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Fiona Call

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Everything posted by Fiona Call

  1. Fiona Call

    Hi Everyone - New here and dying to ask

    Hello, I realise that I am coming to this very late and apologise. I also really hope that Sue is having a better time at Cardiff than she did in Wrexham. I haven't used a limb centre in the UK for 3 years now as I've been living away in Asia but my observations are as follows: 1. The prosthetists in NHS limb centres, on the whole, whilst nice and helpful and everything that comes with that, just don't have enough experience to be really good at their jobs. The vast majority of prosthetists in the centre I used to go to appeared to be recent graduates who were getting their first few years of real life experience before moving off to new jobs with Ossur or wherever and more money. I completely understand this as the starting salary is crap at about GBP18,000 which, after 4 years of university, I certainly wouldn't be very enthusiastic about either. 2. This obviously means that they simply aren't going to be as good at their jobs as prosthetists with 20 years of experience. The world just doesn't work like that. 3. The right socket fit is of course crucial and is something that you just need to be very persistent about. If it doesn't fit right you have to tell the prosthetist and bloody well stay there for as long as it takes, then be willing to go back as many times after that as it takes. But sometimes you just don't have the energy for that. I used to live a 1.5 hour tube journey away from my limb centre and quite frankly often put up with a little niggle (or big niggle as the case might have been) instead of having to go through that whole awful rigmarole of travelling there, waiting around in some dingy fitting room while whoever else was there oohed and ahhed and compared who had which liner and why they didn't have one of what you had, spending hours and hours out of my working day trying to get the bloody niggle to go away by adjusting the socket with the prosthetist, getting to the stage where I didn't know whether anything had actually helped or not because I had lost all sense of what was right and wrong with my leg, and then spending another bloody 1.5 hours travelling home, only to realise often later on that same day that there was now something else wrong with the socket so I'd need to go back the next day and repeat the whole saga all over again. 4. So I can understand why and how Sue gave up. 5. But basically, everyone who works for the NHS in those limb centres (or certianly everyone I came across) really does want to help and really does want to get the leg right. And when it is right it really is worth the hassle. I still wear my second ever socket now and it took me and my prosthetist over 6 months to get it right. I'm going to feel like I've lost a child if I ever have to give it up. And in terms of all the high tech stuff, if you can convince them that you need it and will use it (and haven't gone over your quota of 3 legs or whatever it is - don't get my started on that), then they should strive to get them for you regardless of age. 6. Obviously this leads to the conundrum of if Sue hasn't been active for 5 years how is she going to convince them that she needs a leg for active people. But as far as that goes, she will probably have to spend a few months getting her fitness levels up anyway, so she probably doesn't need a really expensive high tech leg right now. For example, I am active and even though I'd say I'm really fit I am still struggling to get the most out of my running leg (which I had to pay for myself as the NHS including my PCT refused). 7. If you want cheap private prosthetic care come to Asia. I had my legs made in Hong Kong while I was living there for a fraction - and I mean a fraction - of what I'd have had to pay in England. And in Singapore where I am at the moment I go to a state of the art limb centre which is pretty much solely staffed with Western expat prosthetists and still pay much much less for my treatment than I would privately in England. Right, that's my ten cents. I really hope it goes well for Sue. Fi
  2. Fiona Call

    Holiday snaps

    Wineglass Bay! My husband and I were there in April. We flew to Adelaide, met up with friends, went to Mclaren Vale and did wine tasting, then watched the rugby 7s on the Sunday, and the on the Monday hired a car and spent the next three days driving to Melbourne which we loved - bothe the drive and Melbourne. I can totally see why people love Melbourne so much, Imust admit. sorry I am a lttle tipsy at the moment but you live in an amazing city cat. One of my friends from uni was getting maried in Melbourne so we went to the wedding which was on easter weekend then we flew to tassie. We hired a car and drove all around. It is incredibly beatiful is it not. Apart from Cradle mountain. It was bloody freezing there. We got there at minus 5 and the gas was broken in our cabin. or about 2 hours, which even lots of red wine did not help. But the next day we did the walk around the lake there and it was really lovely. Did you go to Strahan too? We did like tassie, but we also loved Melbourne. You are so so lucky to live there. Fi
  3. Fiona Call

    Any travel hints for a newbie?

