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Joe H.

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About Joe H.

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  • Birthday 11/30/1963

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  • Location
    Dubuque, Iowa

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  • Amputation Date:
    July 19th, 2007
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  1. Joe H.

    Need help!

    Well, the doctor said it was a bleed. I take comudin and my IR got out of control and reached 10, suppose to be around 2. He said it was from wearing my leg which caused some sort of tramua in my stump and it bleed. He is going to talk to another doctor to find out what we shold do, said there is no surgeon who would toch it as there is not much to do but wait for it to desolve and hopefully it won't scar. so for now I'm wearing a shinker sock under my liner to keep the lump compressed so I can wear my leg and just deal with the pain it causes. Any other suggestions? As far as talking to my wife and kids about what I'm going through mentally, there has been no progress. I don't know how to say that I have had suicidal thoughts and really don't want them to worry. Going back to talk to my doctor tomorrow because I don't think the meds he put me on help. right now I'm taking Lexapro. Plus I got a letter from my insurance company that they are not going to cover that prescription any longer. Hopefully we can come up with something to help pull me out of this rut I'm in. Thanks to all of you for listening and replying with your thoughts, they help me alot.
  2. Joe H.

    Need help!

    Well, first off thanks for the replies. I'm a father of 6 kids, oldest one is a junior in college and the youngest one is in 3rd grade. I, before all of my health issues, was a strong independent person that never had to ask for help to do anything. I never really had to talk about my feelings to anyone and really find it a hard thing to do now. For the last four years, I have kept my feelings to myself, just saying I was fine when someone would ask. I did however have to start asking for help, even with some of the simple things. I was brought up in a family who did not show emotion, I rarely cried growing up. I still only cry or show emotion very little, and never in front of everyone. All I think of now is what is going to happen to me next, not being able to move on past m current issues. I haven't worked most of the past 4 years, on and off as I could. It is hard to be around people, not because of what they think about me, but what I think about myself. I don't like talking to my wife about it because she has already been through enough and I can't move on with my life. Which makes it bad for her and my kids. I would love to sit down with her and let her ask any thing she wants to about what I'm going through righ now, but I don't know how to start. About the lump on my leg. I have about 3" of leg left below the knee. On the lowest side of the left I developed a lump, kind of soft, and really hurts. Sometimes it is really large about the size of a lemon and other times about the size of a small leg. Went to the doctor about it and he put me on some antiboitocs because of my past history of infections. I think I'm going to go back in tomorrow because it hasn't gotten any better. Don't know what happend, just took my leg off last Thursday and the lump was there, could not put my leg back on for about 3 days because it hurt so bad. Then when I could get my leg back on couldn't walk on it. Give ou an update after I see the doctor.
  3. Joe H.

    Need help!

    Well, I haven't been on here for awhile as I have been dealing with other problems. Let me bring you up to date. LBK amp in July 2007, many battles with infection, heart attack in April 2007 while waiting for amp. More battles with infections and more hospitalizations. Got my first leg in Nov. 2007 then 3 days later back in the hospital because the hardware holding my bones together came through the skin and caused another infection. Another surgery and 10 day hospital stay. After that, everything was going okay, started walking again in March 2008, what a relief. Now it bring me to my current problems. Had a blood clot hit my small intestine in Feb. 2010, almost died as it took them 3 days to find out what was wrong with me. They told my wife I may not make it through the surgery, then told her for the next 4 days I wouldn't make it through the night. Hell on her, I don't remember any of it. I had 2/3 of my small intestine removed because it had died, which left me with an ileostomy. For those of you that don't know, I now have what is left of my small intestine attached to a hole in my stomach with a bag attached to catch my waste. So far I'm not dealing with this well and have basically withdrawn from everyone and everything and have had suicidal thoughts. I working with a pyschiatrist and pychologist and am on lexapro, which doesn't seem to be helping. My pysch told me I needed to talk to someone who nderstands the problems I'm going through to see if I can get some advice on dealing with all this, the first thing I thought of was this site as it helped me through my amp. Now within the last few days I have developed a big lump on my stump, can not wear my leg and feel like I'm back to being helpless and hopless. I can't talk to my wife for some reason, there is something that won't let me do it. I know she would love to be of help, but I don't want to seem weak to her and my kids. Things are going down hill fast and that is why I'm turning to all of you for help. If any of you have dealt with a deep depression and could not talk to anyone about it, let me know how you got through it. I don't want to lose my family. thanks for letting me be so long winded, but even sitting here writing this as eased my pain a little bit.
  4. Joe H.

    Phantom Pain

    I also have struggled with phantom pain since my amputation, LBK, in July of 2007. Tried gabapentin, never helped me at all, until I mentioned my pain to my family doctor. He put me on 1 - 60mg Cymbalata, and in about a week I couldn't believe the difference. Don't ask me how or why it worked for me, but it did. I know it is often prescribed for diabetic nerve pain, which I also have in my right foot, and it has reduced that a lot to. Joe
  5. Joe H.

