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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.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Bad Day Perspective

Yesterday was not my best day. Timmy had a difficult time sleeping the night before, forcing me to yet again see the sun rise with less than 2 hours sleep.  In my sleep deprived stupor, I put my coffee cup under the Baby Breeza formula maker spout and Timmy's bottle under my Keurig.  Thankfully I caught the mistake before feeding Timmy my coffee, but not before I took a rather large swig of baby formula.  If I had the opportunity, I would have just gone back to bed.  But Timmy surely wouldn't understand the Mommy-do-over, so I put the bottle and coffee mug in the sink and started again.

Robby did nothing to enhance my morning enjoyment. Instead of my sweet little Koopa, Robby Rotten sauntered out of his bedroom. After a few attempts to say good morning only to be scuffed off, I had no doubt that he had a severe case of the grumpies. 

I hate clashing with Robby, but I love him enough to discipline him when necessary. In the period of 30 minutes he managed to lose every electronic device and was banned from the television. As I gathered up the cupcakes, cake, birthday gift and cards I secured for him to give to his teacher for her birthday, I began to fully appreciate the irony of being called the "World's Meanest Momom." 

 I love him to death, but he becomes extraordinarily dramatic when he is being reprimanded. My "You need to respect and not sass me" conversation was immediately skewed and regurgitated as "You hate me and you never want to hear me talk again."  I assured him that I will always love him to the moon and back, and reminded him that he is a good person who made a mistake. Trying to explain that I am punishing him because I love him is a lost concept for an eight year old. I was arguing what he perceived as being completely illogical.  After listening to Robby Rotten complain and lament his punishment for the entire drive to school, I have to admit that I relished the silence in the car after he was dropped off.

I came home and tried to load the dishwasher only to have the rack fall off of its braces. I just left the dishes in the sink and walked away. I just don't have the energy for one more thing breaking down in this house. I sent Scott a text and asked him to add superglue to the grocery list. 

The remainder of the morning was spent combating creeps on Facebook. I don't know if it is season, but aggressive devotees seem to be strutting their feathers lately! I am fairly easy going, but I have no tolerance for individuals who reap sexual satisfaction through interacting with amputee women. After a cyber confrontation in which I was called horrific names which, considering the source, I opted to wear as a badge of honor. 

My afternoon was monopolized by caring for an inconsolable Timmy. He was agitated and fussy. He only stopped squirming and fussing long enough to vomit all over me which he did repeatedly throughout the day.  I hate seeing him so uncomfortable and feel both helpless and frustrated when I can't calm his colic. 

To top off my terrific day, Scott had to go to the dentist after work. Yes, the dental drama is live and well in our household. I tried to be supportive by pointing out that this was just a routine cleaning. I was summarily told that I was being dismissive. I know enough that when the dentist is involved, I can do nothing right. I gave up and finished my stash of chocolate truffles.

On my way to pick up Robby from school I was close to my wits end. I was exhausted, covered with baby vomit, feeling disrespected and just plain sad. As I turned the corner near a major intersection I saw a bicyclist being struck by a car. I immediately pulled over and ran to see if I could be of assistance.  By the time I arrived, the cyclist was standing and, although shaken, appeared to be okay. 

All of a sudden my bad day didn't seem so bad. I guess it is all about perspective.







Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Comprehension Issue

On Friday Robby and his cousin Tiffany accompanied me on errands. On the way home we decided to surprise Nana with some donuts. (Apparently the love of sweets has a strong genetic link.)  Typically quick with complaints when I add stops to the errand run, both of my young passengers were delighted by this impromptu stop.  They were more than willing to help me pick out the sugared and decorated treats.

After showing me the donuts that they wanted, the pair stood behind me towards the entrance of the store. After what seemed like an eternity, I was finally handed my box of donuts. (I almost recommended that the employee enjoy one of their sugary confections to get some energy, but I thought better of my observation and simply smiled.)  I turned around to gather the kids and leave only to realize that they had migrated to the outside door.

When I reached them, neither one of them had their shoes on, and Robby was in the process of desperately trying to remove his shirt. Tiffany, his slightly older cousin, was uncomfortably pulling at the bottom of her shirt. But Robby was really struggling to strip down. Surprised by their sudden disrobing, I snapped, "Robby, put your clothes on. What do you think you're doing!" 

He looked at me with an expression of great concern and pointed to a sign on the door.  "Momom, they should not have served you.  You see there (pointing to a hand written sign on the door.)  "See here. It says, No Shoes. No Shirt. No Service." 

While he has certainly come a long way in his reading, we obviously have some more work to do on comprehension. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Liner, No Problems!

I have been an amputee for more than a decade, and during that time I have learned volumes about living with limb loss. Socket fit, liners, suspension systems and other related terms have become a normal part of my vernacular. The time when the jargon was unfamiliar and scary feels like a lifetime ago. Perhaps the most important thing that I've learned is that things will always change and that I will constantly discover new aspects of living life with a prosthesis.

