Elden Griffin's journey started with a fall.
He got up to walk one day and his knee gave out, causing him to take a spill. A visit to the doctor revealed that he needed to have a total knee replacement. A few months after the surgery, his knee swelled up and became infected. They found out that the infection was located in the kneecap, so they removed the replacement and put in a spacer until the infection cleared up.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of it. Three months later the infection returned, and it continued to come back for five years. The pain and blistering that resulted from it became so bad that he eventually stopped leaving the house altogether.
After five years of this, he finally told his doctors he had enough. He knew the only way he could get back to living was to have the leg amputated. In May 2016, that's exactly what happened.
He didn't make his decision lightly. After that initial fall, Elden was afraid that it would happen all over again with his new leg.
"I was very worried about going out in public and walking," he said. "If I had to walk over a bump or up a step, what if I fell? I was worried that people would stare at me or laugh if I did fall."
He said his family has helped him stay positive, motivated and encouraged.
"My grandkids call me every day to check in on me and ask if I did my physical therapy and offer to come over to help me do it if I need help," he said. "They call and tell me they are proud of me."
He advises other amputees to do their exercises, no matter how small they seem.
need to in order to get better," he said. "T
he physical therapist here are great. They are honest with their answer.
He said that Optimus Prosthetics has been the "soul" of the way he is performing now. He said the encouragement he received here when he was first learning to walk with his prosthesis gave him the confidence to keep going.
"The saying Jim teaches you, 'Heel bud, Toe bud whip' I still say in my head today to make sure I stay steady and get that foot out," he said.
Today, Elden is able to do almost everything he enjoyed before the amputation. He hunts, fishes and works on his car.
"I wouldn't be able to do any of that without my family, or the people at Optimus," he said.