Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Phantom sensations.

People just can't stop asking about it. In fact, some people are obsessed with the subject in a "Legless Stu's World of the Strange" sort of a way. If you're that interested get you're own fucking foot chopped off and then you'll know what it's like!!

OK, OK. Phanton sensations. A guide for the two-legged.

Let's start with yet another definition. The Amputee Coalition of America (membership $30 per annum) describes phantom sensations as "any type of sensation which the amputee experiences in the portion of the limb that has been removed. It can include: tingling, warmth, cold, pain, cramping, constriction, and any other imaginable sensation."

Close your eyes. Think about your feet. What are they doing? Are they itching? Tickling? Sore? If I close my eyes I can feel exactly the same things -- except in my case I've only got one foot. If I were to try to locate the sensations I'd say they were at the bottom of my leg in my heel/ankle/toes. Except they're not there any more. It's the strangest thing. My head knows the foot's not there but it still interprets the sensations as though it were.

Apparently this really freaks some people out. To be honest, it doesn't bother me that much. I've been given all sorts of useless advice like "if you get phantom sensations in your missing foot, scratch the other foot instead." This was probably dreamt up by the person who said "don't pull a face because if the wind changes you'll be stuck like that forever." It doesn't help one bit.

What is weird is when I instruct my brain to make my toes wiggle. I know they're wiggling, even if no one else does.

Discuss Northern Iraq -- and Beyond


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