The socket fabrication after my most recent surgery has been frustrating and labor intensive. Kudos to Elliot, my prosthetist, who never gave up on me or on the process. He continued to make adjustments, new molds and changes in the quest for comfort. When we finally got my leg to a point where I could wear it and feel okay, he pushed for improvement. By that point I was willing to accept the little discomforts that popped up through the day.  Elliot continued casting, fabricating and tweaking because he wanted me to be pain-free from the moment I donned it until I took it off at night.

Last week I had an appointment for what felt like the 100th socket adjustment. I just couldn't find the words to describe what I was feeling, but I knew that it wasn't ideal and completely comfortable. I wasn't in pain, but I did feel an awkward soreness after I began to walk. As I grasped to find the correct adjectives, I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. I hate crying in public, especially when it is out of frustration!

Elliot had me take off my leg and thoroughly examined my limb. He handed me a new type of liner, one without the seals that I have been utilizing for years. I slipped it on, stepped into my leg and instantly felt normal. The indescribable sensations were gone, and my walking felt reminiscent of my pre-surgerical life. My tears turned to a glint as I informed him that he was not getting this liner back.

After all of the socket adjustments, the hours of work and worry, my issues were something as simple as a liner. While I love the seal-in technology afforded by my previous liner, my limb is just not healed enough to handle the pressure. The liner seals wrap around the surgical site, causing the torquing and compression that was so difficult to describe. I am now back in a regular liner, without the seals, and completely comfortable. While I am not thrilled about the prospect of wearing a sleeve again, even if I know it is short-term until my limb completely heals, I am delighted to be comfortable.  I never would have guessed that the discomfort I perceived as a socket issue was really the result of a liner. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

State Fair!

This past weekend the weather was unbelievably beautiful. It was warm and sunny without the sticky humidity that often accompanies those temperatures. Acquiescing to responsibility and spending Saturday running errands and working around the house, I was anxious to get outside on Sunday. It wasn't hard to settle on the family outdoor activity; the state fair was nearby.

I made several bottles for Timmy, verified that his diaper bag was stocked after stowing a few bottles of water in the bottom before we headed out for a day at the Fair. Robby was a non-stop chatterbox during our 90 minute drive to the fairgrounds. Typically consumed by iPad games during car drives, it was refreshing to spend the time talking. I was reminded again that he is an extremely perceptive little guy!

Sporting their all-access ride wristbands, Scott and Robby nearly ran to the midway amusements. Scott claims that he endures the rides out of a sense of paternal responsibility. Looking at the grin on his face as he was being whizzed, twirled and whipped around by the rides, I began to realize that Robby comes by his love of amusement rides naturally. Obviously Scott loves putting his equilibrium to the test. I'm just glad that he found an eager ride partner!

Although he didn't go on any rides (despite Robby's offer to take him and my being mean for saying no) he smiled the entire time. I finally quelled Robby's pleas with the promise that he could take his little brother on the kiddie rides next year.  My goodness he has come a long way towards embracing his role as big brother!

Timmy adored the fair.  My fears of his crying and becoming agitated never materialized. He was mesmerized by the lights, sounds, smells and movements. Smiling from ear to ear, he charmed everybody who stopped to peer into his stroller. 

While the two older boys were occupied on various rides, Timmy and I spent the time people watching and walking. We did a lot of walking. On my feet and moving for 5 hours straight, I really put my revision surgery and new leg to the test. Happily both delivered, and I was able to remain pain-free.

I was pain-free but exhausted by the time we meandered back to our car. I suppose the fatigue should have been expected since this was the most active I have been since being  put on bed rest in March. It was wonderful to feel tired from an active day instead of from pain medication and sleepless nights. What a wonderful day, and as an added bonus I finally have my first tan lines!








Friday, September 26, 2014

Heat Wave?

A few weeks ago I realized that my hair is beginning to fall out. Yesterday I realized that hairs are beginning to sprout, at an astonishing rate--but from the bottom of my chin. Let me assure you, sudden onset menopause is not for the faint of heart.

In addition to my confused hair follicles, I've discovered the unexpected and totally unwelcome hot flashes. I can be perfectly comfortable and suddenly everything changes. The tell-tale sign of my neck warming is the only warning I have before I am encompassed by an invisible heat wave. A few days ago I sought refuge from my self-contained heatwave by standing in front of the open freezer door.  Since I knew that Robby was occupied watching Master Chef with Scott, I decided to expedite the cooling process by lifting my nightgown over my head.

Unfortunately, my cool down session happened to coincide with a commercial break in the television show the boys were watching. The freezer was running, drowning out the footsteps coming down the hallway towards the kitchen. Before I knew it, I saw Robby out of my peripheral vision. As soon as we made eye contact he turned 180 degrees and ran towards the bedroom.

