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, February 24, 2012

Moving Away...

Tomorrow is a bittersweet day. My brother will be moving from Pennsylvania to Texas. I know that he is excited about starting a new life, and he is looking forward to the adventures and challenges of living in a new area. His enthusiasm helps to temper the sadness that I feel seeing him move so far away.

I am a firm believer that every person has something that is "wrong" with them. My amputation is easy to identify, leaving no doubt that I have an orthopedic impairment. Sometimes the visibility of my disability is a blessing; the invisible demons can be just as debilitating.

My brother has plunged through hell and has crawled his way back. I know that his struggle has been nothing short of torture. The journey has not been without tears and pain, yet I remain steadfast in my support and love. I am so happy that he has been granted a second chance.

My brother will be living with my dad and working at my stepmother's restaurant. He is planning to immerse himself and master every aspect of the business. He is smart and a hard worker, so I have no doubt that he will be successful.

Tomorrow my brother will begin his new life. My heart is breaking, and I have shed tears because I don't know when I'll see him again. Robby is going to miss his uncle who has become his friend during the past few months. I know that my mom will have a void as well, yet she is relieved knowing that he is excited about his future.

Moving to a new area and starting again is a daunting undertaking. I am thankful that my brother has the support and guidance of my dad through this transition. I think that having family close by will be a comfort when things get difficult and he wants to give up. Although we'll now be separated by several hundred miles and two time zones, I am only a phone call away. I love you!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Off My Bucket List.

One look at my little boy yesterday morning and I knew he was sick. He was sweaty, pale and had deep purple circles under his eyes (a trait he gets from me when he is ill.) Unfortunately, I've seen him look this way far too many times this year. I'm toying with the idea of forwarding my mail to the pediatrician's office since I'm there so often!

I scheduled an appointment with his pediatrician, and tried to keep him comfortable until it was time to go. Robby cuddled up with me and zoned out to Good Morning America with me. I hate when he's sick, but I do love how he curls up with me when he is under the weather.

A simple swab of his throat confirmed my mommy diagnosis. He has strep throat- again! We drove the familiar route from the pediatrician's office to the pharmacy to retrieve his medicine and SpongeBob Chicken soup. The familiar plastic orange bottle, filled with cherry flavored pink antibiotic magic is now occupying its assigned space in our refrigerator.

After getting Robby settled in bed for the afternoon, I took the opportunity to check my email. With a click of the mouse my day went from being bad to good. I opened a link and experienced the realization of a long held dream.

I have been officially published! I wrote a piece about being an amputee parent for inMotion Magazine, (the magazine published by the Amputee Coalition of America) and it has been printed in this month's issue. Seeing my words with my name in the byline gave me chills.

Rarely have I felt this sense of satisfaction. I hope you enjoy the article!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hyper Vigilant

If caring for the residual limb were to be ranked, I suspect that I would be classified as "hyper vigilant." I have known too many amputees who have gone from being a below knee amputee to an above the knee amputee because of a sore that initially looked benign. My leg has compromised circulation and reduced sensation, the result of the amputation, which means that my daily physical examinations are imperative.

Yesterday I woke up in the morning and, true to my routine, I looked over my leg before donning my prosthetic. Everything looked fine and my leg felt comfortable. I took a few test steps and I knew that I had a secure seal. I had no pain and everything felt normal. I didn't think about my prosthetic again until 10:00 that night, when I took it off for the night.

My heart skipped when I removed my liner and it was coated with blood. Frantic, I shouted for Scott to bring me a washcloth. We cautiously cleaned off the blood, revealing a sore about the size of a nickle on the side of my leg. My leg felt completely normal throughout the day. I was shocked that I could have been bleeding from a sore this large without knowing that I had an issue!

Scott disinfected my liner while I tended to my leg. I pulled out what I dub my "limb survival kit" which I keep stocked with antibiotic ointments and creams, moleskin, band aids, adhesive remover, alcohol wipes, hydrogen peroxide, cotton balls, unscented lotion, ace bandages, a small magnifying glass and a hand mirror. (Incidentally, if you don't have your kit assembled I would highly recommend gathering everything in one location. I find that it makes it easier, and less stressful, to tend to the health of my limb when something has gone awry.)

I cleaned off the sore, washed it with peroxide and coated it with Neosporin. I continued to be amazed that I didn't feel the skin breakdown. In some situations, the lack of pain is not a good thing!

