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, April 16, 2010

Summertime... Time for Stares!

The weather has been both unseasonably warm and unbelievably beautiful for the past few weeks. The temperatures have soured into the low 90's with the skies maintaining a brilliant happy blue hue. After the seemingly endless line of snowstorms we were dealt this past winter, the warm weather is especially appreciated. I have to remind myself that we are only in the beginning of April!

After enduring an "epic battle of the shirts" with Robby, he has finally accepted short sleeves as a summer wardrobe item. I must give credit to Scott for this victory. I came home from my CAT scan last week and found Robby with tear stained cheeks, but he was also wearing a short sleeve shirt. I am glad that I did not witness the battle, but I am thankful that Scott won!

My transition into my summer wardrobe is not nearly as traumatic as it was for Robby, although I was discouraged by the inexplicable shrinking that occurred to my pants during their winter hibernation. I changed my exercise routine, stopped eating the cookies we baked and I'm happy to report that everything fits again. Finally, I am summer ready!

I put my favorite pair of shorts the other day, gathered Robby and his list, and headed to the grocery store. Robby was being especially well-behaved at the store. In fact, he was friendly and engaging to the other shoppers. Robby was saying hello and waving to shoppers in close proximity and those that were an aisle away. My goodness, he was certainly in a good mood!

Initially I was pleased with this good behavior, and had flirted with the notion that perhaps he is outgrowing Robby Rotten. And then I took a closer look at the situation, and I realized what was happening. I was turning heads of other shoppers as I was walking around the store. While I'd like to believe it was because of my stunning blue eyes and hard fought for figure, I suspect the culprit is more sinister.

I was being stared at because my prosthetic was visible. Robby noticed the attention but was oblivious about the cause. He simply responded by acknowledging the looks and responding in turn. In his own little way, he was "catching" the starers and drawing attention to their behavior.

I was able to walk around the grocery store in the winter months without garnering any attention because I was wearing jeans. Now that I have transitioned to my summer wardrobe, my prosthetic is visible. One of the unfortunate results of showing my prosthetic is the gawking and hushed comments of my fellow shoppers.

When I first became aware of the stares, I became self-conscious. My instinct was to leave my cart, grab Robby and go home. I toyed with the notion of swiping the loudspeaker and shouting, "Attention Giant shoppers. There is a freak in the meat department. Go and see before she gets lost in frozen foods." However, I knew that approach would probably lead to my arrest, giving the gawkers the opportunity to see an amputee in handcuffs. I imagine that would certainly be the highlight of their day, and a sight they would recall for years to come!

Instead, I opted to keep my head high, push my cart and continue with my shopping. I know that I will become accustomed to the curiosity as the summer progresses. I choose to keep my leg uncovered and I am well aware that this decision leads me open to increased stares and inquiries. I had become accustomed to being "incognito" as an amputee during the long winter, so the stares were a swift dose of "amputee reality."

Whenever I turned an aisle or walked past another shopper, I heard Robby say hello. It became fun watching the shoppers try to ignore my little boy who was calling out their stares. Perhaps I'll encourage Robby to bring his camera to the grocery store the next time we go. He loves snapping pictures of people looking in his direction. Just imagining the shock and shame of these individuals if their acts were captured on a Fisher Price camera by a child! Perhaps that would hush some of the whispers, and shorten a few of the stares.


  1. It's sad but I realized the same thing last week when my son was wearing shorts and we had gone to choose his new leg material and suddenly I noticed everyone we past look down and up quickly or turn and stare. My lil guy went on oblivious (at least that is how he acted) but my first reaction in my head was to hide or glare back. But I was adult and walked proudly next to him and looked all in the eye who looked at me lol. It seems, shorts, vacations and trips to crowded stores makes you feel like you should carry a sign explaining the prosthetic. I love the idea of Robby with the camera! I found a sight once that had pictures that a guy who had no legs and traveled the world on a skateboard. He takes pictures of all the looks and stares and I think he makes good money from it lol.

  2. I'm sorry you have had this problem. I have not had trouble with people being rude or whispering behind my back. People look, I'm very aware of that, but I try to put it in the category of 'something out of the ordinary so I take a second look'.

    I find myself looking twice if I see an amputee too. I think it's just an instinct, to try to figure it out.

    I'm sorry that you have had people actually be rude and make rude comments. I guess I've just been lucky that the only comments I've heard were innocent questions, usually by curious children who think my leg is cool and bionic looking.

    I love shorts season because it makes fiddling with my leg (adding socks and such) easier than when I had on long pants.

    Hope you have lots of fun adventures this spring and summer!


  3. Thank you for your blog. I stumbled across it earlier today and have enjoyed reading your posts. I am a nurse consultant and work with those that have had (usually traumatic) amputations. Part of my job is to determine the long term needs of individuals such as yourself. I have already learned a few more things by reading your posts. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I'm glad that you found the blog as well! Thank you for the work that you do... you indeed make a difference in the lives of people who often feel as if their life has been shattered. Please feel free to pass my blog along to your patients, and if you think I can help anybody don't hesitate to contact me.