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, August 30, 2013

Choosing a Prosthetist...

For the past year I have been participating in a monthly Podcast. Amp'd  (the podcast) was the brainchild born of a long ago lunch between my friend Dave and myself. We are both amputees, but our life experiences cause us to look at many issues differently. Our mutual respect always leads to enlightening, and sometimes entertaining discussions which we thought would be interesting fodder for a Podcast. 

Dave and I try to pick topics relevant to the community. During the past year we've discussed everything from sex and intimacy to prosthetic coverings. For this month's podcast, we chose to address a topic that impacts so many amputees yet is rarely investigated. It is a reality that not all prosthetists are created equal, and we wanted to provide a road map towards choosing the best practitioner to meet your individual needs.

Far too many amputees are struggling with their prosthetic devices. From navigating insurance to communicating effectively with their practitioners, it seems that too many are disenfranchised and frustrated. The relationship developed with the Prosthetist will become more important than one which has been forged with surgeons. Being able to relay your dreams, experiences and sensations to the prosthetist is the key to prosthetic success. Unfortunately, too many patients feel stymied and muted by their practitioners. 

In this month's episode of Amp'd, Dave and I offer questions that should be asked when interviewing a Prosthetist.  Acceptable answers as well as red flags were explored in the hopes of helping amputees find the best practitioner to meet their needs. What should you look for when entering a facility, and what pitfalls should be avoided? We tried to provide some answers in Amp'd. We would love to have your feedback and hope you will share your opinion with us. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pasta Bowl

I woke up yesterday with every intention of spending one of our final days of summer vacation at the pool. In my mind I had envisioned a fabulous picnic lunch followed by hours of splashing and playing in the cool water. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate with my vision, providing dreary skies and cold rain.

Robby was content watching Scooby Doo all morning, but I quickly grew restless. This is his final week of vacation, and I wanted to do something. Anything would be better than watching the teenagers chase yet another ghost, only to uncover that it was really a man with elaborate make-up in the final minutes of the show. Don't get me wrong I have nothing against the Mystery Gang, but six episodes is my limit! I was going stir crazy and needed to get out of the house.

Wanting to do something fun but lacking the energy to embark on anything too complicated, I finally decided that we should go out for lunch. Robby has been bugging us to go to the Olive Garden ever since he saw the advertisement for the "never ending pasta bowl." He jumped off the couch and dressed himself in record time when I revealed our plans. Who would have thought that going to Olive Garden would produce such excitement?

I could not have asked for a more handsome lunch date! He ordered the unlimited pasta by himself, telling the waitress that he "had a man's appetite, so he hoped that she had a lot of bowls because he was going to eat a lot."  The waitress chuckled and obviously did not take him seriously. When she brought out his third serving, I think it occurred to her that he wasn't joking!

My little pasta monster and I spent nearly two hours at Olive Garden, eating and talking. Much of the conversation revolved around his new school and the adventures that he was going to have this year. Although it wasn't a terribly active day, I thoroughly enjoyed just sitting and chatting with Robby.

I realize that in a few years sitting and chatting with me will be a rarity, so I plan on taking full advantage of the opportunity when it arises. We sat, ate and laughed in our little booth at the Olive Garden. The Summer of Awesome might be coming to a close, but plans for the Fantastically Fun Fall are already in the works!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Verdict...

As a Mom, I want to shield Robby from unpleasant experiences. When he is frightened or upset, I immediately want to comfort him. While I know that working through these emotions is a part of growing up, it is difficult to suppress my instinct to rescue him.

Yesterday was Robby's orientation to his new school, and we were both excited and nervous about the plans for the day. I did my best to stress the positive and mask my apprehensions, so by the time I parked the car in the school parking lot, my little guy hopped out of the car and eagerly ran towards the door.

Unfortunately, that was the extent of his excited bravery. As soon as we entered, he became shy and quiet, unsure of just about everything. I hate seeing him so scared!

I had planned on staying through the orientation, but his teacher felt it best for me to leave. Although I know that she was correct and that he would come out of his shell more quickly without my presence, it was hard walking out the door.  

I went home and tried to convince myself that he was probably having a great time. I mindlessly ate half a jar of peanuts, flipped through the television channels, and tried to take a nap. Time seemed to move at a snail's pace!

Robby looked so scared when I left that I wasn't sure what to expect when I returned to pick him up. I found him seated at a table with new friends, coloring and chatting. He flashed me a huge smile, gathered his belongings and told his classmates that he would see them next week. As we walked to the car he declared that he loved the new school and that he couldn't wait to go everyday!

