No matter the circumstance and how much time was given to prepare, losing a limb is a life-changing experience. While you most acutely feel the loss, it is also difficult for your closest family members and friends to accept and adjust to the loss.
However, more often than not, having ample time to consider amputation surgery can influence how well you and your family cope with it. One thing that can help you manage an amputation better is talking to your family, prosthetist, caregiver, or another amputee about amputation surgery. We understand this is not applicable to those who have experienced an amputation under traumatic conditions.
If you've dealt with a traumatic emergency amputation with little time to prepare, wrapping your head around your new reality may be even more difficult. The same can also be true for your family and friends.
Whatever your situation is—whether you were able to prepare or not at all—the outcome is the same: you have to figure out how you can best deal with your new reality.
No one can tell how long it takes for a person to heal, rebuild, and regain independence. More often than not, a person's age, physical and emotional health, and available support systems are crucial factors that determine how long it will take for an amputee to heal and rebuild.
Anatomically speaking, it can take upwards of five years to fully accept and acclimate to your new normal.
Support and communication
A support system can compose of family members and friends, and they would do well to seek information that can help them cope with a loved one's limb loss. It will take them some time to accept their loved one's new reality—especially parents—but when they do, they can better appreciate their loved one's uniqueness.
Family members and friends need to be able to step back when necessary so their loved one can develop independence. Knowing when to help and when to step back is crucial for any person's limb loss journey-to-recovery.
To help the process of acceptance, family members can meet with other families who have loved ones with limb loss or limb differences. This way, family members can see that their problems are not limited to a few and, most importantly, they are not alone. They can see how other families have coped with limb loss and worked with others to find solutions to common problems.
Dealing with the stress after an amputation may put a strain on even the strongest of families. Families need a coping mechanism and open communication.
More often than not, family and friends want to help, but they aren't always sure how to go about it. Maintaining an open dialogue will make it easier for all parties to find out what is needed in certain situations. It will also enable everyone to share how their emotions are running, thus being patient with each other will come more easily.
Open communication or simply sharing how you feel and what you need with your family can help you find a way to deal with problems and overcome them. This can bind a family together.