Alistair Plint

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What to do when a new amputee comes home

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The Phantom of Pain - by Alistair Plint

Contact Ally

 

 

THE PHANTOM OF PAIN - article by Alistair Plint, exerpt from "Getting the ball through the post - making life lovable" - unreleased as at December 2005

Ali and I bumped into eachother the other night at a function and did some serious catching up and chin wagging. One of the things that came up (doesn't it always??) was how I was coping with a new leg, an old leg, pain, yada yada yada. He said "you know Ally, your phantom pain taught me a serious life lesson". Huh? I had to know more. So he sent me this article he had written, and kindly gave me permission to post it here. It belongs to him in its entirety - if you want to know more...mail us.

About Alistair Plint...

In 2001 Alistair Plint registered “The Comedy Shop” and the past four years have been dedicated to the production of stand up comedy shows. The shows have received, rave reviews and have performed on stages around South Africa. Perhaps the most well known and recent shows have been, “Stand Up for Sundays" at The Liberty Life theatre on the Square in Sandton, “A load of Bull” at The Bull Review Bar in Alberton, “Funny Wednesday, with Wackhead” at Riviera on The Vaal and “5 Funny Guys” at The Sound stage in Midrand.

Alistair has been involved in the entertainment industry in one way or another for the last 17 years. He is a well known and loved comedian and function host.

The Phantom of the Pain…

BY Alistair Plint

I recently had an opportunity to reflect upon things I had learnt through personal experience. Often we as survivors of society, explorers of intelligence and developers of the financial security of South Africa forget that how we got here was through our personal experiences and our abilities to apply our natural knowledge…

I carefully use the words “Natural Knowledge” because I believe that we all live and breathe by our ability to apply what we have learnt over time. The better we are at applying our techniques, the better our life works, and the more successful the standard of living the universe will allow us to receive.

This has proved very useful to me. I have managed to accept life tools that other people have taught me, and in most cases without their knowledge of the training they have passed on to me. Furthermore, in many cases the people that I have “stolen” education from were trying to teach me something far more frivolous at the time.

During my reflection on these lessons, I realised that among these lessons is one so valuable that it needed documenting and meditation to consider the implications of accepting the training. I was taught this particular lesson from a place so unlikely that it would make most people lift their noses and reply with “what utter nonsense”. I would understand your need to do that. However I would recommend that you read the lesson, because you see, the lesson has made my life easier and a lot more fun to live. In fact it is directly responsible for dynamic changes in my career, financial and love life.

It all started during a relationship, a relationship I hold very dear to my heart. I met a woman who was fun! Who sparkled in every way that intrigued me. She is a multi talented being with a divine voice and an uncanny ability to do solid and profitable business in a cut throat industry. The company she represents by the way, has one employee, HER - She did everything herself. So to my embarrassment - I need three people to do her job. I’ll never forget the first time I found out she owned and rode a horse; I was flabbergasted, only because my friend is an amputee. That’s right; she does this stuff with one real leg and a prosthetic leg in place of the other. So lesson number one “What do you mean you can’t?” That lesson turned out to be the smaller lesson I would learn.

One evening my friend's face changed to a face of absolute pain and suffering. I remember my emotions going mad, I didn’t know what to do, and in short I panicked. I had a heart of fear, I am unable to tell you what I did, or the reaction I chose to express during this time because I was so scared, that I don’t actually remember my reactions. It didn’t last long though. After all this was over and everything settled down, I asked what all this was about. She told me it was called “phantom pain”. In short, this is a pain in the area of the leg that is no longer there. The nerve endings react and pain ambushes the leg in a non existent place.

After consideration, I realised that the only realistic way to deal with this unexpected event would be to calm myself to mediocre panic and then to pass the calming effect on to my friend. Breath, relax and calm down, “look, there’s nothing anyone is going to do about this right now.”

After a couple of months, I had become a master of the calming process; I became more relaxed than a sleeping cat. Before I knew it, I didn’t panic. I wasn’t even remotely scared anymore. One day, out of the blue and unexpected, she had a panic attack! (This was unrelated to the pain.) But guess what, I calmed down; sat with her, spoke to her and it left at the same speed it arrived.

A year, later I was trying to negotiate a rather large business arrangement and it was not going well at all, in fact, quite the opposite. Everything that could go wrong did. I sat at my desk, and whilst listening to five people telling me what was wrong at the same time, my mind started to relax. I breathed, relaxed, calmed down and said, “There’s nothing, anyone is going to do about this right now.” Two months later I closed the file on the negotiation and in a very relaxed manner wrote “PAID IN FULL”-We did it! across the front of my file.

There was the important lesson, Calm down, Breathe, Relax; and achieve something - 'cause you can!

Thanks for sharing Ali! (((hugs)))

COOL LINKS

Chronic Pain Chronic pain management by Dr Mitchell

To be or not to be Active Living article by Kimberley Barreda

John Callahan Paraplegic humourist - not for the feint hearted

Disability sport in South Africa DISSA

THE ANGRY GIMP Awesome must read site!

Marco Du Plooy My Pretoria based prosthetist

Sleeve Art by Fred's Legs

Employment Guidelines from SA Dept of Labour for PWD's & employers

Amputee Resource - Al Pike CP

MAS Socket - information

Fly SA - Paragliding

Co LeDahu - Personal Website

Jam Ally Entertainment - where Ally works

Eric Morse - Para-sport photographer & friend (Canada)

 

 



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