Incident: 3 Jan 2003
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
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…………….
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.
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
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…………….
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.