Two weeks ago we learned of the recovery period of one of our #LIMLegends, Claudio Cappabianca through the eyes of his son Marco. This week we asked Claudio himself, a true renaissance man, to tell the amputee community about the struggles and victories he faced during his recovery period. Let’s hear what he has to say:
“Six months had passed since the accident. I had fought and won many setbacks that I’d faced, but it was the eve of the fitting of my ‘new’ leg, where hopefully I would be finally free to walk again! There were so many questions running through my mind: Will it work? How easy is it going to be? Did I have any regrets for having been so reckless and stupid? Will I be ridding myself of the crutches like I did with the wheelchair?
I couldn’t believe this day has finally come. From the moment I got hurt I had been waiting for this day. I thought it would have taken at most two months, not more, but I didn’t account for all the setbacks in my recovery process.
I don’t remember driving to the clinician office, but for some reason I remember standing on the balancing rails. Looking to my right side I saw Andrew, Mac and Dave, surrounded by my wife and daughter. I could see their nervous glances as my son prepared to film the first step of my new life. I assumed it was going to be a breeze to walk again on two legs. How wrong I was; it was just about impossible, with no equilibrium. I couldn’t walk, and could not stand unless holding to the parallel bars or crutches.
It wasn’t an easy couple of weeks learning how to walk again. After multiple falls, the only thing you can do is pull yourself up again. The rehab crew worked on me both mornings and afternoons to see how much I could take. I had the best time of my life since the accident, I was so happy and eager to do as much possible. When I was ready, I walked through the rehab revolving door all by myself with no assisting device, just me and my new leg on the way to challenge myself and the world again with a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
A little over a year has passed and nothing has passed by without hard work and sacrifice, mostly physical. I did experience a few days of depression but managed to get over it thanks to my wife’s tireless support. I have been able to get back to my life as it was before the accident but with a few exceptions. I can’t run, can’t bike and can’t ski. I have tried skiing and after five days and dozens of runs and very risky situations, I had to give it up as my knee joints are asymmetric and therefore it’s impossible to kneel down, which is the prime requirement for turning. Well, we’ll have to work out a solution for next winter, I’m not done yet, at least I have another challenge to look for.
I have returned to my mountain, back to landscaping, cutting trees, splitting logs, driving my tractor and walking the lawn mower. I even managed to go by myself on the train to the Center for Medicare to help prevent them depriving disabled Americans of certain critical benefits and to assist Andrew to help persuade the administrators to approve coverage for the LIM Infinite Socket.
How much credit is due to the LIM? I could have not been able to accomplish much if it wasn’t for the adjustability of my Infinite Socket. It’s just like wearing a ski boot with its side buckle. Bi-weekly visits with my clinician and dear friend Dave Bow who has been my pit crew all these months; making sure the Infinite Socket would perform to my capability and satisfaction was vital.
I can definitively say that I’m living an almost normal life, I’m used to my new leg, I feel normal when I wear it but not as much when I have to park it for the night.
I am very grateful to Nedim, Andrew, Geoff, Mac, Dave, Marco and GiuGiu’ with Christine and David, all the friends who visited me while at Albany Med, all the doctors and nurses, the rescue team, the medevac pilot who bravely decided to continue flying thru the rain storm instead of putting down and finally my dear and loving wife Silvana who stood by me and tirelessly putting up with this crazy bum!”