Derrick Knox: Getting His Life Back

Amputation is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions diabetes. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to Derrick Knox. As many people living with diabetes, Derrick had to undergo a toe amputation due to poor circulation. The problems started when the wound got infected and wouldn't heal. Faced with difficult options, Knox decided to have his leg amputated below the knee.

Knox says he had thoughts of giving up after the surgery and that he couldn't make it. But that changed after seeing Aimee Eckert, a Patient Advocate, who is also an amputee. "There is no way that she is an amputee," Knox thought, seeing the way Eckert walked.

Optimus was there on day of the surgery to fit Knox with an Immediate Post-Operative Prosthesis (IPOP) which protected his recently amputated limb and gave him the opportunity to begin weight bearing. With the support from Optimus, Knox has "accomplished so much and got his life back."

Seeing the accomplishments of other amputees, especially children, is what gives Knox a positive attitude. This drives him to help others by volunteering and help them keep their heads up by offering advice.

His biggest wish after being discharged? Driving himself home. While this was a struggle initially, Knox is now able to drive himself to not only the doctor's appointments but also the Cincinnati Reds games.

Jason Dickerson: A Second Chance
When Jason lost his leg below his knee in 2015, he did not view his amputation as the end of life as he knew it. Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to begin again. Since Jason was 17 years old, he had always wanted to be a nurse, but he was told by others in his life that he was "too compassionate" and "too tenderhearted" to deal with the tough reality that nursing can bring. So, Jason decided against going to college and pursuing that dream. He instead opted for learning a trade and getting trained in manual labor jobs. He was successful at this, and never really thought that he would have the opportunity to realize his dream.

Jason was diagnosed with Lupus anticoagulant syndrome, a condition which causes the body to create excessive blood clots. For Jason, this manifested in doctors having to remove 35 clots out of his lower leg before deciding it was time to consider amputation. Jason said he was surprisingly ok with this decision and credits God and his wife with helping him to make it through this process. He also has an impeccable sense of humor and has learned to laugh at himself and find joy every single day.

When Jason began thinking of what life would be like now, he realized he could not go back to the types of work he had done before. He again felt the passion he had as a young man to become a nurse, but he wasn't sure if it was too late. He went to the Bureau of Vocational Rehab and took some placement testing, and he was shocked by the results. He actually scored highest in the academic portion and lowest in the manual dexterity portion. All the jobs he had before relied on manual dexterity, and he took this as a sign that it was time to look into what it would take to go back to school to get his nursing degree.

Jason has a unique, instant connection with patients. He truly understands what it is like to be in a hospital bed relying on others to help you take care of yourself.  Jason is able to meet patients where they are at in their recovery process with compassion and understanding. Jason's passion for helping others is what drives him, and he has now accomplished the first step on his journey. He just recently passed his testing to become a licensed STNA (State Tested Nurse Assistant), and he is thrilled! "As unglamorous as it [the job] is, I came home feeling more rewarded than any work I have ever done so far in my entire life."

We are all so proud of Jason, and we are rooting for him as he continues to pursue his dream. We know he will do well, and we are honored to join him on this journey. 

Jim's Corner - Proper Stand to Sit
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 will discuss how to teach the patient a proper stand to sit transfer. Without proper training patients will have the tendency to use only the sound limb, and sit in a controlled fall. Almost all patients who are transtibial/below knee and transfemoral/above knee patients who have a microprocessor or other yielding knee need to learn how to load the prosthetic limb properly and maintain even weight through both legs.
 One method to teach a proper stand to sit transfer is the "icky potty" method. I don't like to be gross but people understand gross, and I can usually get a good laugh from the patient and/or their family. Patients like this. I use the story that goes "If we are at a festival enjoying some corndogs and a half hour later nature calls, and the only thing there is a gross chemi-pot, what would you do? You would say that this is so gross and bend at the hips then the knees, sticking the butt out backwards and try very hard to sit and not touch anything!" When we try to sit thinking of the icky potty we teach the patient to bear weight evenly on both feet.    
I will start the patient in standing with a stable chair behind them. If needed, you can start the patient in the parallel bars, with their walker or other stable object for their comfort and safety. I will remind the patient about the "icky potty" and cue them to "bend at the hips & knees, hips first, sticking your butt out, your nose over the toes and sit."  The patient can also grab onto the armrests for safety. There are two methods to assist the patient to learn if they are having difficulty:
1. The clinician can stand behind the patient, and hold onto their pelvis and guide them into the chair.


2. The clinician can stand in front of the patient with their hands in a palm up position. The patient will face the clinician with their hands in a palm down position. While the clinician holds their hands, the patient will sit down pushing "their butt" back and sit.

We want to teach the patient the stand to sit transfer with a
smooth and fluid natural movement. Progress the patient to performing independently.Be aware of movements such as:

  1. Shifting the body weight over onto the sound side
  2. Improper loading of the prosthesis
  3. Other compensatory movements

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
Cincinnati Courses:

Course #1
6/14 11:45 AM Jewish Hospital Acute Care Rehab

Course #1
06/23 12:00 PM Residence at Huntington Court

Course #1
6/29 12:00 PM Horizons

Course #1
6/30 12:00 PM Chateau of Mountain Crest Nursing and Rehab Center

Columbus Courses:

Course #8
6/13 12:00 PM Flint Ridge Nursing and Rehab

Course #10
6/15 12:00 PM Highbanks Care Center

Course #3
6/23 12:00 PM Arlington Court Skilled Nursing

Dayton Courses:

Course #6
6/10 12:00 PM St. Rita's- Lima
Optimus Prosthetics, Dayton
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Dayton, Ohio 45414
(937) 454-1900

Optimus Prosthetics, Columbus
3132 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, Ohio 43202 
(614) 263-LIMB (5462)

Optimus Prosthetics, Cincinnati
4623 Wesley Avenue, Suite B
Cincinnati, OH 45212
(513) 918-2320
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