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Joe H.

LBK, July 19th, 2007

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Hi all! Just wanted to take a few minutes and introduce myself.

The story starts on December 14th, 2006 while out on my property cutting down trees that I would use for firewood. I was dropping about a fifty foot elm tree, which I have done plenty of times in the past, when it split about 6 feet up from where I had it notched. I seen it coming down, but could not get out of the way. The next thing I remember is waking up lying on the ground in tremendous pain, yelling for help. My son found me a few minutes later and called 911. It took 7 minutes for the ambulance to get there and another 15 or 20 minutes to get me out of where I had been cutting down this tree. By the grace of God I was not dead, two more inches and the tree would have landed on my head.

Now, I'm at the hospital. My leg is messed up pretty bad, it is broken in 2 places above the knee, the knee is messed up, my lower leg is shattered, I can only describe it as looking as a lighting bolt and my ankle is also shattered. I have also broken two vertebrae in my lower back, no blood flow to my lower leg, and no feeling below my knee. My local hospital can do nothing so they transfer me to the University Of Iowa Hospital where they decide to try and save my leg. 9 surgeries, 2 external fixators, 1 severe infection from the first fixator and 7 months later I have my left leg amputated below the knee. Oh, I forgot to mention that I also had a heart attack in April.

So after it was decided that amputation was my next course of action, I had about 2 months to prepare for it as I waited for clearance from my heart doctor. That's when I started searching the internet trying to learn everything I could. I found this forum and it has been my rock. I have learned so much by reading what everyone has written about their experiences.

Yesterday was my first trip back to the doctors after my amputation. I had the stitches removed and I'm wearing my first shrinker sock. I have about another month and a half before they start to even think about starting my first leg. I have to wait until the bones that they reattached to my knee heal. Well that's my story; I keep everyone updated as I can not wait to get my leg.

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Hello Joe. Now you didn't have to go through all of that trouble just to join our little club here. A simple amputation would have been enough. :P It sounds like your pretty much like the rest of us though - If your going to do it, then you might as well do it right.

Seriously though, it does sound like you've been through the mill. I'm glad that you found the folks here. You won't find a better group anywhere. As for the "two inches from the head", they say that "close" only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades - or, "a miss is as good as a mile", and all of those other cliques that are supposed to make us feel better, but usually don't.

You take good care of yourself and stay with us now. Everyone here will take real good care of you - so that you can take good care of them. That's the way that it works. Welcome aboard.

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Jim,

Thanks for the reply. Like I said before, this fourm is the best thing that has happened to me over the last 8 months or so. And the people that have wrote their stories here have been a great help.

If I'm right you are the man with the shower covers, correct? I have to get me one of those so I can stand up while taking a shower. What a feeling that will be.

Joe

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Yesterday was my first trip back to the doctors after my amputation. I had the stitches removed and I'm wearing my first shrinker sock. I have about another month and a half before they start to even think about starting my first leg. I have to wait until the bones that they reattached to my knee heal. Well that's my story; I keep everyone updated as I can not wait to get my leg.

That's correct Joe, but you'll have plenty of time for the "accessories" when your leg heals and you literally get back on your feet. It will come around sooner than you know it. You just take care of yourself, and let time take it's course. You'll be fine. I know these things. :lol:

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:) Grab a cuppa'joe ~ Joe and welcome to our cozy place. Good, helpful people here.

ann

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Welcome Joe! Glad you found us!

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Welcome, Joe! I'm sorry you had to make your way here... but I'm VERY glad that you FOUND "here" when you did! It was something like nine months after my amputation that I stumbled in here... I certainly wish I'd found it MUCH sooner!

Thanks for the intro... do keep us posted! This can be a very exciting -- and sometimes frustrating -- time in your recovery. Ask any questions that arise... the odds are good that at least a few of us have "been there/done that and will have tips for you!

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It was 15 and a half years after my amp. That I found it here (a few months ago) and I am very happy I did. I hope everything works out with getting the prosthesis.

Do you mind me asking how old you are?

