Jump to content
Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
Sign in to follow this  
caz

awaiting counselling atm

Recommended Posts

At the moment we r waiting for counselling to begin, and to see a bloke who deals with amputees from Birmingham,he is supposed to be real good, the best in UK. How long will we be having counselling for, and how long will my husband be in hospital, and how long will he be in rehab for, or will he just have to go to day time rehab, I'm so confused,we were told 5 weeks ago that it has to come off, no. other option, and we r in limbo,with none to talk to, just waiting to hear from tis bloke from Birmingham, has anyone else been, or can someone give me some idea what we are to expect,I'm sorry for clambering I'm just at my wits end and I want to stay strong for my husband x x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in the US, but we have a LOT of members from the UK...perhaps someone is already familiar with limb centers in Birmingham, but at the very least you should be able to get some good advice on how these things are handled on "your side of the pond."

I can tell you that there is a good deal of flexibility in what a new amputee goes through in the process of healing and rehab. There's this saying that "every amputee is different," and sometimes that really IS the case.

As soon as you start meeting with the folks who will be involved in your husband's amputation, rehab, and prosthetic construction, start asking questions. Ask many, MANY questions...as many as you both need in order to feel like you have a good understanding of what's going to be happening. A good leg team will welcome your questions and want input...your husband's input, especially! Keep in mind that there will be a great deal of changes and adjustments during the first year...I was stunned, at first, at just how much time I spent getting "leg adjustments" in the beginning! The ultimate goal is to create a dependable, pain-free prosthesis that will allow the amputee to go back to living their usual life...and that's entirely possible!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband cant get his head round how 2 simple ankle fusion ops(all down to a football injury) have left him with having to have his leg off BTK, he said he dosent want to give up work, he wants to go back,his work have been fantastic and real supportive to him, which have been a great help to him, everyone is telling him he will prob be alot better off and pain free, but he just keeps saying "how can u say that, i dont want to loose my leg, how can i be better off". I am hopeing that after seeing the amputee guy, and spending time with other amputees and counselling that he will accept it more. When he is having his good days i can be strong for him, but he is so depressed at the moment, and its really got me down, cos i dont know what to say or do, he asks me what i think he should do, and i have told him, its not my desision at all, its got to be his entirely, but what ever he decides i will stand by him, and be there for him, in the beggining we were cracking the odd jokes about it and having a laugh and taking the pee if u like, that was our way of dealing with it, but i think reality have sunk in a bit now.

thx caz x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Caz

Very difficult to give you any answers to what happens in Birmingham, as every Trust in the UK does things a bit differently. I read that you are saying that he's going to meet with a counsellor and perhaps other amputees, which hopefully will help your husband. Each DSC or prosthetic centre in the UK usually have a User Group which is run by service users ... have a look at the Limbless Association link http://www.limbless-association.org/resource-directory/ which lists User Groups. Looking at it see there is one at the West Midlands rehab Centre, Selly Oak, and there is a phone number, give them a ring and they should have some peer support, ideally someone around your husbands age with the same sort of expected amputation level, they will probably be able to give you more of an idea what the policies are in your area regards what services are available. The LA themselves also do a volunteer visiting service so your husband could contact them also, also a good source of information.

This UK Limb Loss site is also another good website to visit http://limblossinformationcentre.com/ and also a charity called Limb Care http://www.limbcare.org/ which also can provide information and support.

Regards your husbands concerns over his work, many below knee amputees do work, but lot probably depends on his overall health and job etc. etc. so everyone is different, but most younger single below knee amps are generally pretty active and live pretty full lives. As cheryl says, healing time is different for everyone but if he is otherwise fit and healthy he might be quite surprised how quickly he is out of hospital after the surgery and doing the rehab and being fitted with a prosthesis. Some DSC's do have inpatient rehab provision, most these days don't and a lot of people have it as outpatients, once again it varies, where you live and how many times a week you may go, it is very much a process, and how long it takes to come out the other end walking on a prosthesis varies. But if there is no immediate urgency, take time to gather all the advice and information you can, from other amputees in the area and also perhaps both of you visit a local Disablement Services Centre/Prosthetic Centre, get to talk to a rehab consultant and Prosthetist and take a look at the prostheses and talk, if you can, to other amps.

