I've done two business trips in the past four weeks. For many, this travel is a normal course of the work week. For this stay-at-home Mommy, travel is still a novel opportunity.
While I love being home with Robby, I have enjoyed my time away. I relish the adult conversation and learning about prosthetics and gait training. I am impressed with the complete dedication demonstrated by many professionals within the amputee field. It makes me feel secure knowing that my needs are being considered from multiple vantage points when new prosthetics are being designed.
I was provided with the opportunity to educate prosthetists and physical therapists. It is imperative that they fully understand the amputee perspective if proper care is going to be provided. I am proud that I was asked to convey not only my experiences, but also the concerns of other amputees to caretakers within the field. As a teacher, I firmly believe that education is the first step towards improvement and change.
Despite being energized by my experiences at the Columbus training, I am completely drained. Intellectually and physically, it has been challenging. There is something to be said for returning to a familiar environment and for getting back to a routine.
I spent 9 hours a day answering questions and participating in various gait and physical therapy demonstrations. In the evenings I was invited to join the participants for dinner. To be honest, by the time the sessions shut down at 5:30 all I wanted to do was crawl into my jammies, order room service and watch The Biggest Loser. However, I recognized that socializing was not only the proper course, it was expected.
At the close of the educational sessions, I quickly changed out of knee length shorts and put on a dress. I put on my best "No, I'm not tired" face and joined the group. I made a few discoveries about myself through this process.
I realized that I do not particularly enjoy socializing, especially with people whom I do not know. My father is a world class "shmoozer." He can hold a conversation with a stranger and make that individual feel as if he is important, is valued and is a friend. For my Dad, this skill is natural. I did not inherit this ability.
Instead of feeling engaging and interesting, I feel uncomfortable and retreat into silence. I found myself sitting quietly during most of the meal, trying to interject comments appropriately but always feeling as if the attempts were unnatural. I assure you, although my chicken was delicious, it was not nearly as interesting as my stares at the plate might have led others to believe!
I called Scott and my Mom upon the return to my hotel room. They knew that I was going to dinner, and agreed that my attendance was appropriate. Knowing me well, they also knew that I was not looking forward to the revelry. When I complained about the late hour, they chuckled and I was promptly informed that, for most of the world, 10:00 is not late.
Yes, in addition to my discomfort when socializing with strangers, I have discovered that, at least according to Scott, I am a bit of a "bore." I don't enjoy being out late. To be honest, I have never been a night owl. I am typically in my pajamas by 8:00 and ready for sleep by 9:30.
In my defense, Robby keeps me busy during the day and by the time he is ready for bed, I am tired. Unfortunately, this excuse only partially explains my schedule. My friends from college would agree that I have never been known to stay up and party into the wee hours of the morning. I suppose I was boring back then, too!
I may be an introvert, but I am also a very good teacher. In social situations I retreat and feel like the awkward, pimply middle school student at a dance. Put me in front of the same group in an educational setting and I am comfortable, enthusiastic and, I'm told, interesting.
I am aware that most people don't go to sleep at 9:30 every night. While the presence of alcohol and food seems to relax most people, it makes me freeze up. When I am away at conferences, I do my best to keep up with the rest of the world. I am already looking forward to 9:00 tonight when I can finally get some sleep!
- 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.