Bionic Woman- Part 4 (Final Tweaks)

I’m glad you’ve hung in there with me through this long and tedious process! Here’s the July update…

On July 6th I drove the eighty miles to BioTech for a mid-morning appointment. I was amazed to see the transformation of my new arm in only fifteen days! (You’ll need to compare the “Bionic Woman- Part 3” picture to the one below for any of this to make sense.)

  • The transparent test socket was replaced with the permanent laminated one.
  • The cables on the upper arm were skillfully buried in the lamination.
  • The white elastic test harness was replaced with a skin-colored polyester-fiber harness.
  • The forearm cable was changed to enter on the topside of the hand rather than the underside of the hand to provide a smoother pull.
  • The Otto Bock hand was replaced by a Hosmer hand. I wanted a tighter grip and the inner mechanisms of the Hosmer hand allowed for adjustment of grip strength. This change was not externally visible.

I looked the arm over carefully for several minutes before slipping it on. “Nice!” I thought. “I just might get to wear this home today.” But as I began to open and close the hand, and lock and unlock the elbow, some minor problems surfaced. I wasn’t disappointed really. Tweaking is an expected part of the process.

  • A special cable needed to be ordered for the forearm.
  • The ring on the harness (see the picture) had to be covered with padding—when I operated the arm, the straps moved on the ring and pinched my skin between them. Ouch!
  • The lamination on the upper arm left a narrow circle of silver exposed above the elbow. I asked if it could be painted a skin tone. Brian, my prosthetist, said they could mix the tint that they used in the lamination with some epoxy and paint it for me.

On July 20th I returned to Birmingham once again. The BioTech Team had resolved every problem above! And while I was there…different ones appeared.

  • The hand squeaked when I opened and closed it. I can live with a lot of things, but squeaking isn’t one of them.
  • The grip still wasn’t strong enough. When I used my Ergo Elbow to raise the forearm, the hand involuntarily opened. This caused me to drop things.
  • A cosmetic glove goes over the hand and forearm to make them look real. The glove was too tight and prevented me from rotating the hand at the wrist. I need to rotate my hand to a different position when I type.
  • I wasn’t happy with the way the forearm looked bumpy under the cosmetic glove. Brian said they could try to bury the forearm cable.

Cosmetic glove that covers hand and forearm

So I still haven’t brought my new body part home. But that’s ok. All it should take is a few more tweaks…and a few more tweaks…and a few more tweaks…


But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 1 Corinthians 12:18 (NIV)

8 thoughts on “Bionic Woman- Part 4 (Final Tweaks)

  1. Bobbie Holloway says:

    Becky, this has been a trying patience process for you. You are such a loving, caring person and I know God is going to get that “thing” just right for you. Love you in Christ- Bobbie


  2. Rob Pinkston says:

    Hi Becky,

    It looks like you made some decisions since the last time we spoke. I’m excited for you, that you’re finally getting to move forward. I see you are working your way through some challenges as well; you’re wise to expect some of that unfortunately. I enjoy reading your updates and pray for good results for you. Please continue to share. By chance did you ever get the opportunity to check out the High Fidelity Interface? If not, by your next go around you may want to consider adopting it as part of your design.

    Blessings to you and all you do – Rob


    • Hey Rob,

      I did check out the high fidelity interface. It makes sense that it would work well. I just don’t know if I could stand the tightness and squeezing that goes along with it. I hate the feel of spandex. I think that socket would feel like spandex on steroids. 🙂

      What was the other process that you told me about that actually involves surgery? That one kind of made me sick to think about it.


  3. Hi Becky – You’ve certainly had your share of ‘glitches.’ I’m sure your patience will be rewarded! Can’t wait till it’s ‘all systems go’ for you. Thanks for keeping us posted here at Choosing to Smile. Good luck, Becky!



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