LAFAYETTE, La. — Medical personnel. Therapists. Regular people who have lost limbs through some kind of tragedy. But they have come together, they’'ve formed a family, and they're helping each other find answers. It's an amazing, amazing group.
"When you become an amputee, it's a learning process,” says Al Roger, a Carencro farmer who lost his arm in an accident eight years ago. “Every day you learn something new, how to do something to ease it up, or that you can do. And there are some things you will not be able to do."
Brandy Dillon facilitates the group and is well aware of the concerns. "How do I adjust? Different adjustments with the prosthetic. The swelling of the body, the different body adjustments, the mental challenges and the family-associated challenges."
There are plenty of the questions and, also, plenty of answers at these monthly Limb Loss meetings held at Lafayette General's Orthopedics facility. “It’s where this group can come together and air their challenges, their concerns, their solutions through their different things that are going on,” explains Dr. Steve Rees of Lafayette General. “We have people that have had amputations for 30 years and we have people that have had amputations for three months."
Participants run the gamut of just about everyone in the process. There are therapists: "There's a psychological component into it. it involves asking for help."
And there are caregivers, often spouses who can add bits of humorous reality to their situations. “He doesn't want help, he wants to do it himself. but he can't,” says the wife of one amputee. “At first it was, 'Stop doing this; you have to let me in, you have to let me help you'. And now it's, 'Oh, i need my coffee, I need... (laughter)’."
And there are the patients themselves, who, regardless of what limb or limbs they have lost, are living breathing eternal fountains of inspiration. "It's tragic what happened,” surmises one group member, “but i guess that's the reason I'm here. To show people, 'don't give up on life'.”
Cue the applause, please.
(The Limb Loss group meets every third Friday at Noon at the Lafayette General Orthopedics Hospital located at 4212 W. Congress Street).
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