Preparing for the Holidays When You Have a Prosthesis
by Amber Henson, on Dec 14, 2020
The holidays are crazy every year, and if this is your first holiday after an amputation, or with a new prosthetic device, you may find the standard tasks and travel requirements a little daunting. If you have a prosthetic device and are just getting started on your to-do list, here are some helpful tips for you:
The first thing to keep in mind when you plan on being outdoors for some time is warmth. Be sure you’re well prepared for the cold. Usually after an amputation, circulation is affected and the cold can be extremely painful. Wearing appropriate outdoor gear and making sure to take breaks — those are both good ways to be prepared and avoid being uncomfortable during all the festive outdoor holiday fun. Hand, toe and body warmers can be used creatively with your prosthesis by sandwiching them between the frame of your device and a covering such as a sports sleeve or a larger glove if you have a partial hand amputation. Our Arm Dynamics clinicians have even incorporated special battery operated heaters for prostheses — they can be integrated right into some devices or can be added to a neoprene external cover.
Conversely, pay attention to too many layers — especially if you leave your coat on when you go inside your own or a friend’s house. Hands are one of the main body parts that we use to regulate our internal temperature. Jason Koger, one of our patients from Kentucky and a bilateral amputee, has learned that he needs to wear less layers in the cold, not more. “When I’m out hunting in the snow, I find that I can overheat easily” — and the same logic applies to outdoor decorating. Also, Jason noted, “If you’re trying to decorate and you have a lot of layers on, and a body-powered prosthesis, it can be very difficult to maneuver.” Again, take breaks and be sure get that coat off when you come in the house.
If you have to nail or drill anything to get your decorations up, be sure to check out our Life Hacks blog article that contains tips on how to use a small piece of cardboard to make that job easier.
Between Christmas trees, lights, cleaning the house and hanging mistletoe, we’re sure it seems like the to-do list never ends. Many individuals with myoelectric devices are aware that they need to be careful with their prosthetic’s grip strength, but it’s important to be extra careful when handling breakable ornaments.
Cooking and Baking:
Our Kitchen Tips: Cutting and Chopping blog article has lots of handy tips for when you’re cooking and be sure to check out Baking for People with an Upper Limb Difference. Our Life Hacks blog article also contains some great tips for the kitchen. Be sure you are washing your hands thoroughly. Mixing and cutting can be particularly difficult when you are down a hand. For mixing, trying clearing a corner of your counter and placing your bowl there to stabilize it — or maybe this is the year to add a stand mixer to your gift wish list. For cutting, try the blog article we mentioned above. The easiest way to cut things with one hand is a pizza cutter!
We want to make sure you know about our article all about air travel with a prosthetic device. The blog post contains tips from our patients and recommendations for how to get through security and onto your plane with ease.
Do you have tips for your fellow amputees during this “most wonderful time of the year?” Please leave them in the comments below. Or if you are interested in getting your first prosthetic device, or upgrading your current one, please contact us. We hope to hear from you!
For more Arm Dynamics articles, see related resources here: