Becoming an amputee can be one of the scariest and unexpected things one can go through. On the other hand, becoming an amputee can be something that is planned out due to health issues such as, diabetes and different types of cancer and still be an extremely scary thing to go through. Prepared or not prepared there is a long list of choices to make, plans to put in effect, and ways of doing certain things.
Do not fret! I am here to help you along this wild ride, yeehaw!
I, for one, had no idea I would become an amputee, and in some odd way, I am quite glad that I did. Now, if you are anything like I was (and still am sometimes… Okay, okay most of the time) you are completely clueless as to what to do or where to start after and/or before amputation. I have compiled an assortment of things that could quite possibly convenience your life more.
Firstly, take a deep breath and remember that limb or no limb, you CAN do this. Remember that you CAN accomplish anything and everything you put your mind to, it just takes strength, will, and the occasional choice word. But most importantly, do not give up. Being in this situation you might feel alone, trust me when I say from experience, that you are most definitely not. Reach out to your local amputee support groups, such as the ACA (Amputee Coalition of America). There are also a TON of support groups on Facebook with amputees, just like me, ready to answer any questions that you might have or to reassure you of any doubts you may hold. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone. (This goes for you too Mom, Dad, and other family members who want to be there for their loved one but are not quite sure how.)
Secondly, the essentials. Depending on what type of amputation you have or will be having done, you might need a wheelchair. Yes, that’s right. This glorious invention that makes the lives of so many disabled people so much easier and giving said person, like me, the ability to do a multitude of things.
Again, depending on what type of amputation you have, you might need a shower chair or a board for your bathtub. Railings are a huge help too, though some may not find them helpful. Whatever you may choose, make sure that it is ultimately safe. During the beginning stages of recovery, a home health nurse, family member, or trusted friend can be very useful in helping you do certain things like bathing. Don’t ever feel bad for needing a little help. I chose to look at the help I received as a gift, one in which I will never forget and will forever be grateful for. An extension chain for your ceiling fan and light fixtures are a huge help as well. With my amputations and being in a wheelchair I lost around 3 feet of my height and I’m fairly short when I don’t have my legs on.
Thirdly, get out. Go and live your life to the absolute fullest. I’m not telling you to not have bad days. The bad days that will inevitably come and all you want to do is sit watching sad movies while eating a gallon of ice cream, blowing your nose on your way too dirty of a shirt, and decide not to brush your hair or get up for anything other than to answer the door and hand the delivery guy the money for the pizza and the Chinese food. Wait… Is that just my bad day? Anywayyy, bad days are okay and good to have sometimes. Bad days are the days where you reevaluate your life and cause you to make the conscious decision to move forward. So, move forward. Get through your bad days, get up, brush off, and continue making a difference in your life and the lives of those you love and cherish.
Fourthly (and finally), do some research and talk with others about prosthetics, never be silent about what feels right OR wrong. Get that fit perfect. Start physical therapy and regain your strength. It may take a couple of weeks to get back on your feet, rubber or not, and it may take years. But in the end, it’s all up to you and it is so completely worth it. Every tear, all the sweat, the unfashionable footwear. What’s important to remember is that you’ll get there. You’ve got this!