PIERRE, 23 YEARS OLD
Pierre’s story is surely one of the most incredible I have ever had the chance to tell.
His life changed on Wednesday April 11, 2018.
After a work accident in the industrial zone of Bouguenais, he was urgently taken to the CHU Nantes Nord. The pain being too strong, he will be placed in an artificial coma for a period of 2 and a half weeks. The objective of putting him in a coma was to allow him to keep a stable state and to carry out amputations in order to stabilize him, the doctors had no certainty that he was going to wake up.
When he woke up, he was told that he had less than a 1% chance of survival.
“When I woke up, I was already given the nickname of Miraculous. All the amputations were done in a coma. It was progressive, every two or three days they amputated a limb. My vital prognosis was engaged, I didn’t “I wasn’t stable. My body was failing to heal. The amputations were meant to stabilize me.”
Pierre will have undergone several amputations one after the other. Very high amputations in the arms, femoral amputation of the right leg. Tibial amputation in the left leg.
He tells me that the surgeons went to the maximum possible amputation.
“The other people who are amputated understand things and the situation better, it is in view of the amputations that we understand the seriousness of the accident.”
He spent a total of two and a half months in the hospital. On June 17, 2018, he left the hospital for the Kerpape rehabilitation and rehabilitation center. He made this decision with the surgeon because he did not want to stay in Nantes. Kerpape was a pivotal step in his recovery because it was there that he says he learned to do certain things again.
“I took this opportunity to start from scratch and leave the department. This choice was very beneficial. There I learned to walk, to swim, I relearned a lot of things. I took it step by step.”
He stayed there for a year, before returning a few weeks later to take stock with the doctors to put everything in place to help him in his daily life.
He returns to Nantes, to his parents.
“It’s the simplest, everything is nearby for me. I am next to the swimming pool, the weight room and the prosthetist.”
Pierre’s goal today is to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in the Paralympic category.
He registers and qualifies for the French championships.
During our second interview, Pierre had just returned from Belgium where he had completed professional training. Following this training, he competed in a regional competition in Lannion.
“First, it was Valenciennes in the French long-term championship, with my coach we improved the French record in the 50m breaststroke, which positions me in the world top 10 in the 50m breaststroke and vice-champion of France medalist. ”
Pierre told me, however, that he does not currently have an international license and that he is not yet in the France team but that he is part of a regional committee. We are therefore talking here about time positioned by reference, a minimum B, he describes this as encouraging and it motivates him to continue in view of such a feat in just 1 year and a half.
I told Pierre that today I am working on Afterlife to break taboos on many things including disability, that if we do not want to raise people’s awareness, we should above all educate them on this. He said something that really stuck with me:
“There is also a fear, people are fighting over a lot of things. People are not open enough to Disability, they are not used to it and overreact. When people look at me, they don’t tell themselves that I can walk, run or swim. When I tell them I’m an athlete and I swim, they don’t believe me. You have to make people want to take an interest in people with disabilities, do it in a good way, be yourself. In my family, we didn’t have anyone with a disability, it’s not that we weren’t interested in it, we didn’t know. Since I got it, my family has been interested in Disability. If you don’t talk about it, people won’t think about it. People don’t live it, they won’t understand it. You are interested in it because you have experienced it or because you know someone who has experienced it. It is for this reason that, for example, an amputee will be followed by many amputees on social networks, even if the person is on the other side of the world, the Disability is a rapprochement.”
Today, he is happy to be followed by a small community because he knows that people are really interested in his content. He enjoys answering questions and talking about Disability around him.
“To relativize on the thing, it is very complicated. There are people who have asked me what my greatest suffering was following the accident, when I explain to them, they tell me that they would not have been able to overcome it. It was the realization that was the hardest. I didn’t try to understand why, because in fact we don’t understand. Then we go through anger, and that’s when things change. Some people remained angry, I analyzed everything. It’s in my nature, I’ve always analyzed things. I always need answers to my questions. I calmed down and thought about what happened, I didn’t stay angry. My greatest pain was seeing my parents’ eyes when I woke up, my heart was in pieces. I thought a lot, I told myself that I had two choices, either I get up from this ordeal, or I let myself die. And then I said to myself, if I’m still alive it’s for a good reason, it’s that I still have something to do, so I took my life back in hand. “
A few days before our interview, he listened to a song he was listening to at Kerpape, and he said to himself that the life he would like is the one he has today.
“4 years later, I thought back to that moment and I smiled, I said to myself that this is it, I had succeeded.”
He is very confident today in medicine and technology with regard to optimizing the comfort of people with disabilities, particularly in the context of prostheses.
He advises people a lot on the mind and sport through his Instagram account.
“Half of my days I play sports. I don’t wear arm prostheses because they bother me during my workouts, I wear leg prostheses more. I spend about 6 or 7 hours of my days training. I work my legs a lot, being in an armchair I have to make them work a lot more so as not to atrophy the muscle.
I asked Pierre what he would say to the person reading this, if he could only say one thing:
“Everything is possible. I told myself that nothing is impossible but given the negativity of the human state of mind I prefer to say that everything is possible, because with this sentence there is a certain motivation and discipline that can flow from it.”
Currently, Pierre is still in civil lawsuit. He nevertheless continues to motivate people through his social networks and also in interviews with people. He told me that his goal, even if he goes step by step, would be to become a coach.