Amputee ready to ditch his wheelchair, get back into truck driver’s seat

Amputee Dennis Paul Baker can’t wait until he is back in the driver’s seat – literally.

“I was a truck driver since I was 18 years old. I loved it, going places. I wish I was back in it,” the 65-year-old Williamsport native said as he sat in his wheelchair.

He plans to be “back in it” in a few months.

“I have probably driven about 25 million miles. I was driving for a paving company, hauling blacktop to where they were repaving and putting in streets,” Baker said.

Because of diabetes, surgeons amputated his left leg on Sept. 11.

“They had to take my leg because it got gangrene, got infected. First they took my foot off in 2012, but it wasn’t healing. The infection started up my leg, then the doctors had to take that,” said Baker, who lived nearly 40 years in Wisconsin before recently returning to Williamsport.

The biggest adjustment for him right now is his wheelchair, but he remains upbeat.

“I can’t wait to get out of it,” Baker said.

He’s looking forward to getting a artificial leg early next year.

“This is my biggest problem right now,” said Baker, motioning to his absent leg.

“I deal with it. I get around every day with the chair. It doesn’t keep me confined to the house,” he added.

“I’ll get a prosthetic leg in January or February. Then I’m hoping to get back to work. I want to go back to driving truck,” Baker said.

“The prosthetic leg will give me more freedom. It will allow me to go back to work, let me get in and out of my truck. Right now, I can’t do that because of not having a leg,” he added.