Thanks to auxiliary aids with "both" legs in life again
Due to a trivial abrasion, Jonah Holtermann's life was turned completely upside down. But the transfemoral amputation in May of this year was not the end of the journey for the former paramedic. The 23-year-old thinks positively despite the challenges that still lie ahead. After all, in the interim it was touch and go whether he would survive at all. Thanks to which aids he is mobile again, how it felt to wear a prosthesis for the first time and what makes him roll otherwise, he tells at REHACARE.com.
Name: Jonah Holtermann Age: 23 City: Castrop-Rauxel, Germany Occupation: Paramedic Impairment: Above-knee amputee since May 2021
Jonah Holtermann: The little things. When I get up in the morning and the sun is shining. When I see my family and friends again. When I can enjoy my life to the fullest again.
Which auxiliary means or daily living aids are indispensable for you?
Jonah Holtermann: Forearm crutches, since I don't have a prosthesis at the moment due to another surgery. The wheelchair for moving around in the apartment and by car. It is also indispensable for me when I need free hands. And when the wound healing is through my prosthesis. Because it is impossible to shower on one leg, a shower chair and a wall handle are also indispensable.
What would you like to see from society and your fellow people in dealing with people with disabilities?
Jonah Holtermann: Openness, honesty, loyalty and willingness to help. I would also like children not to be nagged when they have questions. But rather to provide education so that they do not secretly stare at me and talk about me. It would be better to try to talk to people with disabilities.
Which assistive device would urgently need to be invented and/or improved?
Jonah Holtermann: There should be a wheelchair with stair climbing function and non-slip walking supports for walking on ice, snow or leaves. In addition, sports prostheses should also be covered by health insurance for over-18s. Even if it is not directly an aid, living space adaptation should be easier and subsidized by the state.
What has been your biggest challenge so far that you have mastered – and what has helped you?
Jonah Holtermann: The biggest challenge was the first attempts to walk with my prosthesis after the amputation. It was an indescribable feeling to be able to walk normally and without pain again after almost 3 years. Actually, everyone helped me. My family took me in for weeks after the amputation to get me halfway fit again; all my doctors and my two orthopedic technicians.
What can the assistive technology industry learn from the Corona pandemic to make life easier and/or better for people with disabilities in the future?
Care is damn IMPORTANT and the complete job description must change! (for example salary, working hours, etc.)
The right care can not be replaced by auxiliary workers from other countries and it must be promoted more in Germany.
It needs more time to deal better with people with disabilities. One should support them, offer them talks and simply help them to lead them back into life - only this time is completely missing. Yet people with disabilities deserve just as much affection as "normal" people.
If nothing would be impossible: Who would you like to meet one day and why?
Jonah Holtermann: Wincent Weiss and Chester Bennington (as celebrities), because their music often brought me out of deep holes.
My father simply to see what his reaction is that I only have one leg left. After he threw it at me when I had my first severe sepsis. that I would only come forward when I was looking for attention and that I should cut this shit out.
What was your best REHACARE experience?
Jonah Holtermann: Was unfortunately not yet there, but would like to stop by.