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.

I hereby disclose that this blog might earn a small commission from the affiliate links pointing to an item on Amazon.com at no extra cost to you. 

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.

If you like what you just read, don’t forget to share.

Remember to sign up for my newsletter to stay updated.










	

My Quote

In your pursuit of whatever you want or desire, don’t ever settle for anything less than you deserve no matter how desperate you are.

Those things don’t stick or stay with you even though you dedicate your whole life to them.

And when they do, they always end up being thorns in your softest places.

Don’t ever settle.

Somewhere in the Dark

I wonder what waits in the dark

I want to know who lurks in the shadow

When I turn

When my breath stilled

Right there at the corner of my eyes, a presence.

Sometimes,

I’d turn ever so slowly

Maybe I’d catch a glimpse

Sometimes I’d pause a few breath

At other times in the deep darkness of the night

I’d lie quietly with my eyes closed

Hoping to catch the hum of another breath.

In the darkness,

behind me, she chooses to linger

The girl I was supposed to be

If I had A Time Machine

If I had a time machine, what would I do with it?

Where would I go?

I would most definitely visit the year 2012 or maybe 2011 because that was where and when things started falling apart. It was when I first fell. But if I want to be exact or accurate then I would visit one particular day in 2012 and change things as much as I could or maybe just one thing.

I told myself so many times that I wouldn’t want to change anything about my past or my life.

I made this promise because whenever I think deeply about my life I have no idea who I would be without my pain, my challenges, and the trauma that put me where I am now. No matter what angle I visualised, I always come up with the same conclusion, nowhere, no one.

So what changed my view about time travelling?

The answer is simple, I had another life changing experience. I had a baby. For him, I would go back in time and change things if I could. If I had a time machine I would travel back to that day, April 11, 2012 and see what I could change to make sure I didn’t experience that turnaround.

I still can’t figure out what part of the day brought me here or maybe I have to change the whole day. Or maybe all I needed was just one or two events because I have come to realise that when you have someone you love so much than life itself then you will do everything for them to make them happy and comfortable.

Life as an unbalanced mother is never balance.

There is always the fear of falling, slipping, tripping and even injuring your baby when this happens. Or what happens to your baby if something should happen to you. The worst is the fear of not being able to catch your baby if he falls or watch him slip or trip because you can’t get to him on time to save him or help him.

There was one day my baby was sqautting in the doorway, on the threshold, his hand was on the pavement I could see the door coming, closing, but I couldn’t get to him on time to save him. Three of his fingers were badly bruised. there was this look on his face that stayed with me for a while like he knew I didn’t get to him on time.

So if I had a time machine I would stay in bed all day that day, I wouldn’t go out and I’d still have my leg. My pelvis would be intact and there would be no persistent waist pain torturing me all day

Then I would be able to hold my baby, rock him and take him on a walk.

There would be no need to live in endless fear of not being able to protect him. If I had a time capsule I would stop that truck from hitting me.

The only problem is even if I had it I wouldn’t know what part of that day to change. Maybe my fate was even sealed a long time before it came to fulfilment.

I am Only Human

You have been good to me

You have been gracious

Gracious more than I deserve

Sometimes, it’s just so hard

Hard to be me

Harder to accept this is me

All I have seen

All I have gone through

All I have had to do

To be the me I can be

Some days I can’t but imagine

What if?

Other days I can’t but picture

What could have been

I am not ungrateful

I am only human

A World Where Women Fight For Women

Can we ever get to a place where women fight for one another before judging, attacking or criticising first?

“Do not judge or mock a pain you have never endured.” I have always pondered on this quote and how we are all guilty of it. I wish I know the author so I can ask what he/she must have gone through or saw to write it.


When something bad happens to someone, we are always quick to judge them behind their backs.

When we don’t, our famous ways of sympathising with victims of unfortunate circumstances is to tell them and other listeners how we would have reacted in such situations.


Situations we have never found ourselves in, we narrate what we would do, how we would manipulate the events to make sure we didn’t end up like the victim(s).

I remember when I was writing my project in College and I volunteered for a program in my church. The program was called Pulpit Exchange; they would send a Pastor from one Conference to another to minister there for a week. A Pastor could come from the West to East.


The church needed four youths, two females, two males to care for the Pastor because, our Pastor, the host wasn’t living with his wife and he was being sent to the North to minister.

It was God’s work and there was nothing much to do. All we had to do was cook for the Pastor and we get to eat too.


The other lady was a friend, so we would take turns doing the chores, if one person needed to go to campus.

This fateful day was my turn to stay at home with the Pastor, cook and clean. The Pastor was a nice and easy to please person, he didn’t need much or demand. As soon as he finished his breakfast, he either retired to his room to pray or sat at the dining table to study.

So, I would prepare or plan ahead for the rest of the day to have some time to myself before the evening service. Volunteering means you can’t miss the evening services till the end.

One of the Elders came to visit that day to see how the Pastor was faring. I had done it before, so I knew the drill. The Elders sometimes take turns checking in too, especially the first Elders.


I was a very private and quiet person, I hardly spoke unless spoken to. My business was in the kitchen, so I only sit in the sitting room for devotions, then to our bedroom or kitchen.


I was finishing my breakfast in the kitchen when I heard the door handle turned and the Elder walked in. I didn’t know when they or he came in. The kitchen was far to the sitting room but adjacent to our bedroom.


