After six months, I am finally sporting a permanent socket. I had forgotten how comfortable carbon fiber is compared to the plastic check sockets I've been wearing. My limb slides easier when donning, and the smooth outside allows my pants to flow naturally without becoming snagged.
While I am celebrating the fact that I am again in a permanent leg, the adjustment is causing the predictable phantom pain issues. It doesn't seem to matter if a socket is cast out of the same mold; anytime I wear something new, I experience a brief "break in" period. I don't feel any discomfort while wearing the device, but the first few nights after getting a new leg are always ouchy.
Of course, the weather is probably not helping my phantom pain. The temperature is fluctuating wildly causing just about every joint in my body (and a few that are missing) to hurt. I've come to the conclusion that I despise growing old!
Since lamenting isn't going to help, I've dug my phantom pain remedies out of my bag of tricks. The massage pillow has been going at full blast, gently rubbing the soreness out of my non-existent ankle joint. My leg is snug and warm around the heating pad. In addition to providing comfort, the warmth seems to minimize the feeling of my big toenail being twisted and pulled. And when all else fails, the Tylenol PM makes me so groggy that I no longer care about the discomfort.
I know that in a day or two I will be fully adjusted to the new socket, and I can stow my phantom pain relief kit. I am so lucky that my issues with phantom pain are minor and fleeting as so many of my friends suffer with debilitating phantom pain. Far too often I take my limb health and mobility for granted. Moments like this, when I am feeling discomfort, I am trying to count my blessings. My pain can be relieved with a few simple tricks, and for that I am very lucky.
- 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, December 11, 2014
Yesterday morning was busy. I had a meeting scheduled for 10, so I needed to take Timmy to school as well. No matter how many times I tell myself that it is okay to leave him, I always feel guilty! My morning was made twice as chaotic as I tried to get both Robby and Timmy ready for the day.
Despite my efforts, we were running late. I pride myself on my punctuality, so being late for an appointment causes me a great deal of anxiety. On the plus side, I didn't have a lot of time to lament leaving Timmy because I was in such a rush. After dropping Robby and Timmy at school, I hopped into rush hour traffic hoping to make my meeting on time. Thankfully the traffic was flowing more quickly than usual, and I actually arrived 10 minutes early!
My meeting went well, and I soon found myself rushing again. Only this time I was hurrying to get to the school to pick up Timmy. While logically I knew that he was fine, seeing him sitting on his teacher's lap sporting a big old gummy grin eased all of my anxieties. I am so lucky that he is loved and cherished by the school staff. Witnessing the care that he receives when he is not with me makes leaving him easier.
Timmy must have had a good time, because he was sound asleep by the time we arrived home. I carefully carried him inside and transferred him to his crib, excited that I might have a few moments of solitude to decompress. I had no sooner poured a cup of coffee that I received a phone call from Mr. Bill. I immediately sensed that something was wrong because I knew that he was outside chopping wood. It isn't like him to take a break from work unless he needed something.
Unfortunately, my intuition was correct. With a shaky voice and a calm demeanor, he explained that he had fallen and needed assistance. He didn't think anything was broken, but he felt unstable. I grabbed my phone and took off running to his house.
Thankfully Mr. Bill is okay! He tripped over some branches while trying to clean up his yard, causing him to fall. His finger became lodged on the trigger of his chainsaw when he fell. The blade disengaged, but his finger is broken. All things considered, he is extremely lucky. The results of this tumble could have been catastrophic.
I worry so much about Mr. Bill. He is 76 years old and, although he is still fairly spry, he isn't as limber as he would like to believe. I have seen a decline in both his balance and strength during the past few years. The electric company cut down two large trees, one oak and one poplar. They felled the trees in his yard, cut the trunks into 8 foot segments and left. Per policy, the homeowner is responsible for the rest of the clean-up.
Mr. Bill is fanatical about his yard. His pristine landscaping is the result of hours of toiling through the year. I knew that having the branches, debris and trunk lying throughout his backyard was going to drive him crazy. I also worried that the task of cleaning up might be too big for him. I'm afraid I was correct on both accounts.
Robby is excited to help his friend, but I fear this task is beyond the skills of an eight year old. I think it is time to organize a neighborhood tree clean-up party! He has done so much for everybody on our little street. I'm excited about the opportunity to finally give back to him.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Yesterday morning I woke up with a slightly stuffy nose. Although I felt well, I worried that a cold might be making the first whispers of an introduction. Determined that I wasn't sick because we have too much holiday fun on tap for the coming days, I pushed the sniffles out of my thoughts and moved forward with my day.
By mid-afternoon, ignoring my congestion was no longer an option. What had begun as slight annoyance, had slowly morphed into a full blown sinus headache as the day progressed. I rummaged through my bathroom cabinets until I found the familiar little Sudafed pills. I pushed two through the foil backing and popped them with a swig of coffee.
I continued working for a few minutes until a sense of foreboding began to envelop me. I went to the bathroom and looked at the box of Sudafed. Unfortunately, it didn't say Sudafed; it said "Gentle Laxative for Women."
