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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, September 10, 2015

The Advocate

Yesterday morning, after dropping off Robby at school, Timmy and I headed into DC. Taking a toddler with me to congressional meetings was obviously not ideal, but my lacking a babysitter made his accompanying me a necessity. I tried to rationalize my sidekick by reminding myself that I was representing only my own concerns and that my need to keep up with a mischievous toddler was my personal reality. Unwilling to reschedule or cancel my meetings, I dressed him in his cutest patriotic outfit, grabbed a new bag of goldfish crackers, and decided to make the best of a less-than-perfect situation.

My little Timmy took his lobbying adventure in stride. He was charming and endearing, smiling and giggling almost on cue. Only once did he take off sprinting down the long corridor, squealing at the commotion he was causing. I tried to let him out of his stroller between appointments and he happily played with his blocks and munched on goldfish when I was in a meeting. He was covered with crumbs by the time I put him back into his car seat to go home, but he was also smiling from ear-to-ear.

My meetings went well. I can't say that I changed the world, but I definitely feel that I was heard. I spoke from my heart and from my own experience, relaying my future if my prosthetic care were dictated by the medicare proposals. The staffers were engaged throughout my meetings and asked questions that indicated that they were actually listening to my concerns. Hopefully our visit helped to move the needle on this issue, but at the least I know that I did my part.

It is imperative that everybody take the responsibility to advocate on this issue. Please don't wait for somebody else to fight this battle. If we are silent, we will lose and prosthetic care will return to the disco-era. United Healthcare, a private insurer, already indicated that they are incorporating aspects of these horrific proposals into their policies.

I don't consider myself an advocate, but I am willing to try because I feel so passionately about access to quality prosthetic care.  I think that too many people are afraid to make the calls to their elected officials because they are intimidated by the labels. I never envisioned that I would be going to Capital Hill to fight for prosthetic access, and I was definitely pushed outside of my comfort zone by going. However, I learned that it wasn't nearly as intimidating as I envisioned. In fact, it was so easy that a toddler could do it!

Who could say no to this little face?

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