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, October 09, 2015

The Wanderer

It turns out that my patient is a bit of a wanderer.  Getting up and roaming immediately following surgery is a foreign concept for me, probably because the majority of my procedures have involved my leg and access to mobility. I was adequately prepared to help him manage his pain, his swelling and his dietary restrictions. I had the bed ready for his return and was anticipating a few days of running back and forth to tend to whatever needs arose. I wasn't prepared to play hide and seek with a disoriented and non-compliant patient!

My big explorer was easy to find. Not only was he slow and staggered in his pace, but he left a Hansel and Gretel type trail of blood marking his path. Needless to say, constantly cleaning my floors quickly became old. Reasoning with him was futile as he insisted that he was fine and was being "good." When I told him that he wasn't being "good," his little drugged face contorted and he almost cried. I tucked him back into bed and made him promise to stay still.  Not trusting his pledge, I put Robby on "Daddy watch," instructing him to squawk every time he tried to get out of bed.  Between Scott trying to roam and Robby ratting him out, our house was rather loud and chaotic.

It was during this time that Timmy decided to lock himself in our bathroom. I tried to release the lock but was unsuccessful. Between him screaming behind the locked door and Scott fumbling around trying to "help" (but only succeeding in leaving circular blood trails), I knew I needed to call in some reinforcements.  I sent Robby over to get Mr. Bill to help with the door.

After confirming that the door lock was indeed broken, Mr. Bill set out to free Timmy by removing the knob. I tucked Scott back into bed and cleaned the blood off the floor. Within a few minutes my red faced, scared little toddler was free from his bathroom prison. Thankfully the trauma was quickly forgotten after handing him two animal crackers.

Scott tried to get out of bed to walk Mr. Bill to the door. He was instructed to go back to bed with the threat of handcuffing him to the headboard if he doesn't listen. It was then that Mr. Bill offered to lend us his handcuffs which he claimed were "covered in satin and wouldn't leave a mark." With a knowing wink, he just said that he probably won't need them back for awhile because Shelly (name changed to protect her identity) was out of town. 

Between Scott wandering around the house with Robby squawking after him, Timmy locking himself in the bathroom and the image of Mr. Bill (a 76 year old man) using handcuffs with his girlfriend, my head was spinning.  I ended up consuming a bag of Hershey kisses for dinner as I waited for Scott's anesthesia confusion to wear off. He finally fell asleep around 7:30, waking only to request medication and water. Hopefully today my patient will actually rest or I may have to borrow those satin cuffs.

Thursday, October 08, 2015


The surgery went well and the patient is resting at home. He is groggy, but already bugging me for the return of his cell phone.  :)

Surgery Day

This morning I will pack up Scott and drive him to this dental surgery.  I am so grateful that Robby's teacher is opening up her home early for both Robby and Timmy, allowing me to concentrate fully on Scott when he needs me. I know that Timmy will not be happy being left, but I hope that having Robby with him will help to buffer his toddler fury.

Scott is petrified about his surgery. Employing logic is futile. While I don't understand his fears, I have come to accept that it is very real for him. Although he will be in pain, I know that he will feel better when the procedure is over and he can put this behind him.  Right now his fears of the unknown are paralyzing him.

It is sure to be a long day.  His surgery is at 8, and I will post an update after I have him home and tucked back into bed. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Channeling Patience

This is a tense week and, looking at the calendar, the stress levels are only going to increase over the coming days. Scott is preparing for his first elective surgery, and he is petrified. After enduring more surgeries than I can count, I am having a difficult time grasping the concept of the terror that he is experiencing. By comparison, his wisdom teeth extraction is little more than an inconvenience. After all, I had mine removed when I was 17 and was fine in a few days.

I am struggling to remind myself that medical journeys should never be compared and that what he is feeling is real. Regardless of my experiences, he is nearly paralyzed with fear at the prospect of his own medical procedure. I am constantly pausing as I try to dance the fine line between being supportive without feeding into his spiraling fears and tempering my instinct to compare his surgery to all of mine.