“Good morning, sir” I stammered. He nodded
“Pastor said the others have gone to Campus?
I nodded as I tried to swallow my cereal.

I was always nervous around him because he always found something wrong with my dressing, my hair showing under my scarf, how he saw me wearing makeup outside church or my chest not well covered.

I had discarded most of my clothing and even bought long scarfs to escape his criticisms.

He walked round the kitchen peering into everything, then he started walking toward me. He stood in front of me his shoes almost touching my toes, I moved backward till I felt the sink on my butt, he kept coming.

I shivered, I was only in my bra and towels. Only the women would come in the kitchen when they visit and that was usually in the evenings or the first day.


My spoon dropped, he picked it, licked it then scoop a spoonful of cereal and placed it near my lips gesturing me to open them.


I couldn’t move, my legs were trembling, when I was finally able to move my hands I crossed them on my chest to prevent my towels from falling off.


I saw his hand withdrew to put the cereal in his mouth. He placed the spoon on the plate gently. He moved closer and used his index finger to trace my lower lips then the upper. He bent to peer into my eyes and stared for what felt like a decade but couldn’t be more than five seconds and whispered, ” there is something about you, your eyes…”

He left the rest of the sentence open, hanging like my head hours after he departed.


He turned once to stare for a while then left as if he was never there.
Sometimes, I felt I only imagined it that it didn’t happen. But I couldn’t bathe for two days or speak to anyone else till the end of the program.

My friend kept asking and wondering what happened but I couldn’t tell her. Or tell anyone else till now. I couldn’t tell his son who I was going out with then because I didn’t want him to hate or think less of his father.


I was terrified, shocked. Then I hated myself and felt guilty that the devil in me had tempted another responsible man, a man of God, a responsible father, to sin, again.


I kept blaming myself for eating in the kitchen, for wearing only bra and towels, for exposing my chest and tempting someone else.

That is what they always say, “my eyes made them sin or my body tempted them.
How could I tell someone what transpired between us? He was an Elder, a well respected one. It was my fault, so I believed then.


My relationship with his son failed. I never stopped seeing his father’s face looming above me or stopped hearing his voice telling me, ” there is something about your eyes”.


I changed my dressing to strictly polo shirts, round necks, I added jean trousers after another episode.

No one should tell a traumatised, molested or raped victim when they speak out, if they speak out or if they don’t.

You can’t say how you would react in or to a situation until it happens to you because no years of planning or rehearsing can prepare you for an unfortunate event. That is if you are sick enough to anticipate it happening to you.

I am fast with an amazing fast reflex, it didn’t help when I was hit by a truck. I wasn’t fast enough that day. I couldn’t push the Elder away even though I am bigger than him. I just stood there, watched and trembled.


Besides, we react to situations in different ways, we fight, we flight, we go in shock. I was shocked, I couldn’t imagine someone who scolded me for not being modest to touch me.

When someone is bold enough to #standforthetruth, #speakforthetruth, we should stand with them.
If we can’t, we should let them be. If we doubt them we should keep our doubts to ourselves.


Why? We should do it for every one else who couldn’t speak out for fear of discrimination and judgement.

We should do it for our children who are being secretly molested by people we don’t know yet, so they can be bold enough to voice out. Believe me, they wouldn’t if they’ve ever heard you judging someone who voiced out.


I am writing this now because I believe I am over it. It can no longer hurt me. Now, I know it wasn’t my fault, not my looks or my eyes or my boobs. It was his fault.


Now, I don’t care what anyone says.
Women should fight for the womenfolk, for our children, if no one else would.
We should say #notorape, #notorapist.

I Believe

I am waiting for a crack

in the shell of the sky,

announcing the birth of a new world;

free from sorrow, pain and prejudice

where man and beast

walk side by side

like when dawns were young.

I believe in a world

where children are children

singing and dancing in the rain

freeing the body of all limitations

and not a fear to the mothers hearts

I dream of a world

where law is devoid of less

where the haves and have nots share same law

where no one is judged by race, class or color

where humanity is a joint robe for all.

I pray for a world,

where we only smile for joy

not as a mask for hurts, betrayal or disappointments

where our ugly hearts are not cloaked

with flowing robes or colourful attire

A world

where friends justify the meaning of friendship

And family reigns above all

Still, I believe.

Gratitude

I spent too long
Pondering on what was lost
That I forgot too long
Things that are given
The love of my family
The company of wonderful friends
Who more than sacrificed
Time, love and care
Giving, asking not
Walking by my side
To sight the light of a new dawn
The ray of hope
To live life again
To right the wrongs
To a new beginning

Stronger Than Ever

I spiralled downward
onto the debris
that was my life
broken and scarred
to the marrow
still I rise
from their ashes
stronger than ever
Plagued with nameless dread
drenched in sweat
pounding heart and jittery limbs
terrified terror
clouding my days;
darkening my path
still I break free
from their grips
stronger than ever

Shade of Blue

nostalgicUnderneath this same
shade of blue,
I made houses
of sand and sticks,
boxes and weeds;
stuffed doll
strapped on my back
with mother’s head-tie.
I played house with
friends and siblings
pots of cans
soup of mushrooms
and water leaves
I watched ants
appear and disappear
into tiny holes.
I skinned my knees
and bruised my toes
I played hide and seek
in the open yard,
rain or sunshine
jumping ropes
and climbing trees.
I smiled and cheered
without reservation.
I sobbed and wailed
when sad or hurt
no shame or pretence.
I miss my younger self.