Last week we traveled to Advanced Arm Dynamics in Portland, Oregon to have Jameson’s very first set of Myoelectric arms built. A set of electric arms that he can move and operate himself! Despite having no hands or lower arms, at 18 months old Jameson is determined to do anything! His ability to adapt using his short arms amazes everyone who meets him. “Why does he even need prosthetic arms” some people have asked, ” he is absolutely wonderful without them!”
His dad and I agree that he is amazing, but he is still a baby and relies greatly on us to do the tasks that he will most likely need prosthesis for in the future. Important things like, dressing and feeding himself, using utensils, writing, and personal hygiene can prove to be much easier with at least one prosthetic arm/hand. We just want to make sure he has every option available to live the most independent and fulfilling life possible!
Everyday at AAD was spent building the perfect pair of arms for Jameson. There are many types of prosthesis available, but we chose Myoelectric’s because they are currently the most advanced and easiest for him to use.
On Monday and Tuesday Jameson’s arms were casted, he worked with Kerstin his occupational therapist, and met a fellow amputee!
On Wednesday, things did no go quite as planned. Jameson, just like any normal toddler, decided that he did not want to cooperate. Even between meltdowns, Mac, his prosthetist had a difficult time doing fittings. It was hard to see Jameson so upset and it was also very discouraging to think that all the hard work to get to this point was for nothing.
We finally figured out that the new type of upper arm socket was the problem. It was not working for Jameson and a new design was needed. Back to the drawing board, Mac and Cullen came up with a similar upper arm socket to his old prosthetic arms, something he was used to and it worked! With a new design never done before, Jameson’s prosthetic team at AAD contined to build the rest of his arms. By Thursday afternoon we had a preliminary or prototype Myoelectric left arm to work with.
On Friday morning Fox 12 of Portland joined us for a few hours here’s the link to their news story http://www.kptv.com/video?clipId=9501569&autostart=tue.
By Friday afternoon we had both prelim arms on! After only a short time wearing the Myo’s, Jameson figured out how to operate the hand function. There is no easy way to instruct a 1 year old how to do this, he had to figure it out on his own! Jameson was able to learn very quickly that by flexing his tricep muscle he was able to open the hand! This happens when an electrode inside the arm senses the movement of that muscle. When we all saw Jameson figure this out so rapidly it was truly amazing!
It was a great week but not without it’s challenges. Currently, we are home without his new arms. Unfortunately it was time to leave before the finishing touches were made. We are anxious to receive them soon and continue with the learning process. There is still a lot of work ahead and it will not always be easy, but right now Jameson has an incredible attention span and his willingness to learn is amazing. He is like a little sponge, so in our opinion there is no better time to teach him how to use a new, more advanced set of prosthesis.