At the beginning of July 2016, I was admitted to The Prince Charles Hospital after my ankle swelled up to the size and colour of a rugby football. On 22 July 2016, the doctors and specialists determined I had acquired an arterial ulcer in my left leg. Having Cardiac Doctors, Vascular Specialists and Infectious Diseases Experts all swapping ideas, I knew that something wasn’t right. I left hospital in August 2016 with the aid of underarm crutches which I call my “long sticks”. In June 2017, I knew my leg required amputation as the arterial ulcer on my left ankle was persistent. All the efforts of “mice and men” had not worked.
I had prepared myself for the upcoming surgery by attending Bargara Y Fitness Centre for 3 months to get as fit as I could with one and a half useful legs, including peddling on the exercise bike, rowing on the indoor rowing machine, hiking on the treadmill and some minor weight exercises. It was very difficult, but extremely helpful.
On 5 October 2017, I had my left leg amputated below the knee at The Prince Charles Hospital. I was awake for the procedure which was a real teeth-chattering experience. No heroics, just practicality, as I didn’t want to go kite flying again but ended up doing so from the pain medication. Boy, what a trip! In the 3 months following my release from hospital, I exercised at home daily with some assistance from a Physiotherapist from Bundaberg Hospital. In January 2018, I started Physiotherapy 2 sessions per week at Blue Care Allied Health in Bundaberg. In February 2018 after receiving my first prosthesis, I re-commenced gym training 2-3 sessions per week and have continued to do so since with my wife Jeannette. I served in the Royal Australian Navy for ten years, rode motorbikes around Australia and sailed on our cruising yacht, there is nothing that is going to slow me down!
Jeannette and I attended the Össur Mobility Clinic held at Somerset College, Gold Coast on 15-16 April 2019. Where do I start? Fun, fun and more fun. I had no pre-conceived ideas before attending the clinic, but I came away after the 2 days full of enthusiasm and desire to achieve more in my life. I had the opportunity to meet inspirational achievers and play indoor soccer and basketball. Since attending the clinic, I can now jog and run short distances. The Athletes (amputees wearing blue shirts) certainly gave our Buddies (healthcare professionals wearing grey shirts) a run for their money during the basketball games. I was able to play multiple different sports and had such great time playing with everyone. Throughout the 2-day clinic, there was great encouragement and inspiration shown by everyone who attended. It was great to see the little ones getting in and giving it a go. I thoroughly recommend for every amputee to attend. Our heart-felt thanks to Cathy Howells, Scott Elliott and the Team!!
Where to from here? I have continued the gym workouts with friends and family even calling me a gym junky now. I hope to meet like-minded amputees through Amputees & Families Support Group QLD, spend as much time outdoors as possible and attend the next 2020 Mobility Clinic in Sydney.
Good, better, best. Never let it rest. 'Til your good is better and your better is best. -John Furphy