There is no doubt that the orientation was more difficult for me than Robby. I sat and worried about him the entire day. He spent the hours playing flag football, making new friends, and happily working on art projects. I am so happy that he likes his new school. Hopefully we won't shed anymore tears over school!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Orientation Day!

Robby does not start school officially until next Tuesday, but today is a very big day in our house. This morning he will be going to his new school for a student orientation day. He will meet his teacher and classmates, spend time in his classroom, and walk through his daily schedule. He is excited about meeting new friends and is delighted that there are more boys in his class. Last year he was one of two boys. After the fiasco at his former school concerning my prosthesis, I'm elated that we are going to a new school!

Although he is excited, we are admittedly both a tinge nervous. After all, it's hard going some place completely new. Although we're both apprehensive about the change, we are trying to remember the positive. The fact that Robby has already met his teacher has been helpful in alleviating his jitters.  I know that he is enrolled in a fantastic school and that he will thrive, and I'm actively reminding myself of this whenever I become worried, which lately has been quite frequent.

My friends and family often joke with me because I utterly detest change. While I admittedly become comfortable and don't like to alter my routine, my fears don't keep me from experiencing new opportunities. I just walk into change fully voicing my concerns and worries to anybody who will listen!

Robby takes after me because he has been extremely expressive about his new school concerns. He is worried about making friends, about the quality of the lunches and snacks, and about the lengths of his recesses. Notice he is not the least bit concerned about academics. Scott and I have spent hours talking about his new school, reminding him of all the wonderful attributes and adventures that he will experience. He is excited but still worried about the unknown. I am hopeful that today's orientation will go a long way towards calming his nerves. And mine.

Wish us luck. This is a big day!

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Special Birthday!

This past weekend we were invited to a special birthday party. Robby has been looking forward to this celebration for the past month, circling the date in yellow on our calendar the moment I told him about the invitation. Although I am typically not fond of large celebrations with people whom I don't know, the guest of honor (along with the promise of cupcakes) made our attendance a given. After all, we couldn't pass up celebrating the 100th birthday of Jethro--the beloved tortoise at the Animal Park!

Knowing that it was finally party day, Robby woke up early on Saturday. After thoroughly debating on the appropriate gift for a 100 year old turtle, Robby and I agreed that romaine lettuce would be perfect. I have to admit that I pushed this option primarily because I knew we had it in the refrigerator. I wasn't terribly keen on shopping for a turtle present at 7:00 on a Saturday morning! In lieu of gift wrap we tied some carrot greens around the bundle and created a make-shift bow. With our gift ready, we piled into the car and headed to the Animal Park for the party.

Robby was all giggles during the drive, chatting about Jethro's birthday as well as the invitation's promise of games and cupcakes. Eager to give the Birthday Tortoise his gift, Robby and Scott sprinted to the entrance gate, leaving me to gather the camera, water bottles and passes. As I finally made my way towards the entrance, I heard Robby squeal with delight. He came running towards me, grabbed my hand and excitedly pulled me towards the hole in the fence. I peeked through and saw that Jethro was sporting a birthday hat for the special day.

The Zoo Keeper gave Robby a birthday hat to wear (yellow of course) and let him into the pen so that he could give Jethro his gift. Robby was proud as he could be giving the imposingly large tortoise the carrot wrapped lettuce. To his delight Jethro immediately began munching. After singing Happy Birthday we headed over to place our bets for the turtle races. Robby and I decided to cover our bases, so he picked Speedy (the small turtle) and I picked Zippy (the larger turtle). We figured that either way we would win.

The "track" was approximately four feet long, with the lanes separated by a piece of wood. There was a crowd of at least 50 people when the turtle race began. Robby wiggled his way to the front and assumed his position next to Speedy's lane. As soon as the flag waved he began to enthusiastically cheer for his little reptilian friend.  I just love his unabashed enthusiasm!

Fast forward 45 minutes and the turtles were still "racing."  The crowded whittled down to Robby, Scott, me, and the Zoo Keeper, who seemed to be second thinking the turtle race activity. Undeterred, Robby was still encouraging and rooting on Speedy (who was the surefire winner since Zippy had crawled into his shell and had fallen asleep about a foot from the start line.)  Anxious to put the race in the record books, and sensing that she was not going to be able to just pick up the turtles without declaring a clear winner, the Zoo Keeper moved and baited the finish line with a chunk of watermelon. In case you are wondering, Speedy won the race after traversing a distance of 3 feet in a mere 55 minutes.  

We spent the next hour visiting all of our animal friends and playing on the playground. Although there was a large turn out for the birthday celebration, I doubt anybody was more excited than Robby. After all, you can't go wrong with turtles and cupcakes!