An Interview with Doug Campbell, Amputee, Mentor and Author
Hi Doug. Perhaps you can introduce yourself and tell the audience how long you’ve been an amputee and how it came to be?
My name is Doug Campbell and in Oct of 2013 I had a workplace accident in which I had a compound break of my left leg. Complications with healing and 18 surgeries later I had my left leg amputated below the knee after I contacted a bacterial infection on the operating table. 3 years later, after 3 surgeries to correct the same condition that was in my left was now in my right foot. Healing was difficult and another amputation below the knee was required in Sept of 2016.
Does amputation affect one age group more than another and what are the leading causes for amputations?
Unfortunately, amputations can and will affect people of all ages and for many reasons. Genetic disorders in toddlers and children can affect this age group. In adults, diabetes is the leading cause of amputations and ulcers that are perhaps not dealt with and cared for in a timely fashion. In the elders bones that break may not heal like they used to and amputations are required. Of course, traumas of all sorts and degrees can also affect people of all ages in unfortunate situations.
I understand you have become active in the amputee community since you’ve become an amputee? What activities and commitments do you partake in?
Being a bilateral amputee has exposed me to many new experiences a d people in the same situation as well. I had other amputees that mentored me during my recovery to help me with the entire process. Once I was healed it was now my time to give back to others going through similar situations.
Attending support groups and visiting new amputees bedside when they are ready to talk is a big part of my involvement in the amputee community.
You authored a resource book for amputees to help them understand the processes involved and to help along their journey. Tell me what was the inspiration for this book and how can someone get a free copy?
Having gone through my own recovery, I soon discovered there was a gap in the system. Amputees were not receiving resources to learn about their new normal in a timely fashion. This was the inspiration for me to write a book and allow the new amputee and their loved ones to understand the processes are ahead of them. Frequently asked questions help everyone again to understand this new normal. Appendices for a wide range of topics, supports and recreations is also provided for ease of use.
A free download of this resource booked named “One Step at a Time….One Amputee’s Journey” may be obtained at www.aasra.ab.ca
Are there other resources other than your book and how readily available are they to the amputee community?
Yes. Alberta Health Services and the Glenrose Rehabilitation hospital in Edmonton and the Foothills Medical Center in Calgary are providers of such resource books and pamphlets.
Another large provider of information ranging from a variety of topics and types of amputations is the War Amps of Canada. All of their books and pamphlets may be obtained on line at no charge, firstname.lastname@example.org. For children dealing with amputations, the Champ program is very useful at email@example.com.
Can an amputee request support from those having gone through the process already? Where does this support come from?
Yes, quite often your healthcare provider and physiotherapy team will recommend appropriate people in your area to talk and visit with you to perhaps answer any and all questions you may have. The support comes from seasoned amputees who have already gone through the entire process.
Is there any message you’d like to send to those people who are facing a future amputation or who have just received one?
The most important message to new amputees is that “you are not alone”! Each person will deal with their “new normal” in many different ways but support is always there for the asking. You may go through a wide range of emotions for a period of time but others have gone through the same and know how you are feeling. This is a good opportunity to reach out to those seasoned amputees to talk about these emotions. In closing, I would like to mention that in many cases, amputations are fully preventable. For those with Diabetes it can be managed, daily footcare is encouraged, unfortunate ulcers can be prevented and healed in a timely fashion by your healthcare provider if necessary and healthy life choices can always be adopted at any time.
Of course some amputations are as result of generic conditions or traumas. The medical field is very advanced in this area and the rate of a successful amputation in the majority is very high. That along with proper physiotherapy and the works of your prosthetist, many people enjoy a very successful and productive “new life” as an amputee.
Thank you Doug for taking the time to share your journey with me and our readers. You are truly an inspiration to me, those whom you mentor and to the community. Your desire to turn your difficult and life changing experience with losing both your lower legs into some lasting change and support for others like you is truly uplifting. While our clinic ‘s mission is Limb Preservation, we do know that occasionally we will encounter patients whose limb cannot be saved and it is wonderful to know we can refer them to you and to your book “One Step at a Time….One Amputee’s Journey” , which once again, may be obtained at www.aasra.ab.ca.
Kathleen Cesarin, CEO