About Me

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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (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, July 24, 2009

People say the Strangest Things...

I try to be an optimist. I believe that people are basically good. Unfortunately, many times people say the most inappropriate things when they are uncomfortable. Apparently many people are initially uncomfortable around an amputee because I have heard a lot of comments that have surprised me.

Here is my list of my 10 favorite rude comments. Being polite, I did not offer a retort. I have included how I wanted to reply under each statement.

1. "Wow, I wish I had a leg like that. The ankle moves. It's really cool."

I wanted to say, "You have a leg that is even cooler. You can move it and it doesn't take batteries."

2. "It's amazing what they are doing with prosthetics. It looks so real."

I wanted to say, "Don't patronize me. My socket is black carbon fiber and I don't wear a cosmetic cover. I know it doesn't look like a "real" leg. I don't want it to."

3. "Did the amputation hurt?"

I wanted to say, "I was asleep at the time. But it hurt when I woke up."

4. "I guess you could say that you don't have a leg to stand on (insert chuckle)."

I wanted to say, "I guess you could say that you don't have more than one brain cell (insert chuckle)."

5. "How do you have sex with one foot?"

I wanted to say, "Dude, that's what the bungee cord swing is for!"

6. "Hey, are you going to be a pirate for Halloween?"

I wanted to say, "Only if you go as the parrot on my shoulder. That way I can stuff crackers in your mouth to shut you up."

7. "You're so lucky you can park in the handicapped parking spots."

I wanted to say, "You're so lucky you don't have a metal foot up your rear."

8. "I bet you save a lot of time in the shower. You only have to shave one leg."

Unfortunately, I still haven't come up with a retort for this comment. Any ideas?

9. "Can you feel this? (as they are stepping on my prosthetic foot)"

I wanted to say, "No, but can you feel this?" (Use your imagination as to where they are being kicked.)

10. "You remind me of my three legged dog. I think he could really use one of them (my prosthetic). Where could I pick one up for a medium sized Collie?"

"Are you serious? You can't really be that stupid, can you?"

I know that these comments were spoken by individuals who were merely uncomfortable. I would like to hope that they were trying to relate or to be funny. I always try to reply to inappropriate comments with a smile and a compassionate response. Even if these people meant to be rude, I believe that kindness is the best retort.

Inappropriate or rude comments are a fact of life for amputees. We are different, and it can make others uncomfortable. Please share your inappropriate comment experiences in my forum at www.amputeemommy.com.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Family of Fugitives

I have always been a law abiding citizen. I've paid my taxes on time, obey the laws and haven't caused any trouble for society. I have never been investigated by law enforcement for a crime. This being said, I am dismayed that both my husband and my toddler have had run-ins with the law.

A few weeks ago, Robby learned about chickens at his animal class. He eagerly chatted about eggs the entire drive home. He was happy and excited to recount everything he learned.

Listening to my little chatterbox, I suppose I didn't immediately notice the police car driving behind me. I noticed the cruiser after they pulled into the driveway behind me. Instantly, I began to shake and my heart started to beat fast.

Upon exiting the car, the officer approached me and asked my name. I told him, and he asked to speak with my son. I questioned the officer about his business with Robby. I was informed, in a matter of fact, don't mess with me tone, that a complaint of breaking and entering was lodged against my son.

Apparently a not-so-friendly neighbor accused Robby of breaking into her garage and trying to steal her lawn mower. I assured the officer that this was impossible. The officer wouldn't let me finish my explanation and insisted on speaking with my son.

Again, I tried to explain that it was impossible for Robby to have committed this crime. In a patronizing tone, I was told that parents are often surprised by the actions of their children and was again directed to produce Robby.

I opened up the back door, and unstrapped Robby. He popped out of his car seat, looked at the officer, and with a huge gapped-tooth grin said, "Egg egg egg." After the shock wore off, and it became obvious that Robby was not the budding criminal that was suspected, the officer apologized for the inconvenience.

My son is only three, and he already had a criminal investigation under his belt (or, should I say, under his diaper).

In March, I went to Allentown, PA to help my cousin plan her wedding. We parked in front of the future reception site. I found a ticket on the car window when we were finished with the meeting.

I wrote to the parking commission and enclosed the ticket. I explained that the lot did not have clearly defined signs. I did not receive a response. Honestly, I forgot about the ticket and assumed that my explanation was accepted.

That is, until I opened the mail today to find an arrest warrant for my husband. My heart started beating fast, and I had a difficult time catching my breath. I encouraged Robby to run as we returned home. He wanted to meander and I was in a rush. I tried to explain that we needed to get home before they threw Daddy in the Pokey.

