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.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

A New Friend

Frequently I receive an email or a phone call from a new amputee who is seeking support, information or just to talk. Regardless of what is going on in my own life, I always try to make time to lend an ear and to try to help. Remembering the isolation and confusion that I felt when I became an amputee keeps outreach a high priority in my life.

Normally, geography limits the communications to email, to the telephone and to Skype. Every once in awhile I'm able to physically meet with the individual which always helps to forge a special relationship. Tuesday night, at the precise moment I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my day while the boys were at school, I received a phone call from a social worker who works in a local hospital.  With one simple question, "Will you be able to come and meet with her?" my plans for the day were solidified.

Although I always find it rewarding to be able to help somebody, peer visits can be emotionally draining. I am the first to admit that I wear my emotions on my sleeve. As much as I tell myself not to become emotionally invested and  simply to be a resource, I always end up worrying, fretting about and grieving for my new friend.

Preparing for the hospital visit yesterday I knew that it was going to be a difficult meeting. Every amputee has a story, but some wreak of heartache more than others. Miranda's story broke my heart, and I worried that I would not be able to help.

Miranda was walking across the street at about 4:00 in the evening on New Year's Eve. Her only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was struck by a driver who reportedly blew 2x the legal limit. A tragic story in its own right, but it more heartbreaking when I learned Miranda's age: she is only 14 years old!

Dealing with an amputation is difficult regardless of age. For teenagers who are already struggling with body image issues and trying to fit into the world, suddenly being different must feel utterly catastrophic. I doubted that I, a middle aged woman, possessed the ability to be able to help, but I knew that I was going to try.

I spent about two hours sitting with Miranda. At first our meeting was formal and uncomfortable, I suspect we were both too nervous to be comfortable. At one point she needed the nurse's call button to request more pain medication. Instead of getting up, I instinctively popped off my leg and used it to pull down the button to her reach. She giggled and smiled, and the conversation became more natural and the began to flow naturally.

I left the hospital feeling uplifted after spending time with such an amazing young lady. I know that the journey will not be easy, but I have no doubt that she'll be okay. I made a new young friend yesterday and, although I hate the circumstances surrounding our meeting, getting to know her was a great way to start my new year.

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