Co LeDahu's further adventures in 2005.

Januari: Winterfun and snowgrief.

The fireworks to welcome the New Year 2005 were not silenced yet and the family departed by car at 5 in the morning at Newyears day direction Austria for a week of snowsports holiday.

Oostenrijk Never before we had endangered ourselves with descenting snowy slopes attatched to board or ski... but this year it was going to happen at last.

Consulting trained snowsporters learned me that the most suited sport for me as an unexperienced with my amputation would probably be snowboarding. This way it would be possible to keep on my prosthesis and with two legs on my body I would not have too many disadvantages compared with able snowsporters.
We decided that the kids Margot, Michiel + myself would take a snowboarding course and Mieke ski-lessons, all of us 5 day instructions, in the morning and the afternoon. The 6th and last day we could do some descendings on our own on boards or skies.

After a week of intensive training Mieke and the kids mastered the basic techniques fair enough. So good to watch them gliding down the mountains in gracious movements... while ocasionally landing hard on the butt.
And IandI... sadly I had to quit after a half day of tiresome wrestling with my snowboard... at those moments dealing with a lower leg amputation is tough reality once again! The disappointment to realize being a invalid person with very real limitations.

But nevertheless this shorttime snowsport expedition, however passing otherwise than expected, has been very instructive for us. Interesting to learn what people motivate to spend so much money, sweat and energy in so short time enjoying this magical snowfun on the mountainslopes.

My snowboard experiences stranded because of the limitations in my knee joint: the inner tendons have been ruptured during the accident; and cramps in my stump due to the vasculair problems. Also my psycological functioning which becomes worst when having much physical strain and which feels like having a thick blanket been dropped on my head.
Ofcourse I was aware of these problems caused by my accident a long time already, but meeting my limits again in different cicumstances can be very instructive.
But he, who dares not to try... shall not eat plums; according to an old Chinese proverb.

Mike glijdt gracieus
Mike (Michiel) sliding down carefully but gracious
Margot boekt die plank vet hard
Margot going full speed on the board

Oostenrijk Right after the first morning lessons I was broken... and I mean totally worn out to-the-bone.
My knee hurted and every 10 meters of walking and draging the board behind me I had to rest to let the cramps in my stump slowly disappear.
This way I wasn't able to keep up with the youth in my group at all. Knowing of myself when my phisical limits are met I quitted, returned the hired equipment and surrendered myself to a passive role of spectator down at the ski-piste and the caretaker of the family by shopping and cooking the meals.
Lucky for me there always was the warming effect of the Austrian Glühwein, inner glowing oblivion from a cup....

But I think snowsports are fun after all, real fun!
We enjoined ourselves very much during this week of being active in the Austrian mountains, so we sure had a wunderful time together, no matter the setbacks because of my limitations!
And Co himself personally, honesty said? I sniffed the atmosphere of snowsports and experienced new things again.
Bumped into my limitations again and learned a lot from it.

It sure can be done by me once more, snowsports.. and with my recent experiences I can do it different and better next time. For me it surely will work out better to join a disabled snowsports program and learn with modified equipment and special instructions. Succes will be more probable this way.
So Co... don't be so stubborn to try it your own way next time, and learn it like most other amputees do: in a class for disabled, nothing wrong with that!

OK willdo, but ehhhhh... some time later maybe, when the family treasury vault is a little filled up again, because all I can see now is the bare bottum of it... all available Euri are vanished, melted like snow before the sun!

Spring: Wearing a prosthesis I can do soooo many more things!

The Dutch Motor Mobiliteit voor Gehandicapten project helps amputees or otherwise handicapped to get their driving licence (again) to get on the road... specialy on 2 or 3 wheels: motorcycle (with sidecar) or Trike.
Check the link (Dutch language):
To help promoting the good work of the Project, a group of handicapped riders who got their licenses through the MMvG attend motorcycle events en meetings all over Holland to tell their stories an show the neccesary modifications on the motorbikes.

H-D dag HOG Limburg
Nice H-D bikes on a HOG-day in southers Holland
H-D dag HOG Limburg
Erik Paskamp, explaining the possibilities of riding a motorcycle with a handicap

Erik Paskamp (check his webpages: is a right-arm amputee and drives a Harley Davidson Heritage Classic, modified for left-handed handling and a special hook-on prosthesis for the hold of his right hand on the handle-bar.

