The Leg
by Jessica Sidhu, MSIII

 

Seeing her dark shadow lie on the bed
Hesitantly, I walk into the room
"How are you Mrs. W.? Anything happen overnight?"
She turns, grimaces, eyes grave with hopelessness
"Honey, I can't just cut off my leg."
Wait. What?
I fumble through crumbled paper and read: "Occluded popliteal, bypass today…"
"Doc says he wants to amputate… Honey, why didn't he let me know before?"
"How can I decide this so soon?"
"How can I just cut off my leg?"
Shouts and frustration later come from her room and I can't help but think about
Her cold, clammy, collapsed leg
And the life it gave in 52 years
Programming this woman's first steps
Running quick treks to work
Being smothered in sand at the beach
Or being frozen in the winter snow
Maybe this leg has won her a soccer game
Or got her to safety in time of need
Maybe a child held onto this leg for comfort, for protection
This leg that once powered this woman through life
Is now binding her to a bed.
The same leg that will be sawed off
Held awkwardly in the arms of a medical student
Discarded and thrown away
And along with it, 52 years of memories
Yes her leg dead
Yes, it must be operated on
But I can't help but think
How does one just cut off a leg?


~~~