It dawned on my while I was making a post for my Instagram (I know, me on Instagram, well I *am* a millennial even if I don’t like avocado) that I never did a follow up on how I was getting on with my prosthetic arm. I was given it for two reasons: to help regain the ability to paint by being able to hold models, and to help with the phantom pain that has been increasing over the last 18 months from a 7.5/10 to 9s and 10s most days. The arm has been mixed success but let me show you how it works first before I discuss the performance.

The socket and sleeve

The yellow socket with the hole in is where the threaded ratchety screw (such a technical pro) slots in. The grey sleeve is impregnated with silver and copper and is supposed to provide some measure of shielding from things that might annoy the nerve endings while being anti-microbial to some degree. It’s pretty comfortable although it does aggravate my stump getting it on – I have to turn it inside out and roll it up my arm. Then I slot the screw into the socket and push down until it stops clicking.

The red bands are to add tension and aid in adjusting the grip strength.

Above you can see the pincer end of the attachment which does a pretty good job of gripping things. It’s mounted on a ball joint to emulate a wrist, which is adjusted by the brass collar you can see. This lets me manoeuvre the miniature into different positions.

Cutting out Big Daddy Feirros.

The yellow socket is made of plastic that contains my away team training shirt for the Guildford Mavericks Baseball club, who I played for between 2003 and 2014. I never could wear yellow without looking jaundiced so I asked the prosthetics department to use it to give the socket that personal touch. The white sock is just a compression sock to pad out the socket and avoid chafing.

The verdict

It’s OK. To be honest, the nerve pain aggravation from putting it on and taking it off isn’t the main reason I dislike it. The brass collar for adjusting the ball/wrist join needs the strength of Hercules to twist and my right wrist is already knackered from my other hobby: video games. I’m also not wild about the tweezer action as it’s not suitable for holding a lot of the models. The arm also doesn’t bend close enough to my face to see a lot of the fine detail on some miniatures.

The prosthetics department are amazing and did say to go back and request any amendments, but obviously then Covid happened and everything became ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’. What I would like to change is to cut a little from the bottom of the socket to allow the ‘elbow bend’ ratchet mechanism to rise higher (and thus closer to my face) and to change the attachment from a tweezer to a rounded pincer type thing, that can grip one of these:

Painting handle from Redgrass Games

This would make life easier as I wouldn’t need to change the angle of the wrist joint as much thus saving wear and tear on my working wrist. Hopefully I’ll be able to get in and see the prosthetics department soon.

I’ve had more success recently with good old blu-tack to be honest. Stuck in the centre of a plastic palette it’s doing the same job as the painting handle more or less:

Model stuck on dry palette while I paint from the wet palette.

So that’s pretty much where I’m at now in terms of prosthetics, just awaiting some tinkering. I’ll let you know when things happen. o/

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