Needing the emergency services at any time can be traumatic for all those involved.
In May 2020, Neil – helped by his wife, Katherine – was finishing the building of a handicapped access ramp in their church when the circular saw he was using caught the sleeve of his sweatshirt and pulled his left arm into the saw, effectively amputating his arm above the wrist.
Looking back at the last few months, Neil said there has been both good and bad times.
Neil explained: “The bad times, not surprisingly, revolve around the incident: the shock and horror of the accident itself, the fear of losing my arm, the subsequent nightmares, the pain, the frustrations, the disappointment of bad news, the inability to sleep and the worry for my wife, with complications of coronavirus meaning there was no option to visit me in hospital.”
The good times, however, kept Neil’s spirit positive.
“There are so many things to be grateful for,” he explained.
“The calm of my wife as she phoned 999, helped me to apply a tourniquet and led the Air Ambulance team to my rescue.
“The dedicated team of surgeons, theatre staff and nurses at Derriford Hospital – who, to my complete amazement, saved my arm.
Devon Air Ambulance Trust has launched their 2020 Christmas Appeal, which is set up to help raise money so that they are able to deliver urgent critical care to Devon’s patients.
“Also, being reunited with my wife, after 10 long days in hospital, to begin my lengthy recovery at home and as an out-patient at the Exeter Hand Rehabilitation unit.
“My daily exercises have been hard and painful. However, seeing and feeling my progress has kept me going.
“Six weeks after the accident, I picked up a reel of tape and cried with elation – it was the first ‘normal’ thing I’d been able to do with my injured hand.
“And, finally, learning at 19 weeks, that the Ulna bone in my forearm had completely healed!”
Neil was also touched by the support and encouragement he and Katherine had received from family, friends and the whole congregation from their Church.
Neil continued: “The well wishes of so many people was really heart-warming. I know my journey will be a long one but, for now, I am looking forward to Christmas with renewed hope for a good recovery.
“However hard done by we may feel, there is always someone who has suffered more and we must all count our blessings. Our faith keeps us strong and our love for one another is truly remarkable.”