Since I choose to forgo a cosmetic cover on my prosthetic, I am accustomed to stares, questions, and second glances. Typically they don't bother me; I have learned simply to ignore the gawks and continue along with my life. I realize that a prosthesis is out of the ordinary, and anything that is unusual will receive a second glance.
Every once in awhile I encounter somebody who seems
obtuse to social convention and the interaction becomes uncomfortable.
Usually this happens when I am peppered by questions that are either too
personal or too plentiful. Some people are simply oblivious to cues
that I want to end the conversation leaving me with no choice but to be
I am sure that my prosthetic garnered stares
when we were at the Sailabration in Baltimore this past weekend, but I
didn't pay much attention. We were so busy looking at the ships and the
planes to be concerned about who was looking at us! I had forgotten that
I was "different" until a father and son approached me and began to ask
I always try to stop to talk to a child
curious about my leg. Children are much more likely to just ask
questions instead of trying to casually look without catching my gaze.
When the little boy approached with his father and asked me what
happened to my leg, I immediately knelt down and began to answer his
Unfortunately this little guy was not
satisfied with my traditional explanation of, "My leg got hurt and the
doctors couldn't fix it so they decided to give me a new one." This
child wanted details, the gorier the better. His father stood next to
him, seemingly as interested in the specifics as his son.
spoke with the family for several minutes, answering the questions but
trying to indicate that I wanted to end the conversation and leave. I
didn't want to be rude, but the father was absolutely unaware that I
didn't want to continue answering the same questions. I wanted to spend
the day with Robby and Scott exploring the ships, not satisfying his
son's unnerving desire for specific details!
as I was becoming, the feelings were amplified within Robby. He did not
want to stop to talk with this family. He was patient at first, but
there were big boats to tour and he didn't want to waste time. Finally,
he decided to just speak up. "Would you stop asking my Momom questions
about her leg? She uses a prosthetic. It's made by Mr. Elliot and she
can take it off. It's not a big deal. Look around at these ships, they
are amazing. Stop asking questions about her leg and look around!"
I wish that Robby had been a little more tactful, I was secretly happy
that he created the opening for me to end this conversation. I was able
to say good-bye and continued walking around the harbor with Robby and
Scott in tow. I'm sure that the little boy's father thought my son was
rude, but the feelings were definitely mutual!