Wednesday, July 24, 2013

As My Day Comes to An End

My day definitely went better than my "Terrible Tuesday." My day started off with a field trip to this business that produced prosthetic parts, but they were better known for their prosthetic legs. We pulled up to Bulow's building not knowing what to expect, but as soon as we walked in we were told the meaning of the name. The reason the company is titled Bulow's is because the company specializes in below the knee prosthetic. We then went on a tour where he explained the whole process of making a prosthetic leg for his costumers. In his tour he showed us that in order to make a leg for a costumer he must first take all of their limb nub measurements one with the jell cushion on the leg and one without the cushion. After he gets their measurements, he then makes a stone mold of their leg. Once the stone mold is made the fun part of creating the plastic casing comes in, which they showed us. In this process they heat up a big sheet of two types of plastic, which then is molded on to the stone cast because the plastic turns into a consistency equivalent to melted chocolate. When I think melted chocolate I think chocolate on a strawberry, which is kind of how the plastic forms on the stone mold. Then if the customer feels the pressure of the plastic is in the wrong place, then the workers can reheat the plastic just a little to adjust the plastic to the customers liking. 

We also went over some of the prices for the prosthetic, and they literally cost you an arm and a leg. One of the choices with a motorized ankle system costs around $50,000. This was crazy, but it can definitely help if you want to stay active with running because it has spring that helps the running process. We also went upstairs to see some of the rehabilitation rooms, where customers get used to their new leg. We then discussed what could happen if the prosthetics center is off by one or two degrees. The change in degrees can be the difference between the customer's knee buckling, and the customer being able to walk again. I didn't really think one degree would throw you off that much, but the owner demonstrated this with his own prosthetic leg. At the end the workers showed us some of the customized legs on a slide show. Each leg was customized to each person character. I thought it was really neat how they could print out any image on any prosthetic, and I could definitely tell the workers take pride in their work and really care about their users as they explained their motto. Their motto was that the customer must be satisfied in order for them to be satisfied; also the thank you letters on the wall meant a lot to me as I saw them all over the walls. 

When we got back to the school with our free pens we ate, then went to class where we observed and played with my teacher's husband's wheelchairs. We all noticed the differences in the way they road and looked as one was for athletics, on was for everyday movements, and one was from the hospital. The athletic wheelchair was off limits after my classmate popped the seventeen year old tire. After we analyzed the wheelchairs we spent the rest of class preparing for the talent show. We basically organized a way two mikes would be shared among sixteen people, so we came up with the idea to make two groups. This worked perfect in our practice. After our less productive second part of class we went back to the dorm for free time, which I spent playing Spades with my roommate Lewis, friend John, and Thomas. We ended up having a blast as both Thomas and I reneged for our teams being the rookies that we are, but we both made up for it with big wins. 

After this competitive game of Spades dinner rolled around, then at 7:00 PM came the talent show. This talent show actually had some talent, but before the talent show began my class had to handle some business because we weren't signed up for the talent show. We took care of that so all of my classes' hard work wouldn't go to waste. We ended up being second. We went on stage and rocked it with our shades on as everyone laughed at our video in the background (Video should be on YouTube in a few weeks look for VSA Engineering.) I ended up having fun as six or so acts earned standing ovations. This was one of the few times I've been to a talent show and seen talent. After the talent show Thomas, the guys, and I were back to Spades until bed time. 

It wasn't until my day came to an end that I realized the bitter sweet feelings I was having. My sweet feeling was that I was finally going home after so long, and I would be able to see my family and go back to work playing football. The bitter feeling was that I'm leaving people and friends I have finally connected with after being in their presence for three weeks. In my mind I couldn't help but want to go home and want to stay at the same time, because it's not like the end of the school year where you say by too your friends for a few months then see them again. It's totally different, because these people that you have connected with you may never see them again as we all go back to our respected states. As the hour glass runs out on my stay I feel a sense of mixed emotions creeping up on me as I leave this place called Tennessee. 

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