Pin It
Favorite

Phantom Menace 

One man’s fight against his brain, body and science

click to enlarge art18247.jpg

Jim Boyer’s toes feel cramped in his sneakers. The 57-year-old from Post Falls twitches his silver moustache and fingers through salt-and-pepper hair while explaining that it feels like his left foot is asleep.

Except Boyer doesn’t have a left foot. He barely has a knee. A disease, a 1-in-13 million-blood disease, caused a blood clot. Then gangrene.

“My leg was dying,” he says. “It was either amputate or die of pain.”

Eighteen months ago, a surgeon, “the greatest guy he an occasional series ever met,” severed his leg. Yet he still feels his wiggling toes. He feels pain.

“Sometimes it’s like someone is zapping me with an electric prod,” he says mimicking a cattle rancher.

Medically, it’s called “phantom limb” and “phantom pain.” About 70 percent of amputees experience it. Some research blames damaged nerves; some cannot explain it.

Boyer takes painkillers. He’s a guinea pig for prosthetic companies. He uses massage therapy, mind control and electrodes to no avail.

“The goal is to trick the nerves,” he says. “There’s a spot to turn it off. They just haven’t figured it out.”

Boyer gets depressed. He’s lost control of his imperfect machine — the finely wired matrix of blood, tissues and nerves — that is his vessel for life and his prison.

But he has hope. He mentions roadside bombs, the Middle East and soldiers with missing limbs. War pushes technology.

“They will find a cure for this,” he says. “The next generation of prosthetics uses bionic arms. … It’s like Star Wars.”

He writhes his hands and brushes his silver wedding band. He was once a telephone installer. Today, he’s on disability.

He communicates with God because his body cannot communicate with itself.

“The mind and human body is incredible,” he says.

“I just can’t see us coming out of the sea.”

North Idaho Amputee Support Group • Third Wednesday of every month, 11 am • Life Care Center • 500 W. Aqua Ave., Coeur d’Alene • (208)-215-1246

  • Pin It

Speaking of...

  • Packing Heat
  • Packing Heat

    Rep. Matt Shea’s road rage incident; plus, the FBI’s interest in the Ridpath
    • Jul 25, 2012
  • Fever Dreams
  • Fever Dreams

    Beasts of the Southern Wild brings us a surrealist story and an Oscar-worthy performance from a 6-year-old
    • Jul 25, 2012
  • Five-Man Cage Fight
  • Five-Man Cage Fight

    The scramble to represent Spokane’s 3rd District
    • Jul 25, 2012
  • More »

Latest in Arts & Culture

  • United by Song and Dance
  • United by Song and Dance

    A local powwow aims to bring people together across ethnicities for a colorful cultural celebration
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Float On
  • Float On

    To find an hour of glorious silence, I had to enclose myself in a tank full of salt water
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • BASEBALL | By The Numbers
  • BASEBALL | By The Numbers

    Dogs, dingers and dastardly Diaz stuff
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
You Are Here

You Are Here @ Chase Gallery

Mondays-Fridays. Continues through Sept. 29

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Jordy Byrd

  • Halloween City
  • Halloween City

    Marijuana-inspired costumes for stoners
    • Oct 22, 2015
  • Farm to Pipe
  • Farm to Pipe

    Locals Canna House opens in Spokane Valley
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • Social High
  • Social High

    A Spokane company launches a new cannabis-focused social media platform
    • Sep 24, 2015
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Float On

    To find an hour of glorious silence, I had to enclose myself in a tank full of salt water
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Family Values

    A North Idaho clan is making a triple impact on the local food scene
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Culture & Food

Food


for your consideration


last word


Opening


Beer


Readers also liked…

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation