MUNSTER, Ind. — Two-year-old Heather Williams fell, popped her knee back into place and got right back up.
She used to walk on her knees, but then she got a prosthetic leg. Now she runs around, merrilly, like toddlers do.
Heather lost her right leg when she was 3 months old after being infected with gangrene at a Chicago hospital, where she was being treated for a heart condition.
She learned how to walk on her knees, before getting her first prosthetic. It was putting too much pressure on her stump, so she got a new one recently from Bionic Prosthetics & Orthotics in Munster, where she was visiting — and running around — on a recent day with her mom and three siblings.
“She put on her own leg this morning,” said her mom, Rachel Washington. The family lives in Gary. “She’s been practicing.”
Heather’s mom calls her a “very strong girl” who picks up on physical therapy lessons quickly.
When Heather first came to Bionic, she wouldn’t let anyone touch her prosthetic leg without her crying. The leg was too heavy and boxy. She was frustrated she couldn’t run around with her siblings.
Then she got a properly fitting device and has been comfortable ever since.
“Once she got the leg, she was more joyful,” Washington said. “Now she likes to climb, climb up beds, climb rocks at daycare. Whatever she puts her mind to she does it.”
Prosthetist Vikram Choudhary adjusted her pink prosthetic leg on the recent day — she wore a sparkly silver dress and beads and a bow in her braided hair — and off she went. Because she’s growing, the device will have to be replaced every year or two.
“Overall she’s become more extroverted,” Choudhary said.
“She didn’t want anyone speaking to her, touching her, looking at her,” Washington said. “It’s made her happier overall, friendlier, more outgoing. With that leg she has no limits.”
“It’s a part of her body,” Choudhary said. “The sooner you give it to them or introduce it to them, the better the adaptability.”
Heather was so young when she lost her leg she doesn’t know any other way. She plays on the playground. She keeps up with her brothers and sister.
“She has no boundaries,” Washington said.
Source: The (Northwest Indiana) Times
Information from: The Times, http://www.nwitimes.com
This is an Indiana Exchange story shared by The (Northwest Indiana) Times.