Thanks to all that have helped!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Homeward Bound!!!

Finally the first steps of my journey to getting my life back to normal has begun. It started on January 26th with the first incision of a scalpel and now has finally moved to my home. The plan now is physical therapy at home 3 times a week and learning to get around without my leg. It'll be at least a month before I can get the prosthetic. I am currently wearing the lovely device known as a "stump shrinker" it's actually much more comfortable than it sounds. It's only painful when it is put on, after that it actually feels quite nice, the gentle compression helps with the phantom pains.

A word about phantom pains, they are the most horrible experience I have ever had and now I have much more respect for my patients that have dealt with them. The first night in the hospital was horrible, my foot was burning, well, my theoretical foot was burning. Kate, having the same sense of humor as most in the healthcare field states that "Well honey, it is burning. It's in the incinerator downstairs." I love that woman. Tonight I am finally home and can begin to try to get back to some normalcy. The phantom pains are still present, but they have decided to show themselves as itching. My foot will itch for 5 or 10 minutes, and it is the most annoying feeling I have ever dealt with. I am very happy to be finally taking a step out of the limbo I was trapped in. My brother stated that while I was in the hospital he was finally able to see that glint of hope in my eyes again. I finally got out of that purgatory, I can not express well enough with the words I have available to me to describe the feeling of being stuck. The feeling of not moving forward or backward, just stuck in the place where you are. So, I know I have said it a few times before, I am finally able to make a step toward my future. I am finally stepping out into the world again, I am going to deal with people staring and making fun of me, because face it, some people can be evil...but I'm ready for this. I have already shocked the doctors and nurses taking care of me by progressing so quickly from amputation to home, I think I'm going to shock a lot more people by becoming the 54th paramedic in the United States to return to work on an ambulance as Louisville's own Prosthetic Medic. Look out....I'm Back!!!!


  1. Keep your head up Dirte! We got your back!

  2. That's awesome man!!
    HomeGrownHappi - Jenn

  3. You all should submit your story to Ellen DeGeneres. Seriously. I think she would help pay some bills for you guys! I was going to submit you myself, but I would have had to have given your blog and pictures in submission and with that give up the rights (at least the way I understood it...) and I can't make that decision for you!

  4. Also, glad you are HOME! Let the real healing begin!

  5. Hi Joe,

    Your story has been very inspiring and it has changed how I view life in so many ways. I really appreciate you sharing your story as many of us in EMS need to hear it.

    I wrote about you on my blog and I hope to at least send some people to your blog to hear your story.

    If there is a way that I can place a link for my visitors to donate to your cause, please let me know. I wan't to help in any way I can.

    Keep up the fight. I have no doubt that you will be successful and show the world just how strong you are.

  6. Joe, you rock. As a disabled paramedic (back is gone to hell and back)I am rooting for you, the prosthetic medic and *know* you will fight until you are back on the rig. Fight with the passion that fills us all. I can't afford to donate until my check comes in, and it will be only a small amount, but this medic wants to help even a little. Take names and kick some gluteus maximus!!

  7. Keep your head up and remember your EMS family is here to support you... We are brothers and sisters and have many all over the united states as well as some in other countrys

  8. Joe,

    I'm going to echo Sean - There's a huge EMS blogger community out there. A bunch of us are now following your story. If there's anything we can do to help, please let us know.

    While my experience wasn't anything as severe as yours, I've been though my own fight with the bosses. I broke my humerus, and fought my doc, and then my boss to return to get cleared to return to work. It wasn't fun - but I'm damn glad I came back. I'm sure you'll make it.

  9. I've heard that once you have the prosthetic it can help with phantom pains, giving you a foot to scratch kinda tricks the brain.

    Good luck with your recovery, and your return to work! I think all of EMS is rooting for you