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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum

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  1. 3 points
    Higgy, I spent the entire six weeks computer-less this last time! Drove me batty! My other stays in rehab, there's been at least one computer available for patients...when I asked at this one, though, their response was "No...but we have free wi-fi." I guess it's time for me to get myself a tablet or laptop...my desktop home computer does me no good at all when trapped at a place with free wi-fi............. With a little luck, this new surgery will only keep me out of circulation for a couple of days...at present, I'm scheduled to stay overnight, but there's a chance that, if the surgery goes spectacularly well, they could discharge me the same day. They already know I can meet all their physical therapy goals, since I just met them during my six weeks in rehab. Heaven knows I'd much rather be at at home! I'd appreciate some good vibes sent my way on Tuesday morning!
  2. 3 points
    The last time I was in the local hospital for a small surgery, the LPN came in early one morning wanting to give me my insulin injection before breakfast.... At least an hour and 15 minutes before breakfast. It is fast acting insulin. I argued and refused the injection, no matter what she said, until my breakfast tray was in front of me. I was released that day, and the more I thought about it, afterward the more bugged I was. I'm a big enough loud mouth to make a point.. but what if I were an unsuspecting senior who wouldn't stand up for themselves, being afraid to say no..Well, about a week after I got home, I ended up calling and asking for the director of nursing. I then explained that what would of happened to someone, myself included, if I had taken fast acting insulin with nothing to eat. That maybe they should train the nurses better if they think they aren't understanding just what happens when giving fast acting insulin with no food. I don't blame you a bit for writing a letter and letting the powers that be know what had happened. Stick to your guns girl! I hope all goes well for you in the days ahead.. Will you have a way to stay online?
  3. 3 points
    Hi Cheryl, You should definitely report the incident. It would be doing the facility a favor as people like this give the hospital a bad reputation. At the very least she needs further training in how to treat patients with respect and closer supervision for a time. She most likely is not suited to this type of work and the sooner she is made aware of it the better for everyone. I would write down exactly what happened and hand deliver it, if possible, to the Director of Nursing. What happened is totally inexcusable and inappropriate. Do all future patients a favor and report her.
  4. 3 points
    Sorry to hear about your ongoing problems Cheryl and I wish you all the best for your forthcoming surgery. Yes, it's a pain, but as you say, better than losing part of your foot... I honestly don't think you're overreacting (sp?) about your alarming experience - I'd be fuming too!The woman showed not only extreme ignorance, but her insensitivity is unacceptable for someone in her position. I'm sure that her 'boss' ( I think here in the UK it would be the Sister-in-Charge) would want to know about the incident. As you so rightly point out, there are other patients who may not be as alert and assertive as yourself who will also have to experience her bizarre and unorthodox practices! There are so many people who are unemployed who would LOVE a job like hers, and if she doesn't like her work I'm sure there are plenty of competent, sensitive and professional women who would gladly do it for her. You can always temper your complaint by praising those areas of care which you found to be excellent. Good luck and do let us know what you decide to do - and what the response is. And keep us posted about your surgery too!
  5. 2 points
    I'm doing good Ann...... Has anyone heard from Cheryl yet? Ann, why am I just reading about you in and out of the hospital last year? If you facebooked me, I probably have cancer brain and missed it........ You ok? Cheryl..................... OH Cheryl.................. Where are you????????? maybe she snuck out to see 50 Shades of Grey......lol
  6. 2 points
    Okay, gang...I've calmed down enough to write a coherent letter, and you've reassured me that I wasn't over-reacting. A letter is on the way to the facility! Thanks!
