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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.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkinville Pain

Yesterday the weather was absolutely beautiful. It was one of those days that only occurs four or five times a year when the air is crisp and cool yet you don't need a jacket to keep warm. I knew that Robby and I were going to be spending the entire day outside, and I had the perfect surprise for him.

Robby has been going to our local animal park since he was born. He loves it and seems to know his favorite animals, the goats, by name. We have season passes for the Animal Park, and Robby always mourns when the season is over for the year.

Unfortunately the passes are only valid until the end of September, but the Animal Park stays open until November. During this time the Animal Park transforms into "Pumpkinville." The staff sets up hay slides, mazes and moon bounces for the event. We have never been to Pumpkinville because it is expensive and I have always been a tad bitter that our passes are no longer valid.

Yesterday, still feeling a high from the success of our pumpkin patch excursion combined with the beautiful weather, I decided to break down and take Robby to Pumpkinville. He was over the moon excited when I told him where we were going. He practically jumped into the car and frantically chatted as I drove.

After paying the high admission (I suppose I am still a little resentful) and greeting Robby's goat friends, we proceeded to the coveted festival area. Without hesitation Robby went running, full speed, up to the first slide. He stopped about 2/3 from the top and waited for me.

At first I thought that he was waiting because we were "best buddies" and that he wanted to go down the slide with me. My heart warmed as I approached thinking that he wanted to share the experience with me instead of going down the slide solo. As it turns out, he was waiting because the hill was too steep for him to climb unassisted. Unlike the Pumpkin Patch visited last weekend, Pumpkinville slides were not fitted with steps, handrails or ropes.

The climb to the top of the slide was steep. To make matters more difficult, the ground consisted of dry dirt loosely covered by straw. Yes, the steep incline was covered with dry straw. Straw, as it turns out, does not possess any traction qualities. In fact, it made the steep climb treacherous as my feet kept slipping out from under me.

I almost immediately slipped and fell. I wasn't prepared for the straw to slide as much as it did. Thankfully, I was not injured but I was embarrassed because I hate falling, especially in public. I felt less self-conscious when I saw adults and children slipping and falling all around me.

After I regained my composure, Robby and I resumed our sliding. We developed a system for climbing the impossible incline. We resembled goats as we utilized both our hands and feet for leverage, but it was effective and I thought it was safer. I felt both foolish and frustrated that I had to climb up a straw incline on all fours, but I knew that Robby was having a blast and I didn't want my complaining to take away from the special day. I kept smiling and climbing.

After several hours of Pumpkinville fun, I knew that the day was winding down. I agreed to let Robby go down the slide a few more times before we went home. I dreaded the climb, but I also knew how happy it was making Robby and I reasoned it was a good work-out and a good calorie burn.

As I was climbing, my prosthetic slipped on the straw. I tried to recover, but my attempts only seemed to contort my body as I fell. I learned that gravity can be a powerful force! I fell fast, and I came down hard. I slid, belly first, down the straw covered dirt hill before coming to a stop with the assistance of a rogue trash can.

I have a brush burn on my stomach, and I am still finding straw in personal places. My hip is sore and it is difficult to move my neck. My stump muscle is sore from my frantic attempts to regain my balance.

With that being my last slide of the day, we packed up and headed home. My body began to hurt more as the evening wore on. I ended up going to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription refill of muscle relaxers and pain medication. My body feels as if I have been through an auto accident.

I realize that Pumpkinville is a seasonal event and I never expected it to be completely handicapped accessible. It is, however, an annual event and the slide positions have never changed. Throwing straw down on top of a steep incline does not create a safe foot path, regardless of who is walking. There were no ropes or handrails, albeit temporary, to increase the safety of sliders.

Robby and I will return to the Animal Park in the spring, but we will not be returning to Pumpkinville. The slides are simply too dangerous and are not worth the risk. We will go to the Pumpkin Patch instead because, although I landed in a ditch at the end of the slide, I never got hurt or felt unsafe.

On a completely unrelated note, I came home from the pharmacy to discover that a circuit had blown downstairs. Both freezers were without power for an undetermined amount of time. I am not a happy AmputeeMommy at the moment!

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