Suzanne Pearson: Positive Affirmations

You can find positive affirmations everywhere you look. From the dentist's office to Facebook and Pinterest, these little sayings are meant to provide motivation and inspiration. While it may sound corny to some, Optimus patient Suzanne Pearson is proof enough that saying and believing in positive affirmations can get you through tough times.

About 25 years ago, Suzanne suffered painful injuries as a result of a fall. She broke both sides of her ankle, dislocated her ankle, split her shin and broke her leg. Following numerous surgeries, Suzanne opted for amputation as the pain was too great. Her amputation occurred on Oct. 8, 2014. 

This is where the daily positive sayings come in. Suzanne had to learn how to do basic things like standing, walking or sitting down differently. She found getting up the courage to try things like going up or down stairs was a huge challenge in and of itself. 

"I remember where I was before my amputation," Suzanne said when describing how she stays positive and motivated. "I think about how much pain I was in and how hard it was for me to walk before my surgery."

Her ultimate goal is to get back to doing what she loves most, which is helping abused and neglected animals get rescued and put in loving homes. 

For other struggling amputees, Suzanne said that "attitude is everything," and also recommended joining a support group to open up about the pain they are feeling.

In her own words: "Talking and attitude to me are the two most important things."
Catherine Schonauer: Creating a Miraculous Story
For Catherine (Cathy), her journey began in July of this year when she went to the ER to get treatment for a sore throat that wouldn't subside. It seemed like such a routine, innocuous thing, but the cause of her sore throat was really a dangerous staph infection. That staph infection grew so bad that it caused Cathy's body to go into septic shock. Her doctor's had to make the difficult but ultimately life-saving decision to amputate both of Cathy's legs below her knees and both of her hands below her elbows.  "When I woke up at first [in the hospital], I felt sorry for myself, but I decided to focus on the positive. I was still alive!"  It was this positivity that stands out to anyone who meets Cathy. Despite all she has been through, she has approached each and every challenge with a positive attitude and enthusiasm.
"It is all about attitude! You can do anything you set your mind to." Cathy's smile well known even to the ambulance drivers that bring her to our office for appointments. One of them mentioned at Cathy's last appointment that he had never yet seen her without a big smile on her face. Cathy's laugh is absolutely infectious, and she is a bright beacon of light and an amazing example to all those she comes in contact with.  Amputation is not the end of the road. In five months of intensive rehab and recovery, Cathy has worked very hard to get her life back, to get her independence back. She has learned to celebrate every milestone and to focus on continuing to move forward. Her positive attitude and the support of her family, friends, and healthcare staff have given her the strength to keep moving forward no matter what. One of the challenges she said has been difficult to get used to is using her prosthetic hands.  "With wearing my [prosthetic] legs, I can kinda feel the floor, but it is weird to use my prosthetic hands and not be able to feel what is in my hands." However, Cathy does not let that stop her. She continues to work hard in therapy and has come such a long way in only 4 months. "I can do everything. I just may need to do it a little differently."
Our patient advocate, Lyndsey, has been following Cathy's journey since the beginning, and the two of them have developed a very special bond.  "I feel comfortable talking to her and asking her questions about her experiences, and she has helped answer all my questions and made me feel comfortable." Lyndsey's role has inspired Cathy to pursue getting trained to be a peer visitor herself so she can be there for other amputees.
Cathy is one of those patients that none of us at Optimus will ever forget. She lights up a room, and her smile and laugh are absolutely infectious. When we think of the word resilient, she automatically comes to mind. She has adapted to and overcome so much, and she has never lost her positive attitude. The fact that she survived her ordeal and the strides that she continues to make in her recovery are nothing short of miraculous. It is truly a privilege for all of us to join her on her journey and bear witness to all that she has accomplished and continues to accomplish along the way.

New Cincinnati Office
Continuing Education- Optimus Academy
Take advantage of our continuing education through the Optimus Academy! 

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., we will be covering:
  • Course #3, Lower Limb Prosthetics: Transfemoral
  • Course #4, Lower Extremity Amputee/Prosthetic Evaluation and Outcome Measure. 

Participants will earn 2 CEUs, and a pizza dinner is provided.

Classes will take place at our Dayton facility at 8517 North Dixie Drive, Dayton, OH 45414. 

Jim's Corner- 
The Two Scale Drill
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.

For this month's column we are going to review a drill "the 2-scale drill" that back in the 80's & 90's was a great idea, but not very practical due to the big clunky scales that would tip easily resulting in difficulty for clinicians and frustration for the patient. With advances in technology, we now have small, digital scales.
Without proper training, most patients will place the vast majority of their weight on their sound limb and very little weight on their prosthetic limb when they are standing. When this happens it sets the stage for multiple problems: overuse of the sound limb, multiple gait deviations, difficulty loading the prosthetic toe and bending the prosthetic knee, curvature of the spine ("functional scoliosis"), and the prosthetic limb will appear too long. 

Another thing to keep in mind is if people with amputations do not learn to properly use their prosthesis or bear weight equally between the prosthetic and intact limbs, they may further compromise the integrity of their intact limb. Without proper training when the patient is standing with even weight bearing, the patient will generally feel off center.
It is very important to teach the patient how to correctly share the weight on both lower extremities to lay a great foundation of even weight bearing. This will aid in proper weight shifting, balance, prosthetic weight bearing and stance, resulting in proper prosthetic gait.
The way I perform this drill (which can be done in the parallel bars or with a walker for safety) is use one scale to obtain the body weight, and then have them step off of the scale and divide the body weight in half. Then, I turn both scales around so the patient can't see them and they then step up onto each scale and stand where they feel they are even weight bearing. It is extremely rare for the patient to be even weight bearing as the picture below:
  • The top number (in red) is where they should be, what would be even weight bearing.
  • The bottom number (in black) is where they actually were! Notice a difference? 
To correct this I provide much verbal, visual and manual cueing. I will usually do these for about 10-15 second trials in sets of 5.  I may have to do this several sessions as part of their therapy.

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
In This Issue
D = Dayton Area
C = Columbus Area

Course #1
No Courses Scheduled
Course #2
No Courses Scheduled

Course #3
No Courses Scheduled

Course #4.
C- 12/15, Mt. Carmel West,  12:00 p.m.

Course #5
D- 12/9, Upper Valley Medical Center, 12:15 p.m. 

Course #6
C- 12/8, Columbus West Park, 12:00 p.m.

D- 12/14, Dayton Rehab, 12:00 p.m.

D-12/16, Grandview, 12:00 p.m.

C- 12/22, The Laurels of Worthington, 12:00 p.m.

C- 12/29, Darby Glenn Nursing and Rehab, 12:00 p.m.

Course #7
No Courses Scheduled

Course #8
No Courses Scheduled

Course #9
No Courses Scheduled

Course #10
D- 12/7, Springfield Regional, 12:00 p.m.

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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