Artwork by Millie Saunders
All the questions below have been put to me during my years as an amputee, either in person, via a comment on my social media or by direct message.
Don’t worry about me being upset if a question seems offensive or in bad taste, I’m pretty thick skinned and have already consented that they can be as weird or (potentially) offensive as you like.
Please understand that these are all my own personal opinions and experiences, I cannot speak for every single amputee out there.
How do you maintain and keep them (prostheses) clean?
That would really depend on the type of prosthesis you have. The waterproof ones are far easier to clean as you can just run them under a cool shower to wash any dirt off. However, it is important to remember with them that if you are going into dirty or salty water that they must be cleaned immediately afterwards. The non-waterproof ones usually need to be wiped down with a damp cloth. They have to be at least slightly water-resistant otherwise a light rain shower would render me house bound.
In terms of maintenance, for me that is mostly done by the technicians at the prosthetic centre I go to. Obviously I need to take care of my legs as best I can but the ones I have are built for the outdoors so they can take a fair amount of punishment.
What does your leg scar look like?
Have you ever seen the crimped edge of a Cornish Pasty? If not, give it a google and that’ll give you an idea.
My amputation was a last minute emergency and they had also performed another procedure to try to save my leg first so the scar is quite a bit more dramatic than they usually are.
Is it easy to adjust to having a replacement leg?
Generally, when my leg is away for maintenance the replacement they give me will be a loaner unit of the same type of leg. With most of the settings being on a computer all that they need to do is copy the information from one to the other.
After that, all that needs to be done is attach the replacement to my socket, get the alignment sorted and I’m ready to go. It feels no different to walking on my own leg.
Has having one leg provided an opportunity that otherwise would not have come about?
The best example I can think of is the time a show filming in Edinburgh put out a call for amputees to play injured soldiers. I responded to the ad and a couple of weeks later I was in a makeup studio being transformed into a 19th century soldier.
Since then I’ve done a few other bits of Extra work with the same company, not all to do with being an Amputee but if it hadn’t been for that first call then I probably would have had no idea it was something I’d be able to do.
Do you name your legs?
Only one of my legs has a name and it was not me but rather a good friend of mine who christened it.
The leg is called Kevin, after Kevin Bacon.
I will leave you with that, feel free to drop a comment if you can figure out how the name came about.
If you have any burning questions of your own, drop them down in the comments and keep an eye out for the answers in future posts…