My entire life changed the day I lost my leg. One of the things that didn’t change fast enough was my house. I had quite a few accidents when my parents were helping me through the early stages of adjusting to life as an amputee, because not all of these household changes are completely intuitive. Nowadays, a lot of these changes seem pretty obvious, since we all know that hindsight provides twenty-twenty vision. I haven’t had any accidents recently, and I hope that I can make sure that other people in my situation will not.
It is important to know that a lot of these changes are going to be useful for anyone who suffers from any sort of mobility problem. A lot of elderly people who are afraid of falls will use these exact same techniques, and they will manage to prevent all sorts of accidents in the process. You won’t have to completely change your house or move to a new place in order to replicate all of these assistance measures. People with limited mobility will need these changes, but they are easier to put into place than you might expect.
I don’t have as many mobility problems as I first did when I lost my leg. My prosthetic is high-quality. It was just hard to learn to walk on a prosthetic leg at first. You basically have to relearn to walk which meant that eighteen years of practice was more or less invalidated in one accident.
One of the biggest things you have to keep in mind is that you will need to prevent situations where you will absolutely need to stand, or you’ll be forced to hobble to another location. I always make sure that I have a chair in the kitchen, for instance, as well as a guard rail. Having guard rails throughout your house really makes all the difference in the world. I have a safety rail in the shower, as well as a guard rail lining each and every wall of my house. Really, my entire house looks like a ballet studio without the mirrors, although I should add them just to be consistent.
This is partly a holdover from the earlier days of being an amputee when it was harder for me to walk and I would trip and fall, but I still have those difficult days where I really need to have something to grab just in case. Not to mention the fact that there are some points throughout the day where the prosthetic leg needs to be adjusted, and I don’t want to be hobbling on my other leg. My other leg gets way too much strain as it is, since I ended up relying on it more than I should in the early days, and I still end up relying on it too much. It is the leg that still has sensation, so it can still do things that the prosthetic cannot.
It’s important to make sure that you don’t have a lot of items in your path that are going to obstruct you in any way. Just one of these improperly placed items can cause an accident. It’s also important not to leave a lot of things hanging that you will then have to reach. I find that my balance is off sometimes with my prosthesis, and I don’t want to unstably try to reach for something.