He didn't understand, and began to throw a temper tantrum. I swooped up Robby (no easy feat with my broken wrist). I endured him screaming in my ear and and kicking his legs on the walk back to the house. To say I was in a panic is an understatement.

Apparently a warrant had been issued for Scott's arrest due to a failure to pay the parking ticket. We called and the situation is being rectified. After the shock wore off, Scott approached me with a question. If he had to go to jail, could he have a tattoo? He is not going to go to prison, but I am going to be forced to endure weeks of ridicule and jokes about getting him arrested. I did warn him, if the jokes continue, he shouldn't count on conjugal visits.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our Bags are Packed and We're Ready to Go...

I've previously written about this topic, but I feel that it bears repeating. I absolutely hate to fly. I never minded flying before my amputation. As a matter of fact, I thought of it as a wonderful and fun adventure. Experiences after my amputation have tarnished my view of this mode of transportation.

I absolutely dread going through airport security. Sometimes the screening process is quick and unobtrusive. Many times, it is drawn out, clumsy and embarrassing. It is a crap shoot as to whether I will be assigned a competent screener who will be professional and quick, or if I will have have an employee who is either new or under trained as to how to deal with an amputee.

Dressing strategically for airport security has helped to facilitate the process. I always make sure that my prosthetic is visible so that I can thwart the explanation when I set off the metal detector. I choose my clothing carefully to avoid any metal buttons, rivets or zippers.

I opt for a sports bra so that the underwire and/or clasp doesn't set off the wand alarm. I try to avoid the dreaded "frontal pat down" at all costs. I know that the screener uses the back of her hand, but if it can be avoided. I am even happier.

Next, after dealing with airport security, I must wrangle and entertain an excited toddler before our flight. He is usually a very sweet, obedient little boy. When he becomes excited or tired, "Robby Rotten" rears his ugly head.

Last month when we flew, our flight was delayed. My husband and I took turns taking Robby on the "up downs" (escalators) for nearly 90 minutes. We forgot his leash at home, so Robby was constantly escaping our grasps and running wild through the terminal. It felt like Scott and I were constantly apologizing for his behavior.

We are flying today to go on vacation. Robby is excited because we've been talking about the trip for weeks. We told him that we are going to go on a plane, but he insists that he is traveling by boat. I am worried that we will have a showdown when we arrive at the airport when he doesn't see a tugboat!

When we travel I like to dress the family in matching shirts. It helps Scott and me visually locate each other in a crowd. Despite my "practical" reasons that I offer to Scott, truth be told I think it just looks cute. I have to give Scott credit. He is really a sport when it comes to accommodating my requests for novelty clothing.

I debated about what kind of shirt the family should wear for this trip. We have worn identical Cookie Monster and clown shirts in the past. This year, I wanted something truly reflective of our little family. I decided to make the shirts. Not to brag, but I think that they are perfect.


The shirts for Scott and I read, "Sorry about my KID." Robby's shirt simply says, "I'm the KID."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Packing

Our little family is vacation bound in a few days. We are going to Pensacola, Florida, for a week of sand, sun and a daily ice cream fix. Robby is excited about going on vacation. I suspect he is feeding off of my excitement although I do think he comprehends the promise of daily ice cream.

Packing for a family vacation is a chore. Scott has dubbed packing an "ovary" job. It has somehow become my responsibility. Nevertheless, it takes organization and creativity when trying to fit a weeks worth of clothes for three people into one suitcase. This task was a little easier before airlines started charging for luggage. Trying to fit everything into one suitcase to minimize our travel expenses is a challenge.

I need to pack at least three complete outfits for each member of the family. Robby needs his star machine. I wouldn't think of traveling without his small train set. We also need to pack his life jacket and swim diapers. Water shoes for every member of the family and our toiletries must also be packed. In addition to all of these standard items, I must also pack for my specific amputee needs.

This is the first year I have a dedicated leg for swimming. I am thrilled that I am going to be able to walk and swim in the ocean with Robby this year. Unfortunately, the swim leg is going to take up substantial room in our communal suitcase.

I have stuffed the socket of the swim leg with socks and underwear in an attempt to utilize the space. I am also packing a liner for swimming which is worn out and full of holes. Sand and salt are nearly impossible to get out of the inside of a liner. I am bringing along an old one that I can throw away at the end of the trip, allowing room for a few souvenirs.

