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, May 14, 2010

Running Woes

I was ready to be stressed about my California trip which was scheduled to start this coming Sunday. I felt that time was passing too quickly and I was becoming overwhelmed with my mounting "to do" list before the trip. Just as I was ready to go into overdrive mode, I received a phone call which has allowed me to relax.

There has been a scheduling mistake, and Robby and I are needed in California the following week. Their "mistake" affords me seven additional days to prepare Robby, to get in the necessary supplies for Scott and to lose those extra five pounds which have been plaguing me. I am thrilled to have the extra time to prepare.

In addition to having an extra week to get everything in order, I will also have a full week to continue my training for the race. I feel like I am just starting to make progress and I was worried about how not running for six days was going to impact my goal. Although I won't be able to run during the week that I am in California, which is also before the race, I am hoping that my skills and endurance will be stronger by then and the missed runs won't have as much of a negative impact.

I have been diligent about my running schedule. I am now jogging about 2.4 miles every night. Each day I am able to run for longer periods of time and the distance I need to walk is decreasing. I still haven't made it to the 7-11, but I am getting closer. When I do make it, I doubt that any Slurpee will ever taste as good!

I am realizing that I have both the strength and the endurance to finish this 5k. Right now, my biggest issue is my prosthetic. It still doesn't fit correctly and I am forced to stop several times during my run in order to adjust my socket. I am both frustrated and irritable when I finish my training, not because I am tired but because I am in pain.

Robby and I have spent many afternoons sitting in Elliot's office trying to adjust the socket. I thought we made the final adjustment yesterday, but I was proven wrong during my evening run. My bone rubs against the front of the socket causing a knot to form and swell. The more I run, the more the knot swells, causing more pain and more rubbing. It is a cycle that becomes worse during my run. Yesterday I came very close to calling Scott and abandoning my run early. I managed to continue running, but I could barely walk by the time I reached our door. I immediately switched legs and was grumpy for the next hour.

Yet again, I have discovered extra obstacles placed in front of the amputee. I need to develop the strength and endurance to complete the race, but I must also combat socket and prosthetic issues that impact my ability to run. I admit that, when I am messing with my socket on the side of the road, I am angry. I am angry that I can't simply run and only concentrate on my form. I am forced to fiddle constantly with the stubborn carbon fiber contraption strapped to my limb that is keeping me from my goal.

Thankfully, I will have an extra week to work through these prosthetic issues. I am hoping that by the time I am traveling to California I can simply step into my leg and run. I knew that running would be hard. I was prepared for pain, for falls and for a lot of hard work. Perhaps I was naive. I failed to realize that my biggest obstacle would be my prosthetic.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Danger Lurking

Parents in my area are on high alert. There is a child predator on the prowl, with three attempted child abductions in the past 14 days. The descriptions of the suspect are all similar so it is assumed that these attacks are related to the same culprit.

I don't remember child abductions when I was younger, but now they seem pervasive and a relatively common occurrence. I suspect that the frequency has changed little and that our awareness of the attacks can be attributed to better news reporting. Everybody has a cell phone now, and access to the news is immediate.

I have been accused of being over protective. I don't let Robby out of my sight, especially when we are outside. We have a beautiful wooded backyard, yet he is never allowed to explore without an adult. He is only three (nearly four) and still needs supervision.

Unfortunately my "Momma Duck" protective behavior has not been received well by a little boy who is eager for increased independence. He yearns to do things by himself and relishes every opportunity to demonstrate "big boy" behavior. His pleas for independence have caused me to strike some compromises.

Robby has been allowed to play in the driveway by himself. Okay, he thinks he is by himself, but I am actually perched on the deck watching every move. The fact that I am not next to him allows Robby to stretch his "big boy" wings while he is still under my watchful gaze. I have also allowed him to walk to the edge of the driveway to retrieve our newspaper and to chat with his favorite neighbor, Mr. Bill.

