Introduction

My name is Paul Felton, from Willenhall, and i have had my left leg removed below the knee in February 2013 after my ankle was crushed in a fall in April 2011 and multiple infections prevented it from heeling.

Concerned by the lack of support and help available to amputees in the region, i decided to turn what happened into a positive and setup the West Midlands Amputee Support Group to help people talk about their experiences and share advice on coping with losing a limb.

I was putting up bunting for a Royal Wedding party at his place of work when the ladder i was using moved and caused me to lose my balance. I landed hard on my foot and fell forward and bumped my head, causing me to become disorientated.

I was rushed to New Cross Hospital by ambulance where x-rays revealed i had suffered a crushed left ankle, multiple fractures in my leg, a sprained wrist and nasty gash on my forehead.

During the three weeks i was in hospital i had pins inserted into my ankle to try and stabilise it and my leg plastered to try and heal the fractures.

However, despite intensive physiotherapy, my bones were not healing properly and i suffered months of infections that caused me agonising pain and left me unable to bear any weight on the leg. Eventually, in February 2013, it was decided the best option was to remove my leg below the knee.

The wound has now healed and with extensive rehabilitation including physiotherapy, i am getting used to wearing a prosthetic leg.

The last two years have been very difficult as i’ve struggled to recover from my injuries.

When i was told the best option was to have my leg amputated i felt such a range of emotions. Obviously i was very worried and concerned about how my life would change and i worried about the impact it would have on my wife.

I thought there would be a support network that i could talk to and share my feelings with, but i was very surprised to discover that there was nothing of that kind in the West Midlands area.

I knew there must be other people like me desperate to talk to someone else who else had recently been through a similar situation so i decided to take action and set something up.

It’s early days, but i have already gained support from the Maltings Mobility Centre in Wolverhampton, where i receive regular physiotherapy as well as Local Ring and Ride Services and Local Businesses who want to get involved.

The vision is to have enough interest to be able to hold regular support groups, bringing people together to share advice and make them feel that they do not have to go through the trauma of an amputation alone.

Paul Felton – September 2013

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