Looking Back In Time, Reflections of An Injured Man

By Eduardo Garcia

 Staying warm after yet another operation.

Staying warm after yet another operation.

 Danielle, all alone, last tank room session.

Danielle, all alone, last tank room session.

After a week of wishing, working, treatments and hoping it is clear my left hand does not look great. I have had a fever for days now because of the infection in my wrist and hand. The stench in the room is now noticeable and smells like the early stages of death. Horrible. A meeting of all the top surgeons on my case including Jay Agarwal from the Plastic surgery clinic was held in my room. It was their unanimous belief that very little could be done to rebuild my disfigured and dying left hand. Ultimately the choice for amputation would be up to me. The doctors firmly believed that indeed I could choose to keep what remained of my left hand, but it would be little more than one or two odd shaped finger on a very thin and disfigured hand. Most of my fingers would need amputation regardless of my choice. It was also made very clear to me that should I choose to keep my left hand I must understand the high risk involved. The infection already growing in my hand could and most likely would spread to the other injury sites, which were many and could greatly inhibit their healing and even make those sites worse.  Additionally, the infection could spread to any of my vital organs including my heart, which obviously would prove severely dangerous if not fatal. At that very moment and upon hearing that no bullshit opinion from my doctors I recall having a complete and total shift from really wanting to keep my hand to being immediately motivated to have the limb amputated at that point. I had been through so much and was so focused on recovering quickly that the idea of my condition getting worse was not an option I wanted to consider. It was that quick, I was decided and ready. I am a survivor and a fighter and I was not about to see things get worse if I could help it. In speaking with the doctors they mentioned that they have actually had patient's condition worsen to the point of death because of a decision to keep a wounded limb. No way, that was not for me. Also I was encouraged by their accounts of other patient amputees that I would have a much more useable left limb with a prosthetic than I would in keeping the two healthier fingers on my hand and hoping my body was able to stave off infection. 

I read this now years later and it is completely clear that one of the most influential factors in my recovery was the approach I took from day one. Surviving was my one and only job and I was taking it seriously. Aggressively actually, nothing was going to hold me back from making it out alive, not even losing my hand, nothing.