My name is Blair Marriott and on the 3rd December 2010 I was involved in a head-on motorcycle versus car collision, with a combined speed of 120km/h. This resulted in me losing my right leg above the knee, breaking my left leg in seven places and also breaking my right arm and shattering my left wrist.
The vehicle that hit me was a stolen car driving on the wrong side of the road by a person with a learner's licence. In total I spent four days in ICU and 38 days on the hospital wards.
Extensive physiotherapy started in the hospital. At the beginning I was unable to care for myself even in the most basic way. Not only was I unable to feed myself but the level of trauma made me incapable of even getting out of bed and so a hoist had to be used. Upon leaving hospital physiotherapy continued including hydrotherapy and balance skills and going to the gym twice a week for strength building.
Due to an infection in my left leg I was wheelchair-bound for eight months as the bones could not heal properly. At the end of June I got my first socket which was a very basic leg, and proceeded to learn to walk again. Now, almost a year later I have a hydraulic knee and foot, both of which make walking a lot easier.
I decided early on in hospital, that life had not ended and that I could get busy living or get busy dying. With the help of my wonderful wife I was able to overcome every obstacle that was put in front of me. The support of friends and family has been pivotal in my recovery. For day-to-day living, I wear my leg from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed and very rarely use my wheelchair, if at all. My preferred second choice is to use my crutches.
At the time of my accident, I had served 15 years in the New Zealand Fire Service as a professional firefighter, however that was no longer to be. Thankfully the New Zealand Fire Service has stood by me and I have been redeployed to a different department where I am currently working.
The Limb Centre has been not only professional and respectful but also compassionate and very mindful to the needs of new amputees. My day-to-day living has changed immensely, but I find that I can do most things that I did before, just in a slightly different way. With the advent of new prosthetics nothing is impossible.
My recommendation to anyone going through a loss of limb is to do research on the internet and talk to as many people as possible about various prosthetics and what can be achieved. Learn as much about the mechanics of your own body as you can and join amputee websites for support and to find out about different experiences on living with an amputation.
Always remember that you are still you and only the exterior look has changed. Stay true to yourself and your recovery will be all that much faster.