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Shelby,

I'm 43 years old. This is all new to me, never had I been in hospital or had anything wrong with me before. I think the last time I was in the emergency room was when I was like 25 or so. I tried playing some football with buddys and hurt myself. Nothing since then.

I'm glad I found this site when I did. It really helped me prepare for things.

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Guest bearlover

Howdy Joe H. Iam also a LBK it was 4 year this past July 14th..Due to many operations that lead to a bone infection I had no choice. You sound like your comming along well. It is not a easy street journey at all. The key is try to keep up the atttitude and it will be ok. There will be fustrating times, anger and finally acceptance Iam sure you will do fine. We are all in the same boat and share simular problems Iam happy you found this fourm..I will be intrested to hear your progress. You will be fine trust me. At times it may not seem like it but it passes and life will go on. Best wishes. :)

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Welcome Joe, I am also a LBK (due to congenital deformity) and have been for 30 years.

This forum is a great place you'll get lots of good advice and support.

Sue

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Welcome Joe. I was 47 three years ago when I lost my left leg BK. It seemed like a mountain to climb at the time, but through a lot of perseverence, I've returned to my former life. It has changed a little from the life I once knew, but it is a good life.

You'll be able to do most anything you put your mind to. You might have to challenge your mind to do it a little differently, but you'll be able to do it.

Keep your spirits up and your mind active.

Neal

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Hi Joe, I've been LBK for 3 years now and in a strange way it's the best thing that's ever happened to me ( made me realise who, what and how in terms of importance).

It seems like it takes forever to get moving in the right direction, then one day you look back and see just how far you've come and how great your life is, regardless of a bit of leg missing!

Since losing my leg I've had to give up running, cycling and hill walking for the time being, so I've taken up archery and bee keeping, and I'm about to start kite surfing.

Good luck in all your endeavours and I hope the problems you WILL face are meerly a challenge rather than an obstacle. xx

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Hi

Welcome.

I have been an amputee for just over a yr. Mine was also through an injury and I seem to have experienced like you alot of problems before they amputated my leg. I too found this site before my amp and asked question after question. They are a wealth of knowledge who are always willing to offer their advice from people who have been there rather than through text book answers.

Keep us updated please as to how things go. My understanding is that they seem to do things alot differently in the states to the way they do things in the sunny old UK. But the results are the same.

I can remember waiting fro my first leg (even though I only waited 3 wks from amp but it seemed like a lifetime. Things do progress quickly though (believe me it flys).

Take care

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Vicki,

I am hoping things go faster then my sergeon is telling me. The leg guy said it may go faster, but I will have to take what comes my way.

I did however start back to work yesterday, my company has let me work from home throughout my adventure so I didn't have to be on disability except for about 6 weeks at the very beginning. Man was I ever tired, even though I just sit and work on my laptop.

I find myself at the point now where I think I'm taking things out on my family. I am crabby a lot and it doesn't take anything to make me yell. I need to get over this ASAP because they don't deserve it.

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Vicki,

Man was I ever tired, even though I just sit and work on my laptop.

I find myself at the point now where I think I'm taking things out on my family. I am crabby a lot and it doesn't take anything to make me yell. I need to get over this ASAP because they don't deserve it.

You are tired, because you body is working like the dickens, using up all of it's energy trying to heal itself. When I lost my leg, my doctor told me that it would take about two years for my body to regain all of it's strength and for me to fully feel like my old self again. He was just about right on target.

Secondly, if your family doesn't deserve being yelled at, (which I can't imagine one that does), ...........

THEN, DON'T YELL AT THEM!!!!

Going through an amputation is no excuse to be mean to loved ones - anymore than anything else. If you are aware of what you are doing, as you say, then.......Why are you still doing it?

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Guest bearlover

This remindies me of the expression. "You always hurt the ones you love" Next time you feel so angery and fustrated remind yourself that it could be worse.. As much as you don't want to hear this..Life goes on and you will have a life again..Beleieve it or not. Give it time.

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Welcome matey it comes as no suprise that forestry is in the top ten most dangerous jobs worldwide i did a bit when i left school and saw a guy loose his leg due to being too complacent.

