old member back again...
Andrew P. Bell
andrew at nji.com
Fri May 31 00:06:59 PDT 2002
Howdy Amp-L crew!
My name is Andrew and I am an LBK. I was one of the earlier members of
Amp-L (not to be confused with the charter members.) that began posting
on Amp-L a few weeks after its inception. I used to belong to both
amputee lists (are there more than two, now?) but the "other" list
moderator was a bit to hot and heavy on the censoring button for my
taste. I've been away for quite a few years, but hopefully I can get
back into the forum on a productive level.
I lost my left leg, BK. in 1990 from injuries sustained in a MVA; I was
a pedestrian helping out a friend that had been in an accident on New
Jersey's RT. 80. While standing on the shoulder of the highway I was
struck by yet another vehicle and became the only seriously injured
party in the, ultimately, five-car pile-up. My car was never involved
in the accident. Sigh.
Subsequent to my amputation, I re-enlisted (some might say, ahem,
fraudulently.) in the US Army Reserves. Prior to my accident I had been
a Sgt. E-5 in the Active U.S. Army as a Military Policeman. Since I had
had a physical just a few months before my accident, there was no need
for a physical upon re-enlisting in the reserves. Suffice it to say: I
fell in between the cracks of the vast bureaucracy that is the Army. I
served 7 more years in the reserves before the powers that be decided
that I could no longer serve-this was decided after two more subsequent
promotions (I left the Army as a Sgt. 1st class E-7) and a few
decorations for outstanding performance of my duties as an MP (2 Army
Commendation medals, and 1 AFRAM- Armed Forced Reserve Achievement
Medal) If you think that the Army's way of thinking pissed me off, then
you've hit the nail on the head. What REALLY ticked me off was the fact
that I was able, as an amputee, to pass the APFT (Army Physical Fitness
Test) which includes push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run. Some of the
other soldiers in my unit (mainly those that were overweight) were
unable to pass the APFT but were still allowed to remain in the
reserves. Sound prejudicial to you? After consulting with an attorney
(a former JAG attorney, at that) I was informed that I really had no
legal "leg" to stand on (what? Again?!) <grin>
Since my discharge in 1998, I've been doing all the things that people
do: I graduated college, got married, had a child with my wife, and took
a job in my chosen field. In the ensuing years, I've also re-learned
how to ride a motorcycle (courtesy of out modest moderator, Wayne!) and
also re-learned how to ski (I use two skis and my prosthesis to ski-the
mono-ski and outriggers were just too alien to me). Things have been
interesting, to say the least.
A dark cloud was LONG overdue to rain on my parade.
In June of 2000 I was diagnosed with a condition that has been the bane
of my existence ever since: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. RSD is a
dysfunction of the Sympathetic (or Autonomic nerves, if I have my
anatomical jargon correct) Nerves. It is VERY painful, and there is no
"cure" for it. It causes a horrible burning pain throughout the
affected area, and causes large, painful, weeping blisters/legions to
form, as well. I have had over 100 spinal blocks in pursuit of relief,
and am on fairly high doses of Opoids (yeah, yeah, I know- NARCOTICS)
including Oxy-Contin and Oxy-IR.
My question to the list: Has anyone else on the list been diagnosed with
RSD, or know of anyone else that has RSD? What have they done to combat
it, and what are the long-term pros and cons of the "newest" treatment:
a Spino-Cortical Stimulator? I am also currently wrestling with yet
another outbreak of OstoeMyelitis (sp?), a very stubborn bone infection.
I will more than likely have to have another surgery to scrape the
infection off of the surface of the bone. Again- has anyone on the list
had a similar procedure done, and if so, what were the long-term
I hope that all my old list-pals are doing well, and I look forward to
hearing from you. I look forward to meeting all of the newer members of
Amp-L that have come and become residents during my "sabbatical."
Warm Wishes to all,
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