    Hello, As I said, I don't usually use a leg for showering etc. But if it's a matter of getting into the sea and I need a leg I use a plastic one that I got on the NHS. They call it a 'water activity leg'. I go to the beach a lot and I couldn't get into the sea without it. Also, I used to use it a lot when I wasn't sure about the bathroom I had or just couldn't be bothered trying to stand on the one leg and swivel around to make sure things were ok. I would say on the whole that the 'water activity leg' is a good leg to have, but if you want a running leg or anything else like that then beware that the nhs will only give you 3 legs at the most. The running leg with socket etc is obviously more expensive than the water leg so if it will be a third leg for you then please think about what you would be willing to pay for and what you want the nhs to pay for. Fi
  4. Fiona Call

    Any travel hints for a newbie?

    Hi Dale, I am a BK amputee and I travel all the time - at the moment I am flying on average about once every 10 days (and yes I do feel suitably guilty about my carbon footprint). I remember my first travels with the leg and I remember being really anxious about it and especially about the different bathrooms in the hotel rooms. Since then I've probably stayed in every different kind of hotel room imaginable with every different type of bathroom imaginable and I've managed to shower in them all, even if I've looked very weird doing it. I don't bring anything extra with me when I travel, just myself and any legs I think I might need which vary depending on where I'm going and what I'm doing. Sometimes I check the legs into the hold and other times I carry them on - they have always made it when I've checked them in although one time I didn't check them in the airline lost our luggage so that was a very lucky chance decision at check in! Staff at check in are generally alright when you check the spare legs in although I have had a couple of rude ones - most recently telling me that they would allow strollers to be checked in for free but not prosthetic legs which I thought was amusing (they let the legs on in the end). Ossur sells leg bags and they are quite cheap - about 10GB pounds. I have two or three and they are really useful (especially when you have too much stuff to fit in your suitcase and need a bit of extra room for shoes or books or whatever...). To buy them I called an Ossur call centre in Holland I think it was - m prosthetist gave me the number so it might be an idea to ask yours about this. Hotel room bathroom wise, I don't have any waterproof cover for my leg and generally don't use my water leg because it is too much hassle to wash my actual stump afterwards when I'm wearing a leg. So what I do is step into the bath/ shower cubicle with the leg still on, take the leg off when I get in the shower, and then if it really is too dangerous to get out at the end by sitting on the edge of the bath and swivelling, or hopping out of the shower to the sink, I put the leg on again to get out of the shower by kind of stepping into it as I get out. Does that make sense? I realise that this is probably not the safest approach but after a while you do get quite good at assessing the safeness or not of the bathroom you are in, and nothing has ever happened to me by doing this in the 5 years that I have been doing it. Apart from that going away with the leg really is not too much hassle and is totally doable, and worth it for the sense of total independence and freedom that it gives you, trust me. I think you also asked about water legs in your post. I do have a "water activity leg" which I use when I'm at the beach and want to go swimming in the sea or if I'm on a boat trip or whatever, but I don't use it to shower in because of the extra hassle it causes with having to wash my stump separately from the rest of my body at the end of the shower - yes I'm v lazy! Right, good luck with it! Fi
  5. Fiona Call

    your input needed

    I've just come back from Australia and what I found they were really good at doing was signposting how long all of the walks we did would take - and how many kms/miles the walks were. I think that might really be useful in the UK because I'm sure that what must stop people doing walks etc is not knowing whether they are going to be able to get round the whole thing, especially if it's a circular walk because there's no turning back if you know what I mean. Good luck!
  6. Fiona Call

    a simple question ?

