Steve Stoyko's RHEO KNEE & Pro-Flex Pivot Story
I lost my leg due to complications from a ‘minor’ MVA and had a prosthesis fitted at the Independent Living Unit, Albury (now APOS). My prosthesis was a very cumbersome unit with strapping to secure it on. It was painful to wear for long periods and as my employment entailed driving all over the state, it got to the stage where I took it off and left it off. I then ‘hopped’ around for 14 years on two elbow crutches which, precluded me from even doing basic things like getting drinks, carrying a plate or even properly embracing loved ones. I always had to ask someone to do even the most basic things for me, which was sometimes embarrassing.
These days I have the freedom to do most things by myself. It’s freed up my arms – and my life.
In early 2020 I was asked by my Rehabilitation Specialist (Dr Rachael McQueen) if I’d like to participate in a three-week trial of a RHEO KNEE which included a two-day training seminar for regional medical staff with me as the patient model. Jumping (hypothetically) at the chance, I was fitted with the RHEO KNEE just the day before the seminar. The two days were tremendous. Under the tutelage of Cathy and Rob from Össur, I was walking up and down ramps and stairs while only using a walking stick for assistance, completely and utterly because I felt so comfortable with the RHEO KNEE.
The RHEO KNEE and Pro-Flex foot combination inspire confidence to tackle awkward/difficult situations that I would have had second thoughts about previously. The big thing for me (and for probably all prosthetic users) is to have total trust in the prosthetic.
Because the RHEO KNEE and Pro-Flex foot combination are so forgiving of the little mistakes that I still make from time to time, my confidence is growing. Having total trust in the knee allows me to distribute my weight evenly, which allows me greater manoeuvrability (a problem that lingered with my other knee).
Traversing ramps is particularly less difficult with the RHEO KNEE, and while I’m not doing the advanced stair climbing like a fitter and younger prosthetic user, I still find it easier with the RHEO KNEE when I occasionally need to use stairs.
Through my physio program with Allied Health ARS, I’ve improved substantially with the use of the walking stick now becoming second nature. At home, I even forego the stick and walk around inside the house with no assistance – tremendous! Soon I hope I’ll be confident enough to venture out without the walking stick. That will be an emotional day for me.
I recently bought a lawnmower and am now doing my own lawn for the first time in 15 years – and loving it! I can now stop paying the lazy sod who used to do half a job on rare occasions. Pushing a shopping trolley around the supermarkets, going for a leisurely stroll around Bunnings (buying stuff that I don’t really need), and most precious of all, hugging my lovely lady, are all now part of my everyday life, and I’m happy.
Going into town (Wagga) and meeting friends and former colleagues whilst hearing their compliments is very humbling and very emotional.
The implicit trust that I have in the RHEO KNEE and Pro-Flex foot combination is the cornerstone of my new-found mobility. Even though I constantly (and now sometimes subconsciously) self-check my gait and equally self-criticise the small mistakes that I still make, my trust in the knee underlines everything.
So, I’m enjoying life. The confidence this prosthetic has instilled in me is palpable. All of the comments above are only positives. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and the RHEO KNEE can claim the kudos for being the major part of the experience.