Ideally, it would be good to have a surgeon who regularly liaises with Rehab consultants/Prosthetists in the area, find out as much as you can about the surgery and aftercare. It's also possible to go out of your area, for surgery and prosthetics, through the NHS, depending on the provision you have locally, though it does take more time to get referrals and funding ... it also can make things more complicated regards travelling etc. .... but is usually possible.

Hope your husband gets to take a read and maybe take part in this forum, as think he'd probably be surprised how many of us amputees are out here, and probably wouldn't be noticed when we are out and about, and, yes, we probably do encounter challenges and frustrations from time to time, but for the main most of us lead fairly active normal lives, so him getting access to the information might help him get his head around things and help put him in more control over the decisions he's being asked to make.

Ann

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you very much ann, i really do appreciate the links and will save them in my favourites so hubby can have a look when he is ready, i told him this morning about this forum and about the people who have had ankle fussions which have lead to amputation, i told him to sit down and have a look when he gets 5, but he just said " ca dont preassure me", which i wasnt, i was just being supportive and trying to be helpful, i just said ok, well when u r ready, although when he is talking to people ie friends etc he seems possitive, but when its just me and him, he seems to bury his head in the sand, but i just change the subject, dunno if thats a good thing to do or not, but i just think he will talk about it when he is ready. I suppose all i want him to do is open up talk about, accept its going to happen and get strong, if he wants to cry then brill, its all part of healing and i think having a good cry makes u stronger. He broke down crying last saturday, he was sobbing like a little boy, and our friend said "come on mate dont cry" but i snapped, and said, " yeah do cry, sob, break ye heart, u will feel better and stronger after, i think he just dont want to face the truth, and maybe at the moment he is too scared to face the truth, thats why i think its real poo of the hospital to just say yeah its got to come off no other option and just leave him hanging in limbo, till we hear from the amputee guy/ councellor,he needs councelling now and speak to amputees, am i being unreasonable, im just blabbering i know,bbut i feel better for it lol

thx caz x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you very much ann, i really do appreciate the links and will save them in my favourites so hubby can have a look when he is ready, i told him this morning about this forum and about the people who have had ankle fussions which have lead to amputation, i told him to sit down and have a look when he gets 5, but he just said " ca dont preassure me", which i wasnt, i was just being supportive and trying to be helpful, i just said ok, well when u r ready, although when he is talking to people ie friends etc he seems possitive, but when its just me and him, he seems to bury his head in the sand, but i just change the subject, dunno if thats a good thing to do or not, but i just think he will talk about it when he is ready. I suppose all i want him to do is open up talk about, accept its going to happen and get strong, if he wants to cry then brill, its all part of healing and i think having a good cry makes u stronger. He broke down crying last saturday, he was sobbing like a little boy, and our friend said "come on mate dont cry" but i snapped, and said, " yeah do cry, sob, break ye heart, u will feel better and stronger after, i think he just dont want to face the truth, and maybe at the moment he is too scared to face the truth, thats why i think its real poo of the hospital to just say yeah its got to come off no other option and just leave him hanging in limbo, till we hear from the amputee guy/ councellor,he needs councelling now and speak to amputees, am i being unreasonable, im just blabbering i know,bbut i feel better for it lol

thx caz x

Think its always harder talking to our nearest and dearest than it is talking to strangers, Caz. Don't think its unusual to be really scared and not want to really talk about it or admit that to those we're close too, or to play it down etc., when you think about it, its a pretty massive decision to make and once made, its into the unknown, with no going back .... so he's just probably dealing with it all in his own way at the moment and is probably trying to protect you too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Ann pretty much covered it. Let him know that he will still be able to play football as an amputee. There are amputee soccer/football clubs in many countries, England included. The surgery and first year as an amputee will be hard, but he'll look back on it some day and say it was just a bump in the road.

Depression is natural. It's hard to imagine giving up a part of you. Some of us here had the time to ponder that. My amputation was one month past my initial injury. I made the decision to amputate. My life is so much better than it would have been with a useless foot. I'm probably a little older than your husband, but I've done the things I want to do. The leg doesn't keep me from doing anything I want to do. I learned how to surf this past summer. It will be a challenge, but one that I think he'll agree later was worth it. Living in constant pain isn't worth it.