Early on Sunday May 1st Erik, Maurice and myself rode off with our H-D's to a Harley-Davidson event organized by HOG-Chapter Limburg, to demonstrate bikers "The Art of Motorcycle Handling for Handicapped"
It was a three-hours drive, wich is rather long for a small country as Holland, but we got a wonderfull sunshiny day!
Most bikers attended ride-outs and watched the outdoor events (wrestling)... standing inside we didn't get the attention we hoped for. But we showed many passers-by that as a motorcycle enthousiast you don't nessecarilly have to swear-off motorbikes for the rest of your life after a limb-amputation or a partial paralysation... in many cases it's possible te ride a bike again!

H-D dag HOG Limburg
Talking to the HOG-Chapter Limburg officials
H-D dag HOG Limburg
Erik and Maurice: glass of yellow happiness

Hou can you turn users of a lower-limb prosthesis into succesfull walkers?

After a lower-limb amputation beeing able to walk again feels like a miracle. But after some time one gets used to this and walking becoms a routine again... if everything works out well.
A potential danger in this is, that after some time faults can develop in one's gait which one isn't aware of oneself.

I often see people on lower-limb prosthesis who walk really bad and I don't think this can be very healthy for the rest of the body to walk like that for a longer period.
But at the same time I realize myself that it can happen to myself too... if I do not pay attention to my walking techniques.

Appie, a fellow amputee I have a lot of contact with (has a knee ex-articulation) started to follow athletic-training with Frank Dik, who is a speciallized in training disabled sporters even up to Para-Olympic game levels.
Frank and his Foundation "Prolathic" tells amputees an users of a limb-prosthesis that beeing able to sport on high or low level is possible for a every disabled.
By giving demonstrations, training and sports-clinics at events, matches and in rehabilitation-centres "Prolathic" will give knowledge of sporting with a prosthesis.

Frank Dik has an extraordinary view on how to walk with a prosthesis and I heard his enthousiastic stories many times so I was anxious to participate in one of his trainings. He invited me much earlier already but because I am only recently able to do some action on my prosthesis, I went to the athletic-trail beginning of May.
The weather was real Dutch: cold with strong winds and heavy showers comming in unexpectedly and vanishing even more sudden.

training Frank Dik
Heavy rains, but Frank's training continues...
(photo: Appie)
training Frank Dik
"Step-by-step" Frank makes you familiar with new technics of using your prosthesis
(photo: Appie)

Starting with exercises varieing gait-length, gait-timing and balance Frank teaches you "step-by-step" to walk on your prosthesis with more concienceness and ease.
After participating a few training sessions one is able to run short distances in slow tempo. That much more is possible after that, is proved by the level of competition that other pupils of Frank demonstrate: Marije, Anette en Jacco, are high-level disabled athletics who participate in international athletic-matches.
Ofcourse this all is easier for me as a lower-limb amputee than amputees who miss their knee-joint. But members of both groups are training with Frank.
I enjoined Franks training very much and I learned that I can do more with my prosthesis then I ever thought possible.
Frank Dik, envited me for the next trainings if I wanted to... he's very easy going and likes to teach disabled about what they can do more, not only to participate in high-level sports, but just move better and be more concious of how you walk and how to improve your gait just by simple tricks... thanks Frank!

So check the "Prolathic" webpages for the good work tat Frank does for us, amputees:

The "Prothesis-Knights" hit the road again for the 8th time.

After meeting each other over a stong cup-of-coffee in good tradition on the Pietersberg in the South of Holland, we took off with our motorbikes Friday May 20th with the feeling we just saw each other last week... but it really was a year ago since our last meeting!
The 30 participating bikes were split in 4 groups, regading everyone's personal (mis)use of the gas-handle.
"Nothing special to that", the reader will think, reading this...
Oké... nothing special indeed, if not for the fact that most of these motorists have got their driving-license (or got it back again) through the MMvG project.

Op weg
Road-Pic from a side-car
Leendert fits his next bike: a H-D with side-car

The groups of "Prothesis-Knights" turn their handle-bars direction Belgium Ardennes and gradually the turns are getting sharper and the slopes steeper.
Weather is wunderfull: neither too warm nor too cold and not unimportant: it's dry. Stopping regularly at nice café sidewalks the mood is good, aquaintances are made or renewed.
Hours of curve-pleasure grinds the bit lost techniques to old levels again and the speed gradually increases when ridin'deeper into the woods and mountains.
Around 6 o'clock we arrive at a typical cosy German hotel and the engines aren't quite killed or the first are sitting behind a high glass of Bittburger Lager already!

