Thursday, January 19, 2006

rebuilt rehash

I caught the first episode of "Rebuilt: The Human Body Shop" last night, a program about amputees. Well, not really. It's a bit more specific that that, actually. It's about amputees and prosthetics, really. Maybe they'll one day feature an amputee who chooses not to wear a prosthesis, but I doubt it. The central "plot" of the show is based around a motivational prosthetist.

Right from the opening scene, I began to get worried that this show might possibly stink. I swear to god that the opening credits that introduces "the cast" (the prosthetist and his crew, most of whom is his family) looks dead ringer like the intro for the Seymore Butts' "Family Business" series (Showtime). The TiVO failed to record the final credits of Rebuilt, so I couldn't compare the who's who, but I would not be surprised one bit if the same folks that made Family Business produced Rebuilt. Same producers or not, whomever is working on Rebuilt basically stole the opening scene (if not the entire show concept but with a gimpy spin), and maybe they were banking that we wouldn't notice! I mean, there's no crossover between those audiences right? The amputee audience and would never be into perverted reality humor shows. Right? Or maybe it's the other way around! Maybe they think the amputee audience IS perverted, and they've seen plenty of Seymore, so this will feel nice and familiar!

I also got concerned when right out of the gate they focused on a patient with a C-leg. And actually, let me rephrase that: they didn't focus on the patient, they focused on the C-leg itself. They went right past the patient into something that looked like an infomercial for OttoBock. It made me wonder how much of this program was going to be driven by the giants in the prosthetics manufacturing industry.

After a couple minutes into the show though, they started to focus on the patients. There was also quite a few segements of watching what goes on in the back rooms of the prosthetist's office which was actually quite interesting to me. I've never gotten to see the inside components of my C-leg, and I've never actually seen a socket being made.

I liked very much that there was a wide variation in the patient stories (for this episode, at least). There was a middle-aged athetic male, married with kids, traumatic above the knee amputation of the left leg, who was working hard to restore his life by taking up cycling again and tackling the swimming segment of a triathalon. There was a young woman, traumatic amputation of her right arm below the elbow, who chose a cosmetic prosthesis over a functional one, and her issues in this episode were mostly about dealing the emotions around being uncomfortable in public (in my version, I call it "feelin' like a freak!"). And there was a teenage boy who was born with no hands or feet (facial/palatte issue as well), who just did everything and everything he wanted to do, and successfully. The show was quite well rounded.

All in all, I really enjoyed the show. For me personally, it was really great to see the man with the same amputation as me (basically), in the same prosthesis as me, doing his daily getting around. It was good to see how he moved through space, and it was encouraging to hear that it took him close to a year before he was fit for his prosthesis, and after 3 months (of what appears to be MUCH more committed effort than my own), he was really active and getting around without the aid of a cane. And by getting around, I mean, handling uneven surfaces while cleaning out the horse stables. It made me feel like if I actually applied myself, maybe I'd see results more quickly than I think. And I woke up this morning actually wanting to put the leg on for a change.

I'd love to know what other people think about the show, if there is anyone out there...both friends or family members of amputees as well as people who've never had any real life exposure to life with or as an amputee.

So I have one last comment, and it's got nothing to do with the show, but with the Discovery Science Channel itself. MAN THEY HAVE SOME FREAKY REALITY SHOWS ON THAT CHANNEL!!! The commercials completely flipped me out. One of them was for a program about life in the critical care emergency room....except it was RIDICULOUSLY bloody and graphic. I know I'm personally sensitive to those kind of images now because of my own experience of it, but I have never seen that level of graphic reality before. Right down to the bloody gorey details, and that was only the commercial!

I think they are rerunnning this episode of Rebuilt a few more times this week if you missed it. I think it's worth the watch *smile*.


Sara said...

Cool! Did they talk about how much it all cost and how the patients paid for it all?

Just curious. I don't get anything but the plain old ordinary Discovery channel.