When Monty Rush had his leg amputated eight inches below the knee, he and his wife didn’t know anyone else who had undergone an amputation.
Everything was new to them: the cost of prosthetics, how a prosthetic should fit and what the process of recovery would be like.
The first other amputee Rush met was a friend of the family, a former police officer who had been injured on the job.
“Watching him walk from the car to the house was just encouraging because it showed me, well, if he can do that, then certainly I’ll be OK,” Rush said.
Today, five years after his leg was amputated, Rush wants to use his own experience to help other people who have had amputations. He and his wife, Beth, have started a support group and plan to have an “amputee cookout” for the group’s second meeting on June 10.
At an earlier interest meeting, Rush met a recent amputee who had “a ton of questions,” questions he was able to help answer. The cookout will be a chance for people to meet one other and have even more questions answered, he said.
“People who have maybe been amputees for a year or so really need help adapting and to know that there are other people like them who are willing to help,” Rush said.
Five years ago this month, Rush stepped on a nail that went through his tennis shoe. The wound became infected with flesh-eating bacteria, he said, and eventually his leg was amputated.
“It was hard at first to accept that this was going to be the rest of my life,” Rush said. “It is scary, is what it comes down to, because you don’t know if you’re going to be able to do everything you did before.”
Without his wife’s support, Rush says, he would have been lost.
Today, Rush says he is able to do everything he did before. He mows the lawn, works outside, drives his car with a special attachment that allows him to use his left leg. He works in customer service at the city of Wichita Water Utilities Department.
He expects about 50 to 60 people will attend the cookout, including at least 15 amputees. Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell and an amputee will speak.
When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. June 10
Where: Wesley Rehabilitation Hospital, 8338 W. 13th St.
Wesley Rehabilitation Hospital is providing hamburgers, hotdogs and beverages. Guests can take a side dish to share.