Due to complications from diabetes, Dan Feather’s left leg had to be amputated below the knee. He was 73 at the time and, after a couple weeks of rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed, was ready to return home to his wife, Wilma.
Later, the same circulation problem took his left leg. That was two years ago. Now 77, Dan is a double amputee – walking on two prosthetic legs, ankles and feet. “I have determination,” he says. “I plan on being around for a few more years.”
Mary Free Bed prosthetists worked with Dan to ensure proper fit and therapists helped him learn to walk, get in and out a vehicle and perform other tasks.
“I can’t begin to tell you how much help Mary Free Bed has been,” Dan says. “They truly helped to restore my hope and freedom.”
In particular, he expressed gratitude to Mary Free Bed prosthetist/orthotist Ethan Leavitt, who even traveled to Dan’s house for one appointment when the weather prevented Dan from getting to the hospital.
“He calls me ‘the man with the plan,” and he always follows through when I suggest making atypical changes to his prosthetic legs,” Ethan says. “He almost walks more each day than I do, and that’s saying a lot when you’re missing both of your legs!”
Dan and Wilma, who have been married for 52 years, live independently in a retirement village in Grand Rapids.
While Dan uses a walker sometimes, he is working hard to gain the strength and coordination to walk independently once again. “I’m trying to get to the point where I can walk without the walker,” he says. “One of my goals is to play golf this summer.”
By Beth Loechler Cranson, Media Relations and Communications Specialist