The story of my amputation and lfe as an above knee amputee began in 1974 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, where I grew up. It was on July 31, a hot summer day filled with fun and excitement. I had just turned 19.
My buddy Jim and I had been out having fun all day. High school was finished, life was good. We’d gone horseback riding with a bunch of guys for a couple hours, then off to the go cart track for some more action.
That evening, Jim and I decided to head off to Crystal Beach Amusement Park for a night of riding the world famous Comet Roller Coaster. We didn’t make it.
As we cruised down Sodom Road near dusk, on Jim’s Triumph Bonneville 650, he noticed a car out of control coming straight for us. Jim’s quick reactions probably saved our lives. He veered toward the shoulder on the right, and as we landed on the shoulder of the road, the oncoming vehicle kept coming at us, clipping our legs on the left side of the motorcycle. Jim somehow held the bike up until we slowed down enough to drop and roll off. I took one look at my mangled knee and realized I was in pretty bad shape. The pain was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. Jim was lying near by and we were both screaming in agony for someone to help us, as the driver of the car did not stop.
After what seemed like eons, but I learned later was about 15 minutes, a car full of young people stopped, and a young lady comforted me while someone else ran to a nearby house to call an ambulance. I remember lying there and someone taking my picture, some guy who turned out to be a reporter.
The ambulance arrived finally, and it was a long trip to Niagara Falls General Hospital, where we arrived fully conscious, in shock, to family and friends who were already there. As I was being rushed into emergency surgery, I remember seeing my mother and my brother and my girlfriend, and just wanting something to drink, and something for the pain. I was allowed neither, as I was being wheeled directly into surgery.
The next thing I remember is waking up a day or two later with a huge cast on and tubes running everywhere. I recall thinking I just had a broken leg. I was pretty out of it on morphine and all kinds of other drugs. The thing I remember the most is every time I came out of my stupor momentarily, my older brother Mike was still sitting there. He must have sat there for 2 or 3 days!
After a couple weeks and a few more operations, I came to the realization that I had a choice to make. They could try to save the leg, meaning months and months of surgery with no guaranteed outcome, or they could remove it. I opted for the amputation and never looked back. I walked out of the hospital on two feet within 5 weeks of arriving and began my life as an amputee.