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Category: Pain

Coping with my own phantom pain {update: vascular congestion and cold skin: compression really helps}

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Coping with my own phantom pain {update: vascular congestion and cold skin: compression really helps}; published December 17, 2018, 22:07; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9034.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569161566, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Coping with my own phantom pain {update: vascular congestion and cold skin: compression really helps}}}, month = {December},year = {2018}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=9034}}


I have gone after possible sources of my phantom pain, over the past years, to better cope with it.

There are aspects that I can influence directly, and others that I seem to be able to direct only indirectly.

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Electromagnetic shielding and phantom pain [tech corner]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Electromagnetic shielding and phantom pain [tech corner]; published May 23, 2016, 19:57; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=5981.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569161566, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Electromagnetic shielding and phantom pain [tech corner]}}, month = {May},year = {2016}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=5981}}


Electromagnetic interference or EMI is supposed to contribute to phantom pain. We do not know why that is. Other theories attribute phantom pains to an efference/afference dysbalance. Apparently, mirror therapy works but not in all cases.

But, what do we know.

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Stump after wearing myoelectric "bionic" prosthesis for 10 hours [graphic #voightkampff]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump after wearing myoelectric "bionic" prosthesis for 10 hours [graphic #voightkampff]; published May 5, 2014, 17:43; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=2979.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569161566, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stump after wearing myoelectric "bionic" prosthesis for 10 hours [graphic #voightkampff]}}, month = {May},year = {2014}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=2979}}


2 Comments

Any self respecting medical doctor, orthopedic surgeon, prosthetist, and "bionic" researcher will ask you - in a concerned professional way - "and, do you wear your prosthetic arm often, hopefully even daily?".

We also must accept that wearing "bionic" arms is nowadays assumed to constitute "human enhancement". This obviously is something I will directly and confrontatively label as bitter, ignorant, harsh and degrading cynicism.

If I do wear my prosthetic arm daily, in their view, that makes me a better human or even more human at the same time as I am, in their view, maybe not so much a better human but a "good doggy". Really and in fact, we have a reality split in that - at the same time and at once - my realities are two fold and split:

(1) Outside: On one hand, me trying to wear a prosthetic "super" hand - such as a "bionic" hand - makes my shape outline appear more like the shape outline of other people and so there is this aspect of possibly becoming a better, a deeper human. Conversely, the disfigurement of an arm stump thus makes me less of a human - and that is also what the face of many shee shee froo froo people, many so-called superficial people, will tell me when (or if) I look at them. Clearly, my amputated arm can make other people feel that I am less human. And it clearly does so on any given occasion. This is to a very small part remedied by me wearing this "bionic" apparatus - a machine for symbolism and "hope" far more than a machine for grasping, working, getting stuff done or feeling well.

(2) Inside: On the other hand, wearing a myoelectric arm is a really uncomfortable and skin damaging ordeal that is cumbersome and even in the best of all worlds painful. It feels bad to a degree, where I cannot possibly be totally human any more - as I have to push all normal human reactions such as pain, self respect, worry about the skin on my stump, fear of what all that pain does to me, etc. aside. There is a truly heartfelt authentic element in praising my stubborn wearing of a myoelectric "bionic" arm using the words "good doggy".

So, wearing a "bionic" myoelectric arm on the outside is an act of extreme humane-ness, it approximates the un-disfigured appearance like nothing else. As long as it does not approximate anything, it represents an 80'000 USD promise - and that is extreme in terms of symbolism.

At the very same time, what goes on inside the socket is beyond comprehension to many people - as it is not just not human, but worse, it has truly inhuman aspects. It lowers one, soul wise and as an individuum, in my view.

Here is how my stump looks like after a duration of 10 hours of wearing my iLimb Ultra Revolution at the office, typing and carrying light weight files, possibly holding a cup while rinsing it with water, photographed 1/2 and 7 hours after removing the prosthetic arm. To get the battery to last that long, I had switched the hand off for extended periods of time. Like, when I was typing. Never did my arm look like that after even hard work with the body powered arm such as jobs like hedge cutting [link], scrubbing [link] serious furniture moving [link] and so on. Yesterday I cut the hedges again, got rid of major amounts of stuff and moved a few hundred liters of green waste to the disposal with the body powered arm and really, the skin of my arm is not at all like what we see below - all is smooth and no problem. It is not the prosthesis as such that is a problem generally. It is the difficulty to achieve electrode fit and socket fit at once that really constitutes the "bionic" dilemma here, combined with hard lift and pull forces. Leg amputees can not understand from their own sockets, they experience different problems, not these. If it just was some simple body powered arms, or passive arms, we'd all be cool. Look, I am not saying "eeks, bad". I am saying, why the pansy boy type of immature excitement over what really is still problematic and massively overpriced technology when it comes to "bionic" arms? And here: can you reflect on the deeper meaning of what "bionic" arm wearing may entail?

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