    Very good question Mick, Yes, walking does mean far far more to me now than it did before the amputation. Although I do think that I forget when things are going well just how bad it can be when the leg is hurting or what it was like when I was still going through the rehab process. And I do find it really interesting that my mind seems to work by totally forgetting how bad things can get when they're going well, and also how good they can get when they're going badly. As far as proper walking, hiking wise, goes, it means far far far more to me getting up (and normally more importantly and difficultly) down a mountain or whatever now than it ever used to before. And that is generally the case regardless of whether I'm having a good day or bad day with my leg. Your question is very well timed for me because at the moment I'm just coming out of a particularly bad bit of my life leg wise. In December last year I fell off my bike onto the bad side and broke my hip, which has basically taken me until now to get over. I had to have an operation on the hip and for a good couple of weeks after that had to go back to scratch, hopping around on crutches, not even able to put my leg on because my hip hurt too much. Even when I was able to wear the leg again and, with time, get rid of the crutches again, it has taken me a long time to regain the level of mobility I had before the accident. Added to that once I managed to get rid of the crutches I started having the worst cramps in my stump I have ever experienced. Which made it incredibly painful even to get off the sofa to make a cup of tea. They seem to have subsided now and the hip has stopped hurting but boy did it bring me back to this time 4 years ago.... And boy was it depressing. I had totally forgotten that feeling of dread I used to get when I thought about walking anywhere from A to B. How the only way to get used to walking so slowly and in such pain was to learn patience and to keep in your mind at all times that even if it took you 8 times as long as it would take someone with 2 legs to get there, you would eventually make it. How distances that I would have looked as as 5 minute strolls along the road when I was 2 legged suddenly started to feel like I was hiking over the Andes. And etc etc etc. The funny thing is though that I am recovering from the cramps and the hip now, and I'm already starting to forget again what a total nightmare it was when I broke my hip and just how incredibly relieved I was when things, especially the cramps, started getting better again. And I can almost see that in a year or so if no other disasters happen, I will have forgotten all over again just what it was like to be in that situation, and might all over again have started to take walking forgranted. Weird..... Fi
  7. Hi Johnny, As you're staying in Surrey you might want to go to Richmond which is a nice town by the Thames. It has alright shopping and some nice bars and restaurants down by the river, and Richmond Park which is beautiful. You can hire bikes and cycle around the park which can also be nice. Also, Windsor with Windsor Castle and its park will be near you. Also most definitely worth a trip. There is a great oldey worldy pub just by the entrance to the castle (sorry can't remember the name) which does great Mussels and Chips and a nice glass of wine.. In fact if you're feeling energetic you can actually cycle between Richmond and Windsor down the Thames - it is a fair journey but if you get nice weather v worth it. For routes look at Sustrans' website and buy the London-Oxford map (but it's all signposted regardless). F x
  8. Fiona Call

    NHS/Private. Any experience?

    Hi Allen, I got my running leg made privately at the same place I got my other NHS legs from. The socket was, if anything, a worse fit than the NHS legs and cost me 3,000 pounds. In the end I had to get the socket remade by my bloke in HK who charged me 150 quid for the best socket I have ever had. Go figure. In short I would say don't bother with the NHS private route but go to Dorset or somewhere if you really want to try it out. F
  9. Fiona Call

    Andes to Amazon

    Ann, In order to cycle properly with a prosthetic foot I need to make sure it won't fall off the pedal. I therefore use a toe clip on my prosthetic foot. It is too difficult to get the foot out of the toe clip when stopping for me to bother doing it so I always just put my good foot down to stop. Also, if your seat is at the correct height, when stopping it is necessary to do so on pointed toes. Obviously that's not going to happen with a prosthetic foot, and so for me it's necessary to put my good foot down first. Hope that makes sense. Fi
  10. Fiona Call

