After a very successful career which began in the Navy and continued in mechanical engineering, optics and pharmaceuticals, Bill was enjoying life as an active retiree. He enjoyed traveling with his wife and spending time with his grandchildren.
Until one day, he noticed something unusual and mentioned it in passing to his wife. His left foot had some dryness on the side that just wasn't going away. Bill went and saw the doctor. Multiple tests and x-rays were conducted. The problem, unfortunately, was much more than just dryness.
“Did I have any frustrations? Once in a while, but it was never anything major."
“The doctor came to the conclusion that my little toe was infected and would have to go,” Bill recalls. The infection was associated with his years of being a diabetic. After the surgery, however, there was more news.
“The surgeon took the toe but said I needed more than that,” Bill continues. “It looked like the infection was heading toward the bone.”
So Bill met with Donna from Superior Orthotics & Prosthetics. They had a conversation about what to do and what the next steps should be. After careful consideration, Bill says the decision was fairly easy.
“Curing this from the inside out didn't seem like the right thing to do,” he says. “I decided the best thing would be to amputate.”
That was three years ago. While he admits that the road back hasn't been easy, he doesn't regret the decision at all. He has been impressed with the work that Rob Pittman and the team at Superior has done to make his transition as smooth as possible, through prosthetic fitting and adjustments as well as physical therapy.
After all, relearning to walk again in your early 70s isn't necessarily an easy task to undertake.
“Did I have any frustrations? Once in a while, but it was never anything major,” he says.
Since his surgery, Bill and his wife have continued traveling, including a vacation to Europe. He works out and even sees a personal trainer. He's also continued golfing. And he certainly hasn't lost his love of life and his sense of humor.
He laughs as he tells the story of how he lost a screw in his foot right as he was being welcomed back to his Sunday School class at church not too long after the surgery.
“Just about the time the teacher recognizes me, there I was, sitting there holding my foot,” he laughs. “Some set screws had worked their way loose and the whole foot had come off. One guy had a set of Allen wrenches out in his car, so he went out and we repaired it. It's just a funny thing that happened.”
As for his grandchildren?
“One just got her license,” Bill says. “Like typical grandparents, we think about that and say ‘we can't be that old yet.’”