Pursuing Your Goals After an Amputation
by Amber Henson, on Nov 14, 2023
After an amputation, whatever the reason for it, many people have the same question: “Will my life look like it did before?”
Our patient Michael wanted to know if he could get back to his hobby, playing pool. Turns out, the answer was, “Yes”.
How does he do it? With the help of a Criterium handlebar adapter from Fillauer. While there are other activity-specific devices that people use to play pool, this is what works for Michael. In fact, it works for him so well that he won 8-Ball and 9-Ball tournament games in 2019 in Vancouver. In a recent interview with Michael, he told us, “The pool cue fits right in there ‘cause I’m right-handed.” Michael was even able to teach another person with a limb difference how to play. “Her amputation was closer to her elbow, whereas mine is down by my wrist. She was fit by a different prosthetics company — they didn’t help her much, but I helped her get better. I’ve been playing for about 40 years.”
“Before I had my amputation, I was pretty good at pool. But I’ve just been getting better. The guy who caused my accident, I went out and played pool with him, and won a game against him. It felt great to win.”
Michael did not return to his workplace where he was injured. He is now working as a greeter at Walmart, and he checks merchandise as people walk out. He loves getting to show his other terminal device, his TASKA hand, to the children who come into the store. “The little kids push the buttons to change the hand’s position. Then I ask their parents, can I see your receipt, please?”
“I’m also in asset protection,” and one of his responsibilities is to confront people who might want to steal from his store. Michael’s had a few experiences with people who were clearly going to walk out with merchandise they hadn’t bought — but that’s before they get a glimpse of his bionic hand and his stern look. “Once I didn’t even have to say anything — just crossed my arms, and he ended up dropping his bag. Inside was over $1,000 worth of merchandise.” Michael has more stories about putting an end to shoplifting, and he credits his hand with part of why he’s been successful with that.
Michael has enjoyed the care that his Arm Dynamics prosthetist and clinical therapy specialist have provided him, which includes maintenance, and teaching him how to use his devices. Depending on the task at hand, he can use his ETD , his activity-specific or his TASKA hand. “After my amputation, I thought getting back to the things I loved was going to be impossible. But it is possible. I went through a really hard patch after my accident, but I am here now.”
If you or someone you know would like to reach your goals following an amputation, please contact us. We have helped many people reach theirs, including returning to work as a chef, a teacher and a welder. If you would like to leave a comment for us or for Michael, please do so below. Thank you to Michael for speaking with us.