I lost my leg and suffered internal burning after being electrocuted
It’s a miracle that she’s alive
Milly Pickles, a Bournemouth Uni Marketing student, left as usual for her placement one morning.
She was ten minutes early for work so decided to pop out and buy two boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts for her work mates. There wasn't a special occasion, she just had that Friday feeling.
She'd just joined the gym, booked driving lessons, and her mum had just got back from holiday. She rang her up telling her she was the happiest she had ever been.
Later that day, Milly was electrocuted. The circumstances surrounding exactly what happened remain unclear at this moment in time.
However, Milly remembers the entirety of the two minutes she had to endure 750 volts passing through her body, leaving her fighting for her life.
The first photo was taken on the 29th September 2017. The girl I was in this photo is a very different girl to who I am today. It was taken where I was on placement & ridiculously happy with my life. Little did I know that later on that evening I'd be rushed to hospital fighting for my life and legs. Unfortunately I was electrocuted with 750 volts passing through me, resulting with a loss of my right leg and a few other injuries. It is an absolute miracle that I am alive. The fact I survived & was saved, I feel that I have a greater purpose to life & I feel the need to share my journey to help others, & let people know that no matter what they're going through, everything will work out. A positive mindset is so key! Shoutout to @paola_antonini for getting me through. After 2 & a half months in hospital, 20 surgeries & counting, I am now home with my amazing family. I got my goal which was to be home for Christmas & I had the best time. I'm so appreciative of life & ridiculously positive & happy to be here. Despite having a complicated accident & journey so far, my injuries are nothing in comparison to what the other outcome could have been, so I'm very thankful. If I could go back & change what happened, I wouldn't. It has changed my life for the better, opened up so many opportunities & altered the way I view life. I have learnt so much about myself. I have always been strong, but going through what I have made me realise HOW strong I truly am. I have also met some amazing people & made friends for life (@keltia_a & @natrichiee). I appreciate life, my family & friends even more. As well as all the small things we take for granted like simply being able to move your arms and feed yourself some food. In addition to this, the NHS is AMAZING & we're so lucky to have it, seriously!!!! I also want to thank my @mumpickles & Dad for being the most supportive & bestest parents imaginable, visiting me religiously everyday, being my rocks and becoming my full time carers. Also to my siblings @oliviapickles @gpickles24 @atpickles for being so supportive & providing me with entertainment!! A big thanks to my pals who have stuck by me, you know who you are. Ly xx
Milly was rushed to hospital after the incident, in which an electric current entered her right heel, travelled through her leg and pelvis and then down her left leg and out of her big toe. Luckily, something prevented the current entering her spine and travelling to her brain, making it a miracle that she is still alive.
Devastatingly, the incident which happened in September, left Milly having to have her right leg amputated and she also lost her big toe on her other foot.
Her body was 36 per cent burnt – the majority of which were internal burns.
If you're wondering what I am talking about, unfortunately I lost my big toe on my left foot. This means my shoe size has gone from a size 7 to 4.5. #lol #icouldntbelieveit #cheapershoegoals The electrical current entered my body through my right heel, went up my leg, across my pelvis, and then down my left leg. Resulting in the current exiting through my big toe 🐷 #thispiggynevercamehome Fortunately something caused the current to change direction, instead of it going straight up and through my brain! As I have not yet received my prosthetic leg, the amazing PPAM Aid is enabling me to walk. It is a bag full of air which puts no pressure on my wounds. #HumourIsEverything
Milly spent two and a half months in hospital, and has gone through multiple surgeries before returning home to recover. She now has a prosthetic leg enabling her to walk.
Her life has completely changed, from her shoe size to her routine. Milly's shoe size was previously a 7.5 and now it's a 4, and she's had to learn how to walk and stand all over again.
Today I received my first EVER prosthetic leg😱 I CAN WALK AGAIN!!!! It felt amazing to be able to walk, stand up tall, and feel my height. I have forgotten how tall I am and each time I stand, I feel like the BFG😂 It is also so nice to have a stable balance when standing still, without holding onto anything!!! Thinking back to when I couldn’t even sit up and needed assistance in doing so, to now, and I am able to walk!!! I honestly cannot believe how far I have come, and yet, it is still only the beginning of my journey! I feel so lucky to still have the opportunity to achieve all I have ever wanted to do (and more). I will just be doing it differently and that’s okay. I am happy and proud to be different!! Ps. My prosthetic leg at the moment needs to be practical as I am a beginner so it isn’t necessarily aesthetically pleasing. However I am SO excited for when I can design it and make it my own personal accessory🤩 Also shoutout to @mumpickles for buying me the stylish Pineapple leggings hahaha love ya x
This hasn't made her any less of a happy and positive person, and she now helps other people in a similar position to her. She has support from her friends, family and even Paralympian and fellow amputee, Jonnie Peacock, who sent her a supportive video that she shared on Instagram.
Milly told The Tab Bournemouth: "I’ve had a lot of people say that I’ve helped them out of dark places and they’ve seen what I’ve been through and realised that their problems are tiny and they’re lucky to be alive.
"People say that I’ve inspired them, that I’m strong, they wish they had my mindset. But people don't need to wish they had my mindset, being positive is a choice and people can act upon it.
"In hospital I was asked by my surgeons to talk to a man who was about to get his leg amputated, he was 60, nervous and crying. I told him about my situation and how I dealt with it, and what it was like when I saw my leg amputated.
"I’m weirdly happy and I just want to make people feel better."