Keep us informed and let him know we'd like to meet him.

Neal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thankyou neal,

he is just scared and nervous, hopefully after going to birmingham he will feel a bit possitive, ive just got to be there for him and do what i can, i try to tell him the possitives etc, but he says i know but i just dont want to loose my leg, its ok for people to say ill be better off.

im looking forward to going to birmingham, im just hoping it will give dave a more possitive outlook and he can get his head round it more, fingers crossed, at the moment he is pottering around out side in the garden doing little jobs, and i think he is doing them, cos he thinks he wont be able to climb round back of pond(or it will be harder to) once its off, so im just letting him get on with it, cos i think that means he is accepting it a bit more, if u know what i mean??

caz x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope he will take a look around this forum. I really think in some ways it saved my life. Good luck to you both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope he does too,I am at work now but I left the forum page on the lap top at home,so hopefully he will have a read,and if u r reading this Dave I love u with all my heart and we will get through this x x x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing that might help him "make the adjustment" to the idea of the amputation is this: instead of focusing on the fact that he doesn't want to lose his leg, he can try focusing on the fact that he DOES want to be in less pain and to get back to living a full life again.

No-one (well, no-one who's sane) actually WANTS to lose a limb! I know that I sure didn't! However, I DID want to not be in pain...I DID want to be able to walk without a walking frame...I DID want to be rid of the infections that had zapped my health...I DID want be able to go back to work...I DID want to go back to doing the activities that I loved. If the price of getting all of those advantages was to give up part of my left leg, that was something I thought I could do. And it worked!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

I lost my leg (aka) as a result of a RTA, so I don’t feel that I could comment on the mental side of things: - I.E have it amputated or keep it. That has got to be your hubby’s choice. However if the docs are suggesting this route, perhaps they do know what they are on about.

But from reading your posts it seems simple: - live in pain or get rid of the useless thing and start to pick up the pieces. I know what I would do.

Constant pain wears away at you slowly destroying your life one tiny bit at a time and altering the sort of person you where. I know that I didn’t like it one bit.

Right I will try to answer a few of your questions,

I had my leg ripped off early October , I was wearing my first arty limb & and walking just before Christmas , so that should give you a rough time scale , however we are all different on how our body heals .

What held me back was the rest of my body got smashed up and I had to wait for that to “get back to normal and heal” if it’s just a Bk op for your other half he might be even quicker.

Work, I work 12 hour shifts days & nights so someday I will be on my feet on the go for more than 24 hrs so I can’t think of any reason why your hubbie should even be thinking about giving up work.

I cant comment about sports as I am a bit of an old git (51) , but there is no reason why your hubbie cant play still , I go out and kite surf , power kite, have tried paragliding , running ,badminton (spelling) basically anything I wanted to do I still do , admittedly not as good as what I used to be .

My main hobbies is hiking, I still disappear in the remote places this country has to offer with out any real problems or if there are any problems there is always a “workaround” only yesterday I was out in the north Pennines with a group of able bodied people doing a 10 & ½ mile hike, taking in waterfalls, old mines, (which we snooped around in) some awful terrain and it rained most of the time. Now the reason I am telling you this is, you will here a lot of “you can’t do this or you can’t do that” but basically you can do anything you want.DONT let anybody tell you different.

Pottering about the garden, digging the flower beds:-yep it’s just the same D.I.Y yep the same

Working on the car yep still the same, life goes on as normal........... if you want it to and with a bit of hard work it gets better.

Counselling on this I can’t comment simply because I have never had any, I have heard both good and bad reports about it.

But one thing that I would like to say is there is a physical side to getting your leg chopped off which the medical people can deal with BUT your hubbie has got to deal with the mental side , having the right mental attitude is a MUST if he wants to get on .

So to sum up, get rid of the foot,& DEAL WITH IT, its not going to grow back, get new all singing and dancing arty leg, and get on with your life, simple.

One other thing there will be lots and lots of?????? Most of the answers can be found on this web site IF he can be bothered to look.

