To Talk or Not to Talk
T. C. Harp
tcharp1 at cox.net
Sat Oct 5 00:16:26 PDT 2002
I understand your feelings and frustrations.
I have found in my relatively short time as an amp that everyone around
me is different in their ability to understand, discuss, and empathize
with me and what's happened to me.
I have tried to be as sensitive as I can to how this has affected them,
because it has. And they are each different in how they have reacted
and how much they really want to know.
In the end, however, it is me that deals with this every day. Those
closest to me hear about the triumphs and troubles, but I try to not
overwhelm them, after all, these are my problems. When I need help, I
ask. If I don't need help, I don't ask. Some guys I used to ride with
in CA taught me this years before my amputation. I will always think
them very wise and good friends.
There are few in this world that will ever fully understand the myriad
of changes this sort of things brings upon each of us. Try not to be
too angry with them. I fear that silence is the only way that many can
deal with catastrophic issues such as this.
TC in TX
From: AMP-L-owner at u.washington.edu [mailto:AMP-L-owner at u.washington.edu]
On Behalf Of JBuck22874 at aol.com
Sent: Friday, October 04, 2002 10:55 PM
To: Amputee Information Network
Subject: To Talk or Not to Talk
Just when I think I've pretty much accepted the unsightly state of my
skeleton, out pops a poem like the one posted below. I've been asking
lately why I seem super-glued to the topic of disability, and I've come
the conclusion that I write about it because my family refuses to talk
it, and always has.
Does anybody else around here get the silent treatment when it comes to
amputation? At first I thought my family was closed up about it because
came out of the womb as an anatomical disaster right from the start (in
words, it wasn't a shock) and my issues were spread out over many, many
years, but now I'm beginning to wonder if they just can't handle what
have happened to them. When I mention the word "stump" or "socket," they
change the subject to the rising cost of paper towels -- usually
mid-sentence. Silence is virtually their only perceivable reply.
Have you guys ever wanted to say: "Hold it right there! I need to talk
pain, frustration, fear, etc"? And if you did actually insist on a
conversation, did it bring your family together or drive them away?
for the past five years has given me a craving for more honesty than my
family seems able to handle. Anyway, I'd like to know how everyone else
with this stuff. I have images of my family boarding the first bus to
P.S. Piss and Moan poem for the day ...
Suddenly, post severance
a pant leg hangs like fallen flags.
Is this the muslin of defeat
or will some shade of color return?
I'm barely eight and all my dolls
have better bodies sitting there.
Each step I take, a damp
and clotted wispy broom
brushing a usurping floor.
If this is just a Civil War, I'll name
my flesh the smitten South
and hope the North of soul will win.
Years and eyes would teach me well
to stay away from bathroom mirrors.
Their microphones are hideous.
The stump itself a purple eggplant,
giant squash, rhubarb ribs
in gardens no one understands.
Mattress slabs and negligees
reserved for beauty not the beast
with suffer's crumbs for daily bread.
Phantoms strike like seizures in electric chairs.
When lights are out, I finger
all my sister's shoes in pristine rows --
their symbols make a fine ballet
I'd love to have a ticket to.
Who put this halo on my head,
plagued me with these platitudes:
"God gives you only giant bricks
you have the strength to move and lift."
I hate the words but lean on them like banisters
on stairways washed away in floods.
I had a better signature when two legs waltzed
without pre-meditated scorn.
When motion was a thoughtless gesture
flapping like an eagle's wings.
When fluid crosses of my thighs
weren't rancid jokes imbued with scars.
Fallow muscles ... well, they dream
of Cinderella slipper time,
of petticoats not made of gauze.
by Janet I. Buck
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