As the numbers of new amputees continue to grow at an alarming rate I am REALLY hoping that the issue of phantom pain will come to the forefront and some wonderful new ways to keep it at bay are discovered. For now the treatments range from magic wands to drugging to a stupor. I have yet to find anything that will send it packing when it rears its ugly head. My episodes are a rarity, thank goodness. This is an evil problem. It can truly send a person to thoughts of suicide. For me it seems to stem from prosthetic fit. Any slight change can cause a bit of pressure inside the prosthesis. If that pressure is in the area of a nerve it can trigger a reaction. The electrical shock that I feel can literally drop me mid stride. Twenty one years after my amputation I am still completely shocked, surprised, and unprepared when it hits. Most times it hits intermittently for less than an hour. I can find a rest room and make adjustments that will quiet it down. Sometimes nothing works and I will have hours of gut wrenching, screaming, and crying misery. Nothing has ever taken me down so quickly and so completely. I've tried magnets, acupuncture, massage, heat and cold, drugs, drugs, drugs, and nothing has worked. Nothing but time. Usually I am stuck in the bathroom, either head over the commode, or in the tub (the body, not just the head). It is not pleasant for me, or for any one that has to witness it. I am so very grateful that I have so few episodes. Many are not so lucky.
So, I now have this piece of bone knocking around in my "residual limb." No matter how hard I try I cannot make it go back into hiding. Mid-stride now it is quite normal to see me stop and wave my tattooed plastic extremity in the air much like the lion with the thorn in its paw. As I have said many, many times, I do not mind wearing shorts. I do not mind at all having folks admire the artwork my son drew for me. In fact I quite enjoy it! I do, however, mind when they have to witness the bizarre antics of me dealing with a wave of phantom pain; especially if I am in the middle of a parking lot and cannot move for a few seconds. Often strange sounds, such as gasps or ooos and ahhhs, accompany such events. When it gets really bad I get really desperate. I frantically try every thing I can think of, even though I know none has worked in the past. I am really glad I did the purge of the medicine cabinet. I would be kicking back narcotics like there is no tomorrow, and they do nothing at all, save for intense itching and the later need for roughage. I've tried them all. The BIG guns. Stuff that would put down a 600 pound man for hours. No more effective than a sugar pill. What's worse is that by taking aforementioned big guns my brain is tricked into believing that relief is in sight. When it doesn't come the despair is even greater. Since turning all that stuff in for disposal I admit to wishing I had it, as "this time it might have worked." Silly games the brain plays, eh? The silliest of all is this pain in my left small toe. The one that has been gone for over 21 years now!
Does anyone know a nice little mouse with a pair of tweezers?
G2, who is just going to get on the treadmill (with the emergency stop cord attached) and see if that will help.