Monday, June 18, 2012

I have questions. I have doubts. But if it works I'll take two.

A giant leg up: BYU students invent new prosthetic leg

They used to carve "wooden legs" out of actual wood. It wasn't very complicated and it probably didn't cost all that much. It also didn't work very well. Now a prosthesis will probably work just fine but the cost has skyrocketed - it can cost five figures. They do wear out, they do cease to fit. And then you get to do it all over again because alas we're not lizards or starfish and we don't grow our missing bits back.

I was whining just a few days ago about this situation, which is becoming increasingly relevant in my own life. (BTW, I kinda hate it when bloggers go on and on about their illnesses and disabilities. I don't self-identify as "handicapped" and hope I'm not running on about this at excessive length. Mostly I don't give it much thought: I put on my leg in the morning, and then I put on my pants, and then I get on with my eerie-ass day. But it has become an issue lately. Forgive if I mention it too often.)

Anyway, Saturday afternoon I was sitting on Landlady's porch and she brought up this BYU group she'd heard of. They claim to be able to crank out a limb made of PVC, foot and all, for $25. She showed me an article about it here.

I've heard about expedient-materials prosthetics before: It's a huge issue in places like Cambodia where landmines still breed and spread like mushrooms, but hide better, and nobody's got the cash for J. E. Hanger to come and open lush prosthetic palaces that improve your mobility and lighten your insurance company's oppressively heavy wallet. The expedient-materials thing comes and goes and never seems to amount to anything. As with solar power systems, it's possible to over-scrounge if you're looking for quality and durability.

When you live in the boonies, of course, durability is kind of important. Can you imagine being a mile and a couple of deep ravines from your Jeep when your leg goes "sprong" and falls to pieces around you? That's gonna be a long hop.

So I'm looking. I've even sent them an email asking for more info. But I'm skeptical. On the other hand, as Landlady said, it's a trip to Salt Lake City and $25 bucks. Even I could put that together. If it turns out to be inferior to what I've already got, I'm out the price of a little road trip.


MamaLiberty said...

At that price, it definitely looks good enough to at least investigate! And yes, I'd get two - just in case.

Let us know if you need some dimes tossed your way...

Did you ever get some sort of foam for the other one? Might be a valuable backup, even if you get two of the new ones.

LJH said...

Damn, I'd get one in every color if I were you. Do thay guarantee you'll be able to dance like the guy in the video too?

Keep us posted on this one, eh?