Charlie's new arm - test fitting
Normally they want the kids to learn one joint at a time, so they start with a hinged thumb and a fixed elbow and then when he's learned to work with a wired thumb (that opens and closes through movement in a shoulder harness) they move on to a wired elbow. But the occupational therapists wanted to see how he'd do with a ratcheting elbow, that locks into 3 or 4 positions and then unlocks when it's bent all the way in to the shoulder. Based on how well it seemed to work when Charlie was crawling with it, we and the RIC team opted for the ratcheting elbow. It was cool to see the discussion and decision making process between the prostheticist and the OT who came to this session--they were very respectful and took turns explaining their thinking on the subject, and although the prostheticist was leaning away from the idea of the ratcheting elbow at first, she made up the arm with one for testing and after she saw him with it she was convinced and helped to convince us. Across the board, the people who are working with Charlie on this are really talented and professional, and everyone's been very flexible and seems excited to work with him. Toddler upper-limb prosthetics are still kind of unusual, particularly with elbow involvement--it's much more common, apparently, to be born missing a hand than to be missing both the hand and the elbow. So everyone we talk to is jumping at the chance to see and/or work with Charlie, which makes everything much easier.
The dinosaur-embellished version of the arm will be ready in a couple of weeks, when we go for his final fitting. What he's wearing here is the inner layer but there will be an outer layer that covers most of the hinge.