On Saturday 1st of February 2014 Proactive Prosthetics hosted their first Ladies Day. The day was conceived as the team at Proactive Prosthetics observed many of their lady patients who enjoyed chance meetings in the clinic reception area. A day was arranged for their lady patients to have the opportunity to meet each other in a more relaxed way and have some interesting topics to discuss.
The day started with a thought provoking film called ‘Fitting Room Friends’ made by a team of amputee ladies from the Royal National Orthopedic Limb fitting Centre at Stanmore. The film followed a group of lady amputees who met and became friends at the limb fitting centre. It was both poignant and fun covering everything from what to wear to cosmeses and dance classes. The film, along with its many issues was discussed between the ladies.
Jane Hunter, Prosthetist and Orthotist at Proactive Prosthetics talked about some of the prosthetic issues particular to women amputees. Statistically, there are 3 times as many male amputees as females. In the Boston marathon bombing in April 2013 8 out of the 16 victims were women. Some new treatment factors emerged from the treatment including the need for more privacy, modesty and a sense of dignity in the evaluation process and a preference for a female prosthetist. Jane also talked about topics such as the best type of nail varnish to use on prosthetic limbs.
After a lunch during which the ladies had plenty of time to get to know each other a little better Stef Reid, Paralympic Silver medallist spoke about her experience of being a lady amputee. Stef became an amputee following a boating accident when she was 16 years old. She talked very openly about the effect it had one her at the time and how she was quite shocked about how big her prosthesis needed to be considering she had only lost her foot. She spoke about the clothes she wore then to conceal her loss and said that many of her new acquaintances had no idea that she wore a prosthesis. These days, of course, she has no desire to hide her prostheses, in fact she has recently been modelling designer clothes for Debenhams in her running blade. Stef then confronted the subject of relationships. She confided that the less concerned she became about her disability the more dates she was asked on. She is married to a paraplegic and admits that she found his complete comfort with his own disability made him more attractive to her.
Proactive Prosthetics Physiotherapist, Pam Barsby, led a discussion about balance and fear of falling and dealing with different environments such as ice and snow, rough ground, escalators and steps. The ladies enjoyed Pam’s practical approach to everyday difficulties.
The day came to a close with ladies swapping contact details having agreed that they would all like to meet again sometime soon. Among the many thank you letters received one lady wrote ‘I feel sure that we all took away some helpful nuggets which will shine at appropriate opportunities.’ Another wrote ‘You are providing a special place for people to be enabled to regain physical independence and to recover mentally and emotionally to live life to the full’. And another wrote ‘For the first time since my accident I felt part of a group of people who understand what Ii was going through.’
Proactive Prosthetics would like to thank the speakers Nicola Lane, Stef Reid Jane Hunter and Pam Barsby for making such an interesting day and to the lovely ladies who came for the day. Thanks also go to Elemis who supported our event by providing a beautiful bag full of goodies for each of our lady guests. Proactive Prosthetics will be arranging another ladies day in the Autumn this year.