Friday, November 7, 2014

Have A Kick Ass Day

Dwight Johnson lost both legs in separate industrial accidents.

But when he was really down he thought of his seven children, his wife, and the rest of his life.

“I was laying in the hospital bed and I asked the nurse, I said ‘Give me the red button and leave it on; I’m done’,” Johnson told CBS News in an interview.

Johnson's job was inspecting skyscrapers. The first occupational injury was incurred on a trip to Hong Kong for work, when he developed a staph infection. Three days later, his foot was dead, and his only option was amputation.

After that first ordeal Johnson returned to work on high-rises with the use of a prosthetic leg.

“I basically had to learn how to walk all over again, like a child,” Johnson said. “All your balance, you learn your core, and where your balance is, and then you go from there.”

Round two occurred a year and a half ago when he was was struck by a transit bus while crossing the street in New York City, again on the job.

This put Johnson in a deep hole, and he initially refused to see a doctor because he knew amputation was imminent.

“We went through a couple nights where he wasn’t going to go, and I kind of had to give him an ultimatum that he had to go,” his wife Debbie says on the news report. “Otherwise, he would have died on me right in the house.”

“Something just told me I could do it,” Johnson said. “With the seven kids and my wife, I wasn’t ready.”
Dwight Johnson with his best "kick-ass" scowl!

Tom Nomura is Clinic Manager at Hanger, the Newport Beach company that created Dwight’s new legs and providing rehabilitation.

“He had to go through rehab each one of those times,” Nomura explained. “So it was his perseverance and his determination that really made it work for him.”

Johnson says he's in pain every day, takes medication all day long, but still says, "I'm not ready to sit in a chair."

Besides returning to the work force, Dwight and Debbie also began work with Amputee Empowerment Partners, to assist other amputees in their own transition into new routines.

Dwight's goal is to inspire amputees who remain in their chairs to work with their prosthetics.

“I meet a lot of people that are still sitting in their chairs, and they have prosthetics and they won’t put them on," he says. "So, I’m hoping this will entice somebody to get up off their rear and get up and go.”

Dwight's favorite sign off phrase is, "have a kick-ass day."

Dwight will be the motivational speaker at the 3rd Annual WorkCompCentral Awards and Gala on December 6.

Get your tickets now, they're going fast, and you will have a "kick-ass day."

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