Nevaeh Baltazar: Becoming an Amputee Through the Eyes of a 6-Year Old

Being only two years old at the time of her amputation, Nevaeh has never known walking without the assistance of a prosthetic leg.  Her amputation was due to a severely clubbed left foot caused by Caudal Regression Syndrome, an extremely rare disease with an estimated incidence of 1:7500-100,000. 

Since losing her leg in 2011, Nevaeh has described her biggest challenge as being "getting onto the furniture" and "getting into my wheelchair."

Now, at age 6, Nevaeh attributes her positive attitude to her parents and the look of her prosthesis. 

"I know I have my mom and dad there to help, and my prosthetic leg helps me walk," says Nevaeh. "I really love the sparkles and Sponge Bob on my leg.  It makes me smile."

When asked what advice she would give to other amputees who are struggling, Nevaeh's response displays insight well beyond her young age.

"Don't worry, you can always try again until you can do it yourself," she replies.  "It's hard sometimes, but just keep trying."

If you're struggling as an amputee and thinking of visiting us at Optimus Prosthetics, Nevaeh recommends Mr. Glenn (Schober).

"Everyone is so nice and Mr. Glenn is nice.  He has the coolest tools ever, in a silver box," exclaims Nevaeh.

However, Nevaeh isn't the only family member we've had the honor of working with.  The team at Optimus Prosthetics has also had the pleasure of working closely with Nevaeh's mom.

"Optimus, to us, means everything.  Giving Nevaeh the freedom and opportunities to do things with the help of her prosthetic leg independently is huge for her growth in life," describes Nevaeh's mom.  "We are so truly thankful and grateful to Optimus.  We are always greeted with a warm smile, they make you feel like family."

Richard Evans: New Year, New Journey
Richard's life was forever changed on July 8th, 2012. That night on the way home from a night out with friends, he wrecked his motorcycle. The crash was so bad that he broke both of his feet, broke all his ribs on his left side, broke his neck in 3 places, and shattered his knuckles and wrist in his right hand. The most traumatic injury of all was that he lost his entire left arm (starting at his shoulder). Richard's heart stopped 7 times. Thankfully doctors were able to revive him, and he was able to make a full recovery.
However, Richard knew that life would be different now. Losing an arm is a lot different than losing a leg, and for Richard, the impact was huge. Prior to his accident, he was a daredevil who loved to ride his motorcycle with his friends and family. He worked as an electrician and loved living an active lifestyle. In one night, all that changed. He could no longer continue his work as an electrician, and for a while, he wasn't sure he would be able to ride his motorcycle again.

Simple things like tying his shoes or getting dressed were now exponentially more difficult. The biggest lesson that Richard learned out of all of this was patience. He had to re-learn how to do so many things, and he had to be patient with others who did not understand what his everyday life was like now. He has learned to adapt and keep going no matter what. "I am just grateful to be alive. I could have died." His friends and family have also helped him to keep a positive attitude and a good sense of humor.

Richard has not let his disability stop him from doing what he loves, and he is happy to share his story with others. In fact, he remarked how kids are always curious when they see him out and about. They will often approach him and ask about what happened to his arm. He is happy to share with the kids what happened to him, and he often has to tell parents that their child's curiosity and questions are welcome. "I would rather them ask me than to just stare."

Richard recently got a microprocessor prosthesis, and in his words, this new prosthesis is "like going from a horse and buggy to a Mercedes". He is able to do so much more than he was before, and his new arm functions now more like a natural arm and allows him to do things that he was not able to do with his old prosthesis. He is so grateful to the entire Optimus team for their tireless work to get his new arm approved. "Optimus is wonderful. They understand, and they show genuine concern and care for me."

Lower Extremity Education Day
Continuing Education- Optimus Academy
Take advantage of our continuing education through the Optimus Academy! 

On Wednesday, Feb. 3, 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. 

If you're interested, call 937-454-1900 to register!

Jim's Corner- 
How to Put on a Prosthesis
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 take another detour and look at something that is very important, but often overlooked and usually an uncomfortable subject for clinical staff - how to put a prosthesis on. As clinicians we have to know how to help the patient get their prosthesis on, especially when they have just received their prosthesis.
A typical scenario of when a patient receives their new prosthesis goes something like this:
  • Somebody is "praying to the gods" that the patient comes to therapy with their prosthesis already on! (hint, it usually is not the patient).
  • Typically, the patient shows up with their prosthesis off and in the bag. Somebody then starts to break out in a cold sweat because the prosthesis is not on and will have to be put on. (hint, it usually is not the patient).
  • Then the patient looks to the clinician hoping that he/she knows know how to put on their prosthesis.
  • At the same time, the clinician is thinking, "I hope the patient remembers how to get the leg on!" or "There goes 20 minutes of clinical time!"
  • So, the clinician attempts to put the prosthesis on, hoping for the best, but if it is put on incorrectly that will set the stage for multiple problems.
Donning a liner

For today, let's start with the liner.  Most patients will present with some type of liner. To don the liner:
  1. It must be rolled all the way inside out.
  2. The base or the "umbrella" must be placed directly on the distal residual limb.
  3. Then it must be rolled, not pulled on, but rolled all the way onto the residual limb.
  4. If the pin is not lined up correctly as in the last picture, then the patient can experience skin sheer and discomfort.

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.
No Courses Scheduled

Course #5
C- 1/19, Select Specialty Hospital South, 12:30 p.m. 

Course #6
C- 1/5, McNaughten Pointe, 12:00 p.m.

C- 1/12, Eastland Care Center, 12:00 p.m.

C- 1/26, Laurels of Worthington, 12:00 p.m.

Course #7
No Courses Scheduled

Course #8
D- 1/15, Clinton Memorial, 12:00 p.m.

Course #9
No Courses Scheduled

Course #10
No Courses Scheduled

Lower Extremity Education Day
D- 1/27, Optimus Prosthetics- Dayton Office, 11:30 a.m.

C- 1/28, Optimus Prosthetics-Columbus Office, 11:30 a.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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