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

Latest in Arts & Culture

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
The Music Man

The Music Man @ Spokane Civic Theatre

Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through June 14

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Jordy Byrd

  • Summer Reading
  • Summer Reading

    Memoirs, hemp history and a smoker's activity book
    • May 20, 2015
  • Weed on Wheels
  • Weed on Wheels

    The Spot Medical LLC dabbles with delivery and deals with drunks
    • May 13, 2015
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Chicken Challenge

    A Seattle fried chicken empire opens up in Spokane; we measure it against our hometown favorite
    • May 13, 2015
  • The Gender Games

    Why I open doors for dudes
    • May 13, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
Culture & Food

Beer


Food


for your consideration


last word


distilled


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation