I never really got to be the best. I spent a lot of time hanging on the coat-tails of giants.
At least I was in the same room.
I was used to my ideas being overlooked, which is why I started my own venture at the weekends.
Most of my work is dealing with people who have lost all hope, who really did not expect to live – but there they were.
I get referrals from most hospitals, mostly army veterans, at worst and most heartbreaking – children.
The name of my department gives away the work I do – I work in prosthetics.
The Politics of the missing
The politics of the department was clear – returning mobility to people as near as possible to full human movement.
To enable them to move as if they had a real arm or leg – as close to possible.
I disagreed strongly.
I believe in human enhancement. Despite the horrors of losing a limb people should be offered the choice.
Hence my sideline.
It wasn’t official.
Occasionally I would mention it to someone as they were being fitted for new legs.
They could then decide if they wanted to meet up over the weekend.
The guys were almost fully trained with their human equivalent legs and arms so I hardly needed to train them at all.
Oscar Pistorius was all about enhancement – he was good enough to try out some of my prototypes.
This is before he got the blades that made him the best he could be – before that short time before he became the worst.
I worked in my own time, designing and improving legs and arms -and I rented them out over weekends, to people who already had been fitted with a prosthetic.
The stretch – everybody remembers stretch Armstrong. Brilliant. Until you realised the arms would never really go back to their original form. Good for a bit of fun. I dropped this one – a bit like Stretch Armstrong -once used I couldn’t get them back in the box.
Double Handed – Is there any man around the house who couldn’t have used an extra hand from time to time?
Wheely good – Make yourself into a segway.
The bounce – Pogo based.
Giant – Parents got scared as my first attempt was more the go big or go home idea. 10 foot long legs. What child doesn’t want to be ten feet high?
The Spider – this was the Children’s favourite but it was also really safe,unlike the giant.
Over-armed — This one is super fun. I just put arms where the legs should be.
I couldn’t see the problem with creating some fun out of a horrendous life-changing experience. It’s not like I was making x-men.
A royal shame
It was when I attended the last Invictus games that ended it for me.
I got introduced to Prince Harry who hated the idea.
I said to him
“I don’t care if they have no legs – they may as well have fun with it.”
I didn’t mean to diminish their horrible experience I was just trying to convey how we could use technology to enable people to have their best life.
In a way, you could say it was a social mistake.
I was supposed to pretend how upsetting it was, to convey the empathy of their situation.
I think Prince Harry had a word with my superiors, as it wasn’t long before I was shown the door.
I worked there too long, I guess. I found it harder and harder to go along with the politics of the department. Sure,they were doing good. They just could have done so much better.
I wanted them to learn and use their human equivalent legs, but also be able to have fun by getting their weekend legs on.
It’s hard to keep going sometimes when you don’t feel appreciated.
I still get a bit angry when I see Prince Harry on the TV. I’m trying to move past it and redesigned the arms and legs for myself. I may as well get some use, after all the effort I put into it.
Extra Legs for the weekend anyone?