The Phantom Limb


I recently had an amputation of my right lower leg, the day to day changes and experiences are such that I’ve decided to write a journal about it. It is the phenomenon of the “phantom limb” that is most interesting – I always understood the actuality of that sensation, but the reality of it is a complex thing and I’m sure my memory of it will fade if I don’t put it in writing as it  occurs.

I will be editing this page regularly, as of now it is six days that I’ve been home and fifteen days since the operation. This will be a self indulgent site, I’ll put in little details that may not be of general interest, but I hope it will be informative as to how our bodies and minds work when presented with a new situation. I will set it in the form of days, with Day Zero being the day of the operation (mid-day). Needless to say that all entries from the first seventeen days will be from memory.

As I sit here typing I can feel the toes of my right foot touching the floor, just a sense of pressure. If I lift my right leg slightly the feeling of contact will stop. Since I have no right foot that feeling of contact must be a sense in my brain that my foot should be touching the floor because of the relative position of my right leg to my left – which is touching the floor. That is different than my understanding of the “phantom pain, or itch” in the missing limb as being an irritation in the nerves in the stump that used to connect to the missing parts. That is why I’ve started this journal.  

In the next few days I’ll edit this page so as to complete it through today, and I’ll also start separate pages for later days.

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