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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
Ally

One of my stories

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I know that I am probably posting this "out of the blue", but briefly, I have never have funds to walk well. This year I faced the daunting task of never walking again. That broke 3R60? Remember?

Anyway, Ed Dean sent me a knee that was such a life saver at the beginning of this year.......and such a blessing......

This is my story....from after receiving my knee from Ed.....until my conniving CP and Ed put their heads together and turned my whole world upside down.

Wednesday 25 July 2012 - A very special day in the life of an ordinary RAK amputee from Africa

I think it was round about the middle of July maybe, when Marco (my legman) gave me a call and asked for a favour. He had a group of student prosthetists coming to his practice and he needed a body to use to show them how to build and fit a test socket. Test sockets. My favourite thing, sigh. But for Marco, anything.

I'm normally quite good at self motivation.......stuff like, well, how bad can it be? I've done it a hundred times before. I'm not walking so badly on this 3R60 that Ed Dean sent me. In fact, I'm doing quite well considering that the knee is built for someone almost twice my weight. I'm lucky to be walking at all. There's a click in my foot, Marco can fix it for me. I need to get off this farm and see real people. I don't hate the fitting, and pinching, and tweaking, and donning, and "ow" here, and "ow" there. Marco standing behind me like a sergeant major yelling "walk walk!" Nah. Not so bad.

Dawns the morning of Wednesday 25 July, and I am ready to go. Dressed as only a seasoned AK amp can be for a fitting. Girlie brooks, passion killer brooks, boy short brooks, short shorts, long shorts, and finally tracksuit pants. Yip, as ready as I am ever going to be. And I hie off to Pretoria, a goodly one-hour-and-a-bit drive.

And I arrive in Pretoria, well on time (I'm usually late) and then I realise that I must have taken the wrong off-ramp. Every single street name is foreign. And when I say foreign, I mean foreign to a white South African chick. They are all black and ethnic names! No man. Names I can't even pronounce! I drive straight (which I always do when I am lost) and then pull over about 25 kilometres down the road to find out where I am, and what they've done with Marco's offramp. Is it even called Pretoria now? Maybe it's Tswane.....

Ja, ja, I get the "oh didn't you know?", and the "but all the street names change all the time", and the "come back down for 25 kilometres and look for "January Maselela". Sigh - that is SO far removed from the original "General Louis Botha Drive" it's not even funny.

So I'm late......but I get my coffee and walk into the rooms. Three people there, one with a camera (oh my hat, no man), and two with note pads (that I can handle). Yip, gonna be a long day.

Marco smiles, thanks me for coming and introduces me to the three strange people in the room. And says "I have a confession to make....."

I knew it! I just knew it! The b*gger told me that I wouldn't have to go through the whole plaster-of-paris rigmarole and now he is going to make me do it!

Still smiling, he hands me a huge beautifully framed letter, and says "this is from Ed". I read most of it, get a bit teary......and hand it back to Marco. He has tons of beautiful letters and pictures up at his practice. He says "no, it's for you....to keep". Mine? Ah man....my heart. How precious is this?

Marco says "by now you probably have guessed that these aren't students". Huh? Well no, the thought hadn't even crossed my mind. Then who the hell are they? These strange people, taking notes, smiling at me, sharing my private Ed and Ally and Marco moment? "They're from the media" says Marco. Oh. OH?

Marco hands me a very familiar and deadly expensive box, a gift from Ed, he says. It's an Iceross Liner! A brand new Iceross Liner! I'm so confused, so very confused now. I manage to sputter out "but what size is it? How did Ed know?" Marco tells me that Ed asked him to buy it for me, a gift, from my Ed. I am properly finished. This is a hugely expensive piece of silicone. And the three strange people are smiling and taking notes and taking pictures, and I am cradling my liner like a brand new baby. And I am blessed.

Then the journalists are asking questions. Tons of questions. Old questions that most people would find boring about my life. My accident, how did you cope, what was it like - nothing, I swear nothing in my life is this interesting that three journalists would take time to write down the complete normalcy of my every day existence.

Then Marco says "Ed sent you one more thing" and hands me a tiny little box wrapped in pretty pink paper. Can I open it now? Yes, yes, and Marco is smiling and the strange people are smiling, and I am warm inside. So very warm because Ed has done so much for me already, and still he continues.

I think my scream may have shattered Marco's glass doors. I think one of the strange people snapped his pencil in half. And I am screaming, and crying, and shaking my head "no no no". This cannot be. Marco is smiling and nodding, yes, yes it is. And then I am silent, tears falling down my cheeks. I am holding sixty thousand rand in my hands. I am holding my first brand new prosthetic knee. And it's hard to breathe, and it's harder to believe.

And there is one more thing.......Marco says "are you ready to speak to Ed?" And he hands me the phone, and I speak with my Ed in person for the first time in all the years I have known him. I forget the conversation now, truely I do. I remember standing in the corner, trying to hide from the strange people, trying to say thank you, trying to not be so overwhelmed that I fall into a heap on the floor.

And then we fit the knee. It is so pretty, so small, so light! And I am walking, and walking, and outside I am leaping in the air, and the strange people are laughing and taking pictures and I am queen of the universe. Queen of Pretoria, or Tswane.....who cares - today I am standing tall. And I am wrapped in a bubble of love and compassion and complete awe.

The journalists leave, still smiling.....and the biggest black chap turns to me and says....."well, you have a good day. Oh hang on, never mind, you already are!" And I impulsively bear hug him which I guess isn't the most culturally correct thing to do in Africa, but I don't care because I am after all, a woman with a new knee. And I am blessed.

Who knew that two most extraordinary people would take such time and care and effort, and conspire for nearly 5 months to make this awesome day a reality for me. And present it to me so beautifully and so lovingly.

Lots of hugs, tears, laughter and kind words later, I am on my way home. Light as a feather. Smiling like a crazy woman at people in the traffic. Smiling at nothing and smiling at everything. Smiling and smiling and I just can't stop.

My mind is ticking over, my head is going to explode.....I have so many special people to tell. I have so many special people that must read my letter from Ed. There is much to do.

Much to do, my Ed, today, and for a long time to come.

You are my golden, my PLU.

You have blessed me in abundance. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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A great surprise....so glad for you Ally. Now walk baby, walk. :happy:

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Oh, Ally, I'm so happy for you...and so glad that you posted your side of this wonderful tale here for us to share! What a great day for you~ :biggrin::wub::laugh: !

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Wonderful for you Ally, its good to know that there are some truly good people out there who go out of their way to help others.

Reading your story also made me more appreciative of our NHS services over here in the UK, although we often moan about the services etc. etc., most/prob all of us get our prostheses provided in some shape or form, know I for one probably take this for granted much of the time, and have my share of moans about it, but do tend to forget that not everyone everywhere in the world gets a service such as this.

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Wonderful for you Ally, its good to know that there are some truly good people out there who go out of their way to help others.

Reading your story also made me more appreciative of our NHS services over here in the UK, although we often moan about the services etc. etc., most/prob all of us get our prostheses provided in some shape or form, know I for one probably take this for granted much of the time, and have my share of moans about it, but do tend to forget that not everyone everywhere in the world gets a service such as this.

Totally agree, I can't imagine the cost that is going in to making MkII of my new 'leg' since the first one didn't quite sit right. The MkI version I am using in physio to learn how to 'walk' with it whilst I await the better fitting MkII. Meanwhile, I better lay off the KFC's and stuff, I'm piling the weight on due to inactivity. :(

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