Helosthis­hands and­fee­tat31,but David­hasn’tletit hold­him­back

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Real Life -

‘ I get ap­proached by ev­ery­body when I go out and nice’ that’s

When a vir­u­lent bac­te­rial in­fec­tion came close to claim­ing Auckland chemist David Gould’s life, hav­ing four limbs chopped off was a dras­tic but nec­es­sary act to cheat death.

Gravely ill with pneu­mo­coc­cal sep­ticemia, David had blood clots at ev­ery ex­trem­ity of his body, and gan­grene had quickly taken hold of his hands, feet, parts of his ears and nose.

The young health pro­fes­sional was in a battle for his life, with doc­tors telling wife Dale to pre­pare for the worst af­ter he was rushed to hos­pi­tal in the dead of night and put on a res­pi­ra­tor.

As spe­cial­ists drew on ev­ery pos­si­ble med­i­cal treat­ment to com­bat the killer dis­ease, they were left with lit­tle al­ter­na­tive but to am­pu­tate. Al­ready a cancer sur­vivor af­ter beat­ing Hodgkin’s dis­ease 10 years ear­lier aged 21, the new crisis would have a last­ing im­pact for the rest of David’s life, re­quir­ing pros­thet­ics for ev­ery limb on his body.

But sev­eral decades on from the life-chang­ing or­deal, he tells Woman’s Day he’s got a lot to be thank­ful for and wants people to know no mat­ter how tough things get, there’s al­ways hope the sit­u­a­tion will im­prove.

“We were able to dis­cuss what life would be like without fin­gers and toes,” says Dale. “It was ob­vi­ous he was go­ing to lose them – they were black! I was more ner­vous about gan­grene spread­ing up his body. I just wanted them off.”

De­spite ini­tially find­ing things dif­fi­cult and at times painful, David grad­u­ally ad­justed to life without hands and feet, his de­ter­mi­na­tion car­ry­ing him through the chal­leng­ing pe­riod.

“Dave is a very pos­i­tive per­son and he made things easy,” tells Dale.

He ex­plains, “I tried to keep bit­ter­ness out of my life be­cause as soon as you feel bit­ter, you go back­wards. You’ve got to some­how find a bit of hu­mour out of the whole thing. You can al­ways find some­thing funny in the day if you look hard enough.

“I tried to re­main pos­i­tive the whole time. Smil­ing your way through is better than gri­mac­ing at the hand life has dealt you. And keep the people that you love around you as your de­fence.”

In­deed, as David cred­its two spe­cial fam­ily mem­bers – his wife Dale and mo­bil­ity dog Em­mett – for mak­ing a world of dif­fer­ence to his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, es­pe­cially when a stroke tem­po­rar­ily left him paral­ysed down one half of his body six years af­ter los­ing his limbs.


The North Shore fa­ther of three and grand­fa­ther of two, who is fronting this year’s An­i­mates Christ­mas cam­paign to raise money for SPCA and Mo­bil­ity Dogs, says his cher­ished ca­nine aid has bridged a chasm be­tween home and com­mu­nity in a way he never dreamed pos­si­ble.

“Get­ting Em­mett into my life was a huge thing for me and he’s made an enor­mous dif­fer­ence,” tells David, who faced the daunt­ing chal­lenge of adapt­ing to four pros­thetic limbs at once. “He opens my in­te­rior doors for me through the home, he barks for help when I need it on com­mand and he picks things up off the floor for me.

“But the ma­jor thing for me is that he gives me con­fi­dence in the com­mu­nity. I get ap­proached by ev­ery­body when I go out and that’s kind of nice. Kids ask how my limbs work in­stead of be­ing scared of them.”

Hav­ing joined David’s house­hold fully trained to help him ac­com­plish ev­ery­day tasks, the now 12-year-old mo­bil­ity dog is re­garded as far more than a pet.

“He’s def­i­nitely a fam­ily mem­ber and a con­stant com­pan­ion to me,” says David. “He will stay by my side dur­ing the day, sit at my feet in the evening and then sleep on my bed at night.”

But not sur­pris­ingly, David’s heart­felt ap­pre­ci­a­tion is re­served for Dale, his wife and soul­mate who has been with him since he bat­tled through his first cancer scare in his early 20s.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her,” he says of Dale. “She’s been ev­ery­thing to me. She’s been so strong the whole time, al­ways smil­ing and al­ways pos­i­tive as well. If I have had a bad day, I get told in no un­cer­tain terms that I need to get it to­gether. We work

as a team the whole time.”

Full of ad­mi­ra­tion, Dale adds, “We started with a dif­fi­cult be­gin­ning and we just car­ried on. We are lucky be­cause we tend to pull to­gether rather than apart.

“But it must be so hard for any­body in David’s sit­u­a­tion. To lose one hand is bad enough, but to lose two hands and feet, and to have a stroke as well ... He’s just a re­ally coura­geous man.”

David and his faith­ful com­pan­ion Em­mett are fronting a Christ­mas cam­paign.

David in Eng­land be­fore he had surgery on his limbs, along­side land­lady Mary and wife Dale.

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