Thursday, August 26, 2010

Self-amputee moves on with his life with new prosthetic arm

From NBC Connecticut:

Two months ago, Jonathan Metz (pictured) nearly severed his arm when it became wedged in his furnace. Now, the West Hartford man has a new prosthetic arm and is making amazing strides with it, including woodworking in the very basement where he went through his ordeal.

“For somebody who went through such a terrible ordeal, to respond within three months, he’s done incredibly well,” said Dr. Scott Elner, his St. Francis Medical Center doctor. “And, using his arm already to woodwork, he’s going to back to work, shortly, back in his original job.”

Metz, 31, was working on his furnace on June 7 when his arm got. He screamed for hours but no one heard him. When he noticed infection was setting in, he took saw blades and nearly succeeded in cutting his entire arm off.

He remained in his basement for two days before friends summoned police to his rescue.

Jonathan appeared on NBC's "Today" show on Wednesday morning and said he is getting used to his new prosthetic limb, which he’s had for about a week.

Metz’s story became a national one and, with cameras rolling, he was surprisingly upbeat as he shared his story.

Matt Lauer asked Metz on Wednesday whether he’d had a chance to grieve the loss of his limb.

“I have,” Metz said, admitting that there have been some depressing days. But, in his upbeat way, he remains optimistic about his future.

“Really, it was the two to three weeks between when I got out of the hospital and the initial euphoria of just living wore off, before I was healed enough to start working on the prosthetic arm,” he said. “I still have some of those days, but this has given me a lot of optimism,” he said, looking down at his prosthesis.

He still feels some phantom limb sensation, but he has no qualms about going back into his basement. In fact, that is where he does his woodworking, something he finds therapeutic.

“It was before and is starting to be again,” he said. “The boiler is gone, and that was the one thing that I wasn’t ready to see again.”

Elner got married recently and Metz made a wooden chest for a wedding gift.

The BeBionic limb made by British company RSLSteeper includes a hand with five fingers that move individually under the control of a microprocessor.

Metz is getting married in November.