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Wednesday October 22, 2014
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Lefty's Lessons

 

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three-legged dog aptly named Lefty. These twelve individuals--with their combined thirty-six limbs--form an amputee support group.

The group addresses an array of topics pertaining to life as an amputee. Conversations range from mobility issues to the intricacies of cooking with one arm. They meet monthly at U-M Hospital under the guidance of social worker Maggie Kelly and limb loss coordinator Shauna Mote. An amputee herself, Mote holds the only paid position of its type in the nation. Funded jointly by the U-M Cardiovascular Center and the U-M Orthotics and Prosthetics Center, it's the hospital's way of recognizing that its job does not end on the operating table--life as an amputee begins when the anesthesia fades.

This is a diverse bunch formed by misfortune. The absence of an appendage is the only bond that these people have. Socio-economic status and residence vary. Tragedy does not care what your zip code is or how many digits are in your paycheck.

The youngest member is also the newest. She is a hip, twenty-five-year-old former prom queen. Her blond ringlets extend down to the nub that was her elbow. It's only been a month since a drunk driver ran a red light and hit her car. The car door collapsed, pinning her arm against the steering wheel. Her boyfriend now struggles with the thought of dating an amputee.

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