Waking Up After Elective Amputation

Because of the way the hospital bed blankets were arranged, my catheter, and my lack of willpower, I did not see my newly amputated leg until two full days after the amputation. I was focused on recovery, medications, and family immediately post-op. I knew I would have to face my amputated limb eventually but I put it off for as long as possible.

Finally, the time came when my doctor was going to visit and I did not want to break down in front of him. When the nurse announced she was removing the catheter, I realized now is the time because I will need to use the bathroom. So, when physical therapy came in to help me transfer, I was forced to rip the bandaid off.

An Emotional Reunion With My Leg

How do you process your leg being amputated? How do you make it ok in that moment? I felt like I was pushed off of a cliff when I was forced to look at my residual limb for the first time. However, if it were up to me I probably would have stayed in that bed for weeks avoiding it.

I was scared. I looked at my limb and saw no hope. Additionally, I saw years of pain and hard work. I saw my life upsidedown. this is not what I had planned for my life while my kids were young. We were supposed to be playing and going on family vacations. Will I ever be able to enjoy that again?

A surprise Under My Surgical Dressing

When Doctor Ertl removed my surgical dressings, I was surprised to see a lineal suture rather than the horizontal wound I had been studying. I also had a HUGE “s” shaped cut and suture on the back of my knee. My husband and I questioned this and was told it was normal procedure.

I also questioned the dying black spots on my suture line. This would later become so much of a problem I had to have a second surgery but I did not know this at the time.

Confirmation Of A Correct Decision

Trying to cope with the decision I just made not knowing if I made the correct one, I asked Doctor Ertl his thoughts on my foot he had just removed two days earlier. He said it was destroyed on the inside and that the amputation was inevitable. This news helped rest my heart and gave me the willpower to proceed with this next new chapter of life.

Words are powerful and I would encourage whoever is reading this to be uplifting and truthful with your words. You never know who might be needing exactly what you have to say. But the opposite is true as well, you can very easily discourage the person you are talking to the point of giving up completely.

Let’s Start The Hard Work

After Doctor Ertl left, physical therapy came back to help me understand my new life. We practiced getting dressed, going to the bathroom, transferring to a wheelchair, walking on a walker, and going upstairs.

This was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Even though we had practiced these things at home before the amputation, I still had my leg to fall back on. Now it is gone! Completely! I have to learn these new things to live my life and I only have one more day to learn them before they send me home.

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