Wednesday, December 28, 2005

shock value

If there are any other amputees out there reading this (and I know for a fact there is at least one--hi Sara!), I would love to know if someone can tell me what the &*%^ is going on here, and if anyone knows of a fix.

Four times over the past two weeks, I've been startled awake in the middle of the night by really bizarre pains in my residual limb. I wouldn't call them "phantom pains" because they aren't in the "invisible limb". They are actually within/on/through my stump (hate that word). Anyhow....I've never actually been electrocuted or tasered in my life, but I imagine that this is how it would feel. It's like I'm getting shocked, like a strong electric jolt, as if some kind of current is zapping through my leg.

Now a couple of weeks ago, I bought an electric blanket, and I actually thought that maybe it was the heat that was triggering the new pain. I also had some wild ideas about the electric current running through the blanket, even though that seems a little farfetched. But it can't be the blanket. I've been out of town the past few nights, staying in a hotel (with no electric blanket), and last night I was up for about two hours, getting shocked into exhaustion. Changing positions didn't seem to help much, nor did massage (which was soothing, but didn't keep it from reoccuring). Every time the jolting would stop, I'd settle myself down again, I'd just about doze off, and then I'd get zapped again. Each time it was like a full body jolt. By the morning most of my muscles ached from tensing up every time it happened and it felt as if I'd been holding my breath for hours. It was quite horrible and I don't even want to go to bed tonight for fear of it happening again.

SO. Has this happened to anyone? This is now almost 2 years post amputation, and I thought most of this monkey business stopped after awhile. I did I have milder forms of this shocking feeling happen right after the amputation, but it's been a really long time. Is it related to using the prosthesis, you think?? Maybe my nerve endings are just all jangley (is that a word?). I don't recall this happening last year when I was able to wear a prosthesis periodically, though.

And I guess the bigger question:
Does anyone have any idea what to do about it??

Would love to know......


Sara said...

For me, it was/is sciatica. The first time it happened with serious intensity was just a few weeks after surgery. It kept me up for awhile, sleepless, so first I had to get a good night's deep sleep, and then receive careful, professional massage of the hips and thighs, including the stump.

You are using stuff you haven't used. Things are waking up and realigning. It's normal. Yoga and meditation also help. For details, see my post Phantoms of the Operated.

Sometimes I also have symptoms like this around my period. Same thing. Stuff swells, and other stuff moves in response into unaccustomed positions. Massage, meditation and movement all work. Some people also resort to various prescription drugs, but this is what has worked best in the long run for me.

Anonymous said...

I am a bk amputee. I used to suffer the same pains you describe, and every once in a while one will sneak up on me.

My doctor perscribed NEURONTON as the medication, and it worked wonders!

In addition, I take a rolled up newspaper and for the first year and a half I would tap the end of my "stump" with it. This trained my "stump" to realize that the rest of the leg was not there.

My amputation was December of 2003, I am now as active as ever.

Good Luck, God Bless and Mabuhay! (Long Life).