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.