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.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ready to go Naked?

When I was a new amputee, I remember telling Elliot (my prosthetist) that I wanted my new leg to look just like a real leg. I didn't want the prosthesis to be obvious. I wanted to walk again, and I didn't want anybody to know I was an amputee.

Elliot made me a beautiful cover for the prosthetic, and I was thrilled. I got married in that leg. Looking through my wedding album, you can't tell which leg is real and which is a prosthetic.

As time went on, I became more comfortable with the reality of being an amputee. I thought that the reason for my cosmetic cover was vanity. For me, I realized the cosmetic cover was a manifestation of the shame I felt for being an amputee. I didn't want anybody to know that I was different, because I wasn't ready to admit to myself that I was different.

I became more comfortable in my new life as an amputee, and the need for a cover diminished. I no longer wear a cosmetic cover on my leg. My leg is now naked. Yes, stares from the public increase. Yes, rude comments increase. I once had an older gentleman tell me I reminded him of his three legged dog. Try coming up with a retort to that first thing in the morning! I am now proud of my prosthetic. It isn't a leg of flesh and bone, so I am not going to pretend that it is. It's a prosthetic, it is functional, and it doesn't need to be hidden.

I am going to be in a wedding soon, which presents me with a dilemma. Do I cover the leg for the ceremony or do I go "naked?" The bride, my dear cousin, swears that she doesn't care if I cover the leg. I believe her when she says this. However, I know that going without a cover does naturally draw more attention. I don't want to be the focus on her special day. So yes, I will cover the leg. Not out of shame or vanity, but because I want to minimize the gawking and "shock value" that accompanies all amputees when they are in a public forum.

Luckily, footless tights are now in style and easy to find. For me, these are the perfect solution when I need a quick cover. I respect that the decision to wear a cosmetic cover is very personal. People chose to wear a cover for a variety of reasons, and thankfully there are talented artists who are able to make beautiful covers. I wonder if my son will one day ask me to cover my leg, and how I will react. I don't want him to be ashamed of his Mommy. At the same time, I am well aware of the reality of increased public attention when the prosthetic is naked. I guess this is a question that will be answered in time. And if I chose to wear a cover, I will wear it with as much pride and dignity as I wear my naked prosthetic.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Midnight Mess...

I guess I should first explain that I use a Proprio foot by Ossur. This is the world's first, and only, computerized ankle system. It has been an absolute godsend. When I'm walking, the computer system analyzes my gait and lifts up the toe appropriately. Hence, no more tripping over the prosthetic. It has completely changed my life, and I will write more in detail in the future.

Like most electronic devices, I need to plug my leg in every night to recharge the battery. Every night, when I take off my leg, I plug it in next to my bed and don't think about it until the morning. This has never been an issue, until last night.

Robby (my little boy) was having a difficult time sleeping. He was starting to cry, so "Mommy instinct" took over. I put my liner and leg on in record time, and took off running to his bedroom. Unfortunately, I forgot to unplug the cord.

I pulled the charger out of the wall, dragging it behind me. The charger caught on the baby gate, knocking it down. The gate hit the nightstand on its way down, hitting our sweet sleeping kitty and knocking over a full glass of root beer. The root beer then went flying, and splattered all over the white carpet in the bedroom.

Maybe I should suggest they come up with a break away cord for the midnight Mommy. Anybody know how to get root beer out of white carpet?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I thought today was going to be a bad day...

I woke up this morning, put my leg on, and went and got a cup of coffee. This has been my routine since becoming a stay at home mommy nearly three years ago. After my first 4 steps, I decided that today was going to be what I refer to as a "bad leg day."

Due to fluctuations in volume, especially because of the weight loss but also because of the nature of all prosthetics, sometimes there are days when they just don't fit correctly. This causes discomfort, increased fatigue and stresses on my knees, hips and shoulders. This morning, when I was walking out for my coffee, I decided that today must be one of those days.

My leg just wasn't fitting right. I couldn't get comfortable, and it felt like I was being pinched mid stump. I hate being an amputee on days like this, when I really feel disabled because of a bad feeling socket. Yes, I decided today was going to be a bad day.

I hobbled back into bed, and grumbled about hating my leg. I took it off, and my day instantly went from being lousy to wonderfully comical. I looked inside my socket, and found a little micro car. One of my little boy's prized toys. Apparently, Mommy's leg is not only great for walking, but makes a fantastic hiding spot.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Help for pain that is anything but "phantom"

I wear my prosthetic all day. As an active Mommy, I start my day before 7 am. The first thing I do in the morning is put my leg on, and the last thing I do when I get into bed is take it off. Many days, I am wearing my leg for 15 hours.

I have discovered that the best fitting socket in the world doesn't alleviate stump soreness and those pesky "phantom pains" which, for me at least, manifest themselves at night. I have tried numerous medications. None of the pharmaceutical treatments worked well for me, and if they did work they left me feeling drowsy and spacey. I knew that there had to be a better way.

Although I haven't completely eliminated the phantom pains, I have greatly reduced their intensity and frequency. I also have a problem with my limb "kicking" at night, involuntarily and sometimes quite rapidly. My husband is thrilled that I have come up with a way to quiet the "cricket leg."

I have started using the HoMedics Shiatsu Massaging Pillow at night. I have found that the deep circular massage, for 15 to 20 minutes every night, treats the stump soreness and drastically decreases the phantom pain issues.
My husband is happy because my cricket leg is at rest, allowing him to sleep. If I have time, I also use the pillow after I exercise. This pillow also has a heat option which is comforting during the winter.