A winner not a victim!

Clive MacDonald

Clive Macdonald is a former patient of HG Prosthetics who now motivates other patients struggling to accept their disability. Clive shares his story …

Who knows what Fate has in store for us with the dawning of each new day? In my case, the day started off fairly normally, with a trip to the supermarket and then a call at the post office in our local shopping centre to collect the mail. I walked into the post office but left a few minutes later in a supermarket trolley as a kind security guard pushed me to my car.

The pain in my right calf was so intense that I could not walk. After suffering for many years from acute vascular disease in my right leg, I knew immediately that I was in big trouble. My vascular surgeon gave me the news that night. The only recourse was to amputate my right leg above the knee.

When one is confronted with a trauma of this nature, the immediate and understandable reaction is “why me?”, but to pursue this line of questioning is fruitless – there is no answer. One has only two options: to drown in despair and despondency or to face the situation head on and say “I’m going to overcome it”.

I was determined not to become a victim of my disability and, from my first waking moments after anaesthesia, my goal was to return to as normal a life as was possible in my changed circumstances. The rehabilitation process after amputation was not an easy one, but my philosophy from the first day was to strive a little harder and to achieve more than was required of me.

For instance, if the physiotherapist told me to do ten push-ups, I would do 20. I was constantly setting myself goals and targets and, once achieved, would push myself to attain an even more difficult goal. I recall the first time that I made supper for my wife after the amputation. I can attest that it’s not the easiest of things to balance oneself on a walker, take a firm grip on a plate of scrambled eggs and walk without a serious mishap.

However, I succeeded, which was motivation for me to try even harder next time. One of my strongest desires was to be able to drive again and be independent. I have managed to do this by changing to an automatic vehicle and having the pedals rearranged to allow for operation with the left leg. I have also passed my driver’s test as a driver with a disability, which gives me great satisfaction.

I was fortunate to be referred to a wonderful team of prosthetists who have not only done a great job on my prosthesis, but who have also given me every encouragement and assistance in my rehabilitation. My confidence and self-esteem have been greatly enhanced as a result of my prosthetist allowing me the opportunity to motivate and encourage some of the other patients who were having difficulty in coming to terms with their disability.

Let me end by saying that, traumatic though it may be, amputation is not the end of the world. With determination and courage, one can learn to cope with one’s disabilities; in other words, one can be a winner and not a victim.


Clive Macdonald is a former patient of HG Prosthetics run by ROLLING INSPIRATION contributor Heinrich Grimsehl. He aims to inspire and help other amputees to come to accept their new circumstances as a person with a disability. To get in contact with Clive, send an email to info@hgprosthetics.co.za.

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