Because of the recent surge in attempted child abductions in our area, Robby's independent wings have been temporarily clipped. This predator is brazen, trying to snatch little boys in populated neighborhoods in the middle of the afternoon. Our home is relatively secluded and set in a wooded area. I feel more vulnerable.

We are lacking the security of watchful neighbors in this area. The other abduction attempts were thwarted by the quick actions of neighborhood children. Robby is alone and is missing peer protection. I cannot fathom the horror of his being snatched. I don't think I would survive.

I trust Robby playing by himself on the driveway, but I find that I do not trust the rest of the world. If the predator visits our neighborhood and eyes Robby, I need to be able to protect him. Although I am mobile, I am still in the early stages of learning how to run and I would lose in a foot race.

It is during times when I feel vulnerable and weak that I hate being an amputee the most. I worry that he is more at risk because of my disability. I despise feeling that I may not be able to fend off predators because I use a prosthetic. Does having an amputee mommy make Robby an easy target? Not if I have anything to say about it!

Until this predator is caught, I am not letting Robby close to the road without being within arms reach. He is also not allowed to be beyond my grasp if a car, or an unfamiliar individual, is spotted on our isolated lane. In many ways I feel like I am being overprotective. I now watch him play in the driveway from the opposite corner. Robby does not like that I am so close, but I have agreed to be silent and that has helped ease the transition.

It bothers me that I have to implement these changes, but I will gladly assume the title of overprotective if it means that Robby is safe. I cannot run to rescue my little boy, so I must keep him within my reach until this predator is caught.

It angers me that this criminal is affecting my daily activities. It saddens me that I feel inadequate to protect Robby because of the limitations of my amputation. It frightens me to think of the dangers that lurk. I think we'll stay inside today, where I know I can keep Robby safe. Perhaps we'll bake cookies.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Indecent Exposure

Today I packed up Robby and took him to House of Bounce. Robby loves jumping and playing on the giant inflatables, and I have found it to be a great outlet for his pent up energy and destructive tendencies. Yes, although he thought I was being a great and fun Mommy, I did have the alternative motive of trying to tucker him out. I am tired of waking up before 6:00!

I wore my new activity leg, curious about how it would respond inside the jumpers. I must say that the prosthetic exceeded all of my expectations. The spring action of the Mod III foot was amplified in the bouncers, creating an effortless jumping experience. I felt no discomfort and, for the first time ever, I was able to bounce continuously without taking a break.

The House of Bounce was packed with jumping and climbing toddlers when we arrived. As usual, all of the parents were loitering in the lounge instead of playing with their children. I don't mind that they were not jumping with their toddler, but it does bother me that, with their noses buried in outdated People magazines, they seemed oblivious to their children.

Robby and I made our regular rounds around the obstacles. We jumped in the "happy hopper," leading a bunny conga line with a line full of happy toddlers. All of the children were interested in my prosthetic, which Robby proudly explained was "Momom's brand new running leg." They were duly impressed.

After warming up in the bouncer, we made our way to Robby's (and my) favorite inflatable- the giant slide. For my little boy, nothing beats the thrill of climbing up the rope lined ladder in order to catapult down the steep yellow shoot. He is gleeful as he screams "cowabunga" on take off. I love hearing him giggle when he reaches the bottom of the slide. It warms my heart.

We saw the other children going down the slides on their stomachs, I knew that Robby was going to try. I was correct in my assumption because, at the top of the slide, he began to lie down on his belly and inch his way forward. Telling me that he was a penguin and giving me a huge smile, he gave a push with his arms and down he went, with peels of laughter trailing behind him.

Robby began to plea with me to go down the slide on my "tummy." At first I resisted, explaining that Mommies should only go down on their bums. Then I tried telling him that I was too old to go down on my tummy. At this point a little new found playmate informed me that I was "way older" than his Mommy. Yes, I felt the need to prove that I was the "fun youthful Mommy." I accepted the challenge.

