April is limb-loss awareness month, Allen Doolin, Army Veteran tried out his new Power Knee prosthetic legs and is re-learning to walk again.
Forrest Gump famously said to Lt. Dan “You got new legs.” But to see a Veteran on new legs is something to behold. With April being limb-loss awareness month, it’s prophetic that 61-year-old Army Veteran Allen Doolin tried out his new Power Knee prosthetic legs and is learning to walk again.
Doolin, who says he rarely got sick, found his health going downhill quickly. He ultimate lost his legs through a progression of complications from diabetes. “I’m looking forward to working with these things,” said Doolin. After taking his first steps, Doolin was excited. “I'm still getting used to being able to stand up at full height,” he said. “But I can take regular steps, now like people do”. Doolin knows that it will take practice to get used to walking again.
The Power Knee is “new to the market,” he said. It has a motor-powered microprocessor knee (MPK) that provides active assistance. They enable amputees to maintain and regain mobility and participate in the daily activities they enjoy.
“This is a night and day difference from what I had before, said Doolin. “The knees do all the work”. After walking back and forth on parallel bars, Doolin said he felt comfortable wearing them and being able to stand and walk again. “I'm looking forward to all this,” said Dooling. “I want to be able to walk around the block, go to the store, and shop. It truly is a momentous occasion.”
Kristine Parker, VASNHS Chief of Prosthetics, said, “the amputee care team of Jessica Blackwell, Andrea Blin, and Dr. Eric Aguilar did a fabulous job getting him prepared for this moment.” Doolin’s kinesio-therapist, social worker, and physiatrist, respectively, had worked months to ensure he was ready for today. Along with composite worker Vincent Reeves who fabricated the socket and Ryan King, the prosthetist fitting Dooling’s prosthesis, “it was, truly, and herculean team effort,” said Parker.
The MPK added power gives you the opportunity for better symmetry and more natural motion according to the manufacturer’s website. While the technical aspects of biomechanical systems, percentages of flexion, and specifications are impressive. Doolin recognizes that learning to walk freely on new legs will be a process. “I'm sure it’ll take days or weeks, ‘till I'm comfortable,” said Dooling. “I want to get to the point where I don't even need a walker anymore, and not be reliant on others.”
This opportunity gives his freedom, again. “It’s right in front of me”, said Doolin. “It’s not like a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s here now”. He displayed so much motivation as he, simply, walked back and forth.
Learn more with this video about how VA Prosthetics is assisting Veteran Allen Doolin with walking:
PowerKnees get Veteran back on his feet - YouTube