We are staying at my cousin's house. I won't have access to my shower chair and his tub does not have rails. I am bringing along my portable safety grip to help me with these tasks. It is surprisingly stable and adds an overlay of safety I appreciate. Click here to see a picture. I bought this about three years ago and I have used it on a myriad of occasions. I would highly recommend the investment.

Humidity is bound to fluctuate which will necessitate using prosthetic socks. In lieu of a shrinker sock I am opting for an ace bandage. I can use it if an injury occurs or if I need to apply compression to my residual limb. I like anything that can multitask.

As a steadfast rule, I never travel without antibiotics. I have a fear of developing an infection in my residual limb. I have heard horror stories from other amputees about infections, and I am not willing to take that risk. The beach poses too many opportunities for my limb to become nicked or cut.

The camera, cell phone charger, computer cords and the charger for my Proprio ankle are all stuffed into my purse. Despite adding a lot of weight, I am more comfortable keeping possession of these items. I would be in trouble if the cord for my leg was lost in transit.

Robby is allowed to take his Black Bear with him on the plane. Scott and I both fret about the bear being lost. Black Bear has been Robby's steadfast companion since he was born. Our vacation would be ruined by Robby's grief if anything happened to his well-loved toy. Robby has a Diego backpack for the trip as his "carry-on." We plan on encouraging Black Bear to ride in the bag through the airport.

Scott will carry-on the laptop computer bag. In addition to housing the computer, the pockets of the bag will be stuffed with extra binkies, diapers and wipes. Tylenol will be placed in the computer bag towards the top so that it is easily within reach.

I am dreading packing for the trip. I suppose this is the reason I am blogging instead of starting to gather everything together. Hopefully the zippers don't break on the suitcase, and it will be under the weight limit.

Perhaps there is one benefit to packing everything into one suitcase. Space is at a premium. I will either have to buy another piece of luggage and pay an additional fee, or I will have to stay out of the souvenir shops. I think the latter would make my husband happy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Video from the Running Clinic

video
My sweet husband made this video for me, to document the running clinic last week. This is the first time I've run since becoming an amputee! Not very graceful or fast, but certainly a step in the right direction.

Friends! Caution... This blog contains the "s" word!

I have a solid group of girlfriends. We have stuck by each other through thick and thin. Although our lives go in different directions and we don't always keep in touch on a consistent basis, our friendship doesn't miss a beat when we reconnect. I suppose this is the mark of a true friendship--being able to endure without constant contact.

This year we made a pact to get together. Since we all graduated from college together, our campus was the logical meeting place. After weeks of going over schedules, juggling kids and husbands, we were able to mutually decide on a date and time for our first group get-together in years.

We settled back into our friendship without hesitation. The name of the restaurant had changed, but our relationship clearly had not. We immediately began giggling and scheming as if we were still in college.

In college, we would have ordered pizza and fries without pause. I noticed that salads and paninis dominated our table, and nobody finished her fries. We drank tea instead of beer and everybody passed on dessert. Apparently a slowing metabolism has caused all of us to more vigilant about our diets.

When we were still in school, our conversations usually revolved around guys, dating and sex. We would share and compare adventurous sexual stories without shame. We giggled and laughed about our escapades. We had a lot of fun.

In our twenties our discussions revolved around our careers, upcoming weddings and sex. We were moving in different directions, trying to discover ourselves as young and independent adult women. We eagerly helped with wedding planning and helped shop for the perfect dress and wedding favors. We giggled as we envisioned various honeymoon scenerios and bought lingerie for the bachelorette party.

Conversations in our late twenties usually revolved around pregnancy and our desire to have children, monitoring basal temperature in an attempt to become pregnant, and sex. We analyzed theories pertaining to sexual positions and the affect on conception, as well as positions to increase the chances of having a girl or boy.

We are all in our mid-thirties. We shudder to call ourselves middle-aged. Many of us have put our careers on hold for our families although we had studied diligently with other goals in mind. We all have children and husbands. We are Mommies.

We talked non-stop during our visit together. Our conversation included a discussion about colonoscopies and mammograms, vasectomies and, of course, sex. Or, more specifically, our stories about our children walking in while we were having sex. Apparently our definition of "adventurous" has been morphed by having children and growing older!

We had a wonderful time laughing at dinner. After eating, we went to a local slots casino for drinks and a little gambling. All of us remarked that the casino was loud, and we left by 10. All of us knew that we had to get up early the next morning and we all needed to sleep. Our friendship is still strong, but we are all getting a little bit older.