  7. 2 points
    Hi Cheryl , Firstly sorry to read about all the bother you are having with your foot and I hope that you can get it sorted soon. Now to your post , as you may or may not know as far as amputation and all the stuff that goes with it I tend to treat mine as a huge joke , make jokes about it ,couldn’t care less what other people think or say don’t give a monkeys who see my “stump” when I stop to sort it out …………….but after reading your post I must admit I would feel outraged at what happened , in fact not even my wife would carry on like that and like I say I’m so easy , I can honestly say I would most likely punch the person and report them ……………….unless she was a tall leggy blond wearing a skimpy outfit and a drop dead beauty but then I think I’m on about a different scenario (mick slaps himself round the face) No I can honestly say if that happened to me I would report the person and kick up a right stink not only for myself but for any other people who might end up in the same situation as you
  8. 2 points
    Hi Everyone, I hope you are all doing well - And greetings from snowy, cold NYC! I just wanted to send a quick update - Lauren is doing well. She's back at school now for the second semester and so far, it's going very well. We really enjoyed having her home for the winter holidays and for the new year. While there are still many things that she can't do independently, it's gotten so much better as she's adapted to using her feet and even her mouth. There are highs and lows, of course, but the lows are getting less frequent. She has been dealing with some bursts of phantom pain the last week, so we are getting that checked out - There may need to be a change in her meds. I will continue to keep everyone updated. And again, thank you all for your support.
  9. 2 points
    Hi All, Lauren has officially started school! Yesterday was her first day back, and we're back in NY now. Overall, I think it was a very good day for Lauren. She is definitely excited to be back, as school really is where she should be now. She's always loved the freedom and independence of being away, as well as the social aspects of being at a large, dynamic university. I think being surrounded by her friends will only be a good thing for her, and I can tell you that they are all very glad that she is back. It is going to be a major adjustment in that some of that independence and freedom doesn't quite exist just yet, but it will over time. Lauren told me that it felt really weird to be sitting in a class and not have the ability to raise her hand, take notes, etc, but she does have a note taker in each and every class. She did mention that there were plenty of stares, but I (and she) are expecting that -- It is very, very rare to see a double arm amputee, let alone one of Lauren's age, and people are curious. She did not wear the cosmetics yesterday as the weather was so warm. The aide seems to be very helpful and kind, and Lauren is getting used to her. I expect this will take time as well, as there's no doubt that it's an adjustment to have someone brand new touching you, bathing you, feeding you, etc. We are excited to see how she progresses - And I am looking forward to my daily call from her! Thank you for all of your love and support!
  10. 2 points
    Thank you Ann and Cheryl! We've been very, very busy getting Lauren ready for school! We flew down there last week to start preparations for her return (we're back in NY now), met with the therapists who she will be working with, and met with the 24/7 aide who will be with Lauren. She's very nice, and very willing to help, which is great. Lauren is definitely excited to get back to school, but I think she is nervous at the same time. It's absolutely going to be a challenge for her on many levels, but I know she's going to be able to conquer it. I think the emotional aspect of seeing people for the first time since losing her arms is going to be very hard for her, but I know that her true friends at school will help her get thru it. On the physical side, David and I are comfortable knowing that she's going to have the help she needs when she needs it, and that she'll be continuing her therapy. Lauren is continuing to make progress on all fronts, and her feet are getting more and more flexible as they continue to learn and adapt. She still needs help eating and still needs to be dressed, but she's making progress slowly but surely. She does sometimes get upset about the fact that progress seems slow, so we try to remind her that Rome wasn't built in a day, and that she's undergone a major, major physical change that will take time to adapt. I think she was initially expecting that it would be a matter of a few weeks until she was fully independent, but that's just simply not realistic, and it's going to be a marathon rather than a sprint. We leave Tuesday to head back to school to finish getting all set up - We will keep you posted!
