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  • Julie Francis

A reading about moving my prosthetic care to a new limb centre

Back Story:

On 21st December I got a new prosthesis.  I was quite apprehensive about picking it up and trying it on as my limb centre hasn't had a good track record of making usable, comfortable legs for me.  After having my amputation in May 2016 I had 9 months with a newly qualified (and lovely) prosthetist who unfortunately just couldn't manage to make a decent leg for me so after persevering for as long as I could I asked for someone more senior and that's who made this leg.

I've been waiting for a prosthesis upgrade since getting my first leg 18 months ago and really haven't been very impressed with my limb centre's attitude.. Their main concern seemed to be budget and they seemed happy that I was managing so well with my very basic (rubbish) prosthesis with the fixed ankle and insecure rubber suspension sleeve. After my insistence that I wanted and needed something better it was eventually decided that I could have a prosthesis that would be more suited to my lifestyle and so the casting and manufacturing process began.

The two test sockets weren't brilliant, the alignment felt off and I was getting some pain and discomfort at the base of my little leg.  My prosthetist (the senior guy) assured me that all would be well when I got used to the new hydraulic ankle and suspension system (the bit that keeps the leg on).

terrible, misaligned, unusable prosthesis

So on the day of the new leg imagine my disappointment when the thing he pulled out of it's plastic bag was no-where near leg shaped.  It looked like a rounded off rectangle, was as wide at the bottom as it was at the top and the front of it looked strangely twisted.  I tried it on and could barely stand straight it was so misaligned and the hole in the bottom for the pin that keeps my leg on was off at an angle, completely out of line with my tibia, my leg guy again assured me that  this was because of the new foot that I had to get used to.  I was unconvinced but tried, quite unsuccessfully to walk up and down the room with him making minor alterations to the angle of the foot that made absolutely no difference.

My husband and I told him that we thought it looked terrible, it was twice as big as the leg I currently have and there was no way I could wear jeans or trousers with it, I just wouldn't get them on.  I said many times that the alignment was wrong but my prosthetist kept on saying I'd get used to it and sent me home with it (in the bag, I wasn’t wearing it) to do just that, giving me an appointment at the end of January to come back so that they could sort out how it looked as after listening to my husband and myself he agreed, it looked a mess.

It was unusable, I felt like crying.

After much thought and after trying to walk in this leg over the holidays I decided this was the final straw and have made enquiries about moving to a different limb centre.  I want somewhere that is up to date with current prosthetic techniques, is forward thinking and where there are professionals who know what they are doing and who I can trust to give me good advice and to make decent prosthetics.  My friend Poli recommended her limb centre in Manchester and they've agreed to take over my prosthetic provision. A couple of the prosthetists there have seen the pictures of the leg I was given and their opinion is that it should never have been signed off, it's awful and they're shocked that I was given something that bad and told that I'd get used to it.

My tarot reading:

If you've read through all of that, I thank you, I'll put the sorry tale behind me and get on with the reading.

Last night I sat down with my Wild Unknown Tarot and asked about the situation and the move up to Manchester. I just wanted an overview so there was no specific question.

When I read I like to use free-form spreads and this is the largest type of spread that  I do.

In this spread the first three cards show how things have been in the run up to my decision, the middle two cards show the underlying and ruling energies and last three cards show the result of my decision (so the move to a new limb centre). 

Here's a picture of the cards I pulled, The Death card was at the bottom of the pack once I'd finished laying my cards out and since I often take a look at the bottom card and take that into account, I thought I'd include it here.  Death has been showing up a lot for me in the last few weeks and now I can see why:  It shows a big ending, the end of my time at my current limb centre and hopefully the end of feeling dissatisfied with the prosthetics, advice and the care I've had so far.

Looking at the spread as a whole I can see a clear progression from a bad situation to a better one. 

The first three cards, IV Cups, Mother of Cups and Father of Wands show my dissatisfaction with my treatment so far.  I've got to the stage where emotionally I've just had enough, things have been OK for the last few months since I changed prosthetist but they haven't been amazing, there are things wrong with the leg I have now but they seem to be as good as they are ever going to get.  There is a feeling of stagnation to the IV Cups, the rat sits on top of the lined up cups so no more can be put in them, it's quite a dark and dismal image and the swan in the Queen / Mother of Cups cards almost seems to be saying 'that's enough, no more'.  She's an emotionally balanced type of person and I feel as if that's exactly how I've tried to handle this, I've not been hasty, I've given them plenty of chances to put things right but ultimately my gentle approach has got me nowhere so my attitude has now changed to the more fiery, take charge approach of the King / Father of Wands.  This guy is a leader and someone who doesn't sit around when he's unhappy with something, he takes action and that's exactly what I've done.

At the start of last week I went into my limb centre to take the awful prosthesis back and to tell them that I'm moving to a different centre.  I feel as if I've taken control of the situation.

So it's all change and change filled with hope for a better level of care as shown by the  two central cards, The Star XVII and the II Pentacles. 

The Star says that there is hope, things can get better, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I just need to focus on what I want, realise that this will take some time but I'll get there eventually.  The 2 of Pentacles is an Earth card so deals with things that are real and tangible and it says that things are in a state of flux, they are transforming, I'm stronger than I look and stronger than I feel.  Things are changing for the better.  I'm struck straight away by the contrast between the first three cards and the middle two; suddenly there is colour, light and that says to me that the worst is over.

The last three cards in the spread show the result of my decision to move and seeing these cards really does fill me with hope for the future, for better legs and so a better, active life.

The Page / Daughter of Wands speaks of an enthusiastic beginning,  yes I'll be back to square one but it's a change that needed to happen.  Wands are about actions and doing things so this will be a whole new way of working and it will be a lot more fun than the experiences I've had so far.  New blossoms appear on the wand in the card signifying new energies and new growth, that's got to be a good thing and is a marked contrast to the stagnation shown on the IV Cups which looks so dismal by comparison.

The central card of the three is the Ace of Swords and what a welcome sight that is.  Aces are new beginnings with great potential for success and this Ace deals with the mind, with action and with communication so this move heralds new ways of looking at, thinking about and tackling the situation as well as better and more truthful communication.  This is the sword of truth and that makes me think that I'll have a lot more trust in the people I'll be working with, they'll actually know what they are talking about and will be able to advise me about the best prosthetics to match my lifestyle.  I don't think I could have got a better card to signify my new beginning than this one.

And all of that will lead to long term emotional fulfilment and happiness as shown by the rainbow interlinked cups of X Cups, the final card in the spread.  10s in tarot are about change, about moving on and about building on what's gone before.  They are cards that speak of the long term and that's what I want, good service that I can rely on and that I can trust to take me into the future with confidence.

So that's my reading.  I'm just waiting for an appointment at my new limb centre now but I'm feeling much better about things already.  As soon as I'd told my old centre that I'd had enough and was moving I felt as if a weight had been lifted and that really hammered home just how much this had been affecting me.   As an amputee I rely on my prosthesis and on the people who make and provide that prosthesis.  I chose to have my leg amputated so that I could live a full and active life, hopefully this move will really help me to achieve that goal.


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