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Injury to arm need not impede man’s life

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I have been wondering, ever since I heard about that lad who had an encounter with a pizza machine in Massena, whether a letter from me might help him cope with his injury.

You see, I am one of the very few, thankfully, who can truly empathize with him. My left arm was severed in two places in 1966. This letter is meant to be encouraging and also a warning as to what might happen to him.

I was working on trash truck in North Kansas City, Mo., to support my family while trying to make a career as a guitar playing country musician. On Aug. 18, 1966, due to a mechanical malfunction, the accident occurred.

I was rushed to the North Kansas City Memorial Hospital where one the nation’s top orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Workman, was in the building. He reattached my arm.

And after 17 operations and almost a year of hospitalization, I was released. That is where my case and this lad’s similarities end, I pray.

I found that I could raise and lower the arm and bend the elbow, but I could not move my fingers independently. Which, of course, ended my guitar playing days.

I contracted a severe case of the “Why Me’s” and dove into the bottle where I stayed for about 11 years. For several of those years, whenever I heard the sounds of a trash truck, I would curl up in a fetal position and scream, no matter where I was.

Thanks to AA and my church, I have recovered from the “Why Me’s” and have learned to live with my disability. I pray that he has a far better outcome than I did.

Allan Johnson

Watertown

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