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Scott Henry: Racing Toward Success 

Rodney "Scott" Henry loves proving people wrong when they tell him he can't do something. "Maybe it is the rebel in me, maybe it is the redneck in me, or maybe a little of both, but I love it when I am able to do things that people don't expect," Scott said.

 

Scott, known at the racetrack as "The Showtime Outlaw", has always used racing as a way to prove himself. He has been a staple in his number 95 car at the 35 Raceway Park, doing battle with other drivers every Friday and Saturday night during racing season. The same passion and drive that he shows on the track carried him through one of the most difficult challenges he has faced in his life off the track.

 

In late December of 2013, Scott lost his leg below the knee due to complications related to pulmonary artery disease. Then, he had to go back into surgery in February 2014 to have his amputation revised to being above-the-knee due to infection. By the time it was all said and done, Scott had undergone 19 surgeries in a year.

 

His recovery is where his "prove them wrong" spirit became a major advantage. Scott eagerly attacked his recovery, essentially relearning how to do every action and everyday tasks like it was the first time.  "I can do it, I just had to learn how to do it," Scott said. "It was hard to be patient with myself while I was learning. I got frustrated at times, but I never gave up."             

 

This drive and determination allowed Scott to return to living, working and, of course, racing.  Scott was able to achieve this in record time; that's just the type of person he is. Whenever he is met with a roadblock, he views it as a challenge to overcome.

 

When asked what advice he would give others who are facing amputation, Scott matter-of-factly replied, "If it has to happen, get it done and over with. Then get yourself healed up and call Optimus!! Optimus is the best there is, period. There is no one better!"

 

Scott also gives a lot of credit to the Optimus staff for his recovery.  

 

"I am not one who trusts easily," Scott admitted, "but you all at Optimus have earned my trust. Tim or another member of the Optimus team would visit me when I was in the hospital every day, and at the time, I was on pain meds and kind of out of it," Scott said. "However, I do remember that they were always there. That is how they started to build my trust.

 

"Throughout the whole fitting process and beyond, they continued to be there for me and encouraged me. Going through this I quickly realized, at Optimus, they do this because they care. They didn't just give me my leg and send me on my way; they are still right there with me to this day following up with me whenever I need anything. When I got my prosthesis, Tim and the team at Optimus gave me more than just a leg, they gave me back my freedom."

 

Now, Scott is back to working full time and tearing it up on the race track. Scott shares his story everywhere he goes whether it be with the hundreds of fans and spectators at the racetrack or with those he encounters in his everyday life. He strives to be an example and inspiration to everyone that you can do anything you put your mind to if you are willing to work hard at it. As Scott says all the time, "You CAN do it!"

Pulmonary Artery Disease: What You Need to Know

 

It's a commonly known fact that a fire hose allows more water to pass through it to than your average garden hose. Why? Because the fire hose is wider and has more space. The arteries in your body are a lot like a fire hose, allowing oxygen-rich blood to flow through your body to support your muscle and skin tissue. However, not everyone's arteries are as clear as they should be.

 

Pulmonary artery disease (also known as peripheral artery disease) occurs when your arteries are gummed up by fatty deposits. This is known as atherosclerosis. As fat deposits begin to build up, it gets harder and harder for blood to flow through the arteries to the muscles and skin tissue. This can result in a number of issues depending on where it happens in the body;

  • A blockage in the coronary arteries can cause chest pain or a heart attack.
  • Blockages in the carotid arteries can cause a transient ischemic attack or stroke.
  • A blockage in your legs can lead to pain or cramps when you're active. The lack of blood flow can also cause skin discoloration, sores and ulcers. A total lack of blood flow results in gangrene and the need for an amputation.

At Optimus, we've worked with numerous patients that have lost a leg below or above the knee due to pulmonary artery disease. While their recovery needs vary slightly from a patient that lost their leg in an accident or as a result of diabetes, the Optimus staff is well versed in providing care for patients with pulmonary artery disease.

 

How to prevent Pulmonary Artery Disease

Since PAD results from fatty deposits clogging your arteries, a diet lower in fat and bad cholesterol (found in cheeseburgers, macaroni and cheese, ice cream and other foods) is a start. Focus on getting whole grains, fresh vegetables & fruit, and lean protein such as chicken, turkey and fish.  Be sure to drink a good amount of water during the day as well (shoot for at least 100 fluid ounces).

 

Being active can also help stave off pulmonary artery disease. If you haven't been active at all, walking or riding a bike is a good place to start. Exercising with weights is also recommended, though you should start light so you don't hurt yourself. Swimming, jogging and rowing are also good cardiovascular exercises are that will help your blood flow. Just be sure not to overdo it and always take the time to cool down, stretch and allow your body to recover.

 

If you feel leg pain, cramp a lot in your legs, experience leg numbness or notice discoloration in your legs, speak with your doctor as these are symptoms of pulmonary artery disease. If they diagnose you with PAD or another vascular disease, it's time to change your eating habits and get as active as possible.

Mike Burns: Getting Back into Action

Robert "Mike" Burns is used to making tough calls as an umpire and referee for high school football and baseball.  Mike was almost benched for good when his health took a turn for the worse, but Mike refused to allow himself to be sidelined. His drive and determination to get back into the game of life gave him the strength he needed to make it through one of the toughest battles of his life thus far.

 

Originally, Mike had his left leg amputated below the knee in November 2012 as a result of a bout with gangrene. Unfortunately, this was not to be Mike's only amputation. In September of 2013, he went in for a seemingly routine bypass surgery.  However, complications arose and as a result, the blood in his right leg stopped flowing, making a below-the-knee amputation necessary. Mike suddenly found himself a bilateral amputee.