  11. 1 point
    I was looking through on your website and came across your contact info. I read that because of so many letter's and short staff that not all letter's would be read. But I decided to go a head and write a letter to you anyways, and it would be self healing for myself since my amputation was so tramatic. I was so surprised when I received an email and a phone call from one of your people. I never thought this would happen. It was very heart warming to know that someone does care about the pain I am living everyday. For the first time in almost 3 years I feel that there is hope for me and that I might be able to get my life back again!! It's been a very difficult few years for me, but I now have hope!! Thank you so much for everything you do for people, and for your website because without it I wouldn't have learned the things I have or to have been able to talk to people, even becoming friends with some. It is very much appreciated! Mary Farquhar
  12. 1 point
    Well, I went over a year without my recurrent foot wound popping open...and then in the middle of the Christmas season — oh happy, happy, joy, joy! — it put in a return visit, severe enough to send me into the hospital for six weeks on a wound vac and waaayyy too many hours spent with my leg elevated. My podiatrist now believes he's sorted out all the causes of this persistent sore, and I'm set for foot and leg surgery on Feb. 24. (These will be surgical procedures 5, 6, and 7 on my poor old right foot....but since only six weeks ago we were afraid that I'd be losing at least a part of that foot, I suppose that three more procedures and two months in a cast isn't that bad.........) Anyway, before I head off for the surgery, I'm seriously considering writing a letter of complaint to the rehab hospital where I spent those six weeks on the wound vac with my leg up in the air. Before I do so, I'm just wondering if I'm over-reacting to an incident that occurred there. I know it was "wrong," and quite "out of place"...but a week after it happened I'm still fuming about it. Please help me get some perspective here! One morning shortly before I was discharged, I was awakened by a a nursing assistant who asked if she could take me for an early shower. "I have nine patients to shower this morning," she said, "so if I can take you now it would help." I said sure, being a cooperative patient, so she helped me out of bed and into the shower chair and basically ran me down the hall to the shower room, giggling the whole time. I should have considered that a warning........ Once in the shower stall, I told her I was fine on my own and started to do the whole showering thing. She then announced that she was "in a hurry and would help me." Now I'm used to nursing assistants giving me some assistance in the shower, especially for those areas that are tough to reach...but this gal just barged right in, grabbed the shower head out of my hand and started soaping and scrubbing me, while I protested. Weird...but then it got really, really strange. She grabbed my stump, lifted it up, started to soap it...and then started giggling again and bouncing it up and down in her hand! "Oh, look! It's all floppy!" she announced, still bouncing it around and laughing while I tried to wriggle it out of her control. I have to admit that I was shocked. So shocked, in fact, that I couldn't come up with anything to say to express my outrage...beyond "DON'T." Normally I have a fairly quick comeback for anything that comes my way, so I was almost as mad at myself as I was with her. Then "shower time" was over, I was back in my room, and the whole routine for getting me discharged from rehab and sent home kicked in and I just thought in terms of "get me out of here right now" until I was indeed headed for home at last. Now I do have to say that all the rest of my stay in this facility was good and the rest of the staff was very professional and caring. They did a lot to get me healed, they did their jobs well, it was, overall, a good skilled nursing facility. If I ever need another stay somewhere for rehab, I would gladly go back to the place. But I am still fuming over that shower and the idiot girl who thought it was funny to manhandle my stump and laugh at my muscle atrophy. I am more than half-convinced that she must have been "high" on something to react in such a bizarre manner...and I also wonder what she might do with patients who aren't as alert and able to defend themselves as I am. Sooooo...I'm trying to come up with a letter to facility administration, and I want to make clear just how inappropriate that shower was and how outraged I was at my treatment and how concerned I am about the possible treatment of others at this girl's hands. But there's this part of me that's afraid that I might just be over-reacting, and I want to come across as not just an hysterical old woman. And so I ask you guys...would you be as mad as I am about such an event? And what would you do?
  13. 1 point
    However you dress, whatever your culture, whatever your abilities or disabilities,a good man will love you for who you are. I have been married for a long time, so losing my leg at 52 was not so hard on me because my husband loved me before it happened and even more since. I know it's hard for younger women but there are MANY people on the forums who have met their partners since their amputations and have gone on to very happy and fulfilled lives - and you will too. So don't be despondent!It won't be easy, but get out there and start meeting men from other cultures who are kind and loving (assuming your religion permits it). Western clothes are very practical (well, the trousers are)and comfortable, easier to put on than a sari (if less beautiful).And perfect for Uni. There is no rule to say you can't mix it up and wear either is there? Go shopping with your friends for practical wheelchair stuff - it needn't be frumpy, there's plenty of pretty clothing out there which is fashionable but modest. Seven yards of sari entangled in the spokes of a wheelchair is NOT something I'd want to deal with....BTW any man who dismisses you just because you have a disability would make a lousy partner and should be avoided! A lot of attention from Englishmen? Fabulous! Go get 'em.....you only live once - just be careful of course.