    Andes to Amazon

    Hi All, Not sure if this is going to work but I'll give it a try anyway. Tomorrow I am off to Peru to cycle 350Km from Cusco to the Amazon Basin over the Andes. Whilst the overriding direction is down, there will be quite a lot of up as well, and it will all be done at altitudes going up to 4,300m at the highest point. I am doing it to raise money for The Cambodia Trust which has schools in Cambodia, Sri Lanka and East Timor and trains prosthetists and orthotists from conflict zones all over the world. Hong Kong's main English language newspaper, the South China Morning Post published an article about my ride last week. Hopefully I have managed successfully to attach it to this post. Any sponsorship would be most appreciated, both by me and by The Cambodia Trust. Best wishes, Fiona 20080903100142.pdf
  11. Fiona Call

    Andes to Amazon

    Thank you for the good wishes. Have justgot back to the office today. It was the best trip I have ever had. The Andes are beautiful and it was totally amazing cycling up into the clouds and then down into the jungle. The cycling was v difficult though - esp the going down. I have never done proper mountain biking before but that was basically what it was. By the end of it we were all dreaming about smooth tarmac roads! I have managed to raise about 7.5K for the Cambodia Trust this time too which I am pretty chuffed about. We have all decided to do another one in two years time - from Hanoi to Saigon I think - so I will look forward to that. V guttingly I managed to lose my camera on the last day though, which means that I don't have any pictures to post. A couple of people from the ride said that they would send me theirs, and so when I get them I will try to post a few on here. F
  12. Fiona Call

    How on earth do you start!

    Hiya Steve, I'm RBK so it is probably quite a lot easier for me than it would be for you, but basically what you do is get yourself a bike with a toeclip on the left pedal (in your case). To start throw your left leg over the frame, secure the left foot into the toeclip (otherwise it will fall off the pedal while you are cycling along), and then push off on the right pedal with your right foot. You will be amazed at how easy it is once you give it a go. To stop you brake and then you just need to make sure that you tip the bike over onto the right hand side and put your right foot down. If you tip over onto the left you will fall over. Does that make sense? It really is quite easy once you get the hang of it. Having your right foot should help in the UK traffic because if you fall you will fall into the pavement and not onto the road ie. you will fall to the left which is the pavement side. Give it a try in a park maybe borrowing someone else's bike to begin with and see how it goes. Re: the actual cycling, it will probably be a bit more difficult for you than it is for me having my knee, but with decent gears you will be surprised at the steepness of the hills you can get up once you have the hang of the gears. I have loved getting into cycling as it's one of the few things I can do with one leg and not really feel disadvantaged doing - due mainly to the fact that you aren't really putting any pressure at all on your stump, and if your bad leg is feeling bad you can always do more work with the good one. Good luck. Fi
  13. Fiona Call

    The kit you want

    Hiya Caveman, It sounds like a good idea to me in principle but as someone who is relatively active and who the service would probably be aimed at, my main concern with it would be cost ie. what would it cost me? The main problem being that what I can do with my current set up whilst not perfect is pretty ok. I am never going to be an oscar pistorus - I'm not an athlete in any way shape or form - and so for me whilst I like being able to do stuff like cycling, running etc. what I have and what I can get from "normal" prosthetic will do for me, unless the improvements I can get are relatively cheap and easy. So I suppose what I'm saying is that if you could provide the service to people fairly cheaply then I can see that they might want to use it. On the other hand though, if it is pricey, then I think people would be somewhat less keen... Does that make sense? F x
  14. Fiona Call

    To amputate or not!

