“Ten things no one tells you before you lose a limb”

That’s the title of an article in the Telegraph by a Royal Marine who lost his leg.  Here are a couple of excerpts.

2. Kids will stare

Much to their parents’ embarrassment, children are welcomingly tactless and often stare open mouthed before pointing out the obvious.

I smile and reassure them I am aware that my leg has fallen off and my offer to give them a detailed look at my prosthetic is rarely refused. However, I’m glad to say I’ve yet to fight a seven-year old for my leg back.

. . .

6. You will forget that it’s gone

Protracted wearing of a prosthetic can be painful, so I usually remove it when seated. This habitually results in me falling over when I stand back up as I keep forgetting I don’t have a right leg any more.

Conversely, when sat down I instinctively stretch out my missing leg to stop my prosthetic toppling over. How ironic.

There’s more at the link.  Interesting, often amusing, and thought-provoking.

Please God none of us will end up in a similar situation;  but if we do, this man’s advice might be worth hearing.  I imagine Murphy’s Law and Joel, each of whom has lost a leg, will probably have similar things to say.



  1. It's really not so bad. I lost mine almost 30 years ago in a motorcycle accident. I've beaten guys that I work with at racquetball, I've gone down the Colorado in a raft (twice), I've hiked through Bryce and Moab in Utah … really only lost maybe 10% of my mobility (below the knee). Only once have I gotten out of bed and forgotten. So many people have problems that are so much worse, losing a limb is really not that big a deal.
    It really pisses me off that the guy that lost an arm outshot me at an NRA highpower event in Kzoo a few years ago though. I still don't know how he did so well offhand. I think he cheated 🙂

  2. Want to see what some folks do without limbs? Go to http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index#type/replay/sport/olympics/, particularly the track and field link. I'm partial because I'm a T&F official, but I can tell you nobody was staring except at the outstanding performances by the athletes. I'll also add that I have never been around a better group of people of character in my life. The Warrior Games are coming up in a few weeks and the Invictus Games will be in Toronto next year. Might be worth marking your calendar to see what "disabled" people can really accomplish.

  3. I've honestly never stood up without it on, forgetting that I didn't have it. The stares though, especially from kids, takes some getting used to. For a while I used to tell them that it happened when I was their age because I disobeyed my parents and the monster under the bed tore it off one night. That was when I found out that little kids really believe that sort of thing because I traumatized a couple of children of friends before I knew.

    Still, when all things go well, I can do most anything, including running five miles like I just did this morning. Of course things don't always all go well and one minor variable in the day's fitting can tear me up and sideline me for several days more before I even feel the pain and know that there's a problem. Even simple dehydration can do it as the leg loses just enough mass to put the fit outside the parameters it needs to function and I can't feel it happening until the blisters form, at which point, the damage is done.

    It's complex, but it still beats not walking at all, so I and others like me make the best of it.

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