10 Most Frustrating Things About Amputation

There are lots of annoying and frustrating things about amputation, but I am only going to mention the most important ten for me.

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I am an amputee and I have been for eight years now.

It would be eight years in exactly two days. Wow!

I can’t believe it has been that long since my amputation. Sometimes it seems like yesterday.

Some days it seems like ages ago or another lifetime. And there are days I feel like I would wake up panting, sigh and realise it’s just a dream.

If only it could be a dream …

And that is the first frustrating thing about amputation, there are times you get confused or lost in it all, that you start wondering what is real and what isn’t

The loss of your limb feels like it didn’t really happen sometimes. Or like you had two lifetimes or more and the trauma or amputation happened in one of those past lives.

Phantom pain: This is usually the major frustration of an amputee. It can drive you crazy if you are not careful.

It is there and it is not there, itching, throbbing, gnawing like a missing limb. Like a ghost it never stops taunting, haunting and tormenting.

Yes, the missing limb. You live with its torment for as long as it wishes. Sometimes, it is my big toe nail. It would seem as if someone is pulling off its nails with pliers.

At other times it itches and all you can do is slap, shake, pat and eventually learn to ignore.

Forgetting you are now an amputee: Yes, it is possible. You can forget that you are missing one or two limbs sometimes. And it is cruel. I have been a victim of this many times. It never ends well.

I would forget I have only one leg left, then I’d get up in a hurry and land on my residual limb. Ouch!

No matter how well you have mastered the art of masking pain, you will howl.

It happens a lot now that I have a child. I’d get up to run to catch him or see why he screamed and I’d end up being the one screaming louder than him.

The Pity Stares: It took me a while to get used to this, until recently though.

Whenever I’m going to a place I’ve never been before or where they never seen me. I would practise a lot of breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth.

It is all so I don’t trip from the stares. It is worse when I get out of a car, especially if people have seen my face before I step out.

I can almost heart the ohs and ahs. The way the expressions softened or changed from admiration or interest to pity or just wow. Gosh, I hate it!

Strangers asking you personal questions: I can never get used to this. I always try to be calm and cool though.

Some people can’t keep in their curiosity. “Do you sleep with your prosthetics on?” I do not.

Some are blunt, like how you bath and if you crawl sometimes 🙂

And yes, I do by the way.

Most want to know how it feels to go about in artificial leg.

Mine feels as if I’m wearing a tight shoe, with my toes curled and cramped in the front and my heel pleading for an expansion. That is the best part.

The Lectures: Yes, you sometimes get lectures on how to live your life. It doesn’t matter if they are not amputees or never actually met one.

They read some motivational write ups or listen to them and want you to keep going on living that way.

They have no idea that you are not always the same person you were before your limbs decided to retire untimely.

For me, I was stuck on that road, that sunny day eight years ago for a very long time.

And whenever I hear any loud noise, my head is convinced that my body is about to be mauled again.

How can you make them understand all that?

They always believe it is a switch and all you have to so is flip. They just can’t understand. They are trying to help but it is just what it is.

So, just keep it in, it keeps the lectures short.

Having lots of unused one foot shoes or slippers: I have so many new left shoes and slippers at home. Especially when I was new at this and still trying to get used to my new life

I bought lots of shoes, sandals, flip flops I ended up not using and lots of left foot from the ones I was able to use.

When I got tired of keeping them, I started throwing them out as soon as I got them. At first it felt like throwing my foot away all over again.

Now, I stopped buying slippers or sandals and wearing only shoes. It’s boring but better than keeping the lot

And when I need my right leg to get wet, I wear old shoes or slippers.

Sitting to take a bath: There are days I want to stand to bath so bad. I can stand one leg for a while but not long enough to satisfaction

Disability story

And even then I keep swaying. Then I’d just realise it is not worth slipping in the bathroom. So I would do the standing in my head.

Learning new and different ways to do old things: Amputation forces you to learn everything you have ever known to do in your life all over again.

You have to start from scratch. And even though you know how to do them before, you learn again and this time, harder than you can ever imagine.

Walking, climbing, sitting, even sleeping you have to start all over. At first, I had to be contented with sleeping on my back

Because of this, I had years of sleepless night. I hated sleeping on my back. Amputation taught me to.

You must have the thickest skin ever. Yes, you mist be immune to all I have mentioned above and more.

You learn to be unaffected by all the unpleasantness that comes with amputation or learn to fake it.

Otherwise you would come off as a frustrated soul, aggressive or in need of serious therapy.

You learn to get used to the stares, strangers or even friends and families being kind to you when they don’t have to.

I hate when I know they should be angry but don’t want to be because they feel they shouldn’t.

You get used to the prying, rudeness, pity, lectures, sermons, hiding pains to make your loved ones happy.

You must keep on being strong and courageous no matter how exhausting it is. Because it is not just about you.

Some people need you to be stronger, and since you care about them,. You have to keep moving, crawling, hopping and doing whatever keeps you living one day at a time.

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26 Replies to “10 Most Frustrating Things About Amputation”

  1. Very insightful. I have had question about life of people with leg lacking but I was always very shy to ask stuff. For example about shower or leftover shoes. Thank you for feeding the curiosity without needing to grow thinker skin.
    If you ask me the hardest thing while having an amputee friend is that you keep on constantly forget your friend is an amputee. for example if you offer to use stair instead of elevator because it’s faster etc. You realize you shouldn’t have said that but you can’t really take your words back so.. it becomes awkward from time to time to all parties

  2. It is a delicate topic that I admit I don’t know closely but that I appreciate you have mentioned.

  3. What an amazing post. We have a friend who has lost a limb, I think he grew up that way, but he started a foundation to help families with getting a prosthetic limb for their child, and I went to school with someone who was born without limbs. I never look at someone who is without, to me you are just like all of us, we all do things differently and that’s okay. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. You must be really strong and indeed have a very thick skin to live with all the frustrations you mentioned above. I have heard about ghost pain before but never really understood it. And I suppose you can’t, until you feel it.

  5. It can be frustrating at times not been able to do things normally like you used to. The greater part is that you are alive and well. Stay strong! Thanks for sharing your story

  6. Thank you for sharing this! As the person wanting to ask the questions but knowing it’s rude. This was a very interesting read!

  7. Although I am not an amputee, I can definitely relate. My father was a trans-tibial amputee from the time he was a young man. It’s tough but not insurmountable!

  8. Thanks for sharing your experience to us, I’ve appreciate that you are very brave to tell us this kind of stuff and by just reading your post. I feel the things you’ve cited on this and makes feel annoy. I feel you my brother.

  9. I can only imagine how frustrating amputation can cause one to be. Thank you for sharing this amazing article.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing! I’ve never read about the effect of amputation before but i can imagine the emotional toll of having to deal with this both physically and emotionally, you’re such a hero.

  11. My uncle is a double amputee and I saw how he struggled during the first few years. I know he is hurting inside, but he still manages to smile through it all. I think what makes him sad about it is he can not longer do the things he used to enjoy with his sons. I wish you well and thank you for sharing your story.

  12. I am not an amputee but if I was,I will kinda feel at ease knowing that someone out there has the same things in mind like mine. Thanks for sharing.

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