Allan D. McElhaney, an amputee himself, serves as an ambassador for ABLE Amputees. Read more about his incredible journey.
On May 11, 2013, Allan D. McElhaney was riding his motorcycle around 45 miles per hour in Rose City, Arkansas, when he was hit by an 88-year-old man leaving his driveway. He had traumatic brain damage, three stokes, a broken jaw, broken teeth, and a dislocated eye, along with losing his left leg at the knee. He was kept in an induced coma at the beginning of his recovery, only to wake up thinking it was 1972 and that he had no wife or children. It took time before all of his long-term memories returned, and he still has problems with his short-term memory.
But to Allan, you would never know any of this about him unless you read the accident report or saw pictures of him in the hospital (neither of which he has seen to this day). Since becoming a Horton’s patient, Allan says he is one “very blessed man.” Honestly, we at Horton’s are blessed to have him! He now serves as an ambassador for ABLE, an amputee support group that meets regularly here in Arkansas. We are so proud of his progress and his work with other amputees, which is why we wanted to pay him special attention in this Patient Spotlight.
Want to learn more about Allan? Read his answers to our questions below.
How long have you been a Horton’s patient? Have you ever gone to other prosthetists?
Somewhere around July of 2013, I started coming to Horton’s. My family and I did go to Snell’s for one visit, but then we decided Chris Horton was our choice. Chris came to UAMS and met my wife and my son. They fell in love with him. Once I got home, I went to meet Chris and felt very comfortable with him. My relationship with Chris Horton is very strong and I have a lot of respect for the Horton family. It has been a great experience for me.
What prosthetic devices do you use? What was the most difficult and most rewarding part of learning to use your prosthetic device(s)?
I have a left knee-disarticulation prosthesis. It took a while to trust my balance and learn to walk again, but now I can mow my grass and travel as far as I want drive with my wife or by myself.
What activities, interests, or hobbies do you enjoy?
I do a lot of cooking. I take care of my pool and my lawn. I enjoy traveling. I do a lot volunteer work as an Ambassador with ABLE; we just started our fourth meeting place this month. I love working on our three outside events, which both amputees and families can attend. It’s such a great feeling to see so many companies donate to a non-profit, amputee support group in Arkansas like ABLE.
How long have you been involved with ABLE?
I went to my first ABLE meeting around October of 2013. I was asked to be an Ambassador in 2014.
What do you enjoy most about ABLE?
I enjoy helping a new amputee and their family to understand the challenges they are going through.
Do you have a favorite memory from any of these activities?
Yes, I do! Back in November of 2015 at an ABLE amputees meeting, I was helping a new amputee when I found he and I meet back in 1979. We both worked for the same company for around 12 years. There I was, just helping a new amputee. What are the chances that he would be a friend from a long time ago? It’s a small world.
What is one piece of advice you would give new amputees?
Our lives will move forward one step at a time.
What are your life goals? Have Horton’s and ABLE helped you achieve those goals?
My life goal is to be the man my wife knew before my terrible motorcycle accident.
If you’re looking for a local amputee support group, follow ABLE on Facebook. For more information about prosthetic options for new amputees, contact Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics at 501-683-8889.