Haysville teacher is one step closer to getting bionic arm

Local

WICHITA, Kans. (KSNW) – Even wrapping Christmas gifts is a little easier for Sondra Stieber, now that surgery has restored some of the nerve sensations in her left arm.

“It itches. It stretches. It twists and gets hot and cold. All these things are happening in that little bit of space,” said Stieber, as she points to a short, metal rod implanted in what remains of her left forearm.

The rest of her arm had to be amputated last year because of blood clots.

On December 13, a doctor at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City surgically inserted a rod into the bone of her forearm and attached it to nerve tissue.

The rod will eventually hold a myoelectric hand that Stieber will control with her mind.

“It itches. It stretches. It twists and gets hot and cold. All these things are happening in that little bit of space,” said Stieber, as she points to a short, metal rod implanted in what remains of her left forearm.

But first, her doctor also had to increase the blood flow to her arm by taking part of an artery from Stieber’s leg.

“He attached it to my carotid artery and through to the main artery of my arm,” said Stieber, showing the incision on her chest. “As soon as it got a good blood flow, it looked pink and strong like the other arm.”

Stieber is now on medicine and must let her implant heal for 12 weeks before she gets the bionic arm. Already, she is grateful.

“I’ll get emotional,” she said, blinking away tears. “But just to feel feelings and sensations in that again is a huge, huge blessing.”

But the Stiebers still don’t know if their insurance company will cover any of the cost of the bionic arm– more than $250,000.

They now have three months to prepare for how it will change their lives in more ways than one.

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