I was recently invited for a week-long trip to Oregon for the Ottobock for life road show as a patient ambassador for the C-Brace, something I do often.
I woke up early, 2:15 a.m. on a Monday for my flight out of Albany, New York to Portland. Arriving at 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time, three hours behind New York time, I was already tired. But I knew why I was there, so I checked into my room and relaxed before the show.
The event got started promptly at 6:00 p.m. with about 60 orthotists, prosthetists, and some physical therapists in the room. There were presentations from Ottobock’s clinical team on the C-Leg, Michelangelo hand, and C-Brace, and stories from patient ambassadors like me who use them.
When I got up to speak and share my story, I really had the crowd’s attention, and the questions about the technology that I use, the C-Brace, were flowing. Even though it was a small crowd, it was a crowd with great questions, and that’s what it is really about. We had answers to share.
The team continued our road show throughout the Portland area with small meetings at local clinics for the next few days until we flew from Portland to Medford, Oregon, across the state.
Thursday was a very long day for all of us. We started at 8:00 a.m. and didn’t stop until 9:45 p.m.
The day was split into a morning session with MPKs, microprocessor knees like the C-Leg, then an afternoon session with SCO, stance control orthotics. I was there for the SCO portion. We started with the CPOs of Spectrum O&P, and they weren’t afraid to ask hard questions. Later that night at 6:30, Spectrum put on a very elaborate event for all medical personnel to attend, there were prosthetists, physical therapists, nurses, and for the first time medical insurance personnel, from the payer side of things.
When it was my turn to speak in front of this large group of people, over 250, I knew it could be a challenge. I immediately thought I needed to grab the crowd’s attention with something. I was introduced after my two-minute YouTube bio played, which alone was moving, and I got up on stage and addressed the crowd with five simple but very strong questions:
By a show of hands: how many know what the C-Brace is?
1/4 of the room raised their hands.
How many think it’s too big?
3/4 of the room raised hands.
How many think it weighs too much?
3/4 of the room raised their hands.
How many think it costs too much?
I think all raised their hands.
HOW MANY WEAR THE C-BRACE?
No one raised their hands except me!
I looked into the crowd with a smile and said, LET ME TELL YOU HOW THE C-BRACE HAS CHANGED MY LIFE.
I proceeded to walk off the stage, but as I took my first step, the unattached stair slipped away from the platform, I started to fall, and immediately the C-Brace went into stumble recovery mode and saved me from falling. The crowd was in shock thinking I was about to hit the ground. I didn’t come close.
As I regained my footing I actually managed to make it look like a fluid motion, and an Ottobock colleague made the announcement, STUMBLE RECOVERY, right on point.
The stumble was absolutely not planned, but many thought it was. It was an accident that should never have happened, and I’m thankful I had the C-Brace technology to save me.
I had needed to grab the attention of over 250 people, and now I definitely had it. I finished my speech walking around the room answering question after question without incident. God must have been looking down on me because he cast a glow on me that lit the room.
I ended my speech with an appeal to the practitioners:
When I leave this stage, if I can leave you with just one thing, it would be to get your patients proactive with the decision-making process, and to give them all options of today’s technology. Don’t hold anything back from the patients because that one thing you think may not work might just change their lives forever.
Ottobock has trial tools to see if certain technologies would work for your patients. Please utilize the resources available and get your patient walking securely.