    Swelling of stump

    dreamygirl, if it is something your worried about defiently go and she a doctor. 3 days after I got my first leg, a screw head from one of the broken bones popped through the skin. I didn't go to the doctor because all I wanted to do was have that leg on and standing. By the time my wife convinced me I need to be seen, my organs were in the process of shutting down from an infection. Also, if that hadn't had happened, I would have never went to the doctor for some mild chestpain, again rushed to the hospital having a heart attack. When in doubt, go see a doctor and make sure it is nothing. Joe
  6. Joe H.

    prosthetic leg

    Hey Darren, I'm a LBK, but I guess I can put in my 2 cents worth. I have one of each. The one with the cover I wear to work and out in public. Just got this one so the socket fits better and is more comfortable. My old leg was bare, I wear it when working in the barn or outside, like know I use it when I'm pushing snow around. I don't really care much for the cover, it doesn't even look like real skin. It has no definition, but it does help to keep my pants looking normal. Without it my pants always flatened out around the ankle. I thought my little girls would like it better, but I asked my 7 year old and she said she liked the metal one better. Guess it really doesn't matter to me as long as I can walk again. Joe
  7. Joe H.

    Bacterial Infections

    Infections - what a fun topic. I had a bout with infection when I first got hurt. don't know what it was but I was in the hospital for 45 days when I got injured, a lot of that time was caused by infection. Was on Vancomycin all that time plus another 30 days of treatment from home. Two bottles a day through the PIC line at $565.00 a bottle. That was when they were trying to save my leg. After I had my amp, I got my first leg a couple of months latter. Had it for 3 days and a screw head came through my skin. After not being on 2 feet for 11 months I didn't want to say anything. Well, a few days later I got sick, still didn't go to the doctor. A few days after that I was back in the hospital, they said my organs were starting to shut down by the time I got there. Luckily, it was not MRSA, it was a strep infection. They were able to treat it with Penicillin, although I had to have another PIC inserted and a constant drip for 6 weeks. I lerarned that infection is nothing to mess around with. Tell your friend good luck and I will keep him in my prayers. Joe
  8. Joe H.


    Hey Caveman, don't really know where your coming from as I ahve not experienced the issues you have had. When I first started wearing my leg, I didn't like the liner right against my skin. I tried wearing a sock on my leg under the but that didn't work. Asked my leg guy if he had any thing and he gave me the following: Liner-Liner Prosthetic Sock with X-static (The silver fiber) Manufactured by Knit-rite Inc. A prosthetic soc engineered to be worn under a liner, next to the skin. -Relieves skin shear irrations and improves comfort with liners. -Tested and proven benefical to amputees who wear liners as the primary interface. -Thin material facilities grip. -X-STATIC silver Fibers fights bacteria and odor: transports heat and moisture. -Washable interface keeps liner cleaner and helps control skin irrtations. -High stretch for improved fit: less sizes are required http://www.knitrite.com/ - bad thing is they don't sell to the public. I pull this on before I put my liner on. It pulls up far enough on my leg so the liner does not touch my skin. I helps a lot with the shearing on my skin and the sweating. Never have had any irritation on my leg since getting these. Hope this helps and is what your looking for. Joe
  9. Hey docmego, this is going to be a decision you you have to make for yourself. Talk to your doctor, know all your options. Talk to your family, talk to other amputees. I lost my left leg, although it is bk, due to an accident. Kind of the same story, femur broken in 2 places, crush injury to the lower leg broken in many places, knee and ankle were are messed up, lost bloodflow to lower leg for about 3 hours. They took a vein from my right leg and got the blood flowing again. They sliced my left foot open so it would not explode from the swelling. They fixed up my leg the best they could and I wore an external fixator for 3 months. The tibia and fibia were secured by 7 screws and a plate where they attach to the knee. After about 6 months of trying to save it, I decided to have it amputated. I don't think I would have ever been able to walk on it again. The tibia and fibia did not heal and they think the ankle bone had died from the lack of blood. I ended up with a total of 15 surgeries, number 14 was my amputation. Looking back, if I was able to make a decision on my course of treatment, I would have had them amputate right away. My wife was making decisions at that time and she told them to do every thing they could to save it, nobody wants to lose a body part if they can help it. So, do what you feel is right for you. Being an amputee is not easy by any means, but I'm up walking with a cane and in the future I know I'll be able to walk without one. But is has been a long hard battle and will continue to be. I don't think I will ever be back to doing everything I could do before, but there are many people on this site that can, I'm sure they will put there 2 cents worth in. Joe
  10. Joe H.

    Getting walking again.