So today I attempted to go up and down stairs, as well as slopes. It was a bit of a mission hahaha! I also got permission from my physio to take my leg home. This wasn’t allowed until they felt I was good enough at walking. This is another step forward! 😱 I told my family that I wasn’t allowed to have my leg so I could surprise them (see last vid). First time walking into the kitchen since September! I still cannot believe how tall I am! I’m seeing the world from a completely different and high perspective, it feels great!!! It’s the little things in life ❤️ Oh, and my leg is now purple x
As a lacrosse player, her injuries have affected more than just her academic life at BU. For Milly to be able to play again, she will need a prosthetic blade – which isn't available on the NHS. A crowdfunding page has been set up by her team mates, to help raise money for her care, and hopefully a blade in the future.
Looking at these photos, you wouldn’t imagine that four months ago 36% of my body was burnt. Majority of my burns were internal and some external. With this, I realise I am so tremendously lucky to still look like the same old me (despite my legs). Yesterday was a day I dreamt of for many months during my stay in hospital – walking through my ward, wearing make up, dressed up in my own clothes and seeing all those important people again, who made a difference. It was a day I’ll remember forever! Thinking back to when I dreamt that to now, the time has flown by. Seeing other patients yesterday in hospital looking so poorly and helpless, I honestly struggle to believe that I was once like that and it showed me how far I have truly come. My surgeons and nurses were amazed with how well I looked and my ability to walk. It felt nice seeing everybody’s reactions! I still cannot believe how tall I am and neither could they. It meant a lot to me, for me to finally be able to stand next to them all, and actually be able to put my arms around them. Every cloud has a silver lining because I met many amazing people along my journey. I honestly couldn’t thank them all enough. My mum and Kel in these photos are two of many rocks I have. Kel was my nurse and now bestie who went above and beyond for me. She taught me Spanish which gave me something to focus on, when I couldn’t do much else. I can’t wait to go to Spain with her! ❤️
On the page, her team mates describe her as "an outgoing, kind and beautiful person" and say it would be a "great honour" to be able to provide support and contribute towards her prosthetic blade.
BEST PHYSIO SESSION YET 💛🤪 With only two of these machines in the UK, I feel privileged to be able to use it with my recovery. It is called the GRAIL Motek Medical machine. Using virtual reality, I had to complete various tasks with treadmill perturbations. For example, dodging, changing the hill gradients and more. I wasn’t aware of these changes because being the competitive person I am, I was so focussed on trying to win the games that I forgot about how I was walking or dodging, it became instinctive. This meant my physiotherapist was able to analyse my steps accurately. As well as measure how much weight I put in each leg (using the luminous markers on my shoes). It is key to have an even balance of weight on both legs and not heavily rely on my left leg, to avoid future problems. Surprisingly, I put more weight on my right leg than my left. 🙋🏻♀️ First video: Easy level to start me off so not the most exciting to watch. It reminded me of Temple Run. I had to dodge the birds whilst going up and down the path with harsh gradients, and at a fast pace. I have already improved on this, comparing it to my last Instagram video!! This is to help me in rush hour at the tube station, dodging people quickly. Second video: This was a combination of games within one, which I thoroughly enjoyed and was more challenging. I also walked without holding on to anything. YASS🤩 After this session, I instantly had more confidence and was able to walk without my walking stick for the first time. I am looking to gradually use my stick less, as I don’t want to become dependent on it!!!
Milly has been undergoing physio sessions, and is making great progress. She says this is because of her positive mindset, and having youth on her side.
"I’m recovering really well, they’ve said it's because I’ve always been active, I’m young and determined – I really want my life back. "
21🥂 I am pleased to say that I achieved my goal of being able to walk and stand for my 21st birthday!!! I had a lovely day spent with my family and cannot wait to celebrate it with my girls🙉🎊 – Each time I wish to change my shoes, my prosthetist has to change the gradient of my foot to match the shoes. This is a bit long so looks like I’m stuck with wearing my 97s for a while 🤷🏽♀️ – Thank you @lashes_bybella for my lashes!! They are amazing. A big thank you to @torileemua as well for doing my glam make up (see last pic) 💓
The 21-year-old was just months into placement when all of this happened. BU have allowed Milly to make a choice about what she wants to do going forward.
"I decided to go back to uni in September, and BU have excused me from placement, but I have gone back. It ends in August so I still have six months left. I'm doing one day a week and gradually building it up. They’ve given me a laptop so I can work from home."
I literally love my leg. I have been told by many amputees that originally they spent years trying to hide their prosthetic leg. They had one made to look like a real leg but now they have a bionic one, they’ve never been happier. I am so glad that I went straight to a bionic leg because 1) I think they’re cool 2) I’m 1/6 robot 3) it’s my new accessory and 4) how are others meant to accept you for you, when you can’t even accept yourself? #deepbuttrue —— Ps. Yaaasssss First time painting my new toenails 🌸 #prettyinpink #purple #prostheticleg #glittery #amputeegirl #yassss #amputeestrong #stillcutetho
Milly has also started a blog, where she shares her journey and experiences, which she says isn't something she'd usually do.
"I am such a private person and I hate people knowing my business, so to do what I'm doing is really hard. I feel like because I survived, I’m meant to be here for a reason, I think it’s my duty to help people. It’s changed my whole perspective on life.
"Before my accident I never really knew the meaning of life and how lucky you are to be alive. It’s a shame that I’ve had to lose a leg to be able to see this.
"I loved my life before, I’ve never been a negative person. An hour before my accident I was on the phone to my mum telling her how happy I was.
"I know how lucky I am to be alive and I’m so positive, that’s why I’m so happy and I’ve accepted it. I love my leg, and I’ve embraced it."