Crying need for prosthesis
Following the amputation of her right leg in 2008, Carlisle ‘Kathleen’ Jack has sought to be outfitted with a prosthesis.
Though Kathleen has had access to a temporary prosthesis from July 2009, she needs to raise $5 000 to acquire a permanent prosthesis. The Southern Region of the Diabetes Association of Barbados was able to get the temporary prosthesis, thanks to Dr Ram Khoday of the Clinical Prosthesis Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
To ass the funds, the Southern Region of the Association has set up an account at the Barbados National Bank, asking the public for help in raising the funds. So far the retired worker has been able to raise $1 000 through that account.
Kathleen, who has been diabetic for 13 years, first noticed a swelling of the foot and went to the doctor, who said that she probably pulled a muscle because she was experiencing pain in her calf.
A second opinion revealed a pin hole under her right big toe. “As a diabetic with poor circulation there is lack of feeling and I got stuck with something and did not know,” she said.
Kathleen added: “If the doctor had looked before maybe they would have saved the toe. I could have gotten the toes tended to and save my foot. However, this 61-year-old said: “What God does is well done, never question him, I thank God I am still alive.”
The infection also affected her voice and she was barely audible. Kathleen said she was always hoarse as if she had a cold and when the surgeon was asking her questions he had to lean close to hear her response. After she came out of the operating room she was able to speak, much to the amazement of the surgeons. She also recovered quickly from the procedure.
Even though her recovery was rapid, one of her daughters died. “Faith in God kept me, if not I would not have survived,” said Kathleen. “The loss of her leg, and her daughter’s death so close together were tough, but it has made Kathleen stronger.
The very active mother of four other children said: “Nothing can keep me back.” Kathleen underwent therapy to enable her to use the prosthesis and has decreased the amount of time spent in the wheelchair. She proudly proclaims that she now uses a walker and when practising at home on her prosthesis, she tries to walk without her three-pronged cane.
The loss of her limb does not stop her from going out, she is very active, attending scenic rides, Mothers’ Day dinners at Plantations and the annual gospel cruise in August.
Her advice to other people who suffer from diabetes is to check their feet frequently. “If you cannot see the bottom of your feet take a mirror and look at them because the feet cause the most problems for a diabetic. In my case a small puncture the size of a pin caused me to lose my leg.”
Kathleen has been a member of the Southern Region Of The Diabetes Association for four years. It meets every second Thursday of the month at the Randall Phillips Polyclinic. She encourages other diabetics to join a regional branch of the association which is nearest to them as they can learn a lot from attending the meetings.
Reudon Smith, chairperson of the Southern Region Of The Diabetes Association, said they were trying to raise funds for the prosthesis but have not been very successful so far. To assist with the efforts they have set up an account at Barbados National Bank, Worthings, to assist with the payment of the prosthesis. The account will be open until November. The account number is 148-286-861-001.