In that moment, Robby became a modern (and slightly dysfunctional) embodiment of Paul Revere. Trotting down the hallway he called out "Dad, whatever you do, don't go into the kitchen. Dad, did you hear me? I wouldn't go into the kitchen if I were you. Mom has her boobs in the freezer."

Being only 8, Robby failed to anticipate that his warning of "boobs in the freezer" becomes an invitation to inquiry when heard by an adult.  Scott met Robby's stride as he took off towards the kitchen, hoping to catch a glimpse after hearing the warning.  In the meantime Robby kept shrieking his warning to stay clear of the kitchen.  I think I may have traumatized him while providing Scott with the fodder for jokes for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Twerking

I didn't need Robby's teachers to tell me that he has been working hard in school. The fact that he comes home each afternoon exhausted is all the confirmation I need. My little scholar has dedicated himself to his academic work with an intensity and dedication that I haven't seen in years past. I suspect the fact that his best friend is in his class is the impetus for his motivation.

Each afternoon when I pick him up his teachers give me a brief report on the day's activities. The debriefing is mainly because I manage their Facebook page, but it has proven invaluable as I try to pry the information out of Robby. I'm so tired of hearing "nothing" or "stuff" when I ask him what he did in school. At least now I have conversation starters, and my questions can be directed towards what I know he learned that day. 

When I picked him up yesterday I was chatting with the teacher while Robby was playing in the entrance way. Hamlet was in his car seat, set towards the corner of the room. His teacher was in the middle of telling me how well Robby was behaving and how hard he was working on his reading when I caught something out of the corner of my eye.

Without breaking eye contact with his teacher, I emphatically said, "Robby, stop twerking your baby brother right now." I thought that his teacher was going to spit her coffee across the room as she tried to keep from laughing! So much for my well-behaved, hard working student. Robby Rotten arrived in the form of a Miley Cyrus style stripper, theatrically gyrating (with his hands clasped behind his head) over his infant brother looking up from his carrier. 

I was mortified by Robby's demonstration but was relieved that he obeyed. He must have sensed the purpose in my demand because lately his listening to a request the first time is a rarity.  As he unstraddled the carseat he loudly, albeit innocently, asked, "Momom, is twerking the same moves that are used when making a baby?" Taken aback but wanting to end the exchange, I quickly said yes before trying to usher him out of the school. By this time his teacher's face was turning red from trying to contain her laughter.

"Oh, I didn't know that. I won't twerk my brother anymore because I sure don't want to have a baby with him.  That would be awkward."  At this point his teacher lost the battle with decorum and started to roar with laughter.  There is really  no graceful way to end that type of exchange, so I just said goodbye and grabbed the baby carrier.  In retrospect, I doubt that his teacher heard my departing words over her giggles.  Definitely not my proudest Momom moment!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Putting Off the Dance


To my relief we received the best possible news about our car. Although the repairs required are both extensive and costly, the malfunction which caused us to lose power was covered by a recent Toyota recall.  All repair expenses are covered in full, leaving us to pay only the tow and rental out of pocket. I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders when I heard the news!

I hate car shopping, and I find it especially unsavory when I have to do it out of necessity rather than desire. I find the process of haggling distasteful, probably because I am really bad at it. I become nervously awkward whenever money enters a conversation. Typically I'm rather confident and verbose, but when money is involved I turn into a weak-spined shrinking violet.

It isn't that I am poor with money management. I just don't feel comfortable discussing figures, whether they relate to my being compensated or my paying for a service/ product. I am the person at bazaars who cheerfully overpays for the tourist knickknacks simply because I'm too meek to barter.  Fair salary offers and clear prices on tags, without the need or expectation to negotiate, is definitely part of my Utopia.  I am really working on that aspect of my personality because I know it results in my being undervalued and/or my overpaying.

My sister thinks that she is well-versed and gifted when it comes to car shopping.   She is wrong. Perhaps the only thing worse than being too shy to haggle is being overly arrogant in your bartering abilities.  The last time I went car shopping with her she presented her demands in a matter-of-fact manner. I knew that she was being unrealistic, but trusted when she claimed to know how to manage the "dealership dance."  When they presented what I thought was a reasonable counteroffer, she scoffed by saying "I guess we are done here" before storming out of the dealership. 

She claimed that they would call shortly and meet her demands.  They did call, but only because she had left her purse in the car that we test drove. She begged my Mom to drive back to the dealership to retrieve her purse.  So much for appearing competent and assertive!

I know that we will eventually need to shop for a new car, but thankfully that time is not now. In a few days our SUV will be parked in our garage, and life will return to normal.  Fingers crossed we'll be able to put off the dealership dance for another few years.  In the meantime, I'm going to make sure that Scott reads all of the recall notices he receives from the dealership!