    Hi Madman, I didn't have the choice - it was my life or my leg. All the what ifs were difficult to deal with at first but in the long run I am glad that I had the amputation and didn't have to go through endless further operations to try to fix what would undoubtedly have always been broken really. The first year after the amputation is really really difficult. But it gets so much better after that. As a guideline, a year after the amputation I was walking, badly, with one stick, and was still getting taxis to work, and just about the only real exercise I was able to do was swimming. However, by the two year mark I was walking pretty normally any distances I wanted with no sticks, had got into cycling, and had just returned from a 500K bike ride from Saigon to Ang Kor Wat followed by a month of travelling through Vietnam and Cambodia. Three years after the amputation I was living in Hong Kong, had hiked up its second highest mountain, and had started to run again. And now, three and a half years afterwards I would say my life is the same if not better than it was before the amputation. I don't get phantom pains at all which makes a massive difference to my quality of life, and I haven't needed a new leg for a good year or two. Sometimes I get pain on the end of my tibia or on my fibula and that can be horrid, but it is always bearable and I can generally walk through it. I go to the gym three or 4 times a week and do everything if not more than I used to do before the amputation, and in September I am going on another bike ride over the Andes in Peru. I don't know if I would have been able to do any of that had I been able to keep my bashed up leg. And I dread to think of the pain I would have had to go through had I had the chance to save it. Madman I don't envy your choice and I really really feel for you. But in my opinion, if you really think that you would have to go through lots of pain and lots more operations to save a leg that will never work as well as it would have before, then I would say go for the amputation because if you have the determination to make it work for you with a prosthetic leg then it will be far far better than a painful real leg. Just my two pennies worth. Good luck with your choice. F x
  15. Hiya Keano, I have the same problem as you. My socket always haas to be angled quite a long way off centre to compensate for it. But after a few goes at the prosthetists they can generally manage to get it comfortable. Am not totally sure what exactly they do to get it to that stage but it can be pretty tricky I know - I always hear an audible groan when they see me walking in! F
  16. Fiona Call

    How soon can / did you go back to work?

    See if they'd mind you going back on crutches/ in a wheelchair and sitting at the till that way. I went back 8 weeks after my operation on crutches because I knew I would have gone crazy sitting at home thinking about the leg and my femur was broken so I also knew that it would be about 6 months before I could get a leg. Work was very good about it.
  17. Fiona Call

    hi all

    Hi Kirk, I had my rehab at Stanmore but lived in Clapham. The initial reason that I was in that situation is that I was originally in hospital in North London and so my consultant just referred me to Stanmore. Then once I started going there I didn't really want to change and so I just learned to suffer the long tube journey. If you're not happy with Queen Mary's maybe you could ask to change to Stanmore as they are good there. I think the NHS system is set up so that you can pretty much go anywhere you want to get your legs. Queen Mary's is meant to be very good though, isn't it? What's up with your leg? By the way I was 27 when I lost my leg and am 31 now, so am about your age. F
  18. Fiona Call

    Scuba Diving?

    Hi, I've definitely heard of amputees scuba diving and I should imagine that you will be able to get back out there fairly easily. There are also definitely legs out there with special fins and the like and ankles that you can adjust so that they point in the correct direction for diving. I personally haven't tried it but I did try water skiing the other week. I just used a bog standard water leg that I got on the NHS. It fell off because the pressure of the water was just too much. Next time I am going to put a knee support sleeve on over the leg to see if that makes a difference and I think it will. You will definitely be able to get back to it you just might need to be a little creative with how you go about it. Good luck with it all. Fiona
  19. Fiona Call

