Thomas Shaw

Artist, Amputee

Thomas Shaw has been a professional artist for many years. He has had his work exhibited many times. All of the pictures in this newsletter are his original work. He also has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate.

An artist for many years, he spent his earlier career finding out what kind of art was going to define him. He spent many years depicting how society reflected on him in his surroundings.

Many of his early works were about social ills. He had witnessed, drugs, gangs, etc.. Thomas works mostly in a black and white artistic medium, using inks, relief print process and woodcut techniques.

As his health issues became more prominent in his life, his artistic focus found a new avenue. Thom found a great outlet to express how he was feeling about the way his health was effecting his life.

He has produced some outstanding and thought provoking pieces, which really capture the feelings and reflections of someone going through hospitalization, dialysis and all of the life altering effects of diabetes and amputation.

One piece, “A Dialysis Fable” represents the time spent regularly undergoing dialysis and the relaxation and contemplation time it provides. Thom said “It’s not the nicest thing, but it is necessary for me to do it. I took the approach of using the four hour sessions to think and reflect. I find the time useful now”.

A recurring theme of his recent artwork is the symbolic placement of his heart in all of his self portraits, representing his heart bypass surgery.

Another piece, entitled “Christ Hospital: The Rough Times” reflects on a time he was hospitalized with a neck brace and IV lines.

Much of the self portraits have been well received by the art world. Thom was the first artist to have a solo exhibition at Art Beyond Boundaries, 1410 Main Street, Cincinnati. The gallery specializes in artists with disabilities.

He started an exhibit of his work at the Art Academy on August 21st. He has taught classes displaying his techniques.

He hopes is work inspires others with disabilities throughout the world.

We cannot wait to see what his artistic self portraits are now that he has completed rehabilitation and is back in the studio!

Selected One Man Exhibits:

2009: “Life Stories”, Art Beyond Boundaries

2006: “Choice of Weapons III”, Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, OH

2005: “Choice of Weapons II”, Artwork Gallery, Cincinnati, OH

2004: “Personal Impressions”, South Bend Museum, South Bend, IN

“Personal Impressions”, Sheldon Swope Museum of Art, Terre Haute, IN

“Personal Impressions”, Art Academy of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

“Personal Impressions”, Olin College Gallery, Kenyon College, Kenyon, OH

2003: “Personal Impressions”, Huntingdon Museum of Art, Huntingdon, WV

“Personal Impressions”, SUNY College At Oneonta, Oneonta, NY

2002: “Inner Sanctums, Urban Medals, & Other Short Subjects”, Cocelia Coker Gallery, Hartville, SC

2001: “Personal Impressions”, Dayton Visual Arts Center, Dayton, OH

“Inner Sanctums, Urban Medals, & Other Short Subjects”, Weston Gallery, Cincinnati, OH

“Choice of Weapons”, Phreibe Gallery, Oshkosh, WI

“Inner Sanctums, Urban Medals, & Other Short Subjects”, 1912 Gallery, Emery, VI

“Hardcore to the Edge”, Heistand Gallery, Oxford, OH

Jan Beckemeyer

Jan Beckemeyer first came to AIM in August of 2005, for a consultation considering a below knee amputation. She had been through multiple surgeries after a motorcycle accident, which resulted in an artificial ankle. She had continued pain which was not improving, and it had become increasingly difficult to function.

Jan is very active and was considering an ankle fusion or an amputation. After speaking with her surgeon, Tom Walsh, and several of AIM’s patient advocates, she decided to undergo a below knee amputation on September 21st 2005. She remarked, “at some point you get to the stage where you have to decide if you want to continue a life of pain, or take a chance on another way. I knew there was a chance that I may not get all that I was looking for, but I was willing to take the chance, and for me it has worked out really well”. Together with her husband, Ron, a retired engineer, they discussed the pros and cons and educated themselves on what was ahead.

Jan was initially fitted with an Immediate Post Operative Prosthesis, which allowed for early ambulation. She experienced some phantom pain, but otherwise healed very well. By mid October she was fitted with a prosthesis and started the road to rehabilitation.

Within a month Jan had moved from a walker to a single cane, and shortly after Jan was walking unassisted. She progressed quickly and soon began researching different feet to compliment her active lifestyle. Working as a surgical technician meant standing for long periods in flat shoes, while her social life demanded higher heel shoes.

Jan volunteered to participate in some product development trials with a local manufacturer and AIM. Together an ankle which allowed adaptation of heel height change and dynamic movement was developed. Jan continues to help with this products next stage of development.

Jan has joined the team of patient advocates that AIM has to assist new patients with educating themselves on prosthetic issues from a patient perspective. She is also active in statewide patient avocation. She is working with Tom and others in the state to ask the Ohio legislator to pass a Prosthetic Parity law, which would require insurance companies to cover prosthetics under the same rules as Medicare.

Jan has returned to her summer activities of boating and frequently visits the lake with friends and family. AIM designed an Aqualimb for her so that she could return to water activities and also use the shower.

Jan has a fantastic attitude and outlook, which coupled with her sense of humor, has helped her transition back to a full and active lifestyle. The adjustable heel ankle has allowed Jan to use a large variety of shoes for all occasions. Which is just as well as Jan has many, many shoes.
A fact she proved when asked to bring a selection of shoes to an appointment, we heard the beeping of the truck backing up! Of course Jan said she only brought a small selection!

New Technology

We are a certified facility for not only the latest in microprocessor knee units but also for the newest generation of elevated vacuum sockets.

Ohio Willow Wood’s Limb Logic system, enables the patient to have control over the amount of vacuum applied through a remote control. The vacuum pump is located in the build of the prosthesis below the socket. It is charged each night just like a cell phone.

The device adds approximately 0.4 lbs of weight to the prosthesis and utilizes an additional sleeve on the outside of the socket to create a seal. There is also additional maintenance to be considered when choosing such a device. However, users have reported significant increase in the feeling of security and comfort.

Don McKenzie has been a wearer of traditional non-pin vacuum systems for many years. He recently was fitted with the Limb Logic system. Don commented, “this exceeded my expectations for comfort, it is by far the most comfortable system I have ever had”.

Call us for more information if this system interests you. (513) 245-0253