D'oh! How could I make such a stupid mistake. I quickly realized that there was no use beating myself up for taking the wrong medication. According to the box, I would reap my own personal punishment in 12-16 hours.
Needless to say, it was a long night. Always trying to look on the positive side, I did have a plethora of "alone time" to page through the magazines I still hadn't gotten around to throwing away.
at 7:16 AM
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Robby has always had a soft spot for animals. So often I've found him sobbing on the couch after viewing the heartbreaking Humane Society commercials that he now knows that he has to turn the channel when the plea begins. Most kids beg for candy or ice cream at the grocery store. My little guy begs to buy cat food so that he can put it in the donation box at the front of the store. He smiles for hours after he gives the homeless kitties a bag of food or treats.
When I was driving home from my Mom's this weekend, I saw a billboard advertising the "Penguin Plunge." I was intrigued, especially when I saw that the proceeds benefited the Harrisburg Area Humane Society. That particular Humane Society will always have a special place in my heart because it is where I adopted my little Sophie. After 14 years of devoted companionship, I had to put her down in June. I still feel bangs of grief when I think about her, and I miss her dearly.
Robby also saw the billboard for the Penguin Plunge, and began to pepper me with questions I couldn't answer. I promised that we could go to the website to learn more. To be honest I assumed he would forget after the excitement of getting a Christmas tree and the two hour drive home. I was wrong, and after the tree was in the stand ,he brought me my computer and asked me to look up the event.
He was delighted to learn that he could participate. Somehow the idea of running into the river water on New Year's Day is appealing to him; obviously, my idea of fun differs from that of an eight year old boy! After a lengthy discussion warning him of the responsibilities of accepting a fundraising challenge and the importance of following up on his promise to take the plunge, he remained undeterred.
"Momom, it will help homeless cats and dogs. I can be cold for a few minutes if that means that they eat." Listening to that logic, I knew I had to allow him to sign up for the event.
Robby is officially signed up for the Penguin Plunge. While sitting on the river bank at the beginning of January, rain, snow or sleet, isn't my ideal way to kick off the New Year, I will happily oblige. He has set a lofty goal of $250, but he is determined to meet it. I am so proud of his efforts. If you are inclined, please visit his fundraising page and help my little Koopa help the kitties.
at 5:51 AM
Monday, December 08, 2014
My Dad flies in from Texas every December to see his grandkids, and buying us our family Christmas tree has become his tradition. All of the cousins stayed in a hotel Friday night, which in and of itself is an exciting event for everybody. All of the kids had a blast Friday night exploring the hotel. They were especially tickled when they stumbled upon the free hot chocolate machine in the lobby!
Saturday afternoon it was cold and pouring down rain. Not exactly the perfect day to buy a Christmas tree, but promises were made so we were undeterred. The adults did decide to modify the tradition a tinge given the weather. Instead of schlepping into a muddy field, trying to contend with umbrellas as well as saws, we decided to visit a Christmas tree lot owned by a friend from high school.
Robby and I picked a "ginormous" tree this year. Our 12 footer almost touches the peak of our vaulted ceiling and is absolutely stunning. Although it was difficult saying goodbye to my Dad, I was excited to drive home and set our treasure up in the living room. (I tried to warn Scott that we needed a lot of room for the tree, but I don't think he adequately heeded my warning. He was shocked by the sheer mass of our tree.)
While Timmy was busy playing on the floor, I began working on the lights. With Scott on one side and me on the other, we managed to wrap all of the lights around our coniferous giant in under an hour. We used every strand of lights we own and, after the tree was fully illuminated, he finally agreed to run to Lowes to pick up another strand (or two) to fill in some dimmer areas.
I stayed home with Timmy to fix dinner while he and Robby ran out to secure more lights. The pair came home with a large wheel off 500 colorful LED lights. After nearly 15 years together, he has learned that I like my trees bright and colorful! After we ate I finished stringing the lights on the tree and called everybody together for the big reveal. Robby and Scott ooed and ahhed appropriately. Timmy was unimpressed by the large lit tree in front of him, instead occupying himself by trying to touch Charlie Cat's tail.
Rocking Timmy to sleep in the living room that night with the Christmas tree shining happily in the corner, I felt content. Timmy must have felt the same because his sleepy eyes were heavy when I walked past the tree to take him to his bedroom. All of a sudden he squealed and began to giggle. Despite being lit all evening, he had just then noticed the sparkling Christmas tree!
Timmy quickly worked himself into an excited frenzy over the Christmas tree. Every time I carried him away from the tree he would crane his neck to keep it in view. I abandoned all hopes of putting him to bed, instead opting to put him in front of the tree so that he would giggle and smile. I really wish I had my camera close to capture his reaction. The pure delight was absolutely precious!
My little baby spent the next hour gazing at the tree in amazement. I don't know why he didn't notice it before, but perhaps his "discovering" it on his own added to his excitement. He ended up going to bed later than we anticipated because we couldn't pull him away from his tree. In fact, the only way we could finally calm him down was to unplug the lights. I felt bad about taking away the object of his fascination, but I knew it was the only way he would go to sleep.
I have a feeling that the next few Christmases will be magical again as Timmy discovers all of the illuminated and glittery wonders of the holiday season!