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Doctors told Rainey he had developed compartment syndrome, a painful condition in which swelling cut off blood flow to certain areas, causing the muscles and the nerves to die.

“Once I got compartment syndrome, that changed everything,” he said.

The amputation was performed at Fairfax Inova Hospital, and McIntosh, Ripper and several others made the 70-mile trip from Orange.

The trip was positive, for everybody.

“As soon as we walked in the room _ he was very out of it. He was doped up on pain killers, but he recognized us,” McIntosh said. “His heart monitor was just doing normal beeps, but when he saw us, it jumped pretty high. He was pretty excited to see us.”

Ripper said Rainey has lifted not only himself, but everyone around him.

“Just talking to him and realizing that he has the same personality and he’s going to do everything he can to get better and get through this makes us all realize that he’s still with us, and what could have happened,” Ripper said. “With all that infection, he could not be with us anymore, so just having him around is just a reminder that things are going to be OK.”