Artwork by Millie Saunders
All the questions below have been put to me during my years as an amputee, either in person, via a comment on my social media or by direct message.
Don’t worry about me being upset if a question seems offensive or in bad taste, I’m pretty thick skinned and have already consented that they can be as weird or (potentially) offensive as you like.
Please understand that these are all my own personal opinions and experiences, I cannot speak for every single amputee out there.
When you dream, do you have both your legs in the dream? Or have you had dreams where your prosthetic leg has changed into something else (like rubber)?
I love this question. When I first lost my leg I did dream a lot that I still had both of them, to the point where for quite a long time I would get out of bed, forget that I had a leg missing and hit the floor harder than a sumo wrestler on a seesaw.
These days it doesn’t happen nearly as much, although I occasionally wake up in a cold sweat having just had my leg stolen by a talking raccoon.
My own fault for watching too many strange movies.
As for my leg transforming into something else, I have been spared that particular nightmare but I wouldn’t be surprised if others have not.
Why don’t you wear a blade? Blades are cooler. Is it because of Pistorius?
Okay I’m gonna skim this bit pretty quickly, it has nothing to do with Pistorius.
Blades have a very specific use, mostly for running and other such high impact sports. You won’t (usually) find amputees walking around the supermarket with their running blade on.
They are also quite expensive pieces of kit so it has to be worth it.
Just now, for me, my want exceeds my need and so doesn’t quite merit the cost.
Anyway, I think my current leg looks pretty cool…
Do you buy a pair of shoes or just the display one?
For the sake of symmetry I try to have matching shoes on both my fleshy and plastic foot.
That being said, if a right shoe does go missing or becomes unusable (my prosthetic foot tends to wear shoes out much faster) then I can save the left one as a “crutches shoe”.
But to answer the question, no I’ve never bought half a pair.
I’m not sure if many shops would accommodate that. I’d probably need to go in with someone possessing just a right fleshy leg and we could split the cost.
How much time do you spend on crutches? Do you prefer it to being on your leg?
I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned previously somewhere in the blog that over the last few months I’ve had to spend a lot more time on my crutches than usual.
This is because my socket has needed some adjustment but COVID has meant that I haven’t been able to get to the hospital to have that sorted.
However, under normal circumstances I put my leg on in the morning and don’t take it off again until I go to bed. Apart from very specific circumstances (like chasing a dog around the garden) I would always prefer to be on my leg.
It’s not just a symbolic thing either, although I am much happier when using my leg there is also the physical aspect.
When I’m on crutches my hands are completely occupied which means that if I want to do something as simple as bringing a drink from the kitchen to the living room, I need to either ask for help or hop very VERY slowly, whilst striving to keep the glass perfectly balanced.
Have you ever developed phantom limb.. and if so.. could you use it to kick a ghost?
Okay, so, first part of this question. Yes I do have phantom limb sensation.
This it where your brain is still trying to send messages to the nerves in the leg but because it’s not there anymore it fills the gaps in itself which means I can still feel my leg, my toes and knee, even though they aren’t there.
Sometimes the nerves that are there get confused and send weird signals which can cause very sudden and extreme pain in my leg. The best was to describe it is like an electric shock.
Part two. That is a brilliant question, I haven’t tried yet but I will head down to my local haunted house and test it out immediately. If it works, you’re looking at the new member of the ghostbusters.
If you have any burning questions of your own, drop them down in the comments and keep an eye out for the answers in future posts…