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I was rushed into the Emergency Ward at Vancouver General Hospital and went into a coma. Two weeks later, I awoke to find I had many tubes in me, I was breathing through a hole in my throat, and I couldn't speak. I couldn't even ask what had happened to me.
Worse of all, my hands and feet were black and I couldn't move them. What on earth happened? Eventually I was told that I had a serious bacterial infection in the blood. I was in septic shock, which critically dropped my blood pressure to a life-threatening level.
To keep me alive, the doctor gave me vaso-compressor drugs to concentrate the blood in my vital organs. I also had an allergic reaction to an anti-body treatment. My immune system overreacted with many micro-clots. The combination of these factors led to stopped blood flow in my hands and feet. That's why they became black from necrosis.
I was lucky not to have had a stroke, heart attack, or organ failure. I survived. Afterwards, doctor after doctor came to consult about my hands and feet. They tried for several weeks to save them, but eventually they told me that my hands and feet would have to be amputated.
I felt broken and scared. What would life be like without my hands and feet?
I'm a single dad, how will I raise my son?
But in the following months, I also rediscovered my family and friends.
My mom was with me daily and even fed me my meals. And the word had gotten out, many of my friends came, even some I had not seen for years. I was soon known as the guy with so many visitors. Several churches were praying for me. My family and friends carried me through that dark time. And not just for me; ladies from my mom's church brought her food every day. They kept her company while the surgeons amputated my hands and feet.
I was in the hospital for almost 6 months.
At the G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Center, I had to regain my strength and learn to walk again on my prosthetic legs. And I had to learn to use my prosthetic hooks, although they were nothing compared to what my hands could do.
My fellow patients say I'm an inspiration to them because of my positive attitude and I'm glad I can encourage someone in their dark times.
The greatest thing I miss is not being able to hold my son in my hands. I tell my five-year-old son that Daddy is still Daddy, and I think he understands.
There is still a long road ahead. I'm still learning to take care of myself and my son. When I wake up in the morning, I am not able to do anything until someone helps me don my prosthesis. I had to learn how to do everything again, even dressing and feeding myself. Making meals is quite challenging. And there's still so much my hooks can not do.
Lately I find myself staring at people's hands. My dream is to get a prosthesis that looks more like my old hands. There is also a lot of assistance, equipment and changes to the house that I will need.
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