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, September 20, 2013

The Leg Trap

I have to admit that although I had admirable intentions, I haven't been to the gym since November. My entire fitness routine was sidelined from the injuries sustained when I fell before Thanksgiving. It wasn't until June that I was able to walk up stairs without my ankle feeling weak and tender. Nearly 10 months since the accident, I have only recently felt normal and able to work-out. 

One morning I woke up early and finished all of my reports before the boys woke. Feeling strong and eager to regain my momentum, I thought it was the perfect day to tackle the gym. Unfortunately, Murphy's Law intervened. I searched the house for an hour but couldn't find my leg!

I have my Mod III set up and aligned for the gym. It took a long time to dial in the appropriate height for my sneakers, and it is the only socket which feels comfortable when I'm hopping up and down. In addition to the alignment issues, my left sneaker was laced onto that foot. I certainly couldn't work out wearing a sneaker and a sandal, so my work-out plans were spoiled.

Despite looking through closets and in cabinets, I wasn't able to find my leg. My frustrations with my missing leg reached a fevered pitch. I hate losing things, and it felt utterly absurd to have lost a leg!

I was about to resign myself to the fact that my leg was gone forever when Robby had an epiphany. Looking up at me from the couch the other day he said, "Momom, I think I remember where I saw your running leg." I reminded him that I had offered a $5 reward to anybody who found it, and he shot off the couch like a dart. I heard the front door open and slam behind him, and I watched him run into the woods.

A few minutes later he came into the house, triumphantly holding a muck covered, dirt ridden leg covered with leave bits. I immediately grabbed the leg before he was able to put it on our sofa and placed it in the sink.Before hosing it down I asked Robby where he found it.

That's when I found out that Robby and his friend Rowan had tried to make a squirrel trap. From what I gather, they built the trap back in June by putting carrots into the bottom of my socket and balancing a board on top. When the animal walked into the socket, they figured that the leg would move and dislodge the board, trapping the critter.

The friends diligently covered the leg with dirt and leaves to create a camouflage and promptly forgot about it. Rowan went away for the summer, and Robby became distracted with vacation fun. It wasn't until she came home that he remembered the trap--and my leg.

Thankfully, their plan was ill-conceived, and they didn't catch any wildlife in my socket. To his dismay the reward money was revoked when I learned that he was the one responsible for the missing leg. I was angry but had a hard time keeping a straight face while saying the words, "Don't ever take any of Momom's legs out of the house."

Knowing that I needed a little alone time to decompress, I sought refuge in my bedroom.  I fired up my laptop, logged onto my HotSpot Shield VPN , which instantly transported my computer to New Zealand, and proceeded to investigate ways to remove 4 months of forest gunk from my carbon fiber foot. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013



Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which is my favorite of the bizarre holidays. Like many things in my life, I tend to throw myself into the celebration. After telling Robby's teacher about the holiday, she decided to create a themed day for the kids. Scavenger hunts during reading, learning about oceans and land forms by sailing through the Seven Seas, and singing sea chanteys are just part of the adventures that are planned for today. Of course no piratical adventure would be complete until you devour a cupcake or two!

Yesterday after dropping Robby at school, I drove to the store to order pirate cupcakes. Because of the issues with phantom pain that I've been having, walking has not been without difficulty. I decided to utilize my handicapped plaque, positioning myself right in front of the main door. I parked the car, hung the tag and headed towards the bakery.

Before I even entered the store I was stopped by an irate, and somewhat arrogant, customer who began to berate me for abusing the parking pass. "You should be ashamed of yourself. Those spaces are reserved with people with disabilities, not for you." She turned away before I had a chance to respond, but I heard her mumble, "Some people are so f*cking lazy." 

Although I typically avoid confrontation, my anger compelled me to respond. I walked in front of her, glared in her eyes and said, "I'm not lazy. I'm an amputee."  I then pulled up the leg on my jeans to expose my prosthesis. I wanted to say more but I censured myself. After all, my reminding her that she is simply a judgmental b*tch would probably only make me look bad.

She quickly apologized, justifying her comments because she couldn't tell that I had an amputation. She even complimented my walking (although her opinion remains of no value to me). "I'm so tired of people abusing those spaces. It's good to know that you weren't one of those people."

I was going to question who made her the handicapped parking police, but I knew that engaging in a debate would be fruitless. Instead I just turned around and kept walking. I left the store after ordering the cutest pirate cake ever, yet felt deflated by my encounter in the parking lot.

I've come to the conclusion that we live in a highly judgmental society. People make assumptions about others, like this lady in the parking lot, and feel entitled to interfere. I understand the frustrations of handicapped parking abuse. As somebody who utilizes that courtesy, I have experienced the aggravation of having the spots filled. It is important to remember that many disabilities are invisible. Just because you can't put your finger on what's wrong when you play the "guess the disability game" doesn't mean that the individual is not legitimately using the spaces. This world would be a lot better if there was more accepting and less judging!

I'm looking forward to spending the afternoon in Robby's class, getting to know the students and having a scallywagging good time. As far as I'm concerned, the lady from the store can walk the plank!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Weather Changes

Last week the heat and humidity in our area was oppressive. I couldn't walk across the street without dripping in sweat and feeling ill, so I spent much of my time inside, trying to stay cool and comfortable. I succeeded in staying cool, but comfortable is a different story.

