Your amputation journey

"Standing Strong"

Having an amputation is life changing and this video and accompanying booklet will help you understand what to expect along your amputation journey as you learn to adjust to new ways of doing things for a full and happy life.

 

Hello, I want to have a yarn with you mob about why part of me looks a bit different to before. Now see you fullas I had a poor health in my leg and the doctors had to cut it off. The doctors called it “amputation”. Now when I had this done, I didn’t know what was going to happen and at times it was scary, and now I know I can still do things that I used to and thanks to the Amputee team at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, I can still live a solid life with my mob. Now listen carefully as I’m going to share my story, so it helps you and your mob understand what happens if you or your mob ever need an amputation.

When my journey started I had to travel to Perth which is Whadjuk Noongar country. Now some folk go by car or train but for me, I went by plane. At times it was hard to be so far away from family and country and with the hospital being big and noisy, I was frightened at first, but there were lots of people there to help me. There was a team of doctors, nurses, Aboriginal Liaison officers, Occupational Therapists, Physios, Social Workers, Psychologist and Patient Support staff who were all good fullas to talk to if I had any worries or questions.

Now when I first woke up from the operation, it felt like my leg was still there and I thought I could get out of bed and walk no trouble, my team told me this is normal and is called “phantom sensation”. OT and Physio people taught me how to get out of bed without hurting myself and gave me a special wheelchair that supported my leg and at this time I was taught about preventing falls and pressure wounds. Sometimes I felt sharp or throbbing pain where the wound was and sometimes even pain in the part of the leg that wasn’t there anymore. This was really strange, they told me it’s called “phantom pain”. It was important I told the doctors and nurses when I had these pains as they helped manage it with medicine.

The nurses checked my wound regularly to make sure it was healing solid ways and they taught me what to do to keep my wound clean and what to look out for so it didn’t get infected. I was encouraged to not smoke cigarettes and eat good tucker so I would heal faster.

After the wound started healing, they took me to Osborne Park Hospital, not far away, to start rehab. This is where the hard work started but it meant that I got stronger and I was eventually able to come home to country, to my mob. In rehab I had a special sock I put on my stump called a “shrinker” which is very important to wear as the shrinker sock helps reduce the swelling in my leg, I also did exercises to strengthen and move my body and learnt about caring for both my legs and most importantly started to get my independence back.

All my hard work in hospital paid off you mob, because the doctor said I was strong and I could learn to use a “prosthesis”. That’s a fancy word for my new fake - gammin leg. I got to choose who made my leg and it didn’t cost me a cent too, deadly unna? Some others fullas at rehab weren’t able to get their fake leg straight away, so they went home with a wheelchair and came back a few months later. That’s ok , because it’s better to do it when it’s right for you.

The people who made my new leg, the Prosthetist started by taking a plaster cast of my stump and lots of measurements to make sure it was right for me. I took my favourite shoes with me so they could be sure that the new leg would fit my shoes. It took about one week to make and then I had to go and check the leg fitted ok. Now you mob, remember this was just my first leg and even though it doesn’t look like a proper leg , I still had to learn how to take care of it and to look after myself, at the hospital gym I had to learn how to balance properly, practise walking till I was deadly good and the hardest one was learning how to go up and down steps.

You know you mob I didn’t always feel like doing my exercise or practising my walking, as some days were really hard, but the team told me to stick at it and I’m glad I did because it meant I could get home to my mob quicker. So you see I kept up the practice and eventually I was able to get my final prosthetic leg. This time they asked more questions about me like what it is I like to do back home, which gave me a say in what my deadly new leg would look like.

Now, the journey doesn’t end there fullas. I still have regular check-ups with the amputee clinic each year. I meet with my doctor, the physio, the OT, the psychologist and the bloke that made the leg they all make sure I’m doing well and that my new leg is working the best it can for me.

You will have days when you want to give up on rehab, but don’t you mob, stick with the journey and work with your team so you will be back home and doing the things you love, just like me!

Last Updated: 30/09/2021