“How are you REALLY?” has been a question that’s been asked of me quite frequently in the last weeks.
My answer has consistently been “I’ve had a couple of tough days, but mostly I feel good”. I should note the “tough days” have been more physical than emotinal or intellectual. The day when my body sugar fell dramatically, sapping me of energy and enthusiasm, is an example.
As I’ve engaged with people, whether in person or through social media, I’ve noticed two main groups of responses.
There are those who take my positivity at face value, offering encouraging affirmations like “you’re amazing.”
Then there are others who approach the situation differently, perhaps sensing that I may be hiding my true emotions about what’s happened. They wonder if, once I leave the comfort and support of the hospital environment, I might experience a deep depression when the reality of it all sinks in. And maybe that’s a possibility.
Speaking of recovery, I’ve noticed some “phantom feelings” in the area of my amputation. People around me have suggested that it’s my mind and body grieving, and maybe there’s some truth to that. But I can’t ignore the 57 years of neurological responses that my body and brain have built together, which may also play a part.
Visitors and well-wishers have been keenly interested in hearing about the forty-eight to seventy-two hours when I rapidly lost my sense of what was occurring. I understand their curiosity, and to be honest, I enjoy recounting the story. After all, I’ve always had a deep desire to tell engaging stories, evident both in my career choice and this blog.
However, I’ve come to a point where I want to shift my focus away from the past and towards the future.
In the grand scheme of things, there are millions of people around the world who’ve lost partial limbs (or more). And they’ve done so without the privileges I’ve enjoyed living in an affluent country with a first world health system.
For now at least , I’m choosing to focus less on what has already transpired and more on what lies ahead.
Even if this newfound perspective could be considered a sort of false consciousness – too optimistic? – is that really a bad thing?