I went to the second day of the artificial limb camp hosted by the Rotary Club in Bangalore with my box of OpenSockets and tools bright and early. Soon after, a lady came with her father to my booth. She was a bilateral amputee. I had my reservations about fitting her since she wouldn’t be able to put on the device by herself nor would she be able to change the angle of attack of the terminal device. I got assurances from her father that there are people at home who would help her put it on. So, I decided to try it out. It was a really tough fitting. It took me an hour and a half to get it working because of the flabby nature of her unused arms and back. Finally, when I got it on, she didn’t have the strength to fully open the terminal device. This is also caused partially due to the nature of her physique and the nature of the figure-8 harness. Anyhow, I took a decision that it wouldn’t be useful to her because she simply couldn’t use it. I felt quite bad about giving someone some hope, taking their time and not being able to give them our device. Luckily, she was fit with an LN4 device and was content about getting some function back. Lesson learnt: Assess the patient completely before trying to fit them.
After lunch with a couple of Rotarians at a nearby restaurant, I came back to meet Mohammed Iyanatullah, a 19 year old boy studying at a nearby school. He was born with a defect in his left arm and has about 4” below the elbow. I started his fitting soon after some paperwork. As I was starting the fitting, one of my friends came to visit me at the camp. He, like many others at the camp, watched intently as I fit this strange device to Mohammed. This fitting too was not easy. Having never ever utilized the muscles of his left arm, there was a lot of flab on his residual limb. Getting the harness correctly fitted and the socket securely fastened took time and effort. At the end of it, Mohammed was able to lift three plastic chairs and a box of OpenSockets and tools, something he has never done in his life before.