This morning I cleaned the sore again, and it is looking better. It isn't red or inflamed, so I don't think it is becoming infected. I am going to try to keep my prosthetic use to a minimum (I won't exercise) but keeping my leg off all day is not going to be a viable option today. I have cut a large moleskin frame to put around the sore, creating a buffer to keep the liner from touching the wound. I'll take my leg off a few times throughout the day to monitor the skin.

I have been teased about being compulsive about my limb care routine. That is a label I will proudly assume! I couldn't feel the skin breaking down, and I know too well that a small sore can quickly spawn an infection that spreads throughout the limb. I consider those few minutes I spend everyday on inspecting my limb to be an insurance against infection. Of course, nothing is 100% effective, but being diligent provides me with the best odds possible!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Robby's Work Day

Yesterday I had to go to my prosthetist's office to help with a patient. Since Robby was home from school for the holiday, I had a little companion with me. I am grateful that, on occasion, I can bring him with me when I need to work.

I'm always cautious when Robby accompanies me to work as I try to keep my roles of mother and employee separate whenever possible. I am acutely aware that no matter how cute and charming Robby can be, others are not always entertained by his insights and youthful antics.

Left no other option than to bring him along, I packed my purse full of various Nintendo games, snacks, and assorted army men and cars. Robby was also informed that, should he misbehave while Momom is working, his little world will come crashing down on him and he will lose not only privileges but also the majority of his toys. Appropriately warned, I buckled him into his seat and nervously drove to work.

Although I was apprehensive that "Robby Rotten" would materialize, he was nothing but supportive, understanding, and sweet. I am confident that there is no more sincere or committed cheerleader than my son when he witnesses somebody using their prosthetic for the first time. He began to jump up and down and clap when his new "friend" began to walk on his prosthetic knee. Robby's enthusiasm was contagious, and soon the entire office was cheering. It was a heartwarming to witness such an uplifting moment.

Yesterday could have been a disaster, but Robby stepped up to the plate and was well behaved. We were at the office longer than I anticipated and he never became needy or intrusive. I was proud of him--and almost felt guilty about threatening to confiscate every toy, pet, and cupcake in the house should he misbehave. I've decided that Robby either has the heart of an angel or I am very good at threats. I'm not placing bets yet on which one!

If you're interested (or killing time at work) feel free to check out the YouTube channel I've been putting together for my prosthetist. I am, by no means, a cinematographer. However, I am having a very good time trying! www.youtube.com/opc1media

Monday, February 20, 2012

My No Snow Day

This past weekend was laid back and relaxed. I went to visit my mom on Friday but returned early Saturday afternoon in anticipation of the "major snow event" that was forecast for my area. Robby was over the moon about the prospect of waking up to a winter wonderland, and was nearly giddy planning for a full day of sledding fun and snowball fights. Finally, after no fewer than four attempts, we were able to convince him to go to sleep on Saturday night.

Sunday we woke up to bright blue skies, crisp air, and--to the disappointment of my little boy--not one flake of snow. Our projected 4.5 inches of fluffy white snow never materialized, and our yard was as barren and boring as it was on Saturday. So much for our day of snowy fun!

Needless to say I was in a grumpy mood Sunday. I was beginning to feel like the world was conspiring against me. I have been stressed about my sister, my jobs, Robby's school, finances, and just about everything else. All I wanted to do was play in the snow and forget about my worries for awhile. It sounds strange to admit, but I resented that I was robbed of my snow play date!

I was on the phone with my mom, explaining my theory about the weatherman lying to me in a rude and contrived attempt to ruin my weekend, when she interrupted my rant. Sometimes it takes a mom to bring everything back into perspective. Obviously the weather forecasters did not conspire to make me miserable; she offered another theory. Perhaps, just maybe, I was overwhelmed.

I've been so consumed with everybody else that I have forgotten about myself. My increasing work responsibilities combined with the worry and anxiety I have been feeling about my loved ones who are struggling have left me emotionally drained. I am typically strong but yesterday I broke down--over a lack of promised snow!

Instead of playing outside with Robby, I spent the afternoon tinkering around the house, taking a nap, and watching The Walton's marathon on TV. Typically I would have been working and cleaning all day in a frantic attempt to stay busy. Yesterday I stayed busy doing absolutely nothing, and I don't feel guilty about it. Okay, maybe I feel a tinge guilty, but I don't regret my decision to relax. I needed a break from everything for a few hours. It's amazing how rejuvenated I felt after a few hours of vegging out and relaxing. I really should do that more often!