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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active eight year old (Robby) and an infant (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Head Banger

Yesterday was not one of my best days.

My morning started off on a positive note when Elliot was able to adjust my socket to alleviate the pain I was feeling. It is amazing how much lighter I always feel when I am walking without discomfort! Timmy was even quasi-cooperative during the appointment, which bolstered my hopes for a good day.

Unfortunately the day went downhill after I left his office. Timmy's mood soured almost as soon as I buckled him into his car seat. He proceeded to scream the entire drive home (nearly 60 minutes due to construction traffic). I thought that the meltdown would have tired him out. Instead his energy seemed to be intensified by his ire. By the time we arrived home he was a sweaty, angry mess and I was exhausted with a headache. 

Timmy settled down long enough for him to eat his lunch before I had to put him in the car to go work with Abby. He loudly vocalized his displeasure at being put back into the car and only stopped screaming when he finally dozed off -about 15 minutes before we arrived.  Needless to say, he was not amused at being woken up and moved when we arrived.

Abby was not feeling well, so our appointment was shortened. After I strapped a wiggly Hamlet into his car seat, I walked to the end of the driveway to open the wrought iron gates. With my head bent down (looking for the latches in the ground) I pushed on the gate. In a flash the gate flew back, hitting me squarely on the top of my forehead. 

I felt pain, and then I felt the gravel driveway beneath my cheek when I fell.  I had managed to knock myself out. The rest of the day I was disoriented, tired and frustrated by the ringing in my ears. I called the doctor which turned out to be a waste of time. I was told to avoid strenuous activities, not to hit my head again for six weeks, and not to drive any heavy machinery.  (I guess I'll have to put off participating in that demolition derby another month.)

I spent the rest of the afternoon trying (in vain) to focus and work. I finally acquiesced to the injury and shut down my computer early.  Hopefully today will be a better day because I think I am overdue!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Procrastination Mistake

This morning I am headed to see Elliot for a socket adjustment, and the appointment could not come soon enough. During the past few days I have developed a knot on the front of the bone which has become extremely painful. I suspect that the knot is the result of a misaligned socket that, to be completely honest I should have addressed weeks ago when I first started to notice. Unfortunately between my Dad being sick and ultimately dying and my work commitments, I just haven't been able to carve out the time in my schedule to take care of my leg.

Lesson learned, and I am now dealing with the true life consequences of my procrastination. The slight rubbing caused some inflammation, which in turned created more friction between my leg and the socket. I am now at the point where I have spot the circumference of a baseball on my bone that is red, inflamed and tender to the touch.

I have been trying to stay off my leg as much as possible, but being a Mom makes it is nearly impossible to stay off my feet. Timmy is into absolutely everything and loves nothing more than being pushed in his little stroller trike next to his big brother riding his new bicycle. Although I have thoroughly enjoyed spending so much time outside with my boys, I am now dealing with the result of all of the walking in a misaligned socket. 

Needless to say, right now I am not terribly fond of being an amputee. I am tired of having to schedule adjustments and new sockets into my already overflowing life. I just want things to be easy and maintenance free. I wish that I didn't have to worry about these issues and that the biggest ramification of my walking would be an occasional blister from a new pair of shoes. 

Of course, my limb loss is one thing that I definitely cannot change. I know that my mood will lift as soon as the pain wanes. Hopefully Elliot will be able to work his magic, and I'll resume my normal life this afternoon. I did learn that procrastination and prosthetics are not an advantageous combination!  The next time I sense a problem, I am going to make it a priority before it becomes a more debilitating issue.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Defeated.

Yesterday was not one of my best days of motherhood. Timmy woke up early, well before the sun rose, and appeared to regret his insistence of being sprung from his crib almost immediately. He was grumpy and difficult to comfort for two hours until he finally fell asleep (probably due to exhaustion.)  By the time he  fell asleep I had consumed two cups of coffee, jolting me awake. My going back to sleep was not going to be a viable option, so I opened up my computer and began to work.

