Amazing Will

Prosthesis

So this is amazing Will. 


He is a veteran who was disabled and is missing a leg. 


But that doesn’t stop him from going to the track with his beautiful son to play ball and do some laps. 


In a few short moments he switches between his regular walking prothesis and the carbon fiber running blades for playing and working out. 


All I could say to Will was how amazing he is. 


And he is amazing Will for what he can do despite any disabilities–he turns his disabilities into abilities!


And he is amazing Will not just because of his name and his service to his country and his devotion to his family, but because of his willpower.


Will is determined to succeed no matter what. 


Not to compare, but I thought to myself what excuse do I have with my titanium hips.


Get the heck around the track for another dozen Andy!


And I did, and I am losing weight and getting back to myself. 


I think the lose of both my completely dear parents the last couple of years was more than traumatic for me. 


But they would want me to heal and to be me again.  


I know they are watching and I want to make them proud. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Amazing Advancements In Prosthetics


Watch this video…



Where a man who lost both arms over 40 years ago is fitted with these amazing dual prosthetics that he is able to control with his mind and muscle movements. 



Made with financing from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA).



John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab shows the possibilities for the future for helping everyone from Wounded Warriors to those disabled from accidents and disease. 



G-d creates and we imitate and together we make an incredible flourishing world. 😉



(Note: My gratitude to Rebecca Blumenthal for sharing this video with me.)

1St Day Post-Op

1St Day Post-Op

So surgery was yesterday around 11 am.

I was asleep under anesthesia before I ever even got to the operating room, so can’t remember a thing, which is probably good since I hear that a lot of power tools are involved.

Right before, my wife kissed me and told me that the female nurses were all flirting with me–ha!

After the surgery, I was groggy like crazy.

When the nurse asked me if I knew what year it was, I blurted out “1993!”

Aside from the general anesthesia, I had some sort of nerve block.

Thanks G-d that has made the pain minimal to zero even.

The nurse this morning gave me a percocet in anticipation of the pain with physical therapy today–so I apologize if this blog is a little loopy today.

So far, although very stiff around the surgical area, I have already sat up, got up, even walked a little down the hospital hallway.

Waiting for more PT and OT this afternoon.

I just want to say thank you to G-d, the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, all the nurses, and my wife and kids and other family and friends for taking such good care of and for all their thoughts and prayers.

One friend, even called me the bionic man this morning.

It’s been a really tough year with the loss of my mom in January and my dad not being well in the hospital and now in a facility to get him back on his feet again too.

And so far, my wife has been doing great keeping us going with only one big stress attack and trip to the ER to show for it. 😉

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Knees Horror Story

Knees Horror Story

So I’m at a new medical practioner, and he sees on my information sheet that I am scheduled to have some orthopedic surgery.

He comes out of his office and sits down next to me, and he is rubbing his knees.

He proceeds to tells me that he had knee replacement surgery about a decade ago.

I’m watching him still rubbing his knees, and I say curiously, “So how did it go–were you happy with the results?”

He says, “I still have some soreness”–and I’m thinking, after all these years, yikes!

Then he goes on to tell me this horror story about his brother (I think it was) that had double knee replacement.

But after the surgery, the knees got infected, and they had to remove the replacements and put in studs (like placeholders) until the infection cleared with antibiotics.

I suppose he couldn’t walk around without knees, and I was wondering how long this guy must’ve been laid up.

Anyway, once the infection was gone, they put in new replacements for him.

OMG, all in all, the guy had to have 8 surgeries!

Needless to say, this was not the orthopedic success story that I wanted or needed to hear.

But I guess it’s good to know what can happen (bli ayin hara)–in all the gory details. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Isbye)

Prosthesis Anyone?

Prosthesis Anyone?

This was a picture I took from the office of an orthopedic surgeon.

The surgeon is listed as a top doctor in Washingtonian Magazine.

Next to the medications, bandages, and splints was this statue of a sailor with a wooden leg.

I suppose the message is clear–if only he had a good orthopedic surgeon, he could have a modern functional prosthetic instead of this old wooden leg.

Well, thank G-d for modern medicine, and hopefully it will only get better and better with time. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Those Are Some Prosthetics

Wow, prosthetics have come a long way–these are tough!

This video from Biodapt shows their high-performance Moto Knee being used in a variety of action sports including snowmobiling, motor biking, mountain biking, horseback riding, water skiing, snow boarding, and jet skiing.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (11 July 2013) explains how the Moto Knee has hydraulic components that provide “tension and range of motion for intense physical activity.”

They cost around $6,000 and don’t replace the regular walking version, but Mike Schultz, the developer understands the need for these advanced prosthetics having lost a leg himself in a 2008 competitive snowmobiling accident.

I think it’s wonderful that these high-tech devices are being made available for disabled people to be able to do a wide range of exciting activities.

My hope is that as the technology continues to advance that we can have–like a person’s legs–one prosthetic device that is adaptive for use in every day use as well as more intense activities and sports.

It is hard to imagine people voluntarily trading their body parts for mechanical implants–but one day, in the not too distant future, these mechanical limbs will not only be a substitute for repair of real body parts, but will actually provide some superior capabilities–they will be used for body augmentation–and thus even be desirable by those who haven’t lost limbs.

What gives a leg up to prosthetics, as Hugh Herr in the Wall Street Journal (12 July 2013) put it is “that the designed parts of the body can improve in time, whereas the normal body, the biological body, degrades in time.”

With regenerative medicine and replacement parts by design, more than ever our physical bodies will be just the transient vessel that houses our heart, mind and soul–that which really makes us, us. 😉

Superabled, Not Disabled

 

This is a video of South African sprinter and Olympic hopeful, Oscar Pistorius–a double amputee fitted with curved, carbon-fiber prosthetic “Cheetah Blades” that can “challenge the fastest sprinters in the world.” 

There was a fascinating article about this in the Wall Street Journal today (2-3 June 2012)–on how high-tech implants are being put in people’s bodies and brains, changing them from disabled to “superabled.” 

The article explains how “the goals for many amputees is no longer to reach a ‘natural’ level of abilities, but to exceed it, using whatever cutting-edge technology is available.” 

And just like body implants are helping spur superhuman abilities, so too neural implants can stimulate brain activity to focus attention, faster learning, hone skills, and augment performance. 

Last September, Tim Hemmes, paralyzed from a motocycle accident, was able to use a brain implant to move a mechanical arm, just with his thoughts! 

“Technology can give us brains and brawn” and those with disabilities and the elderly who have lost mental and physical capacities will be early adopters–“they have a lot to gain and are willing to face the risk inherent in new medical technology.” 

There are many ethical questions when it comes to human implants–especially when it comes to the possibility of people voluntarily substituting technology for healthy body parts–just to have the Steve Austin-like, Six Million Dollar Man, bionic capabilities. 

Another question is once we start replacing our body parts–our very selves–with technology augmentation, at what point do we stop being us?  And at what point, do we potentially stop being human and become something else–half human, half machine–or even more machine than human? 

Like the mythical creature, the centaur, which was half man and half horse–it seems like humans have always wondered about what makes them who they are and ultimately what they might become if they try to co-exist or meld with something altogether different. 

By combining technology into our humanity, we are becoming something different–maybe a super human, if we use it ethically and for the good. Or perhaps we may become something more malevolent, if we go on to abuse our superabled powers to dominate or otherwise harm those less souped-up than us. 

Only time will tell where technological implantation and human augmentation ultimately takes us–it holds both enormous promise that we need to leverage and frightening risks that must be carefully planned and managed.