Pierre Marinier

When crisis gives way to victory and hope

From December 2020 to February 2021, I was a patient at the Institut de réadaptation Gingras-Lindsay-de-Montréal (IRGLM) following a serious motorcycle accident on November 7. A truck driver, who’d fallen asleep at the wheel, collided with me, injuring me so seriously that in the minutes that followed I had to have my left leg amputated above the knee.

As soon as I arrived at the IRGLM, after four difficult weeks at Hôpital Sacré-Cœur, my state of mind changed—dramatically. The first surprise: two employees were there to greet me and guide me through this unknown place. Until then, I’d been consumed with negative thoughts and traumatized by the dramatic events. All of a sudden, I felt welcome and safe.

Healing the body…and the mind

Next, I was taken into the care of a team of experts: an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, nutritionist, social worker, and others. The help I received wasn’t just physical. There was also a psychologist who worked with me to overcome my crippling sense of guilt and discouragement. I needed a peaceful mind to help my body heal.

I embarked on my rehabilitation, and my confidence and optimism grew when I saw the plan they’d come up with to help me deal with my prosthetic. And when they saw my frustration at having to learn how to walk all over again at the age of 58, different specialists at the IRGLM were there to give me moral support.

“As soon as I arrived at the IRGLM, my state of mind changed—dramatically.”

Pierre Marinier

Inspiration all around me

The other patients were also a source of motivation. For instance, when I saw a man in a wheelchair—both of his feet amputated—stand up and walk using crutches, I thought: “Someday, I’ll walk again too.”

Put simply, I always felt cared for, listened to, encouraged, reassured,… Still today, I sometimes joke that the IRGLM was almost like Club Med. I even celebrated my birthday and my 35th wedding anniversary in December 2020 while I was there!

The IRGLM: a partner in cutting-edge innovation

Last May, I returned to the IRGLM for osteointegration surgery. This is a new and innovative procedure, and I was only the 36th person in the country to benefit from it.

It involves inserting a permanent metal implant in the femur to which I can now attach my artificial leg. The previous method required up to 20 minutes of adjustments before I could get a comfortable fit. This new technology is like a plug & play! It’s changed my life and given me hope that someday I’m going to get right back on that motorcycle.

Today, the smile is back on my face, in great part thanks to the team at the IRGLM. Supporting this place allows people to regain their physical abilities—and their will to live. You can’t imagine all of the good the Institute does for its patients!

Pierre Marinier, 61 years old