By the time Scott left for work I already had nearly 4 hours of work under my belt for the day. It's a good thing that I was so productive early in the morning, because Timmy was a little ball of need and want all day. From the food that I provided to the way that I tried to hold and soothe him, apparently I could do nothing right. Needless to say, it was a rough day.

To add another layer of dissatisfaction to the day, my phantom ankle was aching all day. It felt like I needed to crack the joint, which was obviously not possible because it is missing. I hate those phantom sensations. It wasn't enough pain to force me to take medication, but it was just enough discomfort to be annoying and tiring. I'm sure that the rain contributed to the issue, but knowing the cause did nothing to diminish the annoyance.

By the time Scott came from from work I was treading on my last frayed nerve. I would like to think that I said hello before I handed him a red faced bundle of discontent, but to be honest I am not certain.  I just passed him off and ran straight to the bathroom.

I locked the door, took a deep breath and polished off the last of my stashed chocolate treats. Yesterday, I was defeated by an 11 month old. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bike Buddies


If you have been reading this blog for any length of time,  you are aware of my ongoing battle with the bike. Until my amputation I loved to ride. After I became adjusted to my prosthesis, I resumed my beloved activity, only it was modified. Instead of riding outside I limited my experience to an indoor bicycle trainer. I have used computer programs to simulate riding outside, and although it did adjust the tension on the pedals, the computer was unable to fully replicate riding outside.  There was something wonderful about feeling the wind in my face that I had come to accept was something from my past.

Although I knew that it was irrational, I developed an unyielding phobia about riding my bike outside. I became so terrified of falling that I refused to try. I did venture out a few years ago, where I proudly "conquered" my fear by riding around the neighborhood once. After my victory lap I promptly parked my bike back into the garage where it resumed gathering dust and dirt. Even though I proved my ability, the fear persisted.

During the past two weeks my little Koopa has become quite a bike rider. Right now, he loves nothing more than hopping onto his bike and taking off down the street. While he is still cautious, he is becoming more skilled and adventurous. Yesterday he even ventured off our street and meandered through the neighborhood with his friend Rowan. I can't remember the last time I saw him smile so brightly. 

On Sunday Robby asked me to ride bikes with him. I was about to make an excuse but stopped myself in mid sentence. If I asked him to conquer his fear of riding the bike, I needed to step up to the plate and do the same. After all, what would I communicate if I let my fears control my actions?

So, instead of making excuses I calmly explained my fear to Robby. I told him that I was going to try, but that I was scared of falling with my prosthetic. He gave me a kiss, told me that he believed in me and handed me a helmet. 

With that I was forced to face one of my biggest, albeit irrational, fears. I was nervous, but it turns out that the saying is true. Once you learn how to ride a bike you never forget! 

Robby and I have spent hours riding our bikes together. While Scott is watching Timmy, the two of us hop on and just pedal and talk.  He has dubbed us "bike buddies," which is a title I proudly wear considering the phobia I had to conquer to receive it. Of course, I am not naive enough to believe that my "bike buddy" distinction is without strings. As far as I can tell, it is only valid when no other friends are available for an adventure. Regardless of the fleeting honor, I am happy to assume the role of substitute riding partner. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lazy Weekend

What a wonderful weekend. After the chaos of the past few months, it was nice not to have anything of consequence that needed our attention. We were able to stay home and play outside because we granted ourselves permission just to relax and have fun. It has been a long time since we've had a family fun weekend, and I would say that it was long overdue!

Robby spent much of his time on his new bicycle, pedaling up our drive way and down the street. His skills as well as his confidence are growing quickly. With the exception of endurance, it is not obvious that he is a novice rider. I'm amazed at how quickly he learned after years of fear-based refusals.

