At 10:07 on Friday 12th August was the moment Charlotte regained a piece of her old reflection. After contracting Meningitis and Septicemia whilst at university, Charlotte was put into an induced coma and spent the next four months in hospital. Whilst lucky to be alive, Charlotte has had all the fingers from her left hand amputated. Struggling with the attention that her hands brought, Charlotte was desperate to find a way to hide in a crowd and disguise her amputation. Now thanks to the Steeper Silicone Clinic and her new prosthetic hand, she can do just this, giving herself the freedom to live her life the way she now wants to.
Charlotte was a healthy and happy 18 year old, just beginning her business degree at Nottingham Trent University when she contracted Meningitis and Septicemia.
After a few weeks at university, Charlotte was enjoying her new life: going out and meeting new people, she was having a great time. That was until she awoke on one Tuesday morning with flu-like symptoms. Believing she had ‘fresher’s flu’, she thought nothing of it. Sadly, that was not the case and by Wednesday evening she had been put into an induced coma, where she spent the next three weeks, further spending another four months in hospital. Charlotte will be forever grateful to the team at the Kingsmill Hospital in Mansfield and Nottingham City Hospital for saving her life as many others diagnosed with Meningitis are not so lucky and despite all the after effects, she now has to live her life with, she knows that she is lucky to be alive.
Charlotte is now a double transtibial amputee, and has also had all the fingers from her left hand amputated. Coming to terms with her own image has been a struggle for Charlotte and deciding how she wanted to look was a major part of her recovery. In order for her to regain her confidence, Charlotte had a look at different partial hand prosthetics available. However, she felt that none were right for her, instead feeling that they would make her hand stand out more than if she wore no false limbs at all.
Discovering the work of the Steeper Silicone Clinic and the different prosthetics available was a major step in her recovery. Finally, she had found a prosthetic that would help her to hide in a crowd and disappear from the stares. Charlotte’s experience at the Steeper Silicone Clinic has been, “nothing but a pleasure. They have catered to my every desire when creating this prosthetic for me and I couldn’t be happier.”
Charlotte’s hand has been specially crafted by Steeper Technician Mark. With over ten years’ experience at sculpting silicone hands, Mark took great pleasure in creating this special hand for Charlotte. “Charlotte’s hand is a blend of natural shades and pigments perfectly matched to her skin tone. In consultation with Charlotte, we carefully crafted her prosthetic to match the scarring on her arms, so that the silicone prosthetic looks as realistic and natural as possible. It was a great pleasure providing this hand for Charlotte as we can see the difference it has made to her life already.”
The turning point
For Charlotte, being able to sit in a room full of people and them not to notice that her hand is a false limb makes her life much easier. On days when she is not feeling that great, she can put on her hand and continue with her daily life, going under the radar and disguising her amputation. However on the days when she is raising awareness of Meningitis and Septicemia for the two charities that have helped her immensely; Meningitis Now and Meningitis Research Foundation, she is proud to show off her silicone hand and loves the reactions from others when they discover her hand is a prosthetic.
Since her diagnosis, Charlotte’s perspective on life has changed drastically, she now realises that life is too short not to be doing the things she enjoys the most, something she believes everyone should take into consideration.