Dear Nurse Dave,
What's a phantom limb?
Julie, Samsburg, NH
What you are probably asking about is the sensation that amputees feel after an amputation. They still feel like there is a limb there and often can have harsh pain with that phantom limb. Falls can also be a problem because they may still think that they have that limb because it feels like they do. Patients are often given large amounts of narcotic pain killer to deal with phantom pains. But phantom pain should not be confused with phantom menace, although both have caused significant pain (for the record I really enjoyed the phantom menace).
But to take this concept further I think we all may have phantom limbs in our lives. That thing that still feels like its there but just isn't. For instance I keep looking in the fridge for milk but we've gone off lactose for the last week or so. The milk just isn't there.
Phantom limb is also a pretty good name for a song