An Unbelievable Turn of Events
By Frank Elliott
In April 2000, my life took a turn I would never have believed it would take. Minutes after having an enjoyable lunch with my wife, I stopped to meet a fellow employee to check some streetscape trees. As I exited my vehicle I walked between the two trucks to talk with a fellow employee about the landscaping. Suddenly without any warning the truck behind me was hit by a vehicle and I was pinned between the bumpers of the two trucks. The two trucks were pushed about 30 feet before coming to a complete stop. For the next 45 minutes I was pinned, with the bumpers interlocked, while emergency personnel attempted to unlock the truck bumpers. My legs were severed off at the scene and my pelvis was crushed. I left the scene of the accident without my legs from above the knee joint. I was taken to a local hospital where for the next five days doctors worked diligently to stabilize my injuries.
After five days I was airlifted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, where I spent most of my first few days in operations, lasting up to 15 hours per surgery. After leaving the Intensive Care Unit, I was sent to the main hospital floor and left with bilateral, above the knee, amputations. There were rods placed in both femurs, screws affixed in the back of my pelvic area to hold it together, and a large plate with screws reconnecting my pelvic area in the front. After two months I was sent to Northridge Rehabilitation Hospital where I spent the next two years learning to walk on prosthetic legs.
After I was released, I was fortunate to discover Tricia Bland, a dietitian and ACE-certified Personal Trainer, was willing and able to work with me. Through her dedication and inspiration she has helped me to discover the world of fitness and given me a new understanding of how nutrition and exercise work together.
Life goes on, and my wife and I have adapted to the loss. My wife has also joined Tricia’s gym and it is wonderful to be able to workout together. Adaptive snow and water skiing, kayaking, tennis, hand cycling, and bowling are a few of the sports we have engaged in since my accident. Hope to see you on the slopes one day!