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"INSPIRATIONAL ED"

ED'S PERSONAL STORY

Date of Incident: 3 Jan 2003

Stats

married / father / semi retired / then 52 yr old / over weight / lifetime smoker / was 5’10” / 196 lbs / now 168 lbs, 4’2” with a 10” inseam / living in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada

The “Incident”

On January 3 2003, I had left work and returned home around 5:00 pm. My wife had loaded our van with the stuff we needed for the weekend at our country cottage so we were “on the road” straight away. From our house we traveled a bit to what is known as the “Perimeter Highway”. It is a junction of a main road and the highway and therefore had a stop light at the intersection.

I waited for my turn and turned left. While turning, something in the back of the van shifted. Perhaps thinking that something had spilt, I drove some ¾ of a mile from the intersection and pulled off the highway onto the paved shoulder. It was twilight, my vehicle’s lights were on as well as the emergency flashers. I suppose I must have gotten out, walked to the back of the van, opened the back hatch and would have been facing in towards the van. That is all I know of…………the rest is a mixture of life, old memories, weird people, moose sausage.….all mixed up………

I am told that the idiot (a man named Raymond Basinet) who ended up crushing me between the front of his truck and the back of the van, had traveled that ¾ of a mile from the same intersection, driving on the shoulder of the road. He says he did not see me. He later pleaded not guilty to a dangerous driving charge, was found guilty and was fined $200.00 CDN. A stranger stopped and used his belt to tie off my one leg as the main artery had been severed. My girls were at the hospital when they wheeled me in. They had to witness chunks of my body left inside the van when they went to retrieve personal items. Decisions were made, surgeries were performed and comments were issued about the fact that I did not have one mark on my body anywhere……….other than the crushed legs. I have no memories of this…………….

The Hospital

I came to some three weeks later, my wife whispering in my ear…….”ED, you were in an accident………..they had to take your legs”. I know it did not really totally register at the time through the drug induced state I was in. I had answered “well I guess I am only good for picking blueberries” to her. Being a bilateral above knee amputee meant nothing to me.

During this three week time period, I was back in the OR three times for major operations. My memories are faint, warped and surreal for this period. I remained in the ward for some four months until there was room for me in the Rehab hospital. My wife and daughters came everyday and stayed for the duration of each. So many friends arrived that they had to control how many persons were visiting me at a time.

Rehab

I started in rehab in April of that year and made up my mind that if I was to have a shot at walking to any degree, I would attend the rehab gym…every day……….eight hours a day. This I did for the next two years. The biggest problem I had to face was the fact that nobody there had any experience with a case such as mine – an otherwise healthy body missing its legs. Nobody knew what or how to teach me things. They never had a bilateral aka (above knee amputee) use those damn Pam aid things. They are designed for a unilateral. Even on the ward, the workers there had no idea how to handle a man with no legs……….one leg, no problem……….no legs………treat like man with one leg…….didn’t work. I had to learn on my own.

One day while I was wobbling around the gym in these aid things , using a frame walker, attached to two attendants, my wife was there. She was told by the head amp Dr “no matter how strong he is or how good he does, he will never walk more than 100’”. After hearing this I asked my physiotherapist – “let’s cut through all the crap. What do you see as a final product?” His answer “two arty legs, one locked and one unlocked, two arm canes and you should be able to go about 100’”. This really depressed me. I took this as a personal challenge. I beat it the next day.

On the 9 May, 2003, I received my first set of legs with check sockets. By the end of that day between the bars with both knees unlocked. My training continued after the usual problems like “blistering out on the scar tissue” settled down later on at the end of August. In that November, I walked one daughter down the aisle using a frame walker. Everybody cried……….it is a good memory.

October 2004 saw the arrival of my C leg units. They took a bit to get used to and I was finally discharged from the day patient program on 3 January 2005 (two years to the exact date of the idiot). I have been on my own since…………….

My Current Status

A little older, still smoking, still married, still trying to be better. I do most things I ever did before, some a little different and most a lot harder. I also do a few odd things I never did before like snowmobile riding. I am not happy being what I am, but I am living with it. I am not afraid of dying anymore. I think the fact that I already have two feet in the grave has something to do with that.

I am the first Manitoban to be funded for the C leg units by public insurance and am the fourth bilateral aka in Canada to have them.

I think if there is a lesson to be learned from me, it is the following:

If an old, farty, smoking, over weight male, who never truly succeeded with anything in life – can dig up enough balls to do what the “experts” said can’t or is seldom done – then anybody can – IF THEY WANT TO.

ED

 

 

 

 

 


FAVOURITE LINKS :

 

Chronic Pain Chronic pain management by Dr Mitchell

Disability sport in South Africa DISSA

THE ANGRY GIMP Awesome must read site!

Marco Du Plooy My Pretoria based prosthetist

Sleeve Art by Fred's Legs

Employment Guidelines from SA Dept of Labour for PWD's & employers

Amputee Resource - Al Pike CP

MAS Socket - information

Fly SA - Paragliding

Jam Ally Entertainment - where Ally works

Eric Morse - Para-sport photographer & friend (Canada)