Ever feel like your leg is slipping off in the middle of a busy sidewalk?
If you're an amputee, and it's summer, the answer is probably "yes."
I'm talking about SWEAT.
Ask anyone in Philly. It's been a sweaty summer so far! As I navigate the bricks and cobblestones of Old City, my leg gets looser and looser. For amputees, the simple phenomenon of sweating can make or break your prosthetic suspension -- and your day!
|Sorry Bri, I'm outta here!|
Or disconcerting, like when I nearly lose my leg at the Farmer's Market!
|Luckily, Donna comes to the rescue!|
But mostly it's just discouraging.
When the temperature heats up, I have a tough time cooling down. Think about it. Amputees have less skin than most people. That means less surface area to release the heat. Plus, it's sweaty inside a prosthetic socket! My leg is encased in a silicone liner. When I sweat, the moisture creates movement, or sheer, between my skin and the liner. At best, I'll get a socket rub. At worst, my whole leg starts to slide off.
So I am determined to solve this sweat problem too...
|A waist harness offers|
I'm walking up 3rd Street when the familiar slippage begins. For above-knee amputees, there's no discreet way to fix your leg in public. So I've learned to seek shelter. ASAP.
That shelter happens to be Moko Salon.
"You're early," receptionist Melissa says.
She's right. My haircut with Jackie is not for another hour.
"Actually, I thought I might use your restroom to fix my leg." I gesture toward my prosthesis which, by now, is dangling like a loose tooth.
Melissa waves me down the stairs.
Ahhhhh.... Re-donned and refreshed, I sit down in Jackie's salon chair. As she cuts my hair, I tell her about the Sweat Test.
"This may sound crazy," she says, "but what about a dry shampoo?"
I look at her in the mirror. Go on...
It's TSA size too!
It actually makes sense.
"If it works, you'll be a millionaire!" I tell her.
I walk around a bit. Feels kind of prickly. Not exactly pleasant but bearable, I guess. And if it keeps my leg on...
I begin a one-person clinical trial.
For the most part, the results are surprisingly good.
Until I get a red, itchy, blotchy rash. (Yep, a side effect.)
My dermatologist, Dr. S, is supportive and sympathetic. She doesn't chide me for experimenting at home. And she doesn't laugh when I tell her about the off-label use of Jackie's no-sweat hair product.
Instead, she says not to worry. "The rash isn't life threatening."
She prescribes two more antiperspirants to try, along with some creams to counteract the rash. Then she leaves me with these encouraging words: "Summer won't last forever."
The Sweat Test continues.
At Mile 4200, the DNC is about to make history in Philly. Despite the heat, I get caught up in the excitement. Friends convince me to walk 6 blocks to Independence Hall where the Today Show is filming live. It's 7 a.m. and the humidity is already cranked up to "sweltering." It's hot. It's crowded. Yet somehow, my leg stays fastened.
Jackie's powder aces the Sweat Test!
|This is newsworthy!!!|
On the way home, we cool off with Old City Coffee's newest special...
Only time will tell if we've stumbled onto the next big thing for amputees. We've still got plenty of summer to sweat through!
(And I'm open to ideas if you've got any!)
Innovation can come from anywhere. That's what's cool about searching for solutions in a city where history is made.
It's not just perspiring. It's inspiring too!