Premier Prosthetic Center patient Jimmy Anderson prepares to hit one out of the rough as prosthetist Zach Weber adjusts the mode on his C-Leg via a remote. Anderson’s leg has modes easily changed by the remote (see inset) that help the wearer perform best, whether being active or stationary.

For about the past three months, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jimmy Anderson, a 73-year-old patient from South Knoxville with a great attitude and a “can-do” spirit. Jimmy had emergency surgery to amputate all but four inches of his leg earlier this year as a result of a popliteal (behind the knee) aneurysm.

My goal for all Premier Prosthetic Center patients is to get them back to where they were before the amputation. In Jimmy’s case, I knew it would be difficult and that we would need to make special accommodations because his leg was cut so high. Remarkably, only two weeks after I fit him with a C-Leg with a microprocessor knee, Jimmy was walking with a cane.

The following is Jimmy’s story in his own words:

I’m 73 and have been active and in pretty good shape my whole life. I worked out two or three days a week, played golf a couple of days a week, and had no real health issues until this incident with my leg.

On Feb. 28, I put in three miles on the stationary bike at the health club. I felt no pain when I left the club, but by the time I got home my right foot was numb. I told my wife that something was wrong with my foot, so we went to see my doctor. My doctor immediately sent me to the emergency room because I had no blood flow in my foot.

By then, I had intense pain in my entire leg. It felt like it would explode. At that point, I wanted to cut off my leg myself and throw it out the window.

After three unsuccessful attempts to clear the clot, the doctor said that I may lose my leg. My family wanted a second opinion. Dr. Callicutt (also with Premier Surgical Associates) came in to look at my leg and said I needed immediate surgery or I might die. He cleared his calendar of two previously scheduled surgeries so that he could take care of me.

When I woke up in ICU, I didn’t know where I was or what was going on. When a nurse told me where I was, I looked down at my leg. That’s when I realized it was gone.

I stayed at Parkwest Medical Center for 10 days and then spent 10 days at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center before I came home. When I got home, people in my church (Sevier Heights Baptist) had built ramps and helped prepare the house for me, and Hall’s Salvage had redone my bathroom. I was amazed at how much support I got from family and friends. It meant a lot to me.

I never got depressed. I figured my leg is gone and it’s not coming back, I better make the best of it. I also knew it’d be easier for my family if I had a good attitude.

Following therapy at Patricia Neal to get my body ready for the leg, I went to see Zach Weber, and he fit me with a C-Leg. I used crutches for five or six days, but my goal was to walk with a cane. Zach worked with me, and I’ve been using a cane ever since. Now my goal is to get rid of the cane.

Zach has been great to work with. I didn’t realize it when I first started working with him, but he also has a prosthesis. I think it helps because he has an idea of what I’m going through. He told me once, ‘If you come in my office and you have pain, I’ll never tell you to get used to it. We’ll do what we need to do to take care of it.’ Anytime something doesn’t feel right, I let him know about it and he works with me to get it right.

I won’t say it’s been easy, and I don’t wake up every day all sunshine and roses, but I have a good life and I’m getting more active all the time. I’m back on the golf course and starting to work out, and my wife Sandy’s glad that I’m able to help out with vacuuming, washing dishes and light housework.

I think the things that have helped me through have been my faith, my attitude, the prayers on my behalf, and my terrific family and friends. I have a wonderful wife, two sons and a daughter, and they’ve all been great. My four-year-old granddaughter, Abby Gail Thompson, is the joy of my life.

Realizing I came so close to death brings me back to reality and makes me grateful to be here, and I’m also grateful for the terrific medical care I’ve gotten along the way.

Jimmy has been an inspiration to me and everyone at Premier who’s worked with him. He’s proof positive that a patient’s good attitude goes a long way in the healing process.

For a video showing Jimmy Anderson’s progress, visit our Facebook page at Like our page to learn more about the progress we make with our patients.