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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.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Legless Issues

Yesterday I spent a great deal of time personally reflecting about whether or not I am a hypocrite. I have yet to determine the answer, but thinking about the issue certainly provided some enlightening internal debates. Perhaps talking to myself at such length is an indication that I am becoming stir-crazy holed up at home!

The surgical pain has faded, leaving the nagging dull sensation as a reminder of the recent revision. Because the pain is no longer debilitating, I can't use it as an excuse for staying home. Instead, I'm forced to be honest with myself (and others) by admitting that I hate leaving the house without my prosthesis.  I tend to become a hermit when I am reliant upon the knee scooter or wheelchair.

I would love to blame the added fatigue of utilizing a knee scooter as the sole reason for my staying put, but that would not be entirely honest. While it is definitely more laborious when scooting, I can certainly handle the exertion for short periods of time. If I were to be completely honest with myself, the main reason that I tend to stay inside when I am without my leg is due strictly to vanity.

I detest being seen without my prosthesis. This reality makes me feel hypocritical, especially since I was the National Spokesperson for the Amputee Coalition's Show Your Mettle Day, an event designed to obliterate the shame and embarrassment associated with limb loss. While I have no problems showing my prosthesis, which is black carbon fiber without a cosmetic cover, I shrink into a wallflower when I am without it.  I would rather remain isolated than have to face the relentless stares from others as I wheel into a location without my leg.

It seems that the stares I receive when I'm legless are different, and harsher, than those which arise when I am wearing my prosthesis. When I have my leg, onlookers tend to be curious and intrigued. Without my leg, my stump elicits looks of shock and pity. I also feel more vulnerable which I am sure is impacting my interpretation of the reactions. 

I don't shrink from the public because of a sense of shame. Instead I think it is more of an avoidance of receiving pity. The "oh that poor thing" looks that wash over the faces of onlookers when they realize that I don't have my leg make me feel defensive and uncomfortable.  Rather than desensitize myself to the discomfort, I find it easier to avoid the situation.

I am going to be an amputee for the rest of my life, so I have confidence that I will have ample opportunities to confront this issue. I would love to write that I'm going to face my issues today by scooting through the mall at lunchtime, but that isn't going to happen. Right now I have too much on my hands to embark on a self-improvement project. Someday I'll work through my feelings about being legless, but today I'll just hang out inside and rock Timmy.

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