Monthly Archives: June 2016

Legless

Tomorrow I’m seeing the orthopaedic surgeon who amputated my right leg in October 2014. I saw him once after I was discharged but this is the first time I’ll see him now that I’m properly ‘healed’. 

It took a while to come to terms with my decision to amputate and longer still to accept it once it was done and there was no turning back. I think I was in shock for a considerable time and it took a lot longer than I anticipated to recover, physically and psychologically.

Now that I have recovered for the most part, I have fully integrated my “stump” into my body image, which has always been quite healthy considering I have spina bifida. I can look in the mirror without thinking about what I looked like before. I no longer try and put a sock on a leg that isn’t there and it’s been a long time since I’ve grabbed at thin air, which happened daily for ages. That was pretty upsetting. Actually, I cried like a baby the first time that happened.

To begin with, I didn’t want to go outside or to see people because I was overcome with the idea that people might stare. That was such a foreign feeling. It was so difficult for me to comprehend, even at the time, that I might feel so self conscious. After all, I have always used a wheelchair to get around and people have always stared. 

Eventually, I did start going outside more and people did stare, as they always had. It’s just that now I was noticing. I felt so exposed and raw in those first few months back home. Even that passed. I’ve gone back to not paying so much attention to people’s lingering gazes. 

The whole process has been really a surprise from start to finish. I was amazed at how many different extremely strong pain killers I needed to be on considering I didn’t expect to feel anything much but feel it I did. When the drugs started to wear off and I was due for more, I felt like death. Pain management has come such a long way though compared to 20 years previous, the time of my last major orthopaedic (spinal) surgeries. For that I am eternally grateful. 

So, with all of that behind me, I’ll be discussing with my surgeon the unfortunate fact that I’ve started having problems with the other leg now. I’m not sure that I’m ready yet for round two but at least if I have to make the same decision again I know now what to expect.


Going Down?

Yes. Unavoidably. The point at which I know for sure, all I can think is, “This is going to hurt,” and “How can I best land so I don’t hurt my neck badly?” On reflection, relaxing into the fall might not have been the best decision. It’s difficult to weigh up your options when you know they are all going to culminate quite soon in a hostile meeting with an unfeeling concrete floor.

The few times I’ve had… No. I’ve lost it. I have absolutely no idea what I was going to write. I’ve a feeling it wasn’t to do with falling but that I might’ve related it back in a smartypants way. No tricks. I don’t know how to pull them off right now. Not one clue. If I do have an idea, it goes. I can’t evaluate quickly enough if it was a good one. I get around to a cup of tea eventually. That idea is usually persistent enough that I figure it must be one of my better ones.

The effects of concussion are fascinating. Beyond frustrating but really very interesting. I feel quite normal except that after just over a week I still have a headache and it still hurts where I hit the back of my head. When I’m with people, that’s when I really notice. It’s difficult to sustain a conversation and I find it hard to concentrate on where my thoughts are and how they relate to what’s just been said.

Especially to begin with, my mood was diabolically bad. I was quite suddenly extremely depressed after I fell. I sat in the dark unable to rub two thoughts together. That was a couple of days ago. That’s when I contemplated that maybe the crack I could still hear ringing loudly in my ears might have had a greater effect on my poor brain than the initial pain that made me clutch my head for what seemed like an age before I could move to get off the ground.

I’m meant to be resting my brain. Right now I’m writing this and watching a concert and listening to said concert through earphones and contemplating another cup of tea and thinking about the next podcast I’m going to listen to and the next book I’m going to read. It’s just after 2AM. It’s fair to say sleep has been affected.

I’m eligible for concussion counselling. Nope. No idea. I’ll give it a go. I’m told it’s worthwhile.

A thought keeps nagging at me: Am I still the same person I was just over a week ago? The symptoms of concussion don’t tend to last, though I’ve no idea how long they’ll hang around. For now, I’m left with trying to decipher what is me and what is a symptom. I really do need to stop thinking so much.