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Life After An Amputation
MEDICAL NEWS & INFORMATION
Hoey & Farina, P.C.
Personal Injury Lawyers / Train Accident Attorneys
DON'T GO IT ALONE
SUPPORT OF FAMILY & FRIENDS
Hoey & Farina has represented many clients who have suffered limb amputations after being seriously injured in accidents. What we have learned through our clients, is how important family, friends and faith are in both the physical and psychological healing process.
To your family and friends, they are just thankful you are alive. To you, a part of you is gone.
You may feel no one could possibly understand what you are going through. You may want nothing more than to be left alone.
Your amputation is a loss – a very real, physical and emotional loss. It Is true your family and friends may not fully understand what you are going through, but they know you are hurting and want to be there for you – to let you know you’re not alone.
Many of our clients have said when they first suffered their amputations they couldn’t imagine how their life would be anymore. They didn’t have much hope for a bright futures. There is hope - through understanding, healing and networking - better days are ahead.
UNDERSTANDING PHANTOM PAIN AND PHANTOM SENSATIONS
After an amputation, you may still experience pain or sensation in that location of your body. You are not imagining it. The pain or sensation is real.
Experiencing a stabbing, throbbing or burning pain in the location of a missing limb is known as phantom pain. A limb which experienced pain prior to being amputated is more likely to experience phantom pain. (Phantom pain should not be confused with actual pain at the stump site of an amputation. Pain at this location is a medical concern which needs to be monitored closely by your doctor.)
An itching, tingling, warmth or cold feeling in the location of a missing limb is known as phantom sensation.
Doctors once, incorrectly, believed phantom pain and phantom sensations were psychological occurrences. Both phantom pain and phantom sensations are real! They are caused when the brain or spinal cord loses its regular communication with that part of the body. In simple terms, it’s like crossed wires and your body trying to remap itself.
Symptoms of phantom pain and phantom sensation usually start shortly after an amputation and may go away over time. But how do you rub a pain or scratch an itch on a limb that is no longer there? Talk to your doctor. Phantom pain and phantom sensation can be relieved through medical treatments such as: medications, acupuncture, spinal cord stimulation, etc. You do not need to suffer through it.
While you’re at the hospital, your doctors and nurses will care for the site of your amputation. Before you leave the hospital, they will also teach you, and it is very important to learn, how to properly care for your wound area in the future. The Amputee Coalition of America recommends the following care:
- Wash your residual limb with mild soap and water, then rinse and pat dry. Do this at least once a day; do it more often if you sweat a lot or are treating a rash or infection.
- Wash anything that comes into contact with your skin (liners, socks, inner socket, etc.) with mild soap and water, then rinse and dry.
- Do not use alcohol-based lotions on your skin. They cause the skin to dry and crack, increasing the chance of infection.
- Do not use too much softening lotion; use just enough to prevent dry skin.
- Maintain a good prosthetic fit at all times and take care to maintain correct alignment and socket fit. Having the right fit will help relieve pressure spots and soreness.
- Eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water to maintain supple, healthy skin.
- If you are a diabetic, monitor and maintain your glucose levels.
It is very important if you ever notice any irritations - the area feels hot, looks red or you are starting to experience pain – to contact your doctor immediately. Small problems can be more easily treated. Small problems left untreated, can quickly become serious health threats.
A serious condition known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop in some individuals after they experience a life threatening or traumatic event. PTSD victims may:
- Have dreams, flashbacks, illusions or hallucinations that make it seem as if the traumatic event is happening again.
- Avoid places, people and activities that remind them of or provide recollections of the event.
- Have sleep difficulty, irritability or outbursts of anger, poor concentration and other significant personality changes.
If you believe you may be suffering from PTSD, contact your doctor ASAP. Other emotions or challenges exist for amputees besides PTSD. You don’t need to go this alone. Others who have been through what you are now going through can help. Following are amputee support group resources:
For more amputee support groups, contact your medical provider or health insurance carrier.
One thing you will find in talking with other amputees is that life does go on and there are many possibilities – possibilities you may never have imagined.
After losing his arm in a work accident, one of our former clients had many questions and concerns – some very serious, some very personal. How would he support his family? How would he hold his newborn baby? And, he thought, he’d never enjoy another game of golf. With the support of family and friends, with good medical care and networking, with the best legal representation – he did not go it alone. His future… became a life with good health, a growing family, a dream house and an excellent game of golf (yes, golf!).
MEDICAL UPDATE - MIND CONTROLLED BIONIC LEG
September 2013 - Mind Controlled Bionic Leg
If you or a loved one has suffered an amputation due to an accident or medical malpractice don’t go it alone. Call a respected Chicago personal injury lawyer / train accident attorney at Hoey & Farina at 1-888-425-1212, or complete this form, for your free consultation. Hoey & Farina represents seriously injured individuals and their families throughout the United States.