Forums: Community: Skydivers with Disabilities:
Helping accept amputation

 


kittikat  (C License)

Feb 9, 2008, 9:07 AM
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Helping accept amputation Can't Post

Hi Everyone -

I don't post much, and haven't posted in this forum before, but I'm hoping to get some advice and help from others.... My little sister was just in a bad accident and lost her right arm, so I'm looking for resources, ideas, and basically any and all suggestions on what to learn, what I can do to help her, and everything else regarding amputation. Any help for right now or further down the road would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


gimpboogie

Feb 9, 2008, 1:26 PM
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Re: [kittikat] Helping accept amputation [In reply to] Can't Post

wow, thats going to be a challenge for you both,
hope your sister has a figthing spirit and strong friends and family.

lets see,....
first thing would be to think of the long term.
what kind of person she is, what she does and enjoys.
that makes a difference on what type of arm she might be looking for in the future, what level of function she will have.

the immediate stuff would be to make sure her financial, and other personal life has some support from a good friend or family member.
I noticed when i had my accident and hospitalized for a while that having someone help with basics of banking, basic trips to the store for things i needed....
getting out to do stuff with someone i trusted,
because i was going to be clumsy and wanted to be with people whom I trusted and felt comfortable with.

then, for a long time i needed to re assess what i was going to do, and this may be her situation,
depending on many variables.


these were the things that helped most for me when i was injured.

some of this might be helpful for her.
if she wants to talk to others, to attend some groups etc.
and wants company or to be alone
to be alert and attentive to her needs in this manner
is helpful/critical.

as time goes on... life settles into a pattern
and becomes routine again.

until then, its sort of shocking at times
during those times it may be helpful to have some
resources to rely on.


perhaps asking the war amps, they deal with all citizens with her loss...
would give some thoughts, places, resources, ideas...

let us know how your doing.....
that is important.

be well and remain strong,
-minna


kittikat  (C License)

Feb 9, 2008, 2:49 PM
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Re: [gimpboogie] Helping accept amputation [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks so much for your reply...

My sister is a fighter - so I know that she'll be alright in the long run, I just want to help as much as possible now and in the next couple years.

She is only 19, so finances aren't really a problem - she wasn't great with money to begin with, so there probably isn't much to worry about. lol. My family will take care of her until she figure out what she wants to do.

She was looking at working in finishing carpentry as a career, and loves playing hockey, so I'm not sure how well she will be able to work in carpentry or play hockey again. She is still really young, so hasn't figured out what she wants to do.

Thanks again for the reply - any and all suggestions and advice are appreciated.


Gawain  (D 29213)

Feb 9, 2008, 3:57 PM
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Re: [kittikat] Helping accept amputation [In reply to] Can't Post

Try contacting the ACA, Amputee Coalition of America, http://www.amputee-coalition.org/

There are hundreds of peer visitors who will happily visit with her. Also, tough love if she gets in the dumps, she'll really need to take a real charge in her recovery.

If the pain management isn't working, get on the doctor's assess to get imaginative. Lyrica is an outstanding option to help contain the phantom pain. Encourage avoidance of the "narcotics" if possible.

Did she lose her arm above, or below the elbow? That will be a big difference too. There are myo-electric prosthetics out there that will literally wow you.


(This post was edited by Gawain on Feb 9, 2008, 3:59 PM)


kittikat  (C License)

Feb 9, 2008, 4:34 PM
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Re: [Gawain] Helping accept amputation [In reply to] Can't Post

The arm is above the elbow, unfortunately. So far the pain is pretty bad, but it seems to mostly be her leg - she almost lost it as well, and the femur is broken in a couple places so that is the worst right now. It is still very early...

We are Canadian, but the accident happened in Australia, so she is there right now. Luckily my mom is Australian, so she has family over there (Aunts, Uncles, cousins) that are with her. I'm flying out on Monday morning.

Thanks for everything.


gimpboogie

Feb 10, 2008, 4:51 AM
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Re: [kittikat] Helping accept amputation [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The arm is above the elbow, unfortunately. So far the pain is pretty bad, but it seems to mostly be her leg - she almost lost it as well, and the femur is broken in a couple places so that is the worst right now. It is still very early...

We are Canadian, but the accident happened in Australia, so she is there right now. Luckily my mom is Australian, so she has family over there (Aunts, Uncles, cousins) that are with her. I'm flying out on Monday morning.

Thanks for everything.

I'm Canadian also...

hhmm, the leg will probably be her focus for a while,
since she must be worried about it and the pain keeps it in her focus.

Hoping you all can keep her spirits up about playing hockey
that i know she can do if she wants to keep playing.
the carpentry i dont know about but i suspect there are others who will know.

she has half the battle with the social and psychological stuff
-if family and friends are there for that part
she has the fighting spirit from what I sense in you writing of her...
to make it through the rest,
her career goals may change just because she has gone through a traumatic experience,
and because she is young...
her athletic choices shouldn't ultimately have to change much at all.
that may be a relief for her to know,
that something she wants, can still be there for her.


Gawain  (D 29213)

Feb 10, 2008, 9:43 AM
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Re: [kittikat] Helping accept amputation [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The arm is above the elbow, unfortunately. So far the pain is pretty bad, but it seems to mostly be her leg - she almost lost it as well, and the femur is broken in a couple places so that is the worst right now. It is still very early...

The biggest factor over the next month +/- will be pain management. Hopefully the doctors and nurses will tend to it prudently, and not with a wash of cocktails to numb the mind.

