Let’s start at the beginning, tell us about the first time you tried Coapt. For example, where were you, who were you with, what was it like, etc.?
The first time I tried Coapt I was participating in a research study being conducted by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, I was there with my therapist, and they put the electrodes on my and asked me what I could feel. They did a training session and I was immediately blown away by how easy it was and the amount of control I had.
Before you used Coapt, what were some of the pain points or difficulties in your day to day activities either using other prostheses (if applicable) or just in general living with a limb difference?
I had a hard time using a prosthetic arm before due to the constant need for prepositioning and switching from one motor movement to another. It was slow and very time-consuming. Co-contractions were very painful, and it seemed like the arm was just there, not really a part of me.
With a Coapt system, what are some ways that your daily routine has changed for the better?
I feel like the arm is more a part of me. I use my phantom limb to control the arm, which makes it feel more intuitive, or just like the arm I lost. I don’t have to switch between motors, which makes doing things faster.
What is your most memorable Coapt moment since becoming a Coapt user?
My first experience is the most memorable, when they put it on me and I saw how easy it was to use, I didn’t want to take it off. I just could believe it, it was like watching magic. When I finished the research project I was participating in, I had to give it back and go back to my old system. I was heartbroken, I didn’t want to even wear my old arm. I continued to bother my prosthetist until I could get it for my arm.
What would your advice be for a first-time Coapt user?
- Less is more, don’t try so hard.
- Go slow. Don’t try and force anything, just do what feels natural.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions you see about people living with a prosthesis?
Its not your arm or hand that you lost, it will never be. Don’t expect it to do all the things the way you used to. You can still do all of those things, you just have to learn a new way. Be open to trying something new.
Plug yourself! What are you most proud of this year? Any milestones in your life? Any thing else that you’re eager to shout from the rooftops?
The thing that I am the proudest of is my family. My wife and I have a great relationship and it continues to get better. After all the things we have been through I can’t imagine her not on my side. My children have learned to adapt to all the changes in our life together and they make me prouder each and every day. We continue to take the good with the bad and look forward to what is next, each and every day.
What’s next for you – do you have any big or small goals on the horizon?
I have no idea what is next, I just try and live in the moment.
Finally, are there any other details about your Coapt experience or your experience living with a prosthesis you’d like to share?
If you have the opportunity you should try it for yourself, once you see it work with your own eyes, you will just as convinced as I was.