D&J Medical acquired Maryland Orthotics & Prosthetics (MDOP) June 30th, 2016. Since then, we have met many extraordinary patients who are thrilled to share their story with others. A shared story means so much to other patients and their family, helping them to realize that they are not alone.
One of our patients, Adrienne Walker-Pittman, agreed to share her story and answer a few questions, even though it meant reliving the terrible day she lost her leg. Adrienne’s willingness to share her triumph over adversity is an inspiration to other people; her reliving the actual experience, a source of personal pride.
Growing up, Adrienne was on the dance team at Western High School in Baltimore City. A summer job at a city recreation center afforded her the opportunity to teach African dance to inner city teenage girls. Adrienne also attended The Peabody Institute where she learned tap, ballet, jazz, modern, and character dance similar to Flamenco. Although she majored in journalism at the University of Maryland College Park, she continued her dance studies. She graduated four years later in 1981 with degrees in journalism and dance.
Fifteen years later, on January 27, 1996. Adrienne, married and packing the final load in her car in preparation for a move to her dream home, was struck by a car. Critically injured and in a coma for fifteen days, Adrienne spent 65 more in two hospitals before she could begin her road to recovery. Her faith in God gave her the strength to continue on this most difficult path, to walk and to dance again.
Part of her recovery was dependent on finding the right prosthesis so she could regain the active lifestyle she wanted. Another was to find a prosthetist who would take on Adrienne’s challenge as if it was his own. This took some time, but finally Adrienne found Lee Mantelmacher,CPO of Maryland Orthotics & Prosthetics.
Finding the right prosthesis was difficult. She would fall down with each one she tried. It was not until Lee Mantelmacher introduced her to Dr. Gonzalez-Fernandez, Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, that they figured out that Adrienne’s brain injury was causing the disconnect, hindering her to walk properly with a prosthetic leg. Dr. Gonzalez worked hard to find the right prosthesis. She also worked with insurance companies to ensure that Adrienne had the appropriate, artificial aid.
The prosthesis that worked for Adrienne is an Ottobock Genium that works with Lee’s KISS suspension system. This prosthesis was the perfect fit. It enabled her to bend forward from the hip giving her the flexibility to dance without discomfort. The Ottobock Genium “thinks” for her. She does not need to remember to walk through her plastic foot to get the knee to bend. This prosthetic combo had brought a renewed meaning to her life.
What kept Adrienne in high spirits? Her mission to walk again. She didn’t care how she looked or who saw her. She needed to be there for her son, who was four years old when the accident occurred. He was now a three sport athlete and she wasn’t going to let this “interruption” stop her from being the supportive and encouraging mom that she wanted to be. She took pride in attending all of his games.
Her mission was to walk and be there for her family, but she also had a mission to dance again.
Strengthened by her faith and guided by professionals, Adrienne knew she would dance again. When Adrienne dances, she feels it is a thank you to God and all those who helped her to still be here and to be living without limits.
D&J Medical and MDOP would like to thank Adrienne Walker-Pittman for sharing her incredible story. We will always be here for her and her family.
Adrienne also shared her story with Transit Lines. Click here to read the article.