  14. 1 point
    Thank you, All! Lauren came home to visit last weekend and it was so good to see her! She is definitely making progress. It's hard to imagine that just less than 2 months ago, she was so completely dependent on others, and now she's able to do some things on her own, with just minimal assistance. She has gotten very good at feeding herself, and really only needs help with cutting. She's also gotten much better at dressing herself, and really only needs help with pants, dresses, etc. It's so amazing to see her do things like put a shirt on or brush her teeth! These things seem so mundane to us, but relative to where Lauren was just a few months ago, major progress has been made, and I know that she's continuing to develop her skills and her independence. She also is definitely gaining confidence. I think part of this is driven by her growing independence, but it's also being driven by the fact that she's surrounded by friends and a great support system at school who are rooting for her. While she still does definitely have her down moments, she's come to really rely on her friends to be there for her, and they have been! I hope everyone is enjoying fall, and I will definitely continue to post updates! Best, Marion
  15. 1 point
    Thank you Cheryl! I am happy to report that Lauren has survived her first week of classes! She has said that it is definitely a radical adjustment, and she's still processing it all and taking it in. It's going to take time. Her classes went well, and the note-taker is proving to be invaluable. While Lauren can write somewhat legibly holding the pen with her toes, it just wouldn't work in the context of a fast-paced class, so it seems like we have a good solution. She's getting used to her aid, and they're developing a good rapport from what I can tell and from Lauren says. It's a definite adjustment to having someone new shower you, help in the bathroom, etc, but she's taking it in stride. The hardest part does seem to be the social aspect, with all of the staring and such, as you would expect. Her friends are being super helpful and supportive, and Lauren is very happy to be back with them - And to see some of her friends from school who she didn't get to see over the summer after her amputations. I do think she's going to have to learn to become even more comfortable in her own skin and with her new body, but she's doing great so far! Best, Marion
  16. 1 point
    Well I think those are some lovely developments! I know that you have some concerns about wanting Lauren to be fully self-sufficient, Marion, but do try to keep in mind that she wasn't "fully self-sufficient" when she set out for college pre-accident either. This entire time in her life is about that "becoming fully self-sufficient"...she just happens to have an additional challenge to master. If she is feeling strong enough to give it a go, she's also very likely to sort out what to do and/or who to call if she does run into a difficulty that's beyond her present abilities. The more independent she can be, the better! If she has a good caregiver working with her, they'll no doubt be able to figure things out between them........ I'm not only glad that Lauren and her dad got some nice "together time," I'm happy that you got a chance to just step back a bit and have a few minutes to think about things...or not think about things, whichever you most needed! Sometimes it seems that a situation like this can be harder for the parents than for the amputee. The person actually going through the recovery truly knows what's happening, what it feels like physically, how it affects them emotionally......their family and friends have to just guess at all that. Take your cues from Lauren...while you're all learning about the "technical" parts of being an arm amp together, she is the ultimate authority on her body, mind, and emotions. It sounds like you're doing your best to be supportive, so remember that granting Lauren that authority over herself is a major way to support her! Do keep us posted....this is an exciting time in a new amputee's progress and there are many of us pulling for Lauren!
  17. 1 point
    Hi All, Hope everyone has having a great weekend! Yesterday, Lauren spent the day with my husband in the city, and I think it was good "father daughter" time. As he works long hours during the week, he rarely gets to spend time with Lauren alone, and I think they both had a really good day. He told me that he was surprised at how tired he was after the day - And indeed, Lauren does require a lot of help, but he thoroughly enjoyed it all and he also surprised at the progress that she's making emotionally. Lauren told me that it's definitely an adjustment to need her dad to help her in the restroom and such, but she's starting to accept it. While she does definitely have quite a bit of sadness, she's not nearly as weepy as she was just a few weeks ago - And it's amazing to see her smile. It's true, Ann... Her friends really are helping her get thru this. They are really treating her as they always did, albeit with some extra help. I can't believe how much they really care about Lauren, and I know she's so appreciative. Now for the big news - It looks like Lauren is going to be returning to school for the Fall semester! It was a big decision, but Lauren really wants to get back to living her life, and while my husband and I do definitely have our trepidations, we both agreed that we're not going to do anything that will delay Lauren's emotional progress on this whole journey. She just wants to get back to her friends, her studies, and the things that every girl loves about college! She will have 24/7 assistance, and will also be continuing all of her therapy while at school. Lauren knows that it isn't going to be easy at all, but she seems up for the challenge, and we know that if there's anyone who can make this work, it's Lauren. Classes begin on August 25th, but we're going to go down a week early to get her all settled and into the swing of things. The school has been amazing to work with, and they really seem to be onboard with getting Lauren everything she needs to succeed. So I guess that I am nervous, but obviously elated that she wants to take this step. Part of my concern is that she's not really close to being self sufficient yet, but as my therapist told me, I need to put faith in the fact that Lauren is a smart girl, and that she has a great support system between her friends, advisors, aide, etc. In other news, we are excited for her to receive the cosmetic arms - She's really looking forward to getting them! Though it remains to be seen how often she'll actually wear them, I know that she's just so excited to look at herself in the mirror and see her sleeves filled again. Physically, Lauren is healing well, and the scars on her stumps are fading. We have an appointment this week for a check-up. I will keep everyone posted!
