November is often thought of as Thanksgiving’s month, but there is another holiday, celebrated on the eleventh day of the month, that is equally important: Veterans Day. It is a day to honor the sacrifice and bravery of the men and women who have put themselves in harm’s way so the majority of us don’t have to. Our Patient Spotlight this month shines on Lester Corporon, who served in Vietnam.
Lester was on patrol on a hot and humid day in September 1968 along the DMZ in Vietnam when he and his fellow soldiers were suddenly engaged in a fire fight with the North Vietnamese Army. During the fighting, Lester suffered multiple gunshot wounds and fragment wounds.
After being sent back to the United States, Lester spent the next two years in the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. Thirty-three surgeries were conducted to try and save Lester’s left leg and right arm, and while his leg was able to be saved, his arm was not. His right arm was amputated just below the elbow, and Lester was fitted with a body-powered prosthesis.
Upon returning home, Lester found it difficult to adjust to life after combat and his amputation. He also began to experience nerve damage from his ill-fitting prosthesis in 1975. After a visit to the Mayo Clinic, Lester was introduced to Dale Clark, who helped redesign his prosthesis. This developed into a very positive relationship with Clark & Associates.
“They have helped me out tremendously,” Lester said. “With their help I have been able to do about anything I put my mind too. Mind over matter; if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!”
Nearing retirement, and with arthritis in his left shoulder, Lester had been looking for ways to improve his quality of life. About a month ago, he had a conversation with the VA and Clark & Associates that led to him receiving a bebionic3 hand.
“It is amazing,” Lester said. “I am still learning to control all the things it is capable of doing to make my life easier and more fun.”
While it may take Lester some time to learn how to use and control his hand, he is simply thankful to have it and a support network to help him.
“The future looks bright, and with God, all things are possible,” Lester said. “Thank you to all who have contributed in this life journey!”