Lend Me an Ear Again, But Please Return My Right Hand

Posted: December 14, 2014 in The new road to freedom

There’s No Left Turn, and No Turning Back..!
Well, it’s been just over a month since my surgery and I’m finally getting back to this blog. I haven’t forgotten; rather, I discovered many more adaptations to my “new life” that I could never have foreseen. These things took up more of my time than I’d expected.

So, no, I haven’t forgotten. In fact, there are many thoughts I’ve been wanting to share here since being unencumbered of my useless lower left arm.

The logistical sorts of things were easy to foresee, so I won’t make much mention of them here. Those unexpected things, however, are definitely noteworthy. I’m presenting them here as best I can, so read on, if you dare.

First of all, I was surprised to learn that amputations can be done on an outpatient basis. I remember thinking “Gee, anyone can walk into a hospital in the morning knowing that, when they leave later that day, they literally won’t be in one piece anymore.” Only a crazy person would do that, I believe, so I chose to spend the night where they could keep a close eye on me. Who knows what trouble I could cause, right?

Interestingly, I was actually looking forward to the surgery – shedding half of the dead weight that had been dangling from my left shoulder for over two years was a most liberating thought. As it turned out, I was right. That night, after the amputation, I felt so good for the first time in such a long time that I couldn’t sleep. I think I was truly afraid that I’d wake up only to learn that it was all a dream.

What’s more, after spending so long trying to describe to others what it’s like to suddenly have to do things with one hand, I was now in the opposite position. The feeling of freedom and liberation and just plain joy was overwhelming at first. But how to explain this to others? Then, with a little visual cue from Sophie, the answer became clear: I felt not unlike a dog who would just been left outside to play after waiting inside all day. I had so much energy and felt so light on my feet that I was almost ready to begin running in circles!

At any rate, it felt so good just to be alive for the first time in a long, long time that just existing was enough for me. Soon, of course, the real world reasserted itself and began to jockey for position in line to get a piece of that energy. And, even though I felt out of the picture for such a long time, I nonetheless felt ready to rejoin the world.

Dealing with some of those unforeseeable circumstances I’d mentioned earlier, such as being able to stand up straight and actually see the world from an upright position again was a surprise. Over time, I realized, the pain I’d been in had caused me to slump forward with my chin almost touching my chest. I thought back on all the long walks I’d taken with Kami and Sophie and realized how much more of my feet I saw then of the scenery around us.

Also, since I could stand upright again, I regained my full height once again; I literally was unencumbered of a weight that had been around my neck for longer than I cared to remember.

In the time that passed since the surgery, my sutures have healed and, I don’t know why, but my new semi-arm looks absolutely beautiful to me. It’s the picture of the freedom I’ve earned after much suffering and, for reasons I will point out later, a visible reminder of opportunities that now exist with a never could have before. How does it feel? Think of the happiest thing that has ever happened to you, and how you smiled and even left when you discovered it. That’s me!


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