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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum

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Hello, all - 

My first posting here. I am 63 and a L AKA which was the result of a freak accident involving a garden tiller, the tiller hit a rock and jumped, gouged my left leg above the knee. Hospital visit, the usual - they irrigated the wound (which was about 3/4" deep and about 5" long), stapled it up and sent me home. About a week later my wife, who is an RN, said it was beginning to "stink" - I have a poor sense of smell and it didn't look bad to me anyway, but off to the hospital where, after rounds and rounds and rounds of IV antibiotic therapy and debridement they told me they couldn't save my leg. I was in a great deal of pain and nearly delirious by this point, not to mention the pain meds' having altered my consciousness, so I went ahead and let them hack my leg off. If I knew then what I know now, I would never have let them do it, I would have forced them to let me die. 

After some PT with my new (very primitive, friction-actuated) leg, I was doing a little better, but having to remember to kick the leg out every time I took a step to lock it was hard to remember, and I fell a lot. Then, after a couple of months' PT I began to not be able to do much of anything without losing my breath, no stamina, etc. Long story short, a cardiologist visit turned up that I had not one but two blocked arteries in my heart, so bad that the doctor said that a simple piece of wire could have completely blocked them. I had a 2-artery CABG procedure.

After the surgery, I was told that the prosthesis, a newer one, was too heavy for me to lift with the weight restrictions after surgery, so I did not walk afterward. By the time the restrictions were lifted, my stump had swollen to the point that I could no longer get my socket on. The cardiologist said this was "not uncommon." So, now, I have to fight the insurance company to get another socket made, and that took about 2 months. Meanwhile, losing stamina and will to live.

Finally got the new socket, and began having malfunctions on the new leg (now that it was being used more) and could not keep it working. It was like an old 70's British sports car, nice to look at (in a gruesome kind of way) but very unreliable.  Lost more ground. 

Was finally beginning to see the light of day on this (I thought) but it turned out to be another damned train. Very bad case of the flu turned into viral bronchitis for which I had another hospital visit. 

Seriously, I'm not making this up.

The next step was that the depression drugs I have been taking since (the also-bizarre circumstances regarding) my mother's death began to become ineffective. I have a wonderful counselor and psychiatrist, and they have been trying their best with various therapies and drugs. The last one I was on was a drug for ADHD, since all of the ones they'd tried before just had no effect at best, and at worst made me a crying vegetable. The ADHD drug killed my appetite, and guess what - now the socket doesn't fit again. 

I used to hunt, and fish, and had a beautiful collection of vintage motorcycles (which I have had to sell) which I rode almost every day all over the countryside,  I built a raised stone garden since I love to garden and we live on a hill where there is no soil (this is where the accident occurred, btw), I was a competition shooter and was on an international team.... I think you get it. All of this has been taken away from me. Every time I try to get back into PT and start where I got dumped the last time, something else happens. I was on a single-point cane, for pete's sake, and now I'm back on a rolling walker. For the third time. The last time I went for endurance I walked less than 100' before I was completely, totally flattened with exhaustion. 

My life consists of getting up in the morning, feeding the dogs and cats, working (fortunately I work from home), taking a nap when I get off work, and then feeding the dogs and cats again and going to bed. My wife travels a lot so I'm by myself pretty much all the time, with extremely limited opportunities to get out or do anything since I cannot load or unload my wheelchair by myself. 

Like I said - had I known then what I know now, I would have elected just to go into hospice and get buried with both legs. 

Sorry for the long, drawn-out whine. I'm just completely at the bottom of the barrel for "try" and my anger and rage at my situation and not being able to do anything boils over from time to time. 

Thanks for letting me vent. 

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