First semester is over and the highlight of my upcoming semester is an internship at the Ottobock prosthetic building company at Cappagh National Hospital in Dublin. As my final project I will be building a muscle simulator to engage phantom limb sensations for mental as well as physical therapeutic purposes. To do so I will be meeting with prosthetic users through my internship at Ottobock to gain precious feedback on the device design process. I will be spending time with two primary patients from the very first appointment, right up until I have to return to the US next fall. Hopefully it will be with both a lower limb and upper limb amputee to broaden the feedback experience. I will get to know the two patients very well and see how they progress over the period of a few months. The patients are assessed approximately 4 weeks post amputation, then again two weeks afterwards for fitting of the first prosthesis and gait (walking) training for one week. The patient then takes the prosthesis home with them for approximately two weeks and then usually needs to make adjustments to the socket after this time. This is approximately the timeline of device design, fitting, and use that I will be able to observe. I will be learning about how devices are created and positively integrated into user’s lives while at the same time gaining knowledge on how I ought to build my project’s device. I should be beginning in the next few weeks and it is shaping up to be a great semester!
Living in Ireland has given me great outside perspective on America as well as insight into what other’s think of America. To paint with a broad brush, most Irish people I have met are both genuinely curious and well informed individuals. This makes for good conversation whether it be politics or academics. The conversations I’ve had at school with those who know me as well as those in coffee shops who notice I am American have been both stimulating and eye-opening. To live overseas and see America from the outside has been invaluable.. and at times humbling. For example, I was watching sports with some Irish friends and the soccer match ended in a tie. I (not knowing anything about soccer and being a passionate hockey fan) asked, “Is there a shoot out now or what?” Someone turned to me and said, “How American of you” and everyone laughed at me. “You Americans always need a winner, shoot out, face-off. You have no patience. It’s a long season, we will play them again, and a tied match is still worth a point.” These experiences have made me reflect on my unseen behaviors and have given some insight into how others view Americans.
Looking forward to the coming semester and working on my master’s prosthetic project. Below are more photos from my travels around Ireland.