Both Scott and I are approaching his surgery with skewed perspectives. My lengthy resume of surgeries is not helping either of us! This procedure along with the recovery has grown to epic proportions in Scott's mind. He is convinced that he won't be able to consume solid food for months, that the pain will be unbearable, and that his face will be permanently disfigured. My trying to calm his fears by relaying the experiences from my own wisdom teeth extraction only serves to minimize and negate his worries.  I'm told that I don't understand and that I don't care. At this point, I don't know how to adequately support him without being perceived as dismissive. 

I recognize that he is terrified, and I am doing my best to be supportive. I know that he will be okay and that the ensuing recovery will not mimic the journey through hell that he is envisioning. My promising him that he will be okay is not helping the situation. He views all attempts to reassure as disparaging. At this point, there isn't anything that I can say or do to help him. I find myself stepping on egg shells with each conversation. 

Tomorrow is his surgery. I know that today is going to be difficult as he struggles with the unknown. I'm going to do my best to listen and to reassure without appearing to judge and compare. I have a feeling it is going to be a long day for both of us.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Multi-tasking Tantrums.

Since the daycare portion of Robby's school shut down, I have been left without somebody to help watch Timmy.  Working from home, I'm fortunate that the closure has had minimal impact on my daily life. I only lament the lack of childcare when I have an appointment that is not child friendly. Yesterday I had to go to the gynecologist, which is probably as child-unfriendly as it gets!

Timmy, probably echoing my anxiety, took the opportunity to throw one of his first true tantrums. Sitting in his stroller, surrounded by extremely pregnant women, he decided to end the silence of the waiting room. Without warning he threw his little head back against the back of his stroller seat, set his little jaw into a scowl and proceeded to scream at the top of his lungs. (He may be little, but I learned that size has no correlation to volume.)

As the mommies-to-be shifted awkwardly in their seats and attempted to feign smiles, I tried in vain to quiet down my little hellion. I offered goldfish crackers. He quieted for a moment, cracked a smile and threw it across the room. I watched helplessly as it bounced off a belly bump before ricocheting to the floor. I apologized profusely as I shamefully picked up the shattered remnants of my inadequate toddler bribe.

I can't be certain, but I'm fairly sure that my wait time for the doctor was minimized because of Hamlet's meltdown. Almost as soon as I threw the goldfish crumbs away, we were ushered into the examination room.  I wheeled the stroller into the corner, hoping that he would be content to look out the window during my exam. Timmy never noticed the window and spent the majority of his energy trying to remove and shred the paper gown I was clutching around my quasi-exposed body. 

Within minutes I was lying on the exam table with my feet in the stirrups. It felt surreal as I was quietly sang Itsy Bitsy Spider while feeding cookies to Timmy during my pelvic exam. I never knew that I could be that good at multi-tasking. 

Monday, October 05, 2015


During the past few weeks I have received numerous emails from women who have recently experienced an amputation. While geography and individual circumstances vary greatly, I have noticed a common theme. I find myself repeating the advice I was given before I underwent my amputation.  "You will have problems with body image. You'll think that you won't, but you will. It's okay because you will look different. Just don't let your  new body shape define you." 

At the time, I shrugged off the body image warning with a naive confidence. I was secure in my decision to amputate and felt strong enough to handle the changes to my body. Little did I know that personal strength and resolve have little to do with processing and accepting the drastic change in body shape that occurs after a limb is amputated.  Acceptance wasn't something that could be forced but rather required gentle nudges, over time, to fully achieve.

I understand the rush to adjust. I was anxious to resume my life, to put the amputation behind me. It was only with time did I realize that my limb loss could never be put in my past. Instead of being something to get over, it became something that slowly because incorporated into every aspect of my life. From the jeans that I wear to the way I gauge obstacles, my limb loss is omnipresent. It is part of me, but it does not define me.

It took a long time for me to be able to look into a full length mirror and not feel overwhelming anxiety and grief. If I were to be completely honest, I must admit that sometimes I continue to feel pangs of sadness when I see my prosthetic in the mirror. I am always surprised by this reaction when it occurs, but I no longer reprimand myself for feeling that way. Instead of becoming angry for not being "over it," I now acknowledge the difference and walk away. Granting myself permission to occasionally feel sadness has been liberating.