The Aftermath 14:
Not as Easy as it Sounds
A couple weeks after finishing the six weeks of IV antibiotics, my wound healed. There were no signs of infection. I felt tired and depressed. During the day, I didn’t notice the pain as much if I kept busy. Nights remained tortuous though.
Now, medically, it was time to wait and see what happened. Despite the amputation being healed, it would take quite some time for the nerve endings and the bone to heal. The surgeon told me it would take from eighteen months to two years to regain my strength and energy. Prolonged infection and too many surgeries had taken a toll on my body.
I started to notice my whole body ached. After some testing, I was diagnosed as having fibromyalgia which was brought on by all of the physical and emotional stress. That spring, I did little more than try to make it through the day. I continued to spend much of the time in bed. Doing anything else was too tiring.
In June, six months after the amputation, the surgeon thought I was ready for a prosthetic leg. I scheduled an appointment. Six weeks later we began the process of making one. On the first visit, the prosthetist did some measuring and made a cast of my stump. After several visits, the prosthetic was finished. The first time I put my new leg on it was cold, hard and heavy. I couldn’t stand up, let alone walk. My muscles were very weak as I had hadn’t walked for over two years. My balance was poor to non-existent. The prosthetist sent the leg home with me after saying he didn’t know how I could put it on myself.
When I got home, I literally threw it in the corner of the dining room where it was out of sight. I couldn’t imagine how the cold, hard and heavy leg would ever feel like part of my body. I spent ten days in deep depression and the prosthesis stayed in the corner. The tenth day, I finally scheduled an appointment with physical therapy to learn to walk again.
To wear the prosthesis, I had to wear a heavy rubber sleeve followed by several layers of thick socks. Next, I had to slide my leg into the socket and try to balance while I fastened a huge Velcro waistband to hold it on. I tried to put it on a few times without any success. It went back to the corner until the time came for physical therapy. As I was unable to wear it, I had to carry my new leg onto the handicapped bus and then into therapy.
I was assigned to the same physical therapist as I had previously worked with. The first appointment was spent trying to figure out how to put it on. After a long struggle, I finally had it on and attempted to stand. I immediately fell and the prosthesis came off. Frustrated and angry, I carried it home and waited for the next appointment.
To be continued...