Unfortunately, more often than naught it is rare when somebody is "just an amputee." Between the causes for the initial amputation, the stresses placed on the residual limb through prosthetic use, and the unequal weight distribution through the sound side, many amputees deal with a myriad of health complications throughout their life. Sometimes the issues are simply a bump in the road necessitating intervention but leaving no lasting ill-effect. Far too often, complications occur which drastically change the course of the individual's life.
have a friend who is transitioning from being a below-the-knee to an
above-knee-amputee due to infection. Losing the knee joint is
devastating and is a game-changer in the rehabilitation process. My
heart breaks as he forfeits his knee in an attempt to save his life. I
can't even fathom the frustration, fear, and anger that he must be
experiencing as he faces this loss.
In a bittersweet twist of
fate, he became an amputee because of the delayed effects of
chemotherapy he endured as a teenager. Despite the cancer, he fought
valiantly to save his limb and has lived nearly 20 years with his body
intact. It became clear that the medications used to save his leg, and
his life, ravaged the bones beyond repair. In July he consented to the
very surgery he resisted in his youth.
His limb never healed from
the amputation, and the open wound became a conduit for infection. For
the second time, he is in a battle for his life. Without hesitation, he
has chosen to amputate his infected knee. I wish I had the words to make
this transition easier for him, but all I can do is stand by his side
to support him through this journey. In moments like this, I feel so
I have another friend who underwent surgery yesterday
on her remaining leg. Several years ago a knee replacement gone awry
resulted in her becoming an above knee amputee. Today she is back in the
hospital, fighting an infection in her remaining limb. As brutal irony
would have it, the infection developed after she underwent a knee
replacement on her remaining leg.
A desire to live without pain
and a brave leap of faith that lightening would not strike twice
compelled her to agree to the recommended knee replacement last
February. Since that time, she has been in and out of the hospital and
has undergone numerous surgeries to rid her body of the infection.
Again, I am helpless to do anything but remind her that she is not alone
and try to keep her spirits up during the difficult recovery. Her
biggest fear, losing her other leg, echos each time she develops a
fever. I have spent many sleepless hours worrying about her.
August, a below knee friend of mine underwent a "routine" revision
surgery. She was supposed to be walking again in three weeks. More than
three months later, she is still without her prosthesis, battling an
aggravated nerve and a stubborn incision that refuses to completely
heal. Through her struggle, I am reminded that there is no such thing as
a routine surgery on a residual limb!
Although I'm excited about
the holiday tomorrow, my enthusiasm has been
tempered because of the struggles being faced by my friends. The
complications that they face are life changing at best, life ending in
the worst case scenario. I am worried about them all, and I wish that
there was something I could do to make this easier. I am tired of bad
things happening to good people!
- I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.