Christopher (Chris) Berry is philosophical about the motorcycle accident that claimed his left foot last September. “I have two choices,” he says. “I can sit and feel sorry for myself, or I can get up and get on with my life.”
The accident occurred while Chris and his 17-year-old daughter were enjoying a leisurely ride on a country road in Campbellville. Chris knew at the time of the collision that he would likely lose his foot. “My left leg and foot were crushed and I knew I wasn’t taking my foot home with me,” he says matter-of-factly. Even with this realization and the searing pain, Chris’ only concern was the wellbeing of his daughter.
Chris was rushed by ambulance to the Trauma Unit at Hamilton General Hospital. As he had suspected, his left foot could not be saved; doctors amputated the lower half of his leg, a hand length below the knee. Fortunately, his daughter’s injuries were far less serious; a fact for which he is grateful. “Better me than my daughter,” he says.
Determined to get back “on his feet,” Chris was referred to the Prosthetics and Orthotics Service, where he was fitted with a prosthetic leg. After spending a month in a wheelchair, Chris was eager, if not impatient, to walk again. It was more difficult than he had anticipated. “At 45, I had to learn to walk again,” remembers Chris. “I was a little taken aback by how difficult it was, the simplest things became the hardest things.
With the help and support of his physiotherapist, Janet and prosthetist, Phil, Chris was walking within a week. He progressed so well, in fact, that he was able to be discharged from the clinic after only five weeks. “My surgeon was totally shocked when I walked into my follow-up appointment,” he laughs.
Today, Chris works out at the gym several times a week. He has a second prosthesis that he uses for swimming and walking on uneven surfaces, and visits the clinic periodically for follow-up. He’ll never ride a motorcycle again but is working on a “trike” that he hopes to have running next summer.
The past year has been a huge adjustment for Chris and his family, but he remains thankful for the care he has received at the Prosthetics and Orthotics Clinic. “I wouldn’t be walking if not for the amazing staff here,” he says. “They try to push you as far as you can go. They are the greatest people on the planet.”