December not only marks a time of joy and celebration but also serves as a reminder to embrace the spirit of inclusion. Here ….
January 26, 2021
Hi, I am a 50-year-old (soon to be 51) family man. My wife and I have successfully raised six children — two are still at home and attending high school.
While on a hike in late July with some brand new boots, I got a blister on the bottom of my left foot. I broke the blister and thought nothing of it until I noticed it smelled and looked infected. At that time, I consulted an online doctor and then urgent care without good results. I went to see a podiatrist and ended up in the hospital for three days of IV antibiotics. Everything was looking good; we discussed performing a graph when a series of tragic events occurred to my family. My wife had to have emergency surgery, and while helping her recover, my granny/mom passed away. This loss was incredibly hard for me. I had to go to Chicago (my hometown) without my wife, but my brave and supportive 15-year-old son went with me. While in Chicago, my foot started to take a turn. My big toe began to turn black. I called and left messages for my podiatrist, and he advised me to return ASAP and go back to the hospital.
When I got to the hospital, I was placed in ICU without explanation until my wife called. She had so much emotion in her voice when she said, “Bae, I need you to be calm; we will get through this.” I asked, “Get through what, love?” She then informed me that the hospital had called and told her I was admitted to the ICU because my sugar levels were at 677, and my BP was at 205/190. They said it was a miracle I was walking around, coherent, and not in severe pain, given the state of my foot. It took a day and a half, but my sugar levels and blood pressure both went down. My podiatrist showed up and spoke with me about what he was going to do. He said, “Carl, that toe is dead; we have to take it.” I said, “What do you mean, ‘take it’; are you cutting off my toe?!” He confirmed that, and the next day I had surgery to remove my toe. I woke up to my wife smiling at me and rubbing my head. Both my wife and the podiatrist returned the next day, and I was told it was gangrene, and they did not get it all — I had to go back into surgery to attempt to get the rest.
Long story short, three more toes were removed, but they still did not get it all. Considering all my options, a below-knee amputation (BKA) offered a better quality of life, so I went for that. A week later, that is what happened. After the surgery, some people came in to fit me for a stump protector. It was not a proper fit and fell off during hospital physical therapy. I suffered a lot of emotional stress, pain, and depression when I got home, trying to get my benefits with the car started and with SSA as well, with no help. I was grasping for normalcy. I tried to be independent and ended up falling while trying to do laundry. I landed right on the bottom of my stump, and it busted open. I lost six staples and had to have a revise. After a short stay in the hospital, I returned home aware that I had six more weeks with staples and had to be careful. Before I left the hospital, I ordered a rook stump protector. The cost was going to be crazy, so I spoke to a rep that helped me tremendously. I asked about a vet discount and was told they did not have one. I got off the phone to buy it with cash when the rep called me back. He informed me that if I could pay for the shipping, they would send it to me. I am so thankful. That is what I did, and I have worn that thing every day for five weeks. It was during this time I saw a story for South Beach Prosthetics on their Facebook page. I left a comment, and Alan (Warman) from South Beach called me the next day. The following day I spoke with Holly, and the following week my wife and I met her at my surgeon’s office to get my staples out. She has been a Godsend ever since! A few weeks after meeting her, she brought Morgan to my house for my first fitting!
Fast forward to December 23rd, 2020. Morgan was unavailable, so Holly and Frank came to the house to deliver my prosthesis. I had just picked up my son from the airport as he was home on leave. My wife and two younger children were home as well, and my brother — a photographer — came to capture the moment. It was somewhat anti-climactic because I was too swollen to get the leg on, but about four hours later, I was able to get it on and took my first steps. I was elated, to say the least!
A week later, Morgan came for a follow-up, and I am walking. I need adjustments, but I am walking without crutches. I am still getting follow-ups and adjustments. Holly and Morgan have been nothing short of amazing, and I am looking forward to running next month. The best thing, along with all the help with my prosthesis, is that South Beach Prosthetics offered to sponsor us with a companion dog, Blue, trained by AlphA and Omega Dog Training! We have already adopted him, and he is coming home on January 18th. We cannot wait!
Thank you, South Beach Prosthetics — you guys are the absolute best!!
Carl Anderson, FL