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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

My morbid curiosity..

After the amputation, my immediate recovery was consumed by surgical healing. After I was physically healed I focused my efforts on walking with a prosthetic. That being mastered, I moved slowly through my post-amputation identity crisis. It is during this phase that I developed a somewhat morbid curiosity.

At first I hesitated to share my question with anybody. I had convinced myself that they wouldn't understand my need to know the answer. In retrospect, I think maybe I was afraid to find out the answer. During this time I realized that I probably wasn't the only amputee to face this question. I set about finding an answer.

I needed to know what happened to my foot after the amputation. The thought of my foot, although useless when detached from my leg, being thrown in a trash can made me cringe. I spent many nights worried that my limb was being used as a prop for a fraternity party. I imagined my foot floating in an ocean, or thrown in a chipper and tossed into a bin with hundreds of other amputated parts. All of these scenerios made me sad.

Finally, after nearly three years, I gathered up my courage and asked my surgeon. I felt an immediate sense of comfort when he provided the answer. Although he could only speak specific to his hospital, I think it is safe to assume that the protocol is similar in most hospitals.

After my limb was removed, it was wrapped in a surgical sheet. It was then placed, not thrown, into a bin. After the surgery it was taken to a different section of the hospital where all of the amputated limbs and body parts were gathered. My foot was then blessed by a contingency of clergy from various denominations before being incinerated.

I am not sure why this knowledge gave me a sense of peace, but it has. I am thankful that my limb was treated with respect after it was detached from my body. I am writing this because I am sure I am not the only amputee to face this question. Maybe others will find a sense of comfort and peace knowing that their limb was treated with respect after surgery.

1 comment:

  1. Peggy, when I worked for the Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, I often made trips to the pathology lab to gather specimens. Occasionally there were amputated limbs in the pathology lab, usually in their bins or being examined by the pathologists. They were always treated respectfully and with care. I never, ever, ever saw anyone being anything but deferential with the items in pathology. I think your assumption that all hospitals treat amputations in the way your surgeon described is a safe one.