Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Phantom Call

There was an old M*A*S*H episode where Hawkeye was forced to amputate the leg of a soldier after he had received significant shrapnel from some North Korean ordnance. The episode was moving because the soldier was an athelete whose dream was to play professional football when he was discharged from the military. One of the topics that came up in that episode was the notion of "phantom pain". The soldier described feeling the very real presence of his leg even after it was removed.

The body is a very complex system as a whole, and the human nervous system is far from being fully understood. I find the sensations of pain quite curious in my own body. I remember back in high school biology class where my teacher described an itch as a low-grade form of pain. Sometimes when some portion of my body tells me that it itches, I reflect back on those words and the untold, unexplained wonders and facets of the human organism. So many whys and hows come forth that leave me in a state of wonder.

I have been carrying a cell phone on my belt for about 5 or 6 years now. Oftentimes I set the ringer to vibrate so that it will not disturb the folks around me when I receive a call. However, I have noticed over the years that I can sometimes feel a very strong vibration sensation in my hip just at the location where I carry my phone, even when the phone is not going off. I can only wonder what stimulus caused my body to suddenly respond in this manner. The phantom phone call is signaled in my body and then is gone. More whys and hows. I wonder who is trying to reach me ...