What ever he chooses I wish you both all the best AND MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL IS KEEP TALKING ABOUT IT , and remind him that your hurting as well , I often think our loved ones suffer just as much as us.

Take care ..................Mick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hiye mick

thank u for replying, he dosent want to give up work, we dont know if he will be able to continue doing the job he is doing now,( health and safety and all that), but they will accomodate him someway, im sure even in another department.

Its not that he cant be bothered to look on here, he just dosent want to, i suppose he may when he feels he is ready to, although i ave just read ur post out to him, and he listened, which is more than he would do yesterday, he is sat there quiet now, and ive just told him to have a flick through and read peoples stories on here, im going out in a minute to pick up some friends so hopefully he will sit down here and read

thx caz xx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In terms of timescale everyone is different but for me the op was late June, I got my new leg late August and went back to school in September which meant a 1 1/2 mile walk each way up and down steep hills as well as a full day at school.

I don't have a physically demanding job, it's mostly computer based but one of my main hobbies is Tae kwon Do (a martial art a bit like karate)- that is physically demanding but I do ok mostly (occasionally over balance when we are standing on one leg and it is my left one)! In the past I have done lifesaving (was part of Thames Rescue team), ice skating and other insane things.

For me the cirsumstances were different so I didn't have the mental issues but there is life after amputation.

Hope Dave feels able to read and perhaps post on here sometime as he will find a lot of friendly support as well as practical advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi, dave is on a real downer today :sad: we recieved confirmtion of appointment to amputee clinic, and he has just gone down to see about getting a blue badge for the car, he said they said it would have to be reviewed and he would hear in 5 days,what will i do, will i carry on being cherpy? should i say i am going out to see my friend and leave him on his own ( his own space) i dunno what to do or say today, all i get in return r grunts ????

I asked him if he wants to go for a picnic tomorrow or sunday just me him and the girls and he said no!!!

i really dont know what to do

caz xx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Caz, I think you should just try and follow Dave's lead. You're not likely to "jolly him out" of such a major funk...I know that I went through times when someone being upbeat and chirpy just made me madder than ever, and I had actually done a pretty good job of adjusting to the idea of becoming an amputee.

Right now he's having to come to terms with actually becoming "disabled." Applying for the blue badge can be traumatic for some folks, because it means that they really do have a disabling condition...since he's also been told that there will be a review process, that adds another troubling thought: "What do they need to review; I'm losing a leg here...don't they think that's serious-enough for a blasted parking placard?" It's likely got him all caught up in all sorts of conflicting thoughts!

So, how does he usually cope with stress? Does he hole up in a corner until he's worked it through for himself? Can he actually work it out for himself? Or does he ask others for their opinions? Does he come to you when he has a crisis to deal with, or does he "tough it out" on his own? If you try to distract him with some sort of pleasant activity (like that picnic), does he actually end up enjoying himself...or does he just sulk his way through it?

Dave is still Dave. He's facing an extreme situation, so his reactions may also be ramped up to an extreme level, but he'll do his best to try and work through it in the same ways he has in the past. If those ways aren't working for him this time, he'll eventually figure that out and make an adjustment he can live with. Just "be there for him," in whatever way he wants you to be.

I know that you're also facing your own questions and concerns, and you're looking for your own reassurances that this will all turn out OK in the end. The odds are good that it will work out. Trust in that for now and don't try to anticipate every little thing that might be a problem..............very often the problems of our nightmares never even happen! :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hiye cherylm,

When dave is stressed he usually figures it out for him self, he keeps alot to him self, he wont ask opinions of our friends, but if he is having a crisis he will come to me, usually if we go on a picnic or out for a day we have fun and a laugh, but he wouldnt go anywere unless he wanted to, i wouldnt be able to force him. We went to visit our best friends after yesterday/last night and we had a brilliant time, dave came out of the down day after yesterday, we were in the garden and he was pottering around spraying a patio heater, and i told him he did a good job, i said looks like new, and our neighbour said omg i didnt recognize it, i said thing is with dave is he dont let things get him down for long, he just gets on with it,( i dunno if that made him feel a bit better, but he looked at me and smiled, and seemed to snap out of it after that),:smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like he is slowly coming to terms. The sooner he has the surgery and can start his recovery the better it will be. I know your NHS is sometimes quite slow when it comes to elective surgery. This in itself can be very depressing.

