Monday, August 13, 2012

How to Help a Person Cope with Amputation

Whether diabetics or accident victims, many people have to deal with the frightening fact that they have to have a limb amputated. Whether you are a family member, friend or even a caregiver, oftentimes, you don't know to help them cope. Here is some advice on the subject. I truly hope it helps someone.
Imagine, if you will, for just a minute. Someone you know is in a car crash. Not too bad, but bad enough. Their leg was pinned in the vehicle and severed a main artery. The person is alive, but not without complication. Because of the arterial damage, and the severity of it, doctors have no choice but to amputate the leg. Imagine how you would feel if you were delivered that news about a loved one. I imagine that you would be happy that the person was alive, but terrified at the thought of him or her losing their leg. All sorts of questions would come to your mind. Will he or she ever walk again? How are you going to feel the first time to see that leg gone? How long will it take to heal? Those are just a few.
Now, imagine, if you will, how you would feel if you were that person. The one who had to lose a leg. How would you feel? Sad? Angry? Helpless? Hopeless?
These emotions and probably many more. Not to mention the questions that would race around in your head!! Will I walk again? How long will it be before I can walk again? How will people look at me? What will people say? Who will help me? Why did it happen to me?
Unfortunately, amputations happen all of the time. Whether it be from a disease such as diabetes, an accident, or a number of other things, it happens. Many people have no idea how to help the person cope with the amputation. This often results in the person sinking into a pit of depression. They feel so helpless, and alone. They wonder if they will ever "get back on their feet".
The answer to the last question is yes, they probably will "get back on their feet", but it will take time. The more positive their attitude is, and the more support they receive, the better off they will do. Being the person trying to help can be a hard job. It requires a lot of patience.
My advice to the family, friends, and care-givers of amputees is to do your best to stay positive. In most cases, amputation is only a set-back. Don't dwell on it. The amputee is still the same person, he or she is just missing a limb. Their mind still works as does the rest of their body. They often need to be reminded of that. ENCOURAGE them to do what they can for themselves, but not to over-do it. While they are still healing, they need to follow doctors orders.

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