I would like to introduce myself, my name is Saul Morris and I am an amputee and I have been since November the 3rd, 2000. I have a BK amputation of the left leg because of PVD. I have been in the medical and psychological profession since 1959 and I thought I knew a lot about this world until the day of my amputation, It was then I realized that there is a lot that I do not know, most of all I did not know what an amputee goes through before, during and after the amputation, boy was I shocked.
I went through month and months of both psychological and physiological pain and suffering. I lost everything I owned. I lost my self esteem, I lost my self confidence, I lost my will to live, I lost my business, when I say EVERYTHING I mean, EVERYTHING. I sat at home and felt sorry for myself and I really could not see a good life in my future.
I received a phone call one day and the person on the other end of the line said, “could you give a talk to our staff on the psychological aspects of amputation?” Well I had been sitting home for months on end so I agreed and of course I had to do some research to give this lecture and to my surprise I realized where my problem was. NO ONE came to the hospital bed and asked if I would like to meet with an amputee peer counselor, NO ONE gave me any information on what I was about to go through, No One warned me about the grieving process, NO ONE warned me about the stress, loss of self esteem, loss of self confidence. Not only was I not warned or counseled but NO ONE gave me any advice as to whom I could go to or what to do about ALL of these terrible things that were going to happen to me.
I realized that this was a mess and I also realized that someone had to do something about it! What I did not realize right away was that I was that SOMEBODY. After more weeks and weeks of research I took some of my disability money and formed a non-profit corporation and I decided to call it M-STAR (Michigan Society To Advance Rehabilitation). I thought that this would really be a piece of cake and everyone would be happy to help me with finances and other forms of support so I started faxing letters to different places and it was then I realized that the majority of the money and support for amputees goes to sport programs. In other words if I started a golf outing or a basketball or baseball program I could get all kinds of support, but that’s not what I started I started a PEER COUNSELING GROUP to help people go through the amputation process with a lot less physiological and psychological pain then I did. A program that would help them make the right choices, A program that would guide them through the entire process and help them reach their goal of being valuable to themselves, their families and of course to society.
I tell you all of this so that perhaps through this narrative YOU will realize that the amputee golfer you see or the Olympics winner you see or the amputee participating in strong physical activity really fought hard to get there and that person fought more than a physical fight they fought a psychological fight as well and WON! Stay excited about these people they won and isn’t that what life is all about WINNING!
Please don’t forget the person who goes to the hospital to have an amputation, don’t forget that they too have a goal to reach. Maybe it’s not playing golf or maybe it’s not shooting baskets. Maybe it’s just a long walk on the beach on a warm comfortable day with someone that they love maybe it’s just someone that wants to go back to work to support their family, maybe it’s just someone who wants to live a reasonably normal life.
No matter what this future amputee wants to do in life it all starts in the hospital BEFORE the amputation with the help and guidance of a peer counselor, someone who really knows what it is all about not someone who THINKS he or she knows what it is all about.
Well I have poured my heart out to you I have done it for a reason. I have little money but I have a lot of enthusiasm I am dedicated to this project with ALL of my heart and soul and I am hoping that after reading this you will better understand a little more of what an amputee goes through and if you do, if I was able to give you a little more insight then I am asking your help, not for me but for all of the others that are going to have an amputation in the future. I realize that I cannot do this all by myself so I am asking for your help. It can be in the form of money, advice, guidance, information, spreading the word for me or even if you have an excess of office supplies that you don’t need I can use it.
They say a journey, no matter how long or short starts with the first step. I’m making the first step and I hope that you can help me finish the journey.
Thank you very much for your attention
Dr Saul Morris
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