The Chance to Share a Positive Message

Following open-heart surgery for constrictive pericarditis, I developed an allergic reaction to a blood thinning medication. I developed gangrene in both feet up to the ankles and in the top half of my right hand, including all four fingers and the top of my thumb. As a consequence, both legs were amputated below the knees, and half of my right hand was amputated as well. John Horne was working in conjunction with my vascular surgeon. I got to know him early in the process, and he was a tremendous help, both physically and morale-wise. I wouldn’t have even considered working with another company.

Working with Independence has been a great experience. I was discharged from the Therapy Center at Wilmington Hospital in late July 2008, and John had me fitted with test prosthetics in a matter of two or three weeks. I took my first real steps in his facility—a monumental occasion for my wife and me. Over the last two years, the progress has been continuous. I was back to work (teaching at the University of Delaware) in time for the 2008 Fall Semester. In less than two years, I now walk freely, using my quad-cane only for long-distance walking. We keep my wheelchair in the office at UD. I don’t even use it at home. I climb and descend stairs comfortably. It’s like “Welcome Back to The World!” Independence deserves most of the credit.

The whole team is upbeat and serious, accessible and flexible. Their commitment is obvious, but the atmosphere is informal and friendly—my kind of people. No whining or whimpering—just look ahead and get it done!

My work, as a professor of English at the University, defines who I am. If I had been prevented from returning to what I do, I would have had no pivotal center to my life—nor would my wife, who also teaches there. She deserves to be more than a caregiver, and we’ve been fortunate enough, with the help of people like those at Independence, to re-integrate seamlessly into our professional situation. It also allows me to communicate with students on a new level. They don’t have everyday contact with many people in my situation, and they seem interested in what my situation is like and how to handle it. It gives me the chance to forward a positive message which might be useful down the line, when they face personal adversity of their own.

                                                                                                                                          Patrick W.

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