Post Amputation Stages of Acceptance
There is no price that can offset the emotional costs an amputee can experience. The pain of losing a limb is normally equated to that of losing a loved one. An amputee has to withstand the undesired stares from other people – not to mention having to rely on others to perform things they were normally accustomed to handling on their own. The bottom line is that after an amputation the person is not only physically changed for life but emotionally changed as well.
So, how do amputees cope? Most will experience the five stages of loss because in a way it is much like losing someone very close to them. Only in this instance it had to do with the way they envisioned themselves, and how they spent their life.
– Denial: This happens either before or after the amputation. Pre-amputation often involves the person trying to convince themselves that their situation will get better, which actually could make them worse off. After is normally more traumatic and will often involve the person denying that the loss has any impact on their life.
– Anger: This can be either inward or outward. The amputee can blame themselves, the doctors, and even their family. This is all an important process, however. The best thing for the person not to do is repress their anger, but experience it while it is happening to deal with it.
– Bargaining: In this situation, this step is normally out of order and coincides with denial. The important thing to try and remember is that amputation is always a last resort, and if it were not necessary, it would not be happening.
– Depression: This is believed to be the most complicated stage for amputees. They are not only faced with the sadness of their loss of limb, but they come to worry about losses that will happen because of it.
– Acceptance: The main point of acceptance for an amputee is to accept that the limb is gone and not coming back. This is where they have to take control of what will happen in their life from this point on.
Amputees have found that a good support team is the best way to overcome this challenging experience. Counseling and a good support system after an amputation can help people through the grieving process. Support groups made up of other amputees can also be very helpful at helping new them deal with issues that are commonly experienced by other amputees. The American Amputee Foundation and the Amputee Coalition provide information about support groups in Michigan.