Sand, surf and sharks

 - 
08/16/2011

I hit the beach for vacation last week. I didn't check my work email or hmenews.com or twitter. I barely watched the  national news in case they started discussing Medicare or something else that reminded me of work.

I still couldn't avoid home medical equipment, though. It's everywhere, or maybe I am just more attuned to it, in the same way I am starting to see Ford Fiestas and Focuses everywhere on the road (I am in the market for a new car).

My mother hobbled around all week with some sort of off--the-shelf orthotic on her knee (making me wonder if a Grampa's Garden cool pak might make a good gift).

One night, I watched the movie Soul Surfer, the real life movie about Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm to a shark (in hindsight, this wasn't the best choice as I was spending a lot of time in the ocean and Cape Cod enjoys its share of shark sightings). In one scene, a custom made prosthetic arm is unveiled to Bethany. It doesn't work quite the way she had envisioned, so she storms off, and we never seen the arm again.

Now, I wasn't there, but I find it hard to believe this girl was fitted with the arm, yet didn't learn more about what it would and wouldn't be able to do for her. Surely it takes a lot of input, thought and measurements ( I am guessing here) to create a custom device. I mean, how much work goes into a wedding dress for pete's sake?

Maybe this is dramatic license. Maybe it really happened this way. Maybe I am the only person who watched this movie with such clinical detachment as to wonder about this.

But the scene certainly gave short shrift to the people who create these devices and work with the patients.

Theresa Flaherty

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