Grottoes woman says custom prosthetic helps get her life back

A woman from Grottoes get custom prosthetic arm to get back to doing what she loves after dog attack.
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 11:41 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Virginia Prosthetics and Orthotics has helped thousands of patients by restoring their mobility and functionality.

One woman from Grottoes said the office in Harrisonburg did much more than that. They gave Gloria Munson her life back and helped her get back to doing the things she loves.

In 2020, Munson was attacked by her bull dog.

“It was a big American Bull Dog about 120 pounds. He was the love of our life. His name was Petey,” Munson said.

Petey had gone after her chihuahua. When Munson tried to break up the fight, Petey turned on her.

“He viciously mauled me and broke both of my arms. He snapped both of my arms in half, and then he proceeded to pull my hands off,” Munson said.

Munson was somehow able to call her husband, who was just five minutes away. They tried calling for help but couldn’t reach dispatchers.

Munson’s husband picked up Gloria and tried to take her to the nearby rescue squad. No one was there.

“He finally found the button. He pushed it,” Munson said. “He said my wife needs an ambulance. They said, ‘we’re two minutes away.”

When the crews arrived, they realized Munson needed to be airlifted to UVA for treatment, but due to windy conditions, they couldn’t fly.

They were finally able to make it to UVA, and Munson fought for her life in the hospital. She underwent several surgeries.

“I wanted to live, and I wanted to have life. I didn’t care what it was,” Munson said.

She did end up losing half of her left hand, but the doctors said she was lucky because it could have been much worse.

“At that point, I only had a a tiny bit of movement. I just kept pushing because I just wasn’t going to give up,” Munson recalled.

Part of moving forward for Gloria was getting a prosthetic arm. Virginia Prosthetics and Orthotics helped her get exactly what she needed.

“Gloria’s goals were to get back to her life, but also to protect her arm. She has high sensitivity from scar tissue and skin grafting along the entire side of her arm and her hand... and also having a full palm to hold things with,” Briana Gascho, a certified prosthetist and orthotist with Virginia Prosthetics and Orthotics, said.

Aside from functionality, Munson was also looking for fashion and an arm that reflected who she is.

“I like lace, and pearls, and pink, and rhinestones, and diamonds,” Munson said. “I picked out fingers, I picked out lace, I picked out colors.”

Then it was up to Virginia Prosthetics and Orthotics to make it happen.

It started by taking measurements and getting an impression of the arm. A test version was made first in order to see what other adjustments need to made.

“To meet all of those goals, it allows a person to have the best quality of life, and that’s really what we’re here to do,” Gascho explained.

Gascho said there are a number of steps needed to get a prosthesis like this, and she was with Munson every step of the way.

“I was really thankful to have the time to take to go to appointments with her with her doctor to make sure we got everything we needed in order to proceed,” Gascho said.

And when she finally got to see her new arm, Munson said she started to feel like herself again.

“She put this on me, and I had my hand again. I had my life back again. it was like I could use my arms and hands and it was beautiful and I was able to have the rest of me back,” She said.

And Munson’s grandkids got their “grammy” back.

“Life gets better, but you have to have a really good attitude and an open mind. There is going to be some pain, but it’s all about attitude,” Munson explained. “I’ve got a sparkle in it now.”