It is always awkward when somebody whom I have known casually suddenly discovers that I'm an amputee. I don't actively hide my limb loss, but if I meet somebody during the winter when I'm wearing jeans, it doesn't usually come up during casual conversation. When those casual encounters become regular, it feels oddly deceitful when I show up one day wearing shorts with my prosthesis in full view.
experienced one of those uncomfortable reveals. I have come to know
several other parents in the waiting gallery of Robby's Taekwondo class.
I've seen many of these parents a few times a week for months, so I
feel more acquainted than if we were strangers. However, I don't know
them well enough to delve into any substantive topics of conversation.
Typically we restrict our dialog to whatever is happening in class or
the weather--nothing personal. The topic of amputees was never broached,
and it felt forced to try to weave it into our superficial
Because the weather was delightfully warm, I
wore shorts while taking Robby to class. Acutely aware that my leg was showing for the first time, I felt odd walking into the
studio wondering if the other parents would notice that I use a
prosthesis. The looks of surprise let me know that they had not
suspected that I was an amputee. I sat down and commented that the
weather was beautiful.
In a way I feel proud that I have been
able to mask my limb loss for months. I have worked hard on my gait, and
the fact that nobody suspected I was an amputee was affirmation that my
efforts have paid off. On other hand, I'm not embarrassed or ashamed of
being an amputee, so I didn't want to leave the impression that I was
trying to hide something. In reality, my amputee status never came up
during our casual exchanges. I will not be surprised if we have a new
topic of conversation.