I was awakened from a rather vivid dream this morning (rather rudely by the white one refunding a hairball) in which I had had a below-knee amputation of my left leg and was learning to walk with a prosthesis. It was quite eerie, as I could feel what it was like to walk with the prosthesis, and it was quite different from having a “real” leg. I was with my mom, and a lady who is a long-time family friend, and I was walking around without a crutch or cane, balancing quite well, only having a little problem walking down stairs.
(As an aside, the white one seems to like to refund hairballs between 6:30 and 8:30 in the morning. Since my alarm is set for 9:00 a.m., I usually can’t get back to sleep. I don’t know if it’s a mommy thing, or what, but that hocking sound will yank me completely out of a deep sleep — rather like the cry of “mommy!” two rooms away does a mother of small children! At least I’ve kicked him off the bed enough times that he’s figured out he’s supposed to jump down onto the floor when he feels the urge. )
But here’s the thing: I have a history of dreams of problems with body parts. I once had a dream that one of my upper front teeth was missing. (It was a tooth that had previously had a root canal.) In the dream I had the vivid sensation in my mouth of having that tooth gone, the feel of the gap on my lip. It was a disturbing dream, one whose memory lingered for days to the point that I made an appointment to see a dentist. I felt like an idiot explaining to the dentist that I had had this dream, and would he please check this tooth out. He slipped immediately into the hand-patting, there-there mode, and just to reassure the silly woman, he took an x-ray. When he came back from developing the x-ray, he had the strangest look on his face. The x-ray clearly showed that I had an abscess at the tip of the root of the tooth I dreamed was missing! Since it was a root canal, I would not have been able to feel it until it had gotten large enough to work its way over to the nerve of one of the neighboring teeth, at which point, it would have been a serious bone infection. Since it was a root canal, he had to go in through the top, peel back the gum, drill into the bone of my jaw and clean out the pocket of infection, and for a week, I had five stitches right where the gum turns the corner and becomes the inside of the lip. Needless to say, when I dream of a body part now, I pay attention.
I know where part of the dream came from. The last episode of “Criminal Minds” had a character with a below-knee amputation, and there was a scene of her putting on her prosthesis, only it was her right leg. It may have been that compounding with the memories from when I broke the kneecap on my left leg. I had to have two surgeries on it, one to wire the kneecap back together, and a second to remove the wires. I’ve got this 8-inch long scar right down the middle of my knee. I was in a straight leg cast for 6 weeks (try putting on pants when you can’t bend one leg!), and had to have almost six months worth of rehab to get my range of motion and muscle tone back. (Breaking that one little round bone caused more trouble than if I’d just broken a leg bone.) My knee has a tendency to ache, and has been aching lately, so that probably played into it, too. I’ll be waiting to see if the dream memory continues to niggle at me But, in the meantime, since I’m a medical transcriptionist, all sorts of reasons to have to have a leg amputated come readily to mind. Maybe I need to start doing my quad exercises again. . . .