A grandfather from North Tyneside who had both his legs amputated below the knee has raised £4,500 to support diabetes care at his local hospital.
Two years ago, Paul Fidler, who lives in Wallsend, spotted a small blister on his foot which rapidly changed into a “big hole” in the bottom of his foot. Doctors battled to save the limb, but in the end, it was amputated below the knee because the pain became too intense to handle.
Speaking to the Chronicle Live, Paul, who has type 2 diabetes, said: “I just thought it was a little blister, then within a few weeks I had a big hole in the bottom of my foot. There was no circulation getting to my foot.
“I ended up having four or five stents that they put in to see if they could save it, but it didn’t work. The pain was getting so severe they couldn’t put any more stents in, and I ended up having to be amputated below the knee.”
Sadly, Paul faced more problems two years down the line. Just as 56-year-old Paul was beginning to get used to his new prosthetic leg, an ulcer, similar to the first one, emerged on his other foot. Attempts to save his foot again were not enough and he faced a second lower-leg amputation.
Paul had to give up his job as a forklift driver and is now looked after by his wife Alison. He added, “I’ve got a mobility scooter that I use for long distances because I can only walk so far. It’s had an impact on my children and on my wife because I’ve been more dependent on them for help. My wife’s become my carer.
“I also had to give up work after I had my second leg amputated because as well as being forklift driver I was working in the warehouse, and the impact of walking around – I just couldn’t do it. It’s had a financial impact on us because there’s only so much you can claim for.”
He found out he had the condition by chance 14 years ago. Paul said: “My mum’s been diabetic for years and it’s hereditary. I tested myself because I was always thirsty, and I had to go to the doctor because my sugar level was high. The doctor said I was a walking coma.”
Despite having two amputations, he has recently been given a new lease of life thanks to his son, aged 25, and 23-year-old daughter both having new babies in 2019, as well as getting a new pet dog named Daisy.
Capitalising on his renewed energy, he staged two fundraising nights at the Wallsend-based Lindisfarne Social Club and handed the proceeds to the surgeon who operated on him. The money has gone to the vascular unit of the Freeman Hospital, which is located in Newcastle.
Picture credit: Newcastle Chronicle