I have made some great mates on here and they help you through the bad times and always offer advice

cheers

neil

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Hi Joe,

Welcome to the club :) I too had my amputation from an injury with lots of surgeries between accident and amputation. I am convinced it is the best thing I could have done. It is only nine months, but in the last month I have really been able to get going and going well. I am back to doing just about everything I did before the accident--although bike riding is a challenge. I am very active and sitting by the sidelines was not my thing. I do not have any pain except if I have been walking for quite a while on an uneven surface.

The key for me was good rehab. What I was offered was not helpful at all--the PT didn't believe I would be able to do that much since I also had knee instability. I changed PTs and in four weeks I was 50% stronger and 80% more stable. That has been the key for me.

Peace and blessings,

Beth Marie

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Lots of good advice here! BethMarie just pointed out something extremely important... whether you're doing it with the help of physical therapists or "on your own," you need to find a way to "push yourself" without overdoing it. I was lucky in that the PT I received just after the amputation was excellent... they knew how to push me, and they also knew that they needed to make me STOP periodically! It helped that I'd worked with this same PT team before, following two different foot surgeries, and they knew how determined I was.

In the very beginning, you need to get yourself as strong as possible, as quickly as possible. You need major upper-body strength to make up for the lack of leg... and you need good balance on the remaining leg. By the time the prosthesis enters the picture, it helps if you're doing well-enough on one leg that the prosthesis isn't absolutely necessary for you to take care of yourself... because the prosthesis must be "broken in" gradually.

Take the advice as to how many hours per day you should wear your prosthesis very seriously... you can easily get caught up in the adrenaline rush of having two legs again and do yourself more harm than good if you overdo it. You need slow -- but STEADY -- progress to reach the point where your new leg just becomes your leg. This can be the frustrating part -- it was probably the hardest part of my recovery for me -- but it pays off in the end!

If you have PT after getting your prosthesis, try to make sure you have a therapist who actually knows something about working with amputees and wants to work with you to accomplish your goals. I was not lucky on that front: my post-prosth PT spent most of his time telling me why I couldn't do anything beyond the most simple tasks and looking horrified whenever I brough up the idea of doing anything new. He lasted for six weeks, I "fired" him, and I've been on my own since then. It's taken me a little longer to get to where I want to be, but it's gotten me there!

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Welcome to the forum Joe H. It's a good place to find information, that's for sure.. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. We've all been there. Some one will have a response..

I'm a LBK since 2002 due to an accident as well.

Some very wise words to me in the beginning were, baby steps.. You may not like to take them, but basically you have to.. Cheryl gave some extrodinarily good advice when she said to pay attention to how long they tell you to wear your prosthesis.. I was having a good day and didn't mind my time. I ended up getting my limb so sore, I couldn't wear my leg for about 10 days.. That 10 day set back cost me more than that in physical therapy.. It took me several weeks to come back up to were I was at..

As for the yelling at family members, well, believe it or not, there are stages that we will all go through after our amputations..Anger is one of them.. it's normal, and it happens. The fact that you realize you are doing it, is good.. If you wish to discuss it further, feel free to pm and we'll chat..

Again, welcome to the forum, looking forward to hearing more from you.

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Well, sorry it has taken so long to get back but I'm back to work now and boy does that make me tired. Anyway, I'm trying to stop being so angry all the time. Like Jim said my family doesn't deserve it. But sitting around the house all day doing nothing but thinking about my leg makes me angry. Working and keeping my mind off this will help. I'm not actually back in the office, but working from home. It seems as though the shrinker is doing its job. It is staring to get a little loose. I go back to the surgeon on Friday and will see the leg guy after that. Hopefully, my bones have reattached to the knee and I can start working on the new leg.

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Guest bearlover

Sounds like your trying to go on with life :) that is good and also good for you and maybe therapeutic to get your life going again..I know how hard and different it is with a amputation..Have you added socks when the socket is loose? That will help..Your doing great!

Lbk for 4 years now.

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Hello Joe. I joined last week, its a great place.

In time you can do what you want, it may take a little longer.

Spent today at the Goodwood Revival (classic race cars), a few months wouldn't have dreamt of it, walkin all day.

be of cheer

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