Ok, so, there may not be much point in posting this, since this is waaaaaay down the road in my writing. Like, 5-6 years, before I'll actually write this. But, I would like to start some discussion on it all the same. Basically, one of my characters gets a limb amputated, specifically his dominant arm at the shoulder. I'm not sure what exactly causes the injury that necessitates this, so suggestions are appreciated and might lead to inspiration, but I do know that it happens. This character is pretty important to the story (he's one of the MC's, actually, and a POV character) so this is going to have a profound effect upon the story. Recently I've realized that this will be incredibly hard to pull off. Possibly one of the toughest things I'm going to have to write. I'm going to have to have a huge amount of authentic detail about something I know NOTHING about. I'm almost convinced that I will have to talk to someone who has been through this to tell the story properly. However, I do have a few specific questions that the scribes may be able to answer: After the amputation, what would the healing process be like? This is a low tech setting without modern medicine. I don't know yet what exactly they use to amputate the limb...I was thinking a saw earlier, but I then realized they probably wouldn't have such an implement on hand and would probably have to use a sword or some other bladed weapon. (How well does a sword cut through flesh and bone? Will this even work? I mean, I assume it can be done, but it will be messy. Would they have to...hack through his arm, rather than cut? Ugh.) I suppose they cauterize the wound afterward. Anyway, how long would that take to heal? What kind of risks would be involved...I'm assuming amputating a limb using a sword in the middle of the wilderness is a rather risky medical procedure, but I want specifics. What would the scarring be like? (Ugly, I assume?) I'm assuming a cauterized wound can still get infected...What if this happens? The guy has to survive it, mind you. He doesn't have to be close to functional for several weeks, but he does live. Secondly (not actually directly related to the amputation itself, but): How long will it take to learn to write/draw normally with your other hand after your dominant hand is gone? (I'm assuming drawing will take longer, since it is seemingly more precise; but is this the case?) (Now heading into territory that might need some information from firsthand experience.) Now I'm thinking about how the character's life might change. This is something I've never thought about...always having taken having two arms for granted, I don't know anything about this experience. I do assume that walking will be a little difficult initially, due to being thrown off balance? Beyond that...how is said character going to learn to manage things like dressing himself? Even more difficult to grasp is how this would affect someone psychologically. I would hazard an assumption that losing a limb wouldn't be a purely physical injury. I mean, even outside of it altering your life forever, it's losing a part of *yourself.* That could have more than a physical/practical consequence for someone, couldn't it? This, again, is the core issue...I'll have to get firsthand testimony to capture the experience. Or spend a week or so with one of my arms tied behind my back...lol. I can just imagine the questions of my friends and family. "It's for research!" Still, being unable to use one's arm isn't the same as not having one... Actually, trying to do different everyday things one-handed might be a good idea to get me just a little closer to the experience...is that ridiculous? Last question: Do all people who've had limbs amputated experience phantom pain? What does it even feel like? Is it at random times or does it have triggers? Is it actually that painful or closer to an annoyance?