  18. 1 point
    Well hi there and welcome to the Forum. Not an easy decision to have to make, I'm sure...I have no way to compare an ankle replacement to amputation myself, but I am an elective amputee and do not regret my choice. My own choice was between the amputation and yet another attempt to repair a tricky fracture on my left foot. (There had been several attempts over the course of a little over a year, all of which had eventually broken down.) I will say that the one problem I did have in adjusting to my prosthetic leg was that I did not have anything in the way of an ankle that could flex. Since you've already been dealing with various degrees of fusion, that might not be a problem for you...or you might have a prosthetist who believes in flexible ankles for middle-aged women! (That was one of the few flat-out fights I had with my first prosthetist...he really just did not think I would be stable on a flexible ankle. When I finally got one, it turned out that it made me much more stable!) Anyway, keep doing your research...if you're in pain that's really restricting your life and mobility, amputation can be a viable solution. And you're right...you're far too young to be tied up with pain!
  19. 1 point
    Hi Cheryl, It was a good weekend indeed! I have no doubts that Lauren will learn to swim again - Like everything else, it's just going to take time. I don't know if she's getting more comfortable with how she looks, so much as she is accepting the fact that this is her new reality and that despite what we all wish, her arms aren't going to grow back. She definitely struggles and is pained by her body image daily, but it's starting to become a new normal I think, which is an important step. I love your idea of the T-Shirt too! :) The meeting with the prosthetist went well, and the cosmetics will be ready in about 2 weeks. They did tell us that in the summer especially, they are going to be very hot, and that most amputees actually elect not to wear their cosmetics on a daily basis for this reason, and use them more for special occasions and such. I think Lauren will have to give them a try and decide for herself how and when she wishes to wear them. He also told us that many double arm amputees find that they get in the way. Nevertheless, Lauren is excited to get them - I think they'll go a long way towards helping her feel normal. After the prosthetist, we went for a nice lunch and did what any mother/daughter combo would like to do - Went shopping and went to the salon! We're definitely finding that there are certain styles of clothing that fit her new form better now that her torso is so slim and that make her more confident. Good news for Lauren, bad news for my wallet! All the best, Marion
  20. 1 point
    Hi Everyone, I hope those who celebrated had a wonderful 4th of July weekend! We had a very relaxing weekend, and spent quite a bit of time at our pool (our building has one on the roof) just enjoying the nice weather. Lauren got to spend time with some friends, and got to really spend time with her sister. We all got very tan! Lauren actually put on a bathing suit and went into the pool for a few minutes (in shallow water, obviously), which was great! This was the first time she's really exposed her arms and shoulders since the amputations. I know she was definitely uncomfortable at first, but the crowd was really very minimal and I think she had a good time. It's great to see her starting to feel more comfortable with her body and not let it get in the way of a good time. With the weather being so warm lately, she's been wearing short sleeved tops that just cover the top of her shoulders, and she's been dealing well with it. She even said to me that hopefully soon she'll feel comfortable enough to wear tank tops, but that she's not there yet. Again, I know it will come with time. Where she continues to struggle is with seeing people who she hasn't seen or who didn't know about her injuries. Between having to go thru the story and then dealing with the "I can't believe it" reaction, it's very, very tough for her. Cheryl, you're absolutely correct about the dating issue. With her injuries, it will be very difficult to "hide" her amputations, so she will find guys who are attracted to her for who she is. I know that the pool will be limited (unfortunately), but I firmly believe that there's someone out there for everyone, and I know Lauren has so much to offer someone beyond her limbs - And yes, with the way that she's learning to use her feet, I have no doubt she'll make some lucky guy very happy with them :) I did come across the "devotee" issue in some of my online research - How repulsive! I can't believe that people would actually want to see others suffer, and be attracted to them because of their suffering. I have not yet mentioned this to Lauren, but will engage in a light discussion when the time feels right. Tomorrow, we go back to the prosthetist for the next appointment on her cosmetic arms. She's excited to get them, as they'll definitely help her feel more confident, even if they aren't really functional. We will keep you posted!
