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Kya Hill, 17, struggles to rotate her wrist during a demonstration on her first day back at school with her new arm. After two days of working the muscles while fitting the arm, fatigue and pain left her unable to show most of the functions.

Kya Hill, 17, struggles to rotate her wrist during a demonstration on her first day back at school with her new arm. After two days of working the muscles while fitting the arm, fatigue and pain left her unable to show most of the functions.

Last week I met the most remarkable young woman. Writer Mary Callahan (my lovely, brilliant wife) wrote about her accident:

“The passenger-side wheels dropped into a ditch about 18 inches deepand, for a few agonizing seconds, the truck scraped against a rough rock wall along the road. Hill knew when her head hit the ceiling that her seatbelt had snapped. Her window shattered and her arm was somehow yanked from the cab, flung back between the door frame and rocky surface, and shredded as the truck moved forward.”

She received a new computer operated prosthesis with wrist, finger and elbow movements controlled by twitching the muscles in the upper arm or contracting back muscles. The trick is learning which muscle to contract and how much energy to apply. She twitched by mistake a few times, bending the elbow quickly and poking herself in the head with her hand , but instead of frustration, the room filled with laughter recalling the police inspector with a creaky prosthetic arm in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein.

Ten or fifteen years ago I would have followed Kya for weeks before the story published. In 2012, photo pages are nearly extinct. I did my reporting and was with her when she first tried on the arm and the first day Kya brought it to high school. The story ran on Sunday with three pictures and a refer to the photo gallery online. When I think about complaining about the space given the story, I think about Kya’s strength of courage over the past 4 months, and then, since I’m a photojournalist, I complain about the lack of space for photos anyway.

CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO HER REMARKABLE STORY

CLICK HER FOR A LINK TO THE PHOTO GALLERY


 

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