I climbed up to the top of the slide, and watched Robby penguin slide down. When he reached the bottom of the shoot, he began to call out to me to follow. He reminded me to go on my tummy, reassuring me that I was "not too old" and telling me that I "will be okay."

I smiled to my little cheerleader, lay down on my stomach, and pushed off. Down I slid, and I was fast! So fast, in fact, that friction reared its ugly head and my drawstring pants came loose and were around my ankles.

Robby's laughter reached a new level when he saw that "Momom's pants came down on the slide." I tried to pull them up as quickly as I could, but it is difficult to move at the bottom of a giant inflatable slide. It is especially difficult when my pants are around my ankles and the fabric was tangled in my hook shaped prosthetic leg.

After I dressed, I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized that all of the parents were still sitting in the lounge area reading outdated People magazines. They didn't see my polka dot underpants first hand, although I did overhear a few giggling children reporting the incident to their parents. I tightened the tie on my pants and continued sliding as if nothing had happened, although I ignored Robby's request and chose to slide on my bottom.

Once again, my quest to seal my "fun Mommy" status ended in my own humiliation. I need to remember that I am not young, nor am I particular swift and graceful. I am, in fact, a middle aged one legged woman. I am also, apparently, slow to learn from my mistakes.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

California Here We Come!

I love staying home with Robby, but I do have moments where I feel boring and uninteresting. I miss the adventure and spontaneity that I used to have in my life. It seems that every time I begin to lament the predictability of my life, a new opportunity presents itself.

Robby and I received an invitation to travel to California. We are going to participate in a photo and video shoot profiling the Proprio foot for Ossur. I could not be more thrilled! Imagine me, a model! Of course, I'll have to rinse the marshmallow fluff out of my hair and try to rub the blue marker off my arms first.

I am ecstatic that Robby is included in this adventure. He is almost four and I think that he may remember this trip. I don't expect him to have a clear memory, but surely a trip of this magnitude will make an impression. We are going to have a blast in California!

Of course, in order to have fun in California, we will have to get there. And getting there will necessitate a plane trip--a very long plane trip. A very long plane trip without help from Scott. I am beginning to rethink this great adventure.

Robby is an experienced flier, but his trips have always been short in duration. He is a "high need" traveler, demanding constant entertainment and interaction. The flight to California is going to be approximately 9 hours long. There is no way I can entertain him the entire time, and I am going to be on my own. I am worried that Robby Rotten will emerge and that we will be kicked off the plane in the middle of Kansas.

Assuming that we are not escorted off the plane in the Midwest by air marshals, it occurred to me that Robby has never been in a hotel room. Hopefully he will adjust well, leaving his temper tantrums in Virginia. I am trying to push my "worst case scenarios" out of my mind. I shutter to think of a classic Robby Rotten moment occurring in the middle of the hotel lobby, with bell hops and tourists staring at me with disdain. I am hoping that the lure of the pool will keep his behavior in check and will compensate for any feelings of being homesick for his race car bed and Charlie Cat.

I have been trying to prep Robby for our upcoming excursion which is now less than a week away. I have shown him a map of where we are going, and we've been talking about being on the airplane "way high up." I've shown him pictures of the hotel and the surrounding sights. We've watched video clips showing the hotel room and the swimming pool. After my multimedia presentation, he simply looked at me and said, "Momom, I want to stay home. I don't want to go to California. I stay home." Ut oh!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mothers and Fathers

Yesterday was Mother's Day. I was afforded the chance to sleep in past 8:00, which is a rare luxury! Scott and Robby sneaked out to get me coffee and a doughnut for breakfast, and I was able to drink my coffee in peace. Then, as if timed by a clock, my Mother's Day hour expired and it was back to my normal life. Yes, apparently doting has a time limit, and it is about 60 minutes.

As soon as my coffee was finished I found myself in the kitchen, loading the dishwasher and trying to wrestle Robby away from the sink. While I did have a wonderful