  21. 1 point
    Hi Friends Old and New! Been away for too long but had to share this with you all. When the hot weather comes I like many of you suffer from a sweaty stump, last week my chiropodist gave me a tip, been doing it ever since and it works no more sweaty stumps! He told me to try Witch hazel a natural product applied with a cotton pad, don't ask me ehy or how it works but it does may also help swelling and itching. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch-hazel Take care all of you Neil x
  22. 1 point
    Hi there, I am myself a hip disartic and live in Australia. I have done quite a lot of searching for information in relation to legs. I have a young prosthetist who is willing to try different things. I have had one leg which did not work so well for me as it did not have padding in places where I needed it. I visited a prothetist in the US who works with Iraqi vet who have lost limbs and he uses body armor pants with gel bonded inside to give greater comfort. I know a couple of other disartic men who don't have those kinds of issues but they have been amp for many many years! I need comfort. I will get the leg on 5th Nov and am happy to send photos. My prothetist will be happy to share what he is doing. It has been a learning eperience for him! We use a socket that hugs your buttock and hooks over your hip bone. It does not go over to the other side as the old ones used to. He either used a velcor belt system or a ratchet (like the kind you get on a skate boot). I like the ratchet as once tight it does not move. Ask me questions and I will see if I can help. Good luck Linda .
  23. 1 point
    Susan, when I get a rash like you are describing, I have used a Benedryle (?) cream, or the aloe gel version on it. Either one.. The cream is going to give you some "slip" if it's a new liner, and the gel won't.. Also, the local CVS pharmacy carries the same things in the generic brand too, and they work just as well. I get a rash at the top of a new liner, every time, and have found that the aloe version works really well for the itching and the rash will heal in no time. You might try something like that.....I hope it heals soon, those things can drive you crazy.
  24. 1 point
    Here's mine again! My Own Story I had been joking with other patients on the orthopaedic ward that the doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me and despite flu-like symptoms for the ten days previously, I wasn’t unduly concerned about my health. The aches in my leg as well as a couple of scabs on my knee that were taking longer than usual to heal were causing slight concern, but I had no reason to expect the sudden flurry of activity around my bed. A group of doctors, consultants and other medical staff all turned up to see me and seconds later the curtains remained closed, and the top surgeon Mr Ashley Brown & his Team at Southend General Hospital broke the news to me in no uncertain terms. He told me he had to operate immediately and even then he could not be certain he could save my life. He said he had no choice but to continue cutting until he was certain he had removed all the infected tissue. I was suffering from Necrotising Fasciitsis,a Tissue -eating bacteria which cuts off the blood supply and attacks organs, muscle and body tissue at a rate of 2cm an hour! Antibiotics can’t treat it, and if not dealt with swiftly it can kill and often does. When the bacteria is removed from the body, it leaves toxins into the bloodstream causing the body to go into toxic shock, and sufferers often die from this rather than the NF. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and there was barely time for the news to sink in. I had just two hours to prepare myself for an operation that at best I would survive, with a leg missing, but at worst I would not survive at all. There was just enough time to see my German girlfriend Silke and my two daughters, Amy 12 and Louise 15. ( I am divorced) It was an emotional time for everyone, but at least I didn’t have long to dwell on what was about to happen. It was hard to believe that just a couple of weeks earlier life had been perfectly normal, and now I was being told I could die. I worked as a roofer, and only twelve days previously had been working on a flat roof, where there had been some stagnant water in a blocked outlet. It was nothing unusual and I am quite used to have clear leaves and other debris from such ducts. This time, the foul-smelling water obviously harboured this deadly germ and a couple of scabs on my knee provided the point of entry for the infection. Sore knees are just one of the hazards of working as a roofer, and as one of my hobbies is scuba-diving, they sometimes don’t get a chance to heal very quickly. Just a day after working on the roof I began to feel unwell, with flu-like