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After his motorcycle crossed the center line and hit an oncoming car head on, Lance lost his left arm at the scene. He also had a crushed left leg, among other injuries.
Conscious, he flew by helicopter to a local Pittsburgh hospital. He woke up a week later — with no memory of the accident — to find surgeons had to amputate his leg
“The hospital staff suggested they transfer me to an assisted living facility. But a family friend who is a nurse at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute said inpatient therapy was what I needed,” Lance says.
Lance and his wife Mary asked for a transfer to the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute at UPMC Mercy.
Before his prosthetics were ready, Lance spent a week in therapy regaining strength and relearning activities of daily living.
“I had lost weight and was weak. So I was learning how to get in and out of the wheelchair, how to get dressed.
“But, the day my occupational therapist helped with my first shower in weeks — that was the best thing for me,” Lance laughs.
After regaining strength during his first week in therapy, Lance went home for three months until his prosthetics were ready.
“My prosthetic leg was completed before my arm, so I started walking around a little at home. And, I probably picked up some bad habits that I had to break in therapy,” Lance says.
Once both prosthetics were ready, Lance returned to UPMC Mercy for inpatient therapy.
During his week of treatment, he learned how to use his new arm and leg — doing things he did before his accident.
“The rehab team was accommodating and very professional, and my therapy was personalized to me.
“My occupational therapist asked what I wanted to be able to do when I got home.
“I said I wanted to be able to use a weed whacker and chainsaw for yard work. So, she put a broomstick on a strap and set up cones in the hallway so I could practice.
“Every time I weed whack at home now, I think of that.”
Lance returned home in November 2014. He continued therapy on an outpatient basis at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services' UPMC Mercy South Side location.
Lance is now fully mobile and doing many of the things he did prior to his accident.
“Last month, he was outside laying bags of mulch. This winter, he was using the snow blower, so I sent a video to his rehab team.
“When you go through an experience like this — when your husband loses an arm and a leg — you don’t know what to do.
“Our friend served as a great guide, and everyone at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute was so kind and comforting from the moment Lance got there.”
“We would absolutely recommend the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute to anyone.”
To find out more about our services, contact the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute.
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