    Well, sorry it took so long to reply back. We have done quite a bit; I have replaced the roof, re-sheeted and laid all the shingles mostly by my self. We have rewired the whole house, re-plumbed the whole house and tore the kitchen down to the studs and have that all back together. This was all done before my amp. Since then, with the help of my father-in-law, brother-in-law, wife and kids, and anyone else that I forgot, added a downstairs bathroom since all we had was one upstairs that I could not get to, making it handicap accessible so we didn't have to worry later on. The company I work for helped pay for the bathroom and a new boiler since my old one broke down while I was in the hospital We have tore 3 bedrooms down to the studs and have them insulated and drywall back up. The living room and dining room are completely done except for trim, 2 bedrooms have the drywall back up with one being done except for the trim. We have tore out 2 walls and added beams to support the upstairs and installed new open stairs. We have also replaced the back door with a French door, installed a pellet stove and replaced all the windows. Currently we are working on the 2 bedrooms we still have torn apart. Right now, I have them rewired and insulated, almost. Going to get the drywall up over the holidays, again with the help of family. The outside of the house is in bad shape, don't know when the last time it was painted, maybe when they built it back in the late 1800's. That will have to wait until summer and more money is available, if any of you want to donate. By the way, I did buy my wife a pink tool belt. I just feel that I'm not doing enough while people sacrifice there lives to help me, don't know, I have never been one to ask for help. People have been real good to me and my family; I have really been blessed in this time. Merry Christmas to all and stay safe.
  11. Joe H.

    Xmas competition

    Here's one I found, referenced the movie A Christmas Story, don't know however I never seen it.
  12. Joe H.

    Getting walking again.

    Flip, nice to hear frpm you, where at in Illionis? Thanks for the inspiration, I'm doing what I can when I can. Another question for you all, did you have less energy after your amputation or is it in my head. After not sleeping very well at night, working all day, trying to walk as much as possible, I don't have a whole lot of energy when I get home. Doesn't go over good with my wife as we bought an old framhouse that had set empty for 3 years, and it needs a lot of work. I come home and want to relax. She wants me working on the house. Well, if any of you have advice on this, let me know. Also have 6 kids I have to try to keep up with. Not so much my older 3, but the younger 3 are getting to the ages where I coached football, baseball, basketbasll and softball for them and would also like to do this for my younger children. So far I don't do 10% of the things I did before my amputation, and probably never will. But I have to keep trying. Again, any of yout inspring stories or your input, or for that fact telling me I not doing something right, would help a lot.
  13. Joe H.

    Getting walking again.

    All, thanks for the inspration. I know I will walk again someday, I just think I want it to come to fast. When I had my accident, they tried to save my leg for 6 months. It was so badly injured, that I knew I would never walk on it again. I was in the hospital the first time for 42 days, that included 13 surgeries and an external fixator for 3 months. That stayed on until my leg swelled so much it was pressing on the rings and making sores. they took that off and put me in a half cast. then in July 2007 my left lower leg was amputated. If I were able minded when this had happened, I would have had them amputate instead of going through all the surgeries trying to save the thing. I was unable to make the decision, so my wife had them do everything they could to save the thing. In November of 2007 I got my first leg, over did it a little and was back in the hospital for another 10 days with an infection, all most cost me my life, and another surgery to remove the screws that had came through my skin causing the infection. It may have not gotten so bad had I not wanted to walk so bad that I just ignored the screws coming through the skin. The ended up removing 7 - 3 1/2" screws and a plate that were holding the bones together below me knee. That was the last of 15 surgeries in less then a year. I can now walk without a cane around the house, but I too look like Frankenstein. With 1 cane I can walk for longer distances. And with both canes I feel I could walk forever. Maybe I need to just let it come to me, not push to hard. I know I don't want to end up in the hospital again and really don't want to go through another surgery. When I went for my amputation, it was not known if it was going to be below knee or above knee. The surgeon decided on a below knee with the screws and plate to hold the bones together below my knee. They have never fussed together and don't know if they will. My stump is only about 2 or 3 " below the knee. Could have something to do with me feeling that the knee will not support me. By the way I'm 6'5" and 290lbs, an old football player. Well, I talked to much. Again, thanks for all the input.
  14. Joe H.

    Getting walking again.

    Well, it's been almost a year since I got my first leg. Now I have my 2nd leg, socket fits much better, just got it the day before Thanksgiving. I can walk with 1 cane, although its not very fast, I still feel like I'm going to fall. Most of the time I use 2 forearm crutches, makes me feel safe, but there always in the way. Can any of you give some advice on how you started walking again? My amp was caused by a accident while cutting down a tree. There were so many injuries, including injuries to the knee and broke the femur in 2 places. I don't really trust the knee, that may be the reason why I can't walk without cruthes. I was in a wheel chair for about 15 months while certain injuries healed along with various infections and a heart attack to boot. I know I have to increase my leg strength, which should help. May be a mental thing. Let me know your experiences and how you overcame the mental asspect of walking again.
  15. Joe H.


    I have missed out swimming with the kids(6) the past couple of years. The younger ones spend most of the summer in the pool. I don't want to spend alot on a swim leg, so I'm going to give one of these covers a try. http://www.drycorp.com/content/waterproof-...rmat/index.html Just need something to allow me to climb the ladder and get in the pool. Thought of many ways to do it, like have my son lower me in with the skid loader and then pull me back out. don't know, may end up doing that if the protetor doesn't work. I think I would perfer to have the leg off while in the pool. Going to give it a shot instead of sitting on the sidelines.