Injured tree trimmer adjusting to life with one arm

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A tree trimmer who lost his arm on the job in Whitehaven last week spoke about the ordeal in his first interview since the accident.

When a reporter arrived at his home, Bill Oldenburg showed that he is trying to get used to living life without one arm.  He extended his left hand for a handshake, and even helped our photographer move a couch for the interview.

But Oldenburg admits, there are a lot of simple things he can no longer do.

"How do you wash one hand?" Oldenburg asked.

Oldenburg said his missing arm reminds him that he is fortunate to still be alive.

"They said I bled out three liters of blood on the scene," Oldenburg said, "and the human body contains about five liters."

The accident happened last week.  While Oldenburg was trimming a tree, he somehow lost control of his saw.

"The wind started blowing and I can't tell you exactly what happened after that except I screamed that I cut my arm off," Oldenburg said.

He said he cannot remember feeling the pain, but he does remember the horror of realizing what was happening.

"I saw the blood spurting," Oldenburg said.  "I saw the bone and muscle tissue and the rest of my arm dangling there."

Oldenburg, who has been trimming trees for 17 years, is now trying to figure out what he will be able to do now.

"My job is gone," Oldenburg said.

Before the accident, Oldenburg fell on tough times and was homeless for seven months.  He had just been working for his new tree trimming company for a month.

He is now staying with friends.

While Oldenburg figures out how to live without an arm, he is also trying to figure out how to get his life back on track and get a place of his own.  However, he is not spending time feeling sorry for himself.

"I can't whine about it," Oldenburg said.  "I'm not going to get it back.  It's gone."

A trust fund has been set up to help Oldenburg pay for his expenses.  If you would like to make a contribution you can do so by going to any First Tennessee Bank.

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