Best wishes to all. I presume she'll return home to Canada and finish recovery there?


kittikat  (C License)

Feb 10, 2008, 10:38 AM
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Re: [Gawain] Helping accept amputation [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the replies...

As far as I can tell, they seem to be doing alright with the pain meds (from talking on the phone with her - cant do much else right now). She is very lucid, and knows exactly what is going on, so that seems to be good. She's stubborn and wants to be told everything that is happening, so she is the one that told me that it was amputated above the elbow and that the first surgery was to clean it up and the one she will be in right away is for skin grafts.

We're not sure when she will be coming home to Canada - we don't want to move her too soon, and she seems to be getting great care there, so it will likely be a while before she comes home. I am biased - I want her to come home right now so that I can be there all the time, but ultimately the decision will be hers as to when she wants to come back home.

Thanks for the website - it was really informative.

To Gimpboogie - she first was saying that she's never play hockey again, but now after finding out a little more about prosthetics she has changed her mind. Smile She's tough, so she'll be ok.

I can't wait to see her - I'm leaving tomorrow morning.

How long does it typically take to accept it, mentally? I know it will be different for everyone...


gimpboogie

Feb 11, 2008, 4:58 AM
Post #9 of 11 (1570 views)
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Re: [kittikat] Helping accept amputation [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
.

I can't wait to see her - I'm leaving tomorrow morning.

How long does it typically take to accept it, mentally? I know it will be different for everyone...

hhmm good question.
things happen to us as people, whether it's landing in wheelchairs, loosing limbs, or senses, whether its debilitating illness and when it first happens we often think everything is over... just about every thing we ever wanted is gone.


then the mental stuff starts.
in conjunction with the physical stuff, the mental gymnastics we must play really is the key to the whole 'recovery' process.

As for how long it takes, it really depends on each person. Often there is the the initial shock which can turn a person's disposition one way or the other. Either we are pretty tough and seem to have no difficulties and seem to move on pretty easily, or else we really fall hard on our faces and seem to others that we may not get up.
Either is typical initially. Either is not necessarily going to stay that way.
The initial toughness, apparent acceptance can turn into a face we feel we must put on, or keep on, and can hide our true inner feelings.
Not so good.
There has to be a place, a group of people we can feel comfortable to say ;this really sucks; and cry about it when we feel like we need to.

On the other side of the fence, the initial shock sending us into depression and feelings of inadequacy can linger on and become ones identity if nothing helps to pull oneself out of that space.


What I've seen when people go through a life transforming event, that the acceptance comes in doses, in waves, in tides almost.

Each time we enter into the realm of distress or 'non acceptance' of the reality of our situation, more often then not the rebound effect is a deeper acceptance and a deeper peace within ourselves of the situation as it is.

That lasts for a while and something can trigger the emotional roller coaster to start again and we enter the realm of distress. Werther it is facing our losses, or facing new ways of dealing with our situation.

Such as going back to school or work for the first time after injury. For me, the first time trying to do things i enjoyed doing and now am facing a lifelong chance in how to accomplish this activity-like hockey will be for her- was when acceptance waned again and the demons haunted once more.

It does eventually grow to be the way we are,
that we accept our situation, our new life as it is,
and those moments of distress eventually subside.

How long?
It seems that the medical field has a 2 yr period they like to toss around. I hear it often that people in rehab. during the first 2 yrs really go through the toughest times.
I also hear that the first two yrs generally are the times during which a person adjusts merely to their physical condition, and this 2 yr period is difficult to focus on just about anything else.

Yet there are differences for all people. My rowing parther, is a former paratrooper and he was injured July 1st 2005-broke his back during a training exercise.
On the 2nd yr anniversary of his accident, he had allready finished the 1st yr of his new college course, had finish rebah. a long time ago and was well into rowing for the national development program. He currently broke the Canadian record for rowers within his disability class and is quite seriously expected to excell at all he does. this is 2 1/2 yrs after his accident.
On the other hand, when I had my motorcross accident, I took it very hard initially. It took me at least 4 yrs to emotionally recover and accept my physical condition. Yet, in Sept 2005 when I was diagnosed with a terminal neurological condition, it seems to have been easier for me to accept this, although on the surface it seems like a more difficult diagnosis then the motorcycle accident injuries.


Acceptance comes for each, through a different avenue and seems to be a journey which is bi-directional.
A Journey which brings unexpected situations our way.

It's evident your sister is deeply loved, fiercely determined and smart young woman. She is as lucky to have you all, as you are to have her with you today.
May you all journey together through this becoming stronger women, and remain close.

Be well and remain strong as you journey to her bedside,
-minna


repcool  (D 30916)

Mar 13, 2008, 7:27 PM
Post #10 of 11 (1398 views)
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Re: [kittikat] Helping accept amputation [In reply to] Can't Post

See if this site helps you any. It is my mate Dwight's, Handi-Capable. I met him at a MOAB boogie and the guy truly considers his leg to of been a blessing. The timing might not be right but its good to read, it is a story that should motivate us all:

http://profile.myspace.com/...p;friendID=210027693


Turtletop

Mar 18, 2008, 3:42 PM
Post #11 of 11 (1351 views)
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Re: [kittikat] Helping accept amputation [In reply to] Can't Post

My thoughts and prayers are with your sister! We are in a similar sitation. My sister was in an accident as well. We live in the mainlands and her accident happened in Hawaii. She is all alone fighting this battle, because we have been unable to visit. It has been hard on the whole family. Everytime we talk to her she is crying or completly knocked out on Medications. She just underwent her 11th surgery and if it doesn't take then they will be amputating from the knee down. I will pray for your sister as well as the strength your family will need to lift her up!



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