with our patients during their journey and work together to help our patients reach their goals. We look to continuing to work with Johnny for many years to come! 

Gaining Confidence to Do What He Loves: Elden Griffin

Elden Griffin's journey started with a fall.
He got up to walk one day and his knee gave out, causing him to take a spill. A visit to the doctor revealed that he needed to have a total knee replacement. A few months after the surgery, his knee swelled up and became infected. They found out that the infection was located in the kneecap, so they removed the replacement and put in a spacer until the infection cleared up.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of it. Three months later the infection returned, and it continued to come back for five years. The pain and blistering that resulted from it became so bad that he eventually stopped leaving the house altogether.
 After five years of this, he finally told his doctors he had enough. He knew the only way he could get back to living was to have the leg amputated. In May 2016, that's exactly what happened.
He didn't make his decision lightly. After that initial fall, Elden was afraid that it would happen all over again with his new leg.
"I was very worried about going out in public and walking," he said. "If I had to walk over a bump or up a step, what if I fell? I was worried that people would stare at me or laugh if I did fall."
He said his family has helped him stay positive, motivated and encouraged.
"My grandkids call me every day to check in on me and ask if I did my physical therapy and offer to come over to help me do it if I need help," he said. "They call and tell me they are proud of me."
He advises other amputees to do their exercises, no matter how small they seem.
" Y ou need to in order to get better," he said. "T he physical therapist here are great. They are honest with their answer. "
He said that Optimus Prosthetics has been the "soul" of the way he is performing now. He said the encouragement he received here when he was first learning to walk with his prosthesis gave him the confidence to keep going.
"The saying Jim teaches you, 'Heel bud, Toe bud whip' I still say in my head today to make sure I stay steady and get that foot out," he said.
Today, Elden is able to do almost everything he enjoyed before the amputation. He hunts, fishes and works on his car.
"I wouldn't be able to do any of that without my family, or the people at Optimus," he said. 

Jim's Corner-   Standing Rotation
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 twists, which is handing a ball or medicine ball off to the patient, letting them rotate around with the ball, then handing the ball or medicine ball off to the clinician on the other side. For some patients this might be too aggressive of a drill, so this month we will dial it down a bit and explore a couple of drills to continue to encourage some trunk and pelvic rotation, prosthetic weight shifting, balance and core work. We can call this month's treatment techniques "standing active trunk," "pelvic rotation," and "standing shooters."
The patient is to try to stand bearing their weight evenly on both legs and attempt to rotate their trunk and shoulder girdle with some opposition to their pelvis (transverse plane). Usually movement in the transverse plane is poor or dormant after a lower extremity amputation. This exercise will work on the patient's trunk rotation, which will also provide a challenge for their weight shifting and their standing balance. It is best to start off within the patient's tolerance.  If the patient is struggling with this, it may have to be initiated with manual assistance.
With the patient standing, instruct them to reach around and touch their back pocket or opposite side pelvis with the opposite hand and return back to the starting position.  Then touch the other pocket or opposite side pelvis with the opposite hand. For an extra challenge bring in the pelvic bucket example and "don't spill the bucket" (September 2016 issue of the eNewsletter).

Another option would be to do the stationary "shooters." With the patient in standing, instruct the patient to "shoot your foot with the opposite hand, return, shoot your other foot with the opposite hand"

  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
In This Issue
Cincinnati Courses:

Course #3
12/06 12:00 PM
Covenant Village
Course #3
12/08 12:00 PM
Residence at Hunington Court
Course #5
12/20 12:00 PM
Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital


Columbus Courses:

Course #5
12/01 12:00 PM
Isabelle Ridgeway Care Center
Course #2
12/06 12:00 PM
Select Specialty Hospital
Course #10
12/07 12:00 PM
Franklin Woods
Course #10
12/08 12:00 PM
Flint Ridge
Course #10
12/12 12:00 PM
Villa Angela
Course #2
12/13 12:00 PM
Altercare of Hillard
Course #4
12/15 12:00 PM
Mt. Carmel East Hospital Inpatient Rehab
Course #8
12/27 12:00 PM
Darby Glenn
Optimus Prosthetics, Dayton
8517 North Dixie Drive, Suite 100/300
Dayton, Ohio 45414
(937) 454-1900

Optimus Prosthetics, Columbus
3132 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, Ohio 43202 
(614) 263-LIMB (5462)

Optimus Prosthetics, Cincinnati
4623 Wesley Avenue, Suite B
Cincinnati, OH 45212
(513) 918-2320
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