    Hello from me

    No worries at all - as I am suffering from a severe lack of motivation at work at the moment I will try to reply as fully as I can now... First of all, I totally get where you are coming from with the hang ups and also with the people feeling sorry for you. With regards to getting the leg out in public, it is something that with time you will get over. The first kind of exercise I started doing after the leg was swimming basically because that's the only kind of exercise you can do where it really doesn't matter whether you have a leg or not. At the beginning I was self conscious about it but after a while people in the swimming pool etc. got used to it and so did I and after a while I stopped thinking about it and it just became second nature to walk to the pool and take the leg off. Since then I have got myself a swimming leg which I use to go to the beach with and it's great because it means that you can walk into the sea like normal. Re: the feeling sorry thing. It still drives me insane. And what is worse is the whole "you're an inspiration" thing - ultimately there's no choice really is there? You either sit at home feeling sorry for yourself all day or get on with it and do what you want to do. People saying it do have their hearts in the right place though and I suppose amputation is just something that people think of as being way worse than it really is so you must look fairly "inspiring" to them if you are just getting on with it. The best way to deal with it would I suppose is to take it with grace when someone tells you that you are an inspiration, but I still haven't got the hang of that to be honest - the English awkwardness and embarrassment factor kicks in and quite often I think I end up being quite rude. Must work on that..... In some ways I wish I had had the chance to make a proper decision about whether to get rid of the leg or not. My situation was basically that it was so infected that the surgeon taking me into what I thought was an operation to put it back together told me that it might be my life or my leg and so could I please sign a consent form to allow him to amputate it if he deemed it necessary during the operation. I signed the form but begged him to try to keep it if he could. The next thing I knew I was being woken up by him shouting at me that he had amputated my leg. It was a big shock and the way it was done was not the best. Having said that, I think in the long run I am glad that it was over and done with so quickly. It forced me to face up to the inevitable straight away, I didn't have a long drawn out hospital stay, and I only had to go through one rehabilitation process instead of waiting to see if it would heal and then having to deal with the reality that it wasn't going to. Mentally though not really having the choice, and also not feeling like I had been in control of the whole process was pretty difficult to deal with at the time. Let's face it - neither situation is ideal though. New people - that's always a difficult one. I didn't really come up against that for a while as everyone I knew at the time of the accident obviously knew what had happened to me, as did all my work colleagues. However last year my boyfriend (now husband) and I moved to Hong Kong and I had a whole new load of people to broach it with (not least my new employers, who I didn't tell until after the employment contract was signed). With new friends what generally happened was that I was out with them somewhere (strangely enough quite often in bars sitting on those really high bar stools), and had slipped the leg off for comfort and when getting up again forgot I had slipped it off and it fell off. A quick "ooh I'velost my leg" get the message across pretty effectively. The reaction from them all was pretty much universally surprise and then questions about it. I think that generally people take their cue from you and so if they can see that it doesn't bother you very much and that you are happy to talk about it much in the same way you'd talk about having a headache or something (or not talk about it at all because it just isn't relevant), then they get over it pretty quickly. Work wise I told the head of HR and my two bosses immediately they gave me the job, and they have been fine about it too. With Colleagues though it is generally quite a gradual process. If someone needs to know about it, for example, because we are sitting in the same office together, then they find out pretty quickly when they see my gym leg sitting on the floor. Otherwise I don't bother telling anyone unless they ask. Whew this is a long reply. Sorry if you are falling off your seat with boredom - I will try to be more succinct with the rest. How long did it take to feel normal? I think that is honestly a very gradual process. With every week and month that passes, and with every new little thing that you do in your legless state, you will feel more and more normal again. I think for me the feeling that everything was back to normal finally