Ricky Bartlett Interview

How long have you been an amputee?

Since December 6, 2014, a little over 7 years.

How did you become an amputee?

I contracted Necrotizing Fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) from a hike to South Dakota and Wyoming. Taking my leg was the only way of saving my life.

What type of amputee are you?

I am currently a left-leg below-knee amputee, however, I will soon be a double amputee (also below the knee).

Were you in the hospital a long time? Any complications?

I remember arriving at Mercy Iowa City and being wheeled in by two nurses. I passed out in the lobby. I woke up at the University of Iowa, due to Mercy’s inability to perform an emergency amputation.I was at UIowa for one week and at Unity Point St. Luke’s Rehabilitation for three weeks. I was hospitalized from December 6, 2014 – to January 6, 2015. Exactly one month.

Describe your pain after your Amputation. Do you still have phantom pain?

I didn’t really have a lot of pain directly after the amputation. However, I did develop phantom pain once I started being more active. It’s been over 7 years and I still experience acute phantom pain.

Have you had mental roadblocks that you had to deal with or still dealing with? Like PTSD, depression or thoughts of suicide?

I never thought I had issues, yet I do recall a moment; a passing thought of suicide. However, I quickly overcame that and moved on. I still have self-doubt and moments of depression, but being in the public’s eye and in their ears, I wear a smiling mask so others don’t see the pain, depression, and struggles as an amputee. It’s a highly developed skill I embrace.

Did you have PT or OT inside and outside of the hospital? If so, how long?

I had both whiles at Unity Point St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Center.  I received three weeks of daily PT and OT services. I also received outside scheduled PT after leaving rehab.

 Did you need to see a therapist at any point? Or are you seeing one now?

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I started seeing a therapist for something unrelated to my amputation. However, I quickly learned that the issues I am currently experiencing triggered deeply locked-away, amputation-related ghosts that still haunt me.

 Do you feel you received adequate resources from the hospital before going home?

I do actually. The level of caring and information I received helped me deal with the new lifestyle change I was thrown into.

How was your support from family and friends before and after you got home?

Living in Iowa, away from family in Georgia, was a trial of compassion. My wife Jennifer and daughter Jaclyn are all the family I have here. Jennifer took everything on her shoulders. She became my advocate and BullDawg!I was also thankful Jennifer had our friend Dawn and her family to watch over my family while Jennifer and Jaclyn watched over me. So yes, I had an unbelievable amount of support from a Wonder Woman!

Anything you wish the hospital would of told you before going home?

Not really. They were very thorough with the information provided.

What profession were you in before your amputation? What are you doing now?

Before the amputation, I was a recruiter and Systems Analyst within the IT field. However, I had been in radio off-and-on prior to this. The interesting thing about this question is that while in rehab my wife noticed I was feeling down. I was questioning my 
role as a breadwinner and my ability to work again. She asked me one simple question, ”What job made you the happiest?” Only one came 
to mind, RADIO. So, 6-months later I started working on the morning show for KMRY 93.1FM and almost 7yrs later I am an investor and 
part-owner of KMRY and my own destiny.

What goals do you have for yourself: 30-days, 3-months, a year from now?

I have many goals I can point out. 

(a) I want to heal from my anticipated right-leg amputation soon because in September of 2023 I plan on participating in the ‘Rickshaw Run’ across thousands of miles in India.

(b) I look forward to acting in two films shooting this summer and maybe getting back on another episode of ‘Chicago PD’ after I am healed from the amputation.

(c) I am looking forward to creating a voiceover home studio with the assistance of the Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation program that helps disabled entrepreneurs.

(d) I would like to get back on a motorcycle, as I haven’t been on one since 2014.

What type of prosthetic are you using?

I am currently using a pin-lock system prosthetic with a Freedom Innovation ankle and foot. Very basic, but I would like to explore other options.

Ricky Bartlett Interview

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