The heat finally broke, allowing the crisp autumn temperatures to take hold. I find the cool air and brisk breezes to be simply exhilarating. After holing up inside for the past week, I have been anxious to take full advantage of my favorite time of year by cleaning up the yard. Unfortunately my leg as interfered with those plans.

The wild temperature fluctuations have wreaked havoc on my limb causing my phantom pains to reemerge. Admittedly, I am lucky when it comes to phantom pain. I experience it infrequently and the issues almost always coincide with socket changes, injuries or weather. Knowing that I am fortunate is providing little solace as I'm curled up on the couch trying to stop my missing toes from being twisted off while an imaginary hammer is beating down on the top of a foot which is no longer there. 

Massage, heat and ice, as well as medication are providing no relief. Right now all I can do is try to keep my mind off the pain, remind myself that the nerves are angry and wait for it to subside. If history is a guide, it will subside within a day or two. In the meantime, I anticipate more than a few hours of misery as I wait.

Most of the time being an amputee doesn't bother me. Today, I have to admit that it really stinks!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Counting Down

I have had yesterday's date circled on my calendar since hanging our calendar in January. When Robby and Scott left for school, I went downstairs and rummaged through our storage garage until I finally one of my favorite items. Several years ago I saw it at Target and, although it was expensive, it immediately became my obsession. After coveting it for over two weeks, I returned to the store and bought it. I have never regretted the purchase and even though it has been five years, my countdown to Christmas clock continues to make me smile.

Because the clock was such a splurge, I try to make the most of it. Since the snowman can countdown from 99 days, each year at the beginning of September I schlep it upstairs and plug it in.The snowman is the first decoration we bring out, heralding the impending holiday season. Having a large lit snowman counting the days until Christmas just as the air is beginning to crisp and the leaves are starting to turn colors has become a bit of a tradition. Although the neighbors and some family members chuckle when seeing it on display so early, it also always brings a smile to their face.

Robby was thrilled when he came home from school and discovered the reemergence of the countdown snowman. He jumped up and down, spun in a circle and affixed a pirate hat to the top of the snowman. He began to talk about Christmas, his Santa list and suddenly had a desire for sugar cookies. Scott was not nearly a giddy with his squeal of delight taking the form of a slight begrudging moan. Obviously the 47 year old is not as enthusiastic about the holidays as the 7 year old!

I realize that it is early to start decorating but seeing the snowman makes me happy. I have no intention of waiting until after Thanksgiving to plug him in. I paid for the ability to countdown from 99, and it would be a travesty if I didn't take advantage of its full potential.  Besides, it makes me happy! 

98 days until Christmas, and yes, I'm counting.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hiding Out

My weekend of no stress and total relaxation never materialized. Although I had a nice time visiting my Mom, my ability to completely unwind was thwarted by Robby's melancholy behavior. It was obvious that something was bothering my little Koopa, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

When Robby becomes sad or overwhelmed, his instinct is much like mine. Hating confrontation, he tends to retreat and hide. Within 20 minutes of arriving at my Mom's house, Robby was camped out in his "fort" (under the bed surrounded by his stuffed turtles and Black Bear) where he stayed unless he was forced to socialize. He claimed that nothing was wrong and seemed content hiding under the bed and playing on the computer.

I accepted his retreat on Saturday, rationalizing that he was tired from the week at school and just needed some alone time to decompress. Sunday morning I quickly became tired of the endless computer use and insisted that he come out from his fort to visit. Robby became angry when I confiscated the computer, but his mood quickly morphed to sadness. He stayed in his fort and began to cry.

Suspecting that the tears were not just the result of computer repossession, I did the only thing I could think to do. I wiggled and squeezed my way under the bed to join him in his fort. (It was certainly cozy!) After giggling while watching me try to wedge myself into his space, Robby began to open up.

My sister and her children have moved into my Mom's house, and although the kids were with their father on weekends, Robby was feeling displaced. He wasn't sure where he fit in and was uncertain about what toys he was allowed to use. Instead of asking, he simply retreated and hid under the bed.

After talking for awhile, he finally verbalized, "I'm mad at Nana." We talked about his feelings, and I encouraged him to talk with his Nana. Almost as soon as he asked, "Nana, can you come to my house so we can have some special time?" the solemn Robby left. My Mom helped him go through my nephew's bedroom to retrieve the special toys that he always enjoyed. He quickly returned to his happy and energetic self, playing and talking incessantly. I was thrilled that he was no longer hiding under the bed!

In retrospect I should have recognized the issues earlier. I feel horrible not discerning the confused and frustrated emotions Robby was processing. I should have talked to him earlier, perhaps as soon as he hid under the bed. I could have saved him from hours of negative feelings!

By the time we were ready to leave to come home, all of the hard feelings had been soothed. My Mom worked hard to help Robby understand that he was still special and that he could play with the toys that he loves. I'm glad that he was able to verbalize his emotions, even if it took 36 hours. Hopefully next time it won't take as long for him to talk when he is feeling sad!