came again when I realised that I could go out and do whatever I wanted and not have to worry about what it was going to be like doing it with a prosthetic leg because I could find a way to get round any situation if I wanted to enough. For example, I remember when I first got a prosthetic leg, or even before that when I was on crutches, every trip out of the house was a bit of a mental hurdle to overcome - I'd constantly be worried about whether there were a lot of steps/ escalators, how far I would have to walk/ hop and whether I would be able to do it or not. But the fitter you get and the more used to your leg you get the less you worry about that until you get to the point where you don't even think about it anymore because you know you can cope with anything that is thrown at you. It really comes with time, and very gradually. Sorry, that's not a great deal of help is it? All I can say is keep pushing the boundaries and challenging yourself and it will come, I promise. Actually, you say that you are still walking with a stick. I can assure you you won't be for very long but one thing that really helped me get rid of the stick was cycling - I used a stick for ages, until 18 months after my amputation and a year after getting my first prosthetic leg and I almost got to the point of thinking that I would never be able to get rid of it. Then I signed up for a charity bike ride in Vietnam and Cambodia and had to practice. I decided that the best way to practice was to cycle to work and so that's what I started to do. As obviously you can't bring a stick on your bike I had to leave it at home, and in that way I managed to wean myself off it. If you are of a mind to try to cycling thing (which again is a great way to exercise without putting undue pressure on your leg), then I would really recommend it. Shoes - ask at your clinic for an ossur elation foot - they definitely give them out on the NHS because I have one from there. It has an adjustable ankle and it means that you can wear whatever height shoes you want up to about 2 and a half inches. It's made a massive difference to my life as it means that I can basically wear whatever shoes I want to. I think your limit on the NHS is three different kinds of legs so it is definitely worth asking for one which you can use together with a more sporty leg and maybe a water leg or running leg too. And you definitely need one for your wedding. I couldn't agree more - you can't be wearing trainers on your wedding day. Congratulations! The reason I moved from Stanmore was that I moved to Hong Kong so I'm really sorry but I can't tell you what the story is with changing clinics on the NHS. If you want a really super duper leg some day though (by which I am presuming you mean one that looks like a leg as per heather mills) then you won't get it on the NHS - you will have to fork out for it from your own pocket. Dorset Orthopeadic is the place to go in England. I got a quote from them for GBP10,000. I actually do think its worth it though because I really really want to be able to wear nice summery skirts and sandals again and I don't do that at the moment because my current high heeled leg just doesn't look enough like a leg for me to feel confident in them. It's just swallowing the price that is difficult as well as finding the time to travel down to dorset to actually get it made. If you want a running leg (one of the high tech carbon fibre ones that you see that athletes using) you may have to pay for that privately too (mine cost GBP4000 to get made privately at Stanmore). But the rules in relation to that are more flexible I think so it is worth asking at your leg place. One thing to be aware of though is that NHS policy is only to give out 3 legs to one person at any time - I messed up with mine because I got a sporty leg, a high heeled leg, and then a water leg and so when I asked for the running leg they told me no. Obviously the running leg is far more expensive to get made than the water leg (which is just plastic) and so had I played my cards right I may have been able to get the running leg on the NHS and then I could have paid for the water leg. But noone told me that at the time and so in the event I ended up having to pay for the expensive one - it might be best before you make any decisions about what you want the NHS to pay for for you to check exactly what it is you will be entitled to. Thanks for your encouragement re: the bike ride. I am a little worried about it actually as there aren't many places to cycle in HK without about a 70% chance of getting knocked over by a car somewhere along the way. I have been doing spin classes and went to taiwan to cycle last weekend (it has great mountains), but apart from that haven't done a great deal. I will need a lot of encouragement for Peru I think. It is in September. Right I really should go you must be bored out of your mind. Good luck with it all and feel free to send me a personal message or an email if you want to chat anymore. Fiona
  20. Fiona Call