The quiet group (but not in db's) number four, with Jack in the lead

The second day starts with a shy sun above as we fire up the bikes and ride off again, deeper into the German Eifel mountains.
Beautyful roads small and even smaller meander through fresh spring-green forests, pass steep rocks and gurgling moutain-streams. Along hairpins we ride up and down and the engines are thundering through the green-lit tree-corridors. Wide sceneries on the higher grounds give many kilometers sight over the vast undulating landscapes.

On the second evening every attempt to good behavior suffocates in the plentyfull German food and in too much of the Bittburger beer. Only in the very late hours it becomes quiet again in the German Eifel.

Co1B1 Co among H-D bikes
Sunday morning the motors leave the hotel and the ride rolls along even more beautyful places, but now back again direction Belgium and Holland.

The 8e MMvG motorweekend had one lesser lucky moment when the brandnew Hayabusha-sidecar of Maurice kissed a safety-rail but everone else returned home healthy and without any misgrieve after more then 1000 km's of wunderful country roads.

This was my third MMvG motortrip already and I just can't wait to the next motorcycle weekend for disabled: May 2006... I'll sure be there!

Summer: Sweet Life in France.

Carefully shuffeling along a smal ridge above an abyss, with steep rocks tens of meters below me, I reconsider that I have a lot of trust in that thin carbon-fibre stick connecting my leg-with-prosthesis to my shoe.
In daily life I'm not aware of that so seriously.
On flat grounds I walk, jump, shuffle and stumble without thinking about that simple connection of my body to the ground.
But here, during a walk on the rocks in the Cevènnes (South of France) is moving around with an artificial leg of an entirely different dimension.
Not a question of me beeing afraid... I was just hit for a moment with the thought of how much trust I have in my own good leg and how different it is to see that other, strange technical part on my body and the weird feeling about it.
A realy stunning experience that was.

France is a stupid country with crazy drivers overtaking you like madman on narrow countryroads... toll roads on which you have to wait in long queues before you can pay your money to enter the road at last. Those squat-toilets where I with my spoiled knee and prosthesis make a mess of myself and my surroundings trying to pee decently, hanging on everything I can get a hold on.
France is soo relaxed with mountains, rocks, woods, winding motorbike roads, houses higgledy-piggledy-topsy-turvy-who-cares, delicious wines and cheese, bread and the way of living like don't-make-a-fuss-about-life-too-much.
abyss Dat pootje ziet er wel erg dun uit, zo vlak voor zo'n afgrond

Three marvelous nice-weather-weeks of holydays in France, but with a rather painfull accident.
I had a sandal attached to my prostheses which, while walking on the camp-site got stuck behind a tent peg.
I Just did not watch my steps too carefully.
Didn't feel at all that my prosthesis slipped of my stump so unaware I took the next step without prosthesis wilth the bare liner on my stump and fell hard with all my weight right on the tibia-end.
Pain flowed through my leg and the rest of my body and I didn't know at all what had happened, untill after a few minutes my sight cleared up and I saw my prostheses stuck behind that peg.
pootjes I pulled the liner off to check the damage to my stump... luckily there were no wounds but a large bruise was swelling in all kind of yellow-blue colors in the shape of an egg.
I immediately submerged my leg in cold wather and afterwards I put a tight bandage on.
For the next weeks wearing the prosthesis would be painfull, if possible at all...
Brings me to a warning for users of the Seal-In liner system (and I said this before): take care about wearing your prosthesis while the fitting is too loose: it can slip from your stump easyly which can be painfull and dangerous!

Roaring protest of a few hundred motorbikes.

Saturday September 10th a large group of motorbikes rode to the North of The Netherlands for a special purpose.
The MAG (Motorriders Action Group) -click: organized a protest ride against a "cable-barrier", build by the authorities.
MAG's mission is to watch that roads and roadsides are kept as safely as possible for bikers. Such as slippery paint or oilspots, dammaged spots on the road, dangerous speed-ramps, signs, poles and everything else along the roadside which can endanger motorbikers.
The purpose of this MAG Demo-Run was to attrack attention to the dangerous crash barrier made of steel cables.

The handicapped motorriders of the Foundation MVG (Motorriding for Handicapped) led by Erik "Terugschakelen" Paskamp were gathered together to add force to the cause with visualising the possible results of a crash against the cable-barrier as a motrocyclist: amutation of leg or arm or more serious: decapitation.