 

The day after his surgery, Mike faced what he considers the worst part of his recovery. A therapist came into Mike's room to help him straighten his leg to prevent Mike from developing a contracture. Contractures are muscles or tendons that have remained too tight for too long, thus becoming shorter. Essentially, the muscles and tendons "lock" into one position and do not want to release. Once this occurs, sometimes orthopedic surgery is needed to release them.

 

Straightening his right leg which had just been through amputation surgery the day before was an extremely painful experience for Mike. However, Mike kept fighting through the pain because sitting on the sidelines of life was just not an option.

 

Since then, Mike has faced the physical and mental battles of being an amputee. For him, the challenge of staying positive and motivated is a mental one.

 

"It's mostly in your head," Mike said. "It's all about what you want to do and what you want to make of it."  As Mike will tell you, you cannot control what happens in life, but you can make the best of whatever situations life throws at you.

 

Mike did not go through this whole process alone. He had his own "cheering section" rooting for him the whole way. His wife, family and friends, and his therapists at Wilson Memorial all cheered him on, encouraged him, and motivated him throughout his recovery.

 

When asked what advice he would give to other amputees who are struggling, Mike kept it simple.

 

"Don't give up! Do what your therapists tell you to do," he said. "Get as much therapy as you can. If you're sore the next day that means it is working. You're working those muscles."

 

Mike's goal is to get to a point where he can walk without an assistive device, and his dream is to get back into umpiring. He has already made it back on the football field when he visited the Cleveland Browns training camp where he got his prosthesis signed by linebacker Craig Robertson! 

 

With his persistence and the support of his family and friends, we wouldn't be surprised to see Mike behind the plate again.  So, if someday soon you see Mike dressed in his blue umpire's uniform behind the plate, know that it took him a lot of work, strength and heart to get there.

Jim's Corner
Prosthetic Stance - Sound Limb Stepping

 

Optimus Prosthetics Jim Scharf
Jim Scharf, PTA

The goal of "Jim's Corner" is to provide helpful information and be a resource for those helping patients fitted with prosthetics learn to use them correctly in order to enjoy a better quality of life as an amputee.

 

 

Last month, we looked at some of the common "mistakes" patients make while attempting to achieve prosthetic stance disengagement to facilitate prosthetic swing. For this month's column we will look at a drill to help the patient learn how to incorporate all of the "ingredients" we have discussed in the previous months.

 

Prosthetic Stance - Sound Limb Stepping

To start this drill, have the patient stand up in the parallel bars or a stable object.  From the standing position, have the patient place their prosthesis out in front and keep it there. The patient will be stepping forward and backward with their sound limb while stance is on the prosthesis. Be very careful with stepping backward for some prosthetic knees might be ready for stance disengagement and may buckle.

 

It will be important that the patient have a good understanding and ability with proper residual limb extension, proper prosthetic weight shifting, proper prosthetic balance, and proper prosthetic weight bearing. Remember that maintaining a backward force within the socket will help to maintain stance stability.  In addition, they will learn the requirements for forward/transverse rotation of the pelvis and moving beyond min-stance to terminal stance. Achieving a good terminal stance is required for proper prosthetic stance disengagement for prosthetic swing.  

 

 

 

 

The patient starts by holding onto the parallel bars with both hands. When the patient is comfortable, drop to one-hand assist; it can be the sound side hand to increase the stump/socket interface and prosthetic weight bearing. When the sound side hand assist removal is too difficult for the patient, I will have them remove the prosthetic side hand assist, which also mimics the side they will hold a cane with. Then progress the patient to no hand assist.

 

Next month we will look at how to assist patients in the learning process who struggle with this concept.

 

 

Jim Scharf, PTA, Prosthetic Assistant/Gait Specialist

Jim has been a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant since 1988.  Jim has worked with lower extremity amputee patients throughout his career.  He serves as a Gait Specialist and Liaison when prosthetic patients are meeting with their therapists. Feel free to contact Jim if he can assist you in any way at:jscharf@optimusprosthetics.com.

In This Issue
upcoming

D = Dayton Area

C = Columbus Area

 

Course #1

No courses scheduled.

 

Course #2

D- Springfield Manor, 12 p.m., 9/12

 

D- Atrium, 8 a.m., 9/22

 

D- Atrium, 12 p.m., 9/24

 

D-St. Rita's, 12 p.m., 9/26 

 

Course #3

D- Eaglewood, 12 p.m. 9/8

 

D- Blackstone, 9 a.m. 9/15 

 

 

Course #4

D- Wesley Glenn, 12 p.m., 9/30

 

Course #5

C- Centerburg Pointe, 12 p.m., 9/9

 

D- Good Sam, 12 p.m., 9/11

 

C- Franklin Woods, 12 p.m., 9/16 

 

Course #6

D- Highbanks Care Center, 12 p.m. 9/23

 

Course #7

D - Laurels of Shane Hill, 12 p.m., 9/4

 

D - Bulldog Tolls, 12 p.m., 9/5

 

Course #8

D- Bulldog Tools, 12 p.m., 9/15

 

Course #9

D- Bulldog Tools, 12 p.m., 9/22

 

Course #10

D- Springmeade, 12 p.m., 9/3

 

D- Crestview, 12 p.m., 9/10

 

D- Otterbein Atrium, 12 p.m., 9/25

 

D- Bulldog Tools, 12 p.m., 9/29

Optimus Prosthetics, Dayton
8517 North Dixie Drive, Suite 100/300
Dayton, Ohio 45414
(937) 454-1900

 

Optimus Prosthetics, Columbus
3132 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, Ohio 43202 

(614) 263-LIMB (5462)


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