While his big brother was outside riding his bike, Timmy followed along in his new stroller bike. (I know I said that I bought it for him, but truth be told I am probably enjoying it as much, if not more, than he.) He loves sitting up tall as he is wheeled through the neighborhood. He is particularly excited when Robby whizzes by him on his bike. His squeals and giggles could be heard down the street.

I am absolutely loving pushing him and spending so much time outside. I feel like I lost last summer, which makes the simple act of walking through the neighborhood even more special. I have a feeling that he and I will log a lot of miles in the coming years because I have no plans of slowing down.

Although we didn't accomplish anything tangible, this past weekend was exactly what we all needed. I think we are all approaching this week with a reduced stress thanks to our "no work" declaration. It is hard to slow down and ignore the to-do list, but I am going to try to enjoy the "lazy weekend" more often.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Bike Rider

When Robby was a preschooler he loved riding his little bike. He would tool up the driveway and over to visit Mr. Bill without much thought or effort. One day he overcompensated when steering and rode his bike right off the rode, falling into a fully bloomed blackberry bush.

I vividly remember picking him up and consoling him after his first little bike tumble. After his tears were dried, he proclaimed that he would never ride a bike again. "If I was supposed to ride I would have been born with wheels instead of feet." Even at three years old he was incredibly logical! 

Robby was true to his word and has refused all attempts at bike riding. Both Scott and I have tried every summer to entice him back onto the saddle, but our efforts were in vain. In his mind, his fall five years ago has grown to epic proportions, with the injuries sustained nearly debilitating. In reality he was fine after a Snoopy Band-Aid and lollipop.

We never gave up on his learning how to ride, but we did make the decision not to push the issue. We figured that peer pressure would run its course and that he would someday want to learn so that he could keep up with his friends. If he were never motivated to learn how to ride, it would be okay. Regardless of what happened, we decided that we needed to stop making bike riding an issue because our encouragement was only making his refusal stronger.

Two weeks ago Robby pulled Scott into the kitchen for a "private conversation." After a brief talk, the two were out the door in a flash. I wasn't sure what was going on, but I could tell by the excitement in the driveway and the smile on Scott's face that it was big news. 

I looked out the window and was shocked to see Robby sitting on a bicycle. Considering that just a week earlier he referred to the same bike as a "two wheeled death trap," I was astonished by his change of heart. I'm still not sure his motivation, but he has been dedicated to learning.

It took a few days of practice, but my little Koopa is now officially a bike rider! His smile is so large and bright whenever he is riding that I can tell that he is proud of his accomplishment. I have a feeling that he is going to relish the freedom that riding his bike affords him in the coming months.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Friends

Lately I have been feeling lost and overwhelmed. Some days I feel as if I am lost in a mirror fun house desperately trying to find an escape while I keep running into walls. Thankfully my escape arrived yesterday in the form of a visit from a friend.  I was delighted to see Pennie and her little girl. Being around happiness was just what I needed to lift my mood!

My friend Pennie lives in California, so when she emailed me a few months ago to let me know that she was coming to the area, I was overjoyed. I was planning on driving to meet her, but she graciously offered to drive to my house instead. I felt guilty accepting her offer, but I also realized that I was teetering on the brink of exhaustion and avoiding the drive would probably be for the best. It isn't easy for me to accept favors even from friends, but I am trying to push myself out of my comfort zone by admitting that sometimes I need help. I figured that accepting Pennie's offer would be a good place to start. 

I don't know why I don't get together with my friends more often. I always feel so much better after some quality time talking, laughing and sharing. I love my husband dearly, but he is a man and sometimes he just doesn't understand. I have come to accept that there are some things that are best understood by friends rather than spouses. 

It has been far too long since I've given myself permission to just relax and enjoy the day. I am typically running from project to project, leaving myself barely enough time to breath. Yesterday was one of those rare occasions where I just let go of the to do list and the stress of the recent weeks and just spent time with a friend.  My house is cluttered and I still have a mountain of work ready to be tackled, but I feel more centered and ready to plow through the piles.