Preserving Dignity by Gaining Mobility
Amadou Diallo immigrated from West Africa to the USA in May of 2021. Shortly after arriving, Amadou become a below-knee amputee in September of 2021 after complications following the amputation of 2 toes due to a plantar ulcer. He describes the decision to amputate as, “A sad situation” but one he agreed to as the doctors said the surgery was “necessary to save my life”.
Amadou describes himself as naturally optimistic, devoted, and cheerful. He is also markedly humble despite his accomplishments and what he has overcome. In addition, he is a big sports lover and enjoys traveling! His hard work and devotion to the people and tasks in his life are evident.
“In my native country, after graduating from High School, I started a career at the airport as a Traffic Operations Agent, with a certification from Delta Airlines. My duties were to verify the quantity of kerosene needed for the flight, the number of passengers, and their luggage before take-off and also after landing.
I was also teaching martial art lessons. Indeed, I am a 1st-degree black belt in Karate. It’s a sport I liked to practice a lot because of the well-being and the wisdom it brings to the soul. Teaching it allowed me to contribute to the formation and development of so many children and young adults. The karate school was created by my elder brother. With all due modesty, I am very proud of all the accomplishments we have made together.
Playing table tennis is also a sport I really enjoyed doing because it required mobility, agility, speed, and endurance. Last but not least, I like driving a car and going on a trip. I have visited France, Germany, and Morocco.”
Life has slowed down a little for Amadou since his amputation, but his optimism, hard work, and devotion to the things in his life remain the same. While his amputation was not the path he would have chosen, he is thankful for the life-saving measures of his amputation, and he is also thankful for the prosthetic process. He makes note of a positive factor of the prosthetic process that is often overlooked,
“I am so happy and proud to be on my feet and be able to walk without a walker. I am also proud to be able to do more easily basic essential things, like make my bed, prepare meals, and later, practice sports. Gaining mobility helps me preserve my dignity as well. Obviously, I can't wait to get back to professional life soon, God willing!”
Gaining mobility post-amputation, no matter the degree should be a point of pride for all amputees. The difficulties of surgery and recovery, should not be minimized, and engaging in the prosthetic process should be celebrated for what it is, a mark of courage, love for life, and a belief that a person deserves the opportunity to engage with dignity in the life they love. Amadou left these final words of advice and encouragement for other amputees,
“Never give up, be always confident! Believe and keep in mind there is hope as long as there is life! Accept that everyone has a destiny but always believe in yourself and in God. As an amputee, the prosthetic process will be an absolute necessity in order to gain mobility and therefore, be able to do daily activities more easily. It is also important to trust your prosthetic team and do your best to listen to them and follow their advice.”