    Hello from me

    Hi Wondercat, I'm the same age as you, 31, and had my right leg amputated below the knee in December 2004 when I was 27. Welcome to the forum and to this new strange life. I found it funny reading your post because I have often wondered how my life would have been if they could have saved my leg and I could have had the chance to let it heal without having to have it amputated so soon after my accident - and that's basically exactly what happened to you, so it seems like there are a few parallels between us - with your situation going one way and mine going the other.... I had my leg amputated outside the UK (because that was where the accident happened), but went to stanmore for physio and to get my first few prosthetic legs. They are great there but I do know what you mean, there aren't many people our age. If you have any questions at all about anything you are thinking about doing again, or even just trying for the first time in your new legless state then please feel free to get in touch. Since I got back on my feet I have done a fair amount of everything really - walking up mountains, cycling (at present I'm training for a bike ride over the Andes in Peru which I'm slightly worried about I have to admit), running, dragon boating, swimming, and lots and lots of travelling, and so I am happy to share my experiences of these things with you should you wish to ask at any point. Take care and good luck, F
  21. Fiona Call

    Moving on to a new provider

    Hi Steve, Can't write much because v busy at work at the mo but I have a pin system and it has been great for me. V hardy - I have done all sorts in it - cycling, running, climbing mountains, swimming in the sea, dragon boating, walking around hilly cities - the lot, and it has been absolutely fine. A pin has never broken on me and the only two times it has fallen off have been when lots and lots of water has found its way between my leg and my liner and suction has gone. It also enables the leg to be cut down quite far at the back of the knee which means no pain when doing things you really need to be able to bend your knee whilst doing like cycling. I have no experience of any other system though so maybe I don't know what I'm missing elsewhere. Good luck. Look me up if you are ever in Asia. F
  22. Fiona Call

    My first overnight trip!

    Hi Steve, I've travelled a lot since losing my leg - and have done pretty much all types of travel - backpacking for long periods of time, normal holidays, and work travel. I travel as light as possible. If I am going away for work and will only be away for a few days I tend just to bring the leg I'm wearing with me (unless I'm planning to go to the gym while I'm there when I bring my gym leg too). I also bring antibacterial wash for my liner. That's it. I deal with showers by standing on my good leg and with practise I can now get into pretty much any shower I am faced with. I have been pretty lucky so far and haven't been in a situation where something has gone wrong with my leg and I've needed crutches so I don't bring them anywhere I go. I figure that if something goes wrong I will always be able to find a pair in whichever country I am. I don't ask for special treatment in airports and just walk onto the plane with everyone else (although when I was new to the whole thing like you are I used sometimes to ask to get on first). On short haul flights I loosen the leg but keep it on so that it is easy to get into if I want to get up. On long haul flights I generally end up taking it completely off and resting my stump on top of it. Hope that helps give some indication of what other people do when travelling. Good luck with it all it sounds like you are doing great. Fiona
  23. Fiona Call


    I am finding my music taste a bit stuck in the 90s at the moment - must be a real sign of being in my 30s. I am listening to a lot of James, Guns n Roses, Red Hot Chilli Peppers etc. Having said that I went to see James Blunt in concert the week before last. He was brilliant. I love him. Sadly though he is a bit of a housewives choice kind of guy - my mum has a crush on him. I'm obviously not as down with the kids as I might like to think I am.
  24. Fiona Call

    Running leg

    Hi Ali, Good on you. I would be well up for having a go at a few long distance runs with you in the next couple of years and raising money in the process. Update wise on me, I got my new socket at the end of March just before I went away for a month to get married - great timing - and so I only got to try it out for the first time on Monday. It was great. Last year when I tried to run on it I had real pain in my thigh which I think was due to the fact that I had lost so much muscle there since the amputation. But since I have been in HK I have been going to a personal trainer and I think it must have worked - I only ran for 10 mins which I know isn't long, but I managed it for 10mins without stopping on a treadmill with no pain to my thigh whatsoever. I am trying to interchange the running with spin classes and so went to spin on Tuesday but am going to give the running another try today at lunch. I think my only problem with the running will be my stump - I am having problems with cists and sores on it at the moment and am worried that the running will make them worse. I tend to find though that the endorphins I get from doing exercise make the stump pretty numb and so I never actually notice what is happening to it until afterwards. Which isn't really good. Still, if you don't try you won't find out what you can do will you? How is the quest for funding going?
  25. Fiona Call

    Treatment in U.S airports

    Tee hee Ali I am with you on that - make the most of the situation I say. Lizzie I am certain that AKs would be included in that as well, yes. Why should it be any different just because your leg is heavier than mine - it is a necessary piece of medical equipment full stop. I don't know for a fact that that is the case but I would certainly be kicking up a fuss if I were you and some snotty nosed bad tempered check in person refused to let my leg through free when I knew that BK legs were let on for free....