Harper down, but not out
DIABETES has taken a limb, but not his big heart, sharp mind and unwavering commitment to serve his community and party.
David “Joey”?Harper, a key figure in the Barbados Labour Party as Chief Executive Officer and the Barbados Council for Disabled (BCD) as president, and one of near 20 000 diabetics in this country, is now an amputee after most of his left leg was removed after an operation on Monday, November 1.
Harper, 67, is far from down and out. He has acknowledged that his life has changed but he is taking it in stride and wants Barbadians to take diabetes seriously, stressing that it was their responsibility to eat properly, exercise and “stay away from soft drinks.”
“When one is accustomed of moving around almost non-stop and being involved in a lot of organisations that you play an active role in, it is obvious that the readjustment can be uncomfortable where now you are dependent on people for your basics, there will be some changes in your lifestyle.
“But I do not believe that it has had a major effect as far as my intellect is concerned, or my capcity to be able to work within in the community. What will happen in the next few months, I will have to make the changes from two feet to one prosthesis and one foot but in today’s world, prostheses have become so sophisticated that one will find it relatively easy to make the transition.”
Harper said nothing will deter him from attending the Barbados Labour Party conference today and tomorrow at the Deighton Griffith School.
Harper, a diabetic for 14 years, said that his life turned around when a clothes iron fell on his foot and severed the tendon on his big toe.
“I?must say that physicians Winston Crookendale and Chris Warner, did everything in their power to save the foot. Diabetes is not an illness that one can predict, it does what it feels like, when it feels like and if it feels like. Warner and Crookendale were able to take me through the obvious transitions that would have come about as far as what to expect.
“It was not easy in the initial stages coming to grips with the fact that maybe you might lose the foot, because this is what is constantly being said to me. It was about two months ago; it looked as though the matter was solved, that I was going to save the foot, and then out of the clear blue, an interesting thing happened.
“I shook my foot and by shaking the foot, there was a fracture. In other words, the foot broke off completely from the top section … the ankle and the foot with the toe part, were now separate entities altogether which meant there had to be amputation,” he said.
Speaking from his home in Sharon, St. Thomas, Harper said he knows the feeling now the shoe is on the other foot.
The Family Planning Association executive said he did a series at the Warrens polyclinic and “it was interesting to note that alot of the things that I was talking to people about were now being transferred to me in the real sense.”