symptoms, and aches and pains in my leg, which I put down to a pulled muscle while I had been working. This continued for almost a week, before a friend took one look at me and said I really ought to go into hospital. Even then staff didn’t know what the problem was, apart from the Dermatologist a Mrs Henderson who’s quick thinking in sending away cultures for analysis confirmed the diagnosis of NF. Following the operation, I was put in a sedated coma for ten days, as the toxic shock took over my body, and I was left to fight for my life. It’s a little like having sunburn on the inside as the body heats itself to such a high temperature to fight the bacteria, and all this overheating causes the body to burn up many calories. It as very fortunate I weighed a hefty sixteen stone because those who don’t have any excess weight, literally waste away. Afterwards I weighed just 11 1/2 stone, and soon after I came out of the coma, I remember my mother trying to force me to eat chocolate as nursing staff had told her how important it was that I should eat. My leg had been cut eight inches above the knee, and because it wasn’t a planned amputation, and surrounding muscles were infected, it wasn’t finished in quite the same way. Fortunately an eminent plastic surgeon happened to be at the hospital that day. Mr Lotion Kengesu He, along with many other doctors were present during the operation, as it is something very rare. His expertise ensured I was left with a stump that could accept a prosthesis ( walking aid) without the need for further surgery. During the ten days I was in the coma, Silke, an osteopath, talked me through what had happened, and I did take in things she had been saying. The first time I was fully conscious I didn’t want to look at what was left of my leg, but it is vital to do so as part of the recovery process. You have to accept what has happened, andI was given counselling by some wonderful nurses, (by this time I had been moved to a specialist Plastic sugery unit St Andrews in Chelmsford ) who helped to look at my leg, touch the wound and see what had been done. It is hard to describe my feelings afterwards, as it is something none of can ever imagine happening. The first time I tried to sit up was awful. I had been lying down for two weeks, and as I raised my head the room began to spin, I felt nauseous and it was very emotional. It took a while to come to terms with what had happened. I spent a couple of months in rehabilitation , before finally coming home, and learning to adapt to a totally new way of life. I now wear a prosthesis and prefer not to wear a cover on it to make it look like a real leg. The phantom pains that amputees can suffer from are very painful, as the nerve endings look for a path, and if you start kidding yourself the false leg is a real one, the pains can be far worse. My family has coped well with what has happened to me and my girlfriend has been very supportive. Obviously I had to give up my job as a roofer, and am now still keeping busy. Studying for a diploma in I.T. Scuba diving & playing chess! I plan to go to University in January for a short course to train as an Access Auditor, helping to ensure public buildings come into line with various disability requirements. I also Work as a voluntary visitor for amputees and the disabled. Disablement has opened my eyes and made me reflect on how fragile our lives can be. Until this happened I was just like every other able bodied person, not really caring much about the disabled. But I now know just how much discrimination there is amongst the British whose ,traditional stereotypical stiff upper lip, and dislike of anything not quite normal prevents them from really looking at what’s going on and seeing how they can help. I am very different to the man I was a year ago and despite the trauma I have been through, I have emerged a much better person. As long as I get up one more time than I fall down! (sic Chris Moon) 1 leg still standing! :D Ps Since writing this piece 4 years ago, I now work as a Access Officer at Chelmsford Borough Council, I work as a model part time also. I have married my beloved Silke and I have continued working within the disabled movement: I play amputee football for Southend United, Scuba dive, play chess for Essex.
  25. 1 point
    I've found dating to be actually a little easier now that I'm an amputee. I'm more comfortable with my body....as if the things I was worried about before have become so unimportant. I'm relaxed in my own skin, and I think that helps project a sense of confidence & ease. My only advice (& I learned this the hard way) is be up front about your disability. Honesty is a good starting point, and if the person decides they can't handle it, then you are better off without them.
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