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April 29th 2020

Serious Injury

Limb Loss Awareness Month: ‘Why I know you have to looking forward, not back, after amputation’

Limb Loss Awareness Month: ‘Why I know you have to looking forward, not back, after amputation’

Limbless Association Trustee Clifton Henry says he is motivated to help others make a positive recovery from amputation as he knows from his own rehabilitation how important it is to ‘look forward and not back’.

Limbless Association Trustee Clifton Henry says he is motivated to help others make a positive recovery from amputation as he knows from his own rehabilitation how important it is to ‘look forward and not back’.

Clifton Henry a trustee of Limbless Association and Hudgell Solicitors charity partner tells his story for Limb Loss awareness month:

Like many Clifton suffered his life-changing injury after an accident on the roads – an accident which happened in the flash of a second.

“I was on my motorbike on the M11 and all of a sudden the car in front of me swerved,” he recalled.

“I knew I couldn’t filter down the middle lane as he had blocked it and I was maneuvering more to the right of my lane when my front wheel gave way underneath me. I must have hit something in the road but I don’t know what it was.

“Strangely I didn’t feel any pain at first but I’d broken my leg and spent hours in surgery in hospital.”

All had initially looked well with regards Clifton’s recovery.

After numerous operations he was up and walking in the hospital and a date was set for his discharge.

However, when he went for his final surgery it was discovered that sepsis had developed under a muscle to a point where doctors had to amputate his right leg above the knee. (Prior to going down for surgery there were no discussions about amputation… Then to wake up and discover that you are “Legless” nothing can prepare you for the shock and all different types of emotions you go through.)

“It was a life or death decision, so I have to look back at that, and the situation I was in and be grateful to still be here today,” he says.

“I have nothing but praise and thanks for the NHS team for looking after me. I always think to myself that if they had discharged me that weekend, I am sure I wouldn’t be here today.”

Clifton says amputation is life-changing for all who experience it, impacting not only on individuals, but also those close to them.

“It was hugely difficult of course,” he said.

“I loved my work as a chef but I still to this day suffer with phantom pains, so I haven’t been able to return to such a demanding job.

“I had a busy family life too. My son was 13 at the time, so evenings and weekend involved taking him to football training and matches, as well as dance classes. Life changes in an instant.”

It is having experienced that huge life change that Clifton is well placed now to support others, some seven years since his own amputation.

It is why he commits his time to helping others in his role as a Trustee and Volunteer Visitor of the Limbless Association.

It was a national charity he became involved as he made his own recovery, providing support to the limb loss community with a commitment to ensuring ‘No amputee need cope alone’.

“I know the kind of support at the Limbless Association provides is so important,” he said.

“You meet people who are inspirational to you. I was struggling at one stage and a large gentleman who’d also lost his leg simply said to me ‘do you want to walk again? I said that I did and his answer was to ask me why I wasn’t.

“It really motivated me. I went home that evening put my prosthesis on and walked. I felt a great sense of achievement and have never looked back since.

“I hope people speaking to me offers them hope and positivity. I have my life back, albeit a different one to that I imagined. I used to exercise, swim and go on walks but due to my phantom pains I have had to put these activities on hold for now, but as a family we holiday twice a year. I’ve driven us over to France and we flew to Italy.

“As difficult as it can be, our team at The Limbless Association helps people look forward. You can’t progress by always looking back and thinking ‘what if?

“I say to people to try and think ‘what can I do with my life now? The answer is plenty, but the starting point is talking to others in the limb loss community, without any shadow of a doubt.”

The Limbless Association and Limb Loss Awareness Month
Clifton was speaking to mark Limb Loss Awareness Month, which runs throughout April and seeks to promote the support available to people who suffer limb loss.

The Limbless Association provides wide-ranging and vital support, from speaking to key decision makers on behalf of those needing support to providing information and advice on benefits entitlements, legal support, and where regional limb user groups, prosthetic centres and amputee friendly sports clubs can be found.

Hudgell Solicitors is proud to support The Limbless Association, which supports people nationally and also holds monthly informal information and Support & Connect Hubs drop-in sessions in Hull, Manchester and Bristol and Romford.

The charity is continuing to offer support through the current Covid-19 lockdown and can be contacted at it office on 01245 216 671, or via the helpline on 0800 644 0185.

It is continuing to conduct triage calls, host virtual speaking Hubs, web sessions including Yoga classes and arrange video conference calls between amputees looking to speak to one another.
Visit www.limbless-association.org for more information.

 

 

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