My name is Claudia Teague and I was diagnosed with H1N1 influenza and staphylococcal septicaemia in the July school holidays 2009 (aged 13 years) with multiple organ failure requiring ECMO. In other words I caught swine flu, which led onto complications and an induced coma.
A team from Starship Hospital flew down in the Flight for Life plane to Hawke's Bay hospital to hook me up to a machine that acted as my heart and lungs (ECMO) then I was flown back to Starship to PICU. I was in an induced coma and on ECMO for a week.
As a result of oxygen deprivation, I had a right above knee amputation and left forefoot amputation. I was in Starship for 2 months then moved to Middlemore Hospital to Kids First for repair work on my right stump and forefoot.
My mum (who had stayed with me the whole time) and I came home at the beginning of November 2009. Then I was back to school on crutches and wheelchair before I was fitted with an artificial right leg in the New Year. I use an orthotic in my left shoe. Over the last three and a half years there have been several different sockets fitted as my stump has changed in size and I'm on to a second type of knee. For the last two sockets I have chosen fabric to go under the final layer of resin as I no longer wish to wear a Cosmesis (outer foam layer).
I was quite sporty before 2009 and was in the school netball team and played school and club tennis. I also swam, did horse riding and skied. Netball is out now but I straight away joined the school shooting team. Tennis is achievable but I haven't taken it further just yet. I've been skiing both winters since my amputation, at Mt Ruapehu and learnt adaptive skiing. I ski on my left leg and use outriggers.
I've been to two Independence Games and in the recent one entered in field events – javelin, shot-put and discus and also the swimming events. For the Give it a Go event I tried golf and really enjoyed that. I go horse riding each week at RDA (Riding for the Disabled) where I ride without my prosthesis and have learnt to adapt to the different weight balance. I belong to the Hawke's Bay Amputee Society and this year the Annual Conference, which I attended, was held in Napier. There was a Youth Focus - events were organised for the 16-30 year olds to try. There was rafting down the Mohaka river, a horse trek, rock climbing and sailing.
I now have my restricted driver's license, after a simple modification was made to the accelerator pedal in an automatic car. A left foot accelerator pedal was added to the left of the brake which can be flipped up and the right pedal lowered again when needed by others in the family. I have been on school camps, swim for exercise plus school swimming sports. Also have continued with learning the flute and am a member of the Hawke's Bay Youth Orchestra. My main aim when I left hospital was to walk again and get back to living a normal life.
I am supported by my parents, two older sisters, extended family, friends, school, The Auckland Limb Centre, Hawke's Bay Hospital, The Amputee Society, CCS and The Ministry of Social Development.
You might also like to read Claudia's parents (Caroline and Roger)'s story.