I’m A Congenital Amputee, Too

May 23, 2012 — 6 Comments

“I actually know exactly what you’re talking about. I’m a congenital below-elbow amputee myself.”

I don’t think I’ve ever said that on a call at work before.

But, I said it today.

A woman called to express her concerns about our health insurance company’s lack of available prosthetists (according to her). When I revealed our similarity, I could tell she was both surprised and relieved. “There’s not many of us around, ya know!” she said. I listened intently as she explained the situation and agreed knowingly when she described an issue she had with one of the providers. I promised her, as someone who understands the situation well, that I would get the information to the decision-makers.

At the end of the conversation I told her I have a website and she was so excited about it. She said she’s always looking for people, especially those with the i-Limb Hand. Then, somewhat randomly, she said, “Ya know when people ask how lost your arm? That drives me nuts! I didn’t lose it!” It was great! We laughed and talked about the funny things people ask, like, “Are you right or left-handed?”

The i-Limb Hand. Is that sweet or what??

My favorite part of the conversation was when she was explaining what the hand means to her. “Since I grew-up without my hand, the difference with the i-Limb Hand is incremental; not night and day. But, like, I’m the president of an association and last night I held my script with my i-Limb Hand and the microphone with the other during a presentation. I got to move! I couldn’t have done that a couple years ago,” she said.

It was a blast to talk to her and to hear her experience. We were both born missing part of a limb and raised well, but have very different perspectives. And they both work for us! I haven’t worn a prosthetic in over 20 years and she’s rocking an i-Limb Hand at the age of 65! Anything is possible.

As I tell all parents of limb-different kids (and will until I’m dead)…just love your kids and do your best. Everything will work out.

Trust me.

If you’re unfamiliar with the i-Limb hand, here’s a short video of one in action:

(Join the LOH Facebook community and follow on Twitter, too!)


Posts Twitter Facebook

I'm a husband, a father, an author, a speaker, a friend...all kinds of things, actually.

6 responses to I’m A Congenital Amputee, Too

  1. This is another great post, Ryan – I’m going to share it on our Facebook and RareConnect!

  2. Ladena Standlee May 26, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    My arm was paralized when my boyfriend of 2 months ran over me with his car as i tried to leave him. My arm was amputated from the inside. I have no feeling and can only move arm with sholder movement. I have been looking to amputation for health reason and a better productive life, but also was told 10 years ago no prosthic arm that would work for me. Does anyone know if the iHand or iArm (if there is one} can work for us that have no control of movement in arm? Also need compasionate Dr. who will do the amputation So many health issue because of arm is like dead weight and I sorry to say in the way sometimes. Walk in Love

  3. I’m happy to see that the world of prosthetics continues to evolve. You’re quite right about the rarity of congenital amputation. My life-long friend (Connie) has such a condition but was born in an age when prosthetics were heavy and unmanageable. I’ll forward your website link to her.

    As an aside, I’ve recently published a novel with a primary character who is loosely based on growing up with Connie in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Perhaps you would enjoy reading it. It is called “Sailing an Alien Sea.” Sorry for the book plug, but I think it is important (especially for young people with disabilities) to read about characters they can identify with.

Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>