Had a really bad night…

The first such in nearly four years. There’s this thing called ‘phantom pain.’ Happens when you’ve had a major limb ripped off, with lots of nifty nerve damage. I remember when I was still in the hospital – this was back in 1972 – and the surgeon told me it’s just torn nerve endings making up shit because the extremity they’re supposed to transmit pain signals from isn’t there any more, and it’ll go away.

That was – quick arithmetic – damn near fifty years ago. Still waiting for it to go away. In fairness it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be. But last night it decided to make up for some lost time, I guess. I woke up at 1:30 by the bedside clock and I never did get back to sleep. It’s like being stabbed in the side of my foot, right out through the top, over and over every thirty seconds or so. And there isn’t any foot. Try sleeping through that.

Normally doesn’t last more than an hour or two but this time it finally faded around eight in the morning. I’m not as young as I used to be. Once I thought nothing of going a night or two without sleep but that was then. I was in a very bad mood all morning.

Big day tomorrow, I have to go to the big town about 50 miles away and get – and pay for – my new leg. Also other errands while I’m there. Some idiot backed into D&L’s truck in a parking lot and broke their tail light housing, and I’ve got an envelope full of money to get a new one at the Dodge dealership. Hope to score some frozen chicken breasts for TB at Wally World. Stressful. Tried to take an afternoon nap but never really slept – I’m just not a napper. It’s seven in the evening as I type this and I’m a zombie. Going to bed soon, hoping to catch up.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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8 Responses to Had a really bad night…

  1. Robert says:

    Sorry for your pain. Any drugs that are your friend?
    Being a desert hermit is sounding better; new idiot co-worker showed up for first evening on the job wearing a 100.x fever and a dry cough. Dammit.

  2. TK421a says:

    Joel, you have my sympathy. That washed-out zombie-like feeling was one I learned very well from doing 12-hour shift work for a lot of years. I hope the stump gives you a chance to sleep tonight.

  3. Judy says:

    A TENS Unit will help zap those screwy nerves that are acting up.

  4. Spud says:

    I probably somewhat know the feeling. My left foot got almost severed just above the ankle. Pretty much cut all but the Achilles tendon. They were able to re attach and repair most everything with several surgeries. Except the nerves…that sucker screamed at me continuesly even tho my foot was still there. It did settle down after about a year but still to this day five years since it happened.
    That red hot knife keeps stabbing when least I suspect…

    I feel ya bro

  5. Mark Matis says:

    Is this something that might be discussed when you pick up your new prosthesis? Or are they so specialized that would be useless???

  6. coloradohermit says:

    Ow Ow Ow! Sending you positive thoughts and hoping you got a good night’s sleep before your big day out.

  7. Ben says:

    ” idiot co-worker showed up for first evening on the job wearing a 100.x fever and a dry cough. Dammit.” I believe the new term for such behavior is “COVIDIOT”. (Or something like that).

  8. jabrwok says:

    Not sure if this would be relevant, but I’ve read that there are tricks with mirrors that can lead to amelioration of phantom-limb pain.


    In our studies, we placed a midvertical sagittal mirror on the table in front of the patient. If the patient’s paralyzed phantom limb was, say, on the left side of the mirror, he placed his right hand in an exact mirror-symmetric location on the right side of the mirror (Figure 3). If he looked into the shiny right side of the mirror, the reflection of his own right hand is optically superimposed on the felt location of his phantom limb so that he has the distinct visual illusion that the phantom limb had been resurrected. If he now made mirror-symmetric movements while looking in the mirror, he received visual feedback that the phantom limb was obeying his command.

    Remarkably, 6 of 10 patients using this procedure claimed that they could now actually feel—not merely see—movements emerging in the phantom limb. This was often a source of considerable surprise and delight to the patient.18

    Indeed, 4 patients were able to use the visual feedback provided to them by the mirror to “unclench” a painfully clenched phantom hand and this seemed to relieve the clenching spasm, as well as associated cramping pain (the burning and lancinating pains in the phantom limb remained unaffected by the mirror procedure, suggesting that the relief of the clenching was probably not confabulatory in origin). The elimination of the spasm is a robust effect that was confirmed in several patients. Patients reported the elimination of the associated pain but this requires confirmation with double-blind control subjects, given the notorious susceptibility of pain to placebo and suggestion. In one patient, repeated use with the mirror for 2 weeks resulted in a permanent and complete disappearance of the phantom arm and elbow (and a “telescoping” of fingers into the stump) for the first time in 10 years. The associated pain in the elbow and wrist also vanished. This may be the first known instance of a successful amputation of a phantom limb!

To the stake with the heretic!