If he likes time to himself in order to cope, allow him that, but let him know that you are there for him if he needs you. Remind him that we are here too. I think he would really benefit from a visit from another amputee. Have you checked with a local support group or prosthetist to see if an amputee of the same age, gender and level of amputation could come by and pay Dave a visit. It's amazing the looks on a new amputee's face when you come bouncing in on your prosthesis like nothing has ever happened. I visited a new amputee this past Mon. I took my leg off so she could see how it was held on. She was amazed that my stump didn't hurt to touch it. She also didn't believe me when I told her that most days I don't even think about the leg being fake. I just put it on and go about my daily business.

It is hard for us to completely understand what Dave is going through since we don't know his pain level. I was in no pain, but was never going to be able to walk again without crutches. That just wasn't going to work for me. I did some research, talked with my family doctor who put me in touch with a prosthetist who allowed me to talk with a couple of his patients. That was the turning point for me. When I saw those guys walk in the room and I could not tell which leg was fake, I decided that would be a better way of life. I have no regrets.

A lot of what Dave is going through is a guy thing. He thinks he will not be able to do what he's always done. His activity level will not be as high. His ability to make a living will diminish, etc. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It truly is a minor inconvenience. I don't what to totally sugar coat it either. There are days when you think why did this happen. There are days when there is a low-level pain that you just can't get rid of. There are times when you just can't do what you want in the most convenient way. All in all, though, amputation is better than the alternative.

Counselors are good in recognizing what is going on in a patients mind. But if they aren't an amputee, they really can't tell him that everything is going to be OK. It's hard to believe an able-bodied person when he tells you that life as an amputee is a piece of cake. How the h**l would he know that. He knows it will. He has that experience from dealing with others. Still it's hard for someone in Dave's position to hear. Hearing it from someone who walks the walk will be much better.

I know this is kind of a ramble, but I just hope Dave can get some help.

Neal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It may be a bit of a ramble, Neal, but it's a good one!

Caz, Neal lives a very active life, and he's explained very clearly how big a difference it can make to a new or prospective amputee to meet someone who is in a similar position and is doing well. It can be life-changing all on its own!

I know that when I was facing my own surgery, I was told over and over again by various doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and prosthetists that my life would be "back to normal," sooner rather than later. I kept telling myself, "okay, they probably know what they're talking about...but ALL of them have two perfectly fine legs!"

Then I met a very active, agile fellow (who was the technician who built my leg) who was bustling about and hopping up and down off the floor while doing a fitting on me, and generally carrying on in a perfectly normal manner, and who said, as he was heading out of the fitting room, "...and as an amputee myself, I'd suggest that you........." That was a blinding revelation to me...if this fellow was moving around this way, just living his life, then I could do it too!

That's why a lot of us do peer visitations to new amputees...to give them a realistic picture of what they can expect. I've had folks give a huge sigh of relief when I demonstrated how my leg fastens on...they've been terrified that their leg will "just fall off" when they're walking, and watching me lock mine on, give it a hard tug and say "that leg's not going anywhere" lifts a huge weight off their mind. Hearing that I don't have pain issues, and that a prosthesis is NOT supposed to hurt, is also very reassuring.

It does sound like Dave is making progress in getting his head around the whole leg situation. It's very likely that he'll go through this cycle several times, each time some new thought comes to mind. It may not completely end until he's been through his surgery, gotten his first leg, and done some rehab. But getting to know some actual amputees, either through forums like this one, or especially in person, could give him some "first-hand" information and reassurance. If it's possible for that to be a part of his counseling, that would be great!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank u both so much, when we go to see the amputee man a week weds he is supposed to be sorting dave out with some councelling, and he will get to spend time with amputees and talk to them, i hope he will be more possitive after this :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just hope that they are active amputees. Not some old geezer in a wheelchair.

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just hope that they are active amputees. Not some old geezer in a wheelchair.

Good luck.

Neal, please stop talking about me.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You may use a chair, Kep, but there's nothing "geezerish" about you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×