A grandad has told how his life has been turned upside down since he lost his leg in a freak accident after slipping on a slice of tomato.
Malcolm White, from Redburn in Bonhill, fractured his toe after tripping on the contents of a sandwich he was eating in July.
Blood clots developed in his left leg following the fall, with medics warning him he could die without amputation.
Life has changed completely for retired social worker Malcolm, 65, and wife Yvonne, 53, who have nine children and 18 grandchildren between them.
They are now embroiled in a battle with West Dunbartonshire Council and are calling on the local authority to adapt their two-storey council house or rehome them as they are completely confined to one room with Yvonne caring for him.
He said: “It was a freak accident and we laugh about it as it’s so ridiculous but there are also days where I feel really down.
“All of this because of a bit of tomato falling out a sandwich.
“Our lives have been completely turned upside down.
“I’ve been home now for almost eight weeks and we live in our living room as I can’t get up the stairs where the bedroom or bathroom is.
“It’s where we sleep and eat and it’s also where I have to use a commode and empty my catheter.
“I haven’t even been able to have a shower and Yvonne has to bed wash me every day.
“I can’t get out the house as I have steps at the front and back so I’m completely confined.
“Yvonne has health difficulties, including chronic arthiritis so there’s no way she can get me down the steps.
“I’ve been in my garden once since this happened and that was when my neighbour helped me out.
“I was sat there crying wondering when I was going to see it again and feel the fresh air on my face.”
Malcolm said he has been told the council is planning to move the couple into a new-build bungalow but he has no idea when that will be.
He said they would prefer to stay in their own home and have it adapted but that the council has said that’s not possible.
He added: “They say there’s communal areas which can’t have ramps. They offered us metal ramps but we can’t move them ourselves.
“We’d rather not move as we love our home.
“I’m sure it could be adapted with a stairlift and a little of our shower room revamped but the council are ignoring our wishes.
“That could have been done weeks ago.
“It’s bad enough trying to start a new life in our home as an amputee without having to move.
“They have actually put us on the homeless list because apparently it’s quicker.
“If we have to move we will but we don’t know if it’s weeks away or months away. We can’t carry on living like this.
“If there was a fire in the house I don’t have a way of getting out. We actually had a fire safety visit and the firemen said we shouldn’t be living like this.”
The beginning of Malcolm’s nightmare began on July 11 after a fall led to a catastrophic chain of events which could have killed him.
He explained: “It was when we had the really warm weather and we were sat out in the garden.
“Yvonne asked if I wanted anything to eat and I said yes, I would have a salad and cold meat sandwich.
“She made it and for some reason I ended up walking back into the house holding the sandwich and a bit of tomato fell out and I slipped on it and hit my toe off the skirting board.
“I managed to get back up and sat in the garden and that’s when I noticed my toe was really black.
“I actually thought paint had rubbed off on it from the garden furniture so I tried to wash it off.”
Malcolm went to the Vale of Leven Hospital and had his foot x-rayed, which is when he found out he had fractured it.
He continued: “They told me to come back on the Monday and get it checked because of the colour of it but Yvonne was really worried as it started spreading up my foot and called the doctor out over the weekend.
“The next thing I remember is waking up in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital after four days in intensive care.”
Malcolm was told doctors had discovered blood clots in his leg which had cut off the circulation leading to his skin turning black.
Doctors performed surgery to remove the clots but this was unsuccessful.
Malcolm continued: “When I came round I was confused and didn’t know why I was there.
“The surgeon said to me ‘look at your foot’. I looked down and my toes and part of my foot was completely black.
“He said ‘if you keep your foot you’ll die’ so I had no other option but to agree to get it amputated from the knee.
“I’d had a couple of falls not long before all this happened where I’d passed out.
“Not long before I’d broken my right leg and ankle in six places and I did the same thing again shortly after so I don’t know if it’s something to do with that.
“The doctors were amazing at the hospital and I can’t thank them enough for looking after me.”
Malcolm says life has changed beyond recognition for both him and Yvonne, with the couple no longer being able to do things they enjoyed.
He said: “I was hardly ever in the house before all this happened.
“We’d be out to the Counting House for something to eat and drink. I’d put my football bets on and be out and about seeing my friends quite a lot.
“I’d also be in the Fountain or McKenzies Bar where I knew everyone. Now, I can’t even get out the house.
“I said to Yvonne before we left the hospital ‘are you ready for this as life will never be the same again’. Neither of us were ready.
The couple met online with Malcolm moving from his home in East London over five years ago to be with Yvonne in Bonhill.
They married one year later with Malcolm saying life took a turn they never could have imagined,
He said: “We’ve both struggled in our lives and found happiness when we met each other and now this has happened.
“We’ve had to give up everything we’ve known.
“Yvonne has been a superstar and does everything for me. I couldn’t put up with everything she has to put up with looking after me.
“I’ve been everything from a social worker to a carer, a probation assistant, a train driver and now I’m a recliner man. I just sit here all day and can’t move.
“Some days I get so angry and just explode. It could be an advert on the TV or looking out the window and seeing others get on with their lives doing all the things I used to be able to do.
“The doctors have upped my anti-depressants because I’m so low.
“I’ve been out the house three times and that’s been with patient transport for appointments.
“I actually look forward to receiving letters for them as it’s the only way I can get out the house.”
A council spokeswoman said: “We are sorry this tenant is unhappy and continue to provide support and assistance to him.
“Our occupational health team conducted a comprehensive assessment of Mr White’s needs and although his current property is not adaptable to meet his medical requirements, we are working hard to provide an alternative property that does, while considering the type and location he has requested.
“We will continue to liaise with Mr White until a property that meets his current and future requirements becomes available in the area he has specified.”