From the Dutch forumgroup KorterMaarKrachtig Forum for arm- and leg amputees (klik Erik, Appie, myself and Henk en Petra in their GoldWing sidecar were present.

great impact on the participants and public
The presence of Appie Rietveld had great impact on the participants and public
Co LeDahu is getting interviewd on TV
Co LeDahu is getting interviewd on TV

Highlight of the MAG protest run against this "egg-cutter" was an action to cover the cable-barrier with straw-blocks to make the damned thing more safe to bikers!

I estimate more than 200 motor cyclists were present at this happening which was well-organised and very impressive due to the presence of several amputation victims because of traffic-accidents.
TV recordings and interviews were made and journalists en photographers from various national papers were present.
Erik, Appie (who is actually a road-barrier amputation victim) and myself got a lot of media attention.

eggcutter barrier
Motorbikes placed into the "eggcutter barrier"
covering cables
The steel cables are being covered with straw

"Lookin' back
on the track
for a little mean leg"...
(from: George Baker Selection, 1966)

End of September I experienced a rather fightening adventure which took me to my prosthesist at once.
After having been through several similar situations, I now reached the very limit.
What happened to me?

On a Saturday afternoon, nice weather, she stood in front of my house still enjoying herself about the tough ride we had that day; the Sportster.
End of the day I had to ride around the house in order to park the bike inside the garden.
When I put the bike in the first gear and rode about ten meters I felt something funny on my left side, like missin' something... and I heard the alarming sound behind me: the well known and heart-stiffening "POK"
I looked and indeed saw behind me what I feared: about 10 meters distance layed my prosthesis on the middele of the road, far-away, lonely and very useless. The damned leg had fallen off my stump again!.

What to do now: ride in cicles untill the gastank was empty?
The gearpedal is on the left side too, so I couldn't put the bike in neutral.
Without my prosthesis it wasn Jffysteun uitklappen onmogelijk: het afgekortte linkerbeentje haalde dat bij lange na niet.t possible to reach the jiffy-stand as well! So: ride beside a tree and let the bike drop into it? Not a tree in sight I'm afraid...
Ohhhhhkay... carefull with the brakes and try to let the bike fall over on my good side, the right side. Now wait for help with the clutch in.

Not much later my daughther looked out of the window and saw something laying on the street that looked very musch as the thing, that was normally attached to her fathers body... an artificial leg.
She ran outside, grabbed the fallen leg from the tarmac en put it on my stump again.
I can tell you, dear web-friends: by that time cold sweat had formed a little slow flowing stream and I felt it following every single one of my vertebrae from my neck to deep into the cleft of my butt.

Enfin, prosthesis back again where it belonged, I rode the bike around the house... happy that the incident happened at that moment en not while speeding on the motorway at 140 km/hr!
But one thing had become very clear: I needed a new good fitting socket very urgently... for the sake of my own safety!

The last km's this year on my Sportster.

On a nice and sunny day, end of September I mounted my beloveth Harley to ride the last km's on two wheels this year, and what a terrific sceneries of low-shining rays of sunlight, filtered through red and yellow leaves and autumn-haze, dipping the woods into fairytale beauty I saw, while feeling the satisfied vibrating V-twin under the cojones. I felt very happy!
Meditating in the saddle I realized that this time of the year, with nature changing slowly from fall into winter, is the time I reconsider the last year more than others do at newyears-eve. Like a bear crawling into his cave for his wintersleep does?

Co on a high-neck kick-chopper
Check the fat hind-tyre!

As you'll know, I not only suffer from a shorter left leg after my accident. I have more handicaps: like the lost of mobility and sensibility in my left arm and hand.
Neuro-surgery cannot repair this defects and there will not be any improvement in future either, so I have to live with it.
In a last try to repair the lost grip function of my thumb, my surgeon will attach a tendon in my hand to the basis of my thumb to make opposition-stance of the thumb to my fingers again. Half of October this operation has found place.

I'ts a very precise surgery-job which I underwent in complete anaestatics for two hours.
After the surgery I have to keep hand and arm in plaster for 5-6 weeks to let the tendon grow ridgid to the thumb.
With fysio-therapy I have to train to get movement in the situation, more or less in the way it ought to move.

So in the next few months a lot of activities are on low level, like scuba-diving and riding my motorbike.
A little compensation for this dissapointment is the posibility to ride the push-bike of my son's friend Maurits now-and-then.