I have been having a difficult time adjusting to my new test socket and liner. My stump has been sore, red and swollen each night. When the pinch cuts developed, I knew it was time to abandon the new system in lieu of a combination that was both reliable and comfortable.
I gave up on the new liner and started to use my old hole-riddled, yet comfortable, seal-in liner. Elliot, my prosthetist, is out of town for the week. I emailed him to keep him apprised of my issues, and he agreed that the new liner will have to wait until his return. Hopefully, we'll be able to figure out the problem and we can try again.
Robby has heard me lamenting my limb pain for the past few days. I have been eager to take off my leg and liner in order to seek relief from the compression. My limb is cherry tomato red and angry looking when my prosthetic layers are stripped away.
Last night while sitting with him in bed, Robby was playing with his doctor's kit. He looked up at me and posed the question I have been dreading since he was conceived. He looked at me with his caring brown eyes and asked, "Momom, what happened to your leg?" My heart sank at the prospect of addressing the issue.
I have worried about how to explain my amputation to Robby in a way that didn't scare him, but also provided him with a truthful answer. I have carefully considered my answer for many years in anticipation of the question. I knew that when he asked, I wanted to be ready. He finally asked, and I pounced!
I explained that Mommy had an accident and the doctors fixed her leg by giving her a new one. Robby was not satisfied with that response and continued to pose the question. I tried rephrasing my answers, explaining that a computer fell and hurt Mommy's foot so she is now part robot.
Unsatisfied, Robby continued pressing me for information. For nearly 30 minutes I tried to satisfy his question with an explanation that he understood, accepted and didn't frighten him. All of my explanations were met with an anxious "no no no Momom. What happened to your leg?" Robby and I were both becoming frustrated with our conversation which was no going in circles. I was failing.
Apparently the time and mental energy I invested in formulating my answer to this anticipated question was wasted. Robby was not understanding, and he was becoming frustrated. My anxiety began to rise; my mind began racing through various responses to offer to my inquisitive toddler.
Finally, my Mom smiled and started to laugh. After watching the exchange transpire and remaining silent, she finally decided to intervene. She pointed to the doctor's kit that was on Robby's lap, and suggested that Robby was not asking about my amputation but was merely trying to "fix me" with his toy. Robby wanted me to be the patient and to tell him what was wrong.
After my "d'oh" moment, I told Dr. Robby that my knee hurt. He proceeded to stick a thermometer in my mouth, a blood pressure cuff on my hand and a stethoscope on my chest. After rubbing lotion on my knee, I was pronounced "all better" and given a kiss. Dr. Robby fixed my imaginary boo boo, and settled in to watch The WonderPets. Our misguided conversation left me feeling foolish.
Robby has never known me with anything but a prosthetic leg. For him, it is a normal part of his Mommy. I know that someday he will ask what happened to my leg, and I will give him the answers that he needs. Apparently he is not at that point yet.
The next time Robby asks me about my leg, I will be prepared for the conversation. I will also be more observant of the context in which the question is posed. I won't be so quick to assume that he wants to know the bigger picture, especially if there is a doctor's kit nearby!