Kootenai Prosthetics & Orthotics

Amputees In Action

Dian Hanson

Ten acres filled with mature trees surround Dian Hanson’s Rathdrum Prairie home, trees she and her husband planted by hand over the years. In one corner, Dian has turned a two-acre plot into a magical garden of indigenous and exotic flowers, plants and trees that border winding paths and rim a clearing where weddings and parties take place in the summer.

Gardening, painting, sketching, sewing, knitting and crocheting have always been a part of Dian’s creative life, hobbies she refused to give up when she lost her right arm three inches below the elbow in a farm accident when she was 35 years old.

“I was determined to manage somehow,” she says. “I was right handed so I had to teach myself to draw with my left hand.” She was also mother of a two-year-old and a five-year-old, so there wasn’t much time to feel sorry for herself. Plus the girls were growing and sewing their clothes was a joy she did not want to give up.

Originally from Ohio, Dian spent her youth in Arizona before moving to Idaho to be close to her husband’s family. Roots run deep: her mother-in-law’s family homesteaded in the Coeur d’Alene area, and one of Dian’s daughters, now in her 30’s with children of her own, still lives in the Inland Northwest.

Dian retired from a career as an elementary teacher and reading specialist four years ago.

“Kids asked a million questions about my arm, especially at the beginning of the year,” she says. “They’re forthright, curious and very accepting. The parents may notice but don’t say anything. I wouldn’t mind at all if they asked and I’d be happy to talk about it.”

She has two prosthetic arms, a traditional body-powered prosthesis that she uses for gardening, and a myo-electric prosthesis with an electronically controlled hand (and a French manicure!) that operates by electrode-sensed muscle potential. As adept as she is with her prosthesis, however, Dian says if she could have her arm back, she would in a heartbeat.

“It’s very frustrating--there are lot of things I can’t do as easily now – like knitting and crocheting.” But she hasn’t let her limb loss define her.

“You can be a victim or you can go on with your life,” Dian insists. “There is so much to do and everyday is beautiful.”

Other Amputees In Action

Don Bennett


Jack Lamb

Denzel Tucker

Ken Larson

Gary Wilson