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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
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Hi.

My 24 year old brother Simon was in a horrific car accident a few months ago. He was in a coma for 3 weeks and we're so thankful he survived, however he sustained horrendous injuries including what resulted in the amputation of both of his legs (his left leg below the knee and his right leg above the knee). Due to his other injuries he's been in hospital and bound to his bed for the last 6 months, but will be moving on to rehab hopefully at the beginning of February. He's been amazingly strong - but has also obviously had some very bad times. He's nervous about moving on to rehab and what to expect and I was wondering if anyone could give us an idea of what to expect and how we can help him. It's such a horrible time but we're doing our best as a family to support him - it's affected us all, but my Mum inparticular is devastated. He is determined and am sure he'll get through this, but it would be nice to have some support from people who have gone through something similar and who understand what we're going through!

Thank you. Gen

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Gen,

First of all I want to welcome you to our forum community we have a great group here that are very supportive. We have a guy here that is a AK/BK and I have met him so I hope he will jump in here and help you with any and all of your questions. Unfortunetly I can't help as my experiences are limited to me as a RBK which is a lot easier. If your brother is determined to walk again and has a team that will help him then I am sure that he will. I met a guy in my prosthetist office a couple of times who is a LAK/RBK who walks without aide from crutches or cane and if he had been wearing jeans I don't think I would have known he was an amputee.

You're doing the right thing by doing research to find others in like situations so that you, your brother and your family know that he can have a active life once he has legs that fit and learns how to walk.

Keep us posted and I wish you all the best.

Brenda

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The best thing your brother has going for him is the supportive family. Really encourage him to reach high, dream big. I sometimes play a game with myself when hard times hit, where I think about "this time next year"....just think about how this time next year his life could be DRASTICALLY improved. You will all go thru a lot in that time, but a year can go quickly....and he could be at a much better place then. We are all rooting for you. Vent here if you need to, and ask tons of questions. You have found one of the healing options for your brother (finding others in a similar situation that can give you advice and encouragement) and his big challenges ahead.

judy

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Hi Gens,

I am a lbk/rak and I might be the one Brenda refered to. Of course my situation is and was a bit different from Simons, but I can give you some view points. Spending that much time in a hospital for any reason is terrible and the food is usually atrocious. I could tell you about every inch of all the walls and the ceiling in my room and it gets a bit maddening. :blink: I counted every nail, crack, ceiling tile, and hole. I even named a few. The thing that bothered me the most was the window. I wanted so bad to be able to get close enough to scan the horizon, but all I could see were the tops of some other buildings. If he is able, get him in wheelchair and let him see something different.

I know that you and your family are supportive, but there are some things that you probably do without thinking of how they affect him. For example, everytime you see him or talk to him, don't ask him how he feels or how he is doing. You probably have no idea how many times a day he hears that from nurses, doctors, and anyone else he sees. It can drive you nuts and you start making up responses, out and out lies, or you give a look that should say it all. As devastated as all of your are, do your best to not let it show. He's having a hard enough of a time with his own emotions, much less trying to deal with other's feelings, especially your mothers. Never let him see a tear of sorrow.

Once in rehab, it's gonna be up to him to maintain and suffer through the pain. Tell him to endure and push a little more every day. This is where the attitude needs to kick in. There will be disappointments and possibly some setbacks, but they just add to the strength of the will. Hopefully the therapists will be well versed in their fields and how to get the most from your brother. He's young and should respond well with lots of work.

Any other questions that come up, just ask.

Kep :)

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Hi All

Thanks for your messages. It's good to have people to talk to who understand what we (and of course particularly Simon!) are going through.

Now that his skin grafts have mostly healed Simon did his first transfer from bed to wheelchair and back again yesterday. He did it on the first go through sheer grit and determination! Am really proud of him. Before now he had to be hoisted into his wheelchair but now he has a little independence. It's good to see but also hard to see him struggle with things. We are very brave for him though and don't help him with anything unless he asks - it must get really annoying being dependent on people and then when you start to be able to do things for yourself if people don't let you! He really is being so brave. He can't wait to get out of hospital to a proper rehab facility and get his legs! Does anyone have any idea how long it will take him to walk? I suppose everyone is different. It must also be very hard. Do prosthetics hurt at first? Do they become like part of your body?

I told him about this forum and your messages and he is looking forward to logging on as soon as he can get to a computer.

One thing Simon is very worried about is that he will never get a girlfriend again. He really wants to marry and have a family and worries that no girl will every be interested in him now. We've all told him that it's what's inside that counts, that his personality is larger than life and that he's still gorgeous looking but I think he thinks we're just biased as his family! Any advice or good stories I can tell him?

Thanks again for your input - and I just have to say that after seeing what Simon has gone though, I really admire anyone who has gone through anything like this. The human spirit is an amazing thing and I think that anyone who's spirit has been really tested is a kindred spirit! :D

Genx

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Hi Gen :D ,

Was sorry to hear about the rough times your brother Simon has been going through lately. But after reading you entry, I just felt I had to reply.

Let me tell you a little about myself first. I am a 25 year old female, and lost both my legs below the knee six months ago, due to an infection. I was 24 at the time also. I spent most of 2003 in hospital - 7 months in fact. I too am very lucky to be alive. So I very much know the feeling of being in hospital for so long and feeling like I was never going to leave.

I think it's very good to hear that Simon is eager to get into the Rehab facility, as that is where most of the hard work will take place. You've already seen him display something that he will be needing a lot of - determination. After six months, I am still using crutches, but hope to be able to walk completely unaided in the next two months or so. And after that, there'll be no stopping me! B) Yes, to me, prosthetic legs feel very much a part of my own body. But like everything else new in life, they will take some time to get used to. Of course, there's no substitute for the 'real thing' but we have no choice in the matter. It won't be long now - I would say a matter of weeks - until Simon is fitted for, and gets, new legs. I am sure he'll feel that he will have regained some of his independence again. As long as he can sit and stand he'll, at the very least, be able to use the toilet again! I can't tell you just how I excited I was at that prospect. I was so glad to be rid of my catheter! You'll also find that having the legs will mean more independence for all of you. By this I mean, he may feel more comfortabe venturing out of the hospital, say, for some decent food, without feeling like he's being stared at or felt sorry for all the time. Even the strongest bravery and determination is easily drowned by this, given the society in which we live today. On one of these such visits, before I got my legs, I was approached by 3 different shop-keeper strangers, who insisted I accept their offer of free food/gifts. Although I knew they meant no harm by this, I have never felt like such a 'charity case' before in all my life and never wanted to.

On the subject of love :wub:, tell Simon from me that altough it's hard to see past all that he's going through at the moment, he will eventually come through at the other end, and hopefully smiling. I say this because, last week, I got married! :D In all fairness, I was seeing my husband before I became ill, but when I heard that my legs needed to be amputated, I gave him the option to leave me there and then. I, like your brother, couldn't see him wanting to be with me any longer nor find me attractive anymore. But he wouldn't have any of it! Tell Simon that I said he should listen to you. IT IS what's on the inside that counts. And you are very right about the remarkable human spirit. I personally feel that all amputees are amazing and very special people and I don't think that I am biased! He will find that everybody will love to be around him and they will find him a very strong source of inspiration. To hear that, that at 24 years of age he will be considered an inspiration to others much older than him doesn't do the ego any harm!

Anyway, please both feel free to e-mail me, to let me know how things are going or just for some support. It's important to stay positive.

Thinking of your family,

Afet x x x :D

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Hi

I think this is probably the worst time for Simon while he is waiting for the unkown. I lost both my legs at the age of 12 and was in hospital for four months and I can remember how fed up I was with the hospital regime and seeing other patients go home after a few weeks.

That was some 34 years ago and I didn't go to rehab. as such, but had quite intensive physio. at the hospital I was at. A lot of work was done on my upper body strength, to get me ready for crutches, and also to teach me how to lift myself in/out of the chair/bath etc. For me, looking back it all happened quite quickly once I got my first limbs and got out of hospital., although it was prob. about a year before I was properly back to normal.

I know it can be easier when you are younger, but Simon is still only 24 (seems young to me!), tell him not to worry, I was a normal teenager, had loads of boyfriends, have been married 26 years and have 3 children. Life is not without its problems but still good, my best wishes to Simon.

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Hi Gen,

I have been following your story of Simon as he regains his mobility and his strength. I wanted to share some thoughts with you and your brother.

First of all, I am one of the ignorant but not ill-intended people who has a horror of amputation. Not of amputees, but the whole process. And, as you can see from the people on this forum, the world can use a LOT more like the souls you find here.

Last week I went to a wedding ceremony between a man who is a double BK (car accident) and a woman who lost her right hand in an industrial accident. They met in rehab. He has just "mastered" his prostheses, that is, walking without aid. The wedding was gorgeous and EVERYONE there was happy to be a part of a celebration for two people who, just 2 years ago, we were afraid we would be burying. The bride and groom danced as much as anyone else there.

The perspective is this: keep the love, keep the encouragement and develop those arms!

One other thing that was not common knowledge at the wedding: They moved up the date because she is "expecting." The groom/father-to-be joked that it was only his legs that were damaged. And he smiled so warmly that I am sure the folks in England saw it!

People will be cruel, but they would be anyway. People will be (like me) insensitive slobs, but they would have been anyway. Simon is HERE, with you and those he loves and who love him. And that circle can only expand if he lets it.

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Hi Simon and Family,

I can understand how hard the last few months have been, but keep your chins up. I had a much different situation, considering that I was battling cancer at the time of my aputation. It took my leg 4 months to completely heal, but then I didn't have any platlets either. It may be a year or two before he can run again, but it sounds like he's strong.

Walking wiht a prostetic is very different, but the sooner he can get the legs, the better. I have a friend that wasn't confortable with her leg and chose not to wear it , even 10 years later she still can't wear one.

On the subject of love, we'll she's engaged. People don't know that I am an AK amputee until I tell them, and I'v e meet severl people that are facinated by it. They know that I'm different, in a good way. In other words, it means that you're unique and you've been through a situation that makes you sit back and open your eyes. You know and understand something that most people don't. It's not a matter of finding someone that likes you the way you are, but finding someone that appriciates who you are.

People are mean, but they are also forever changing.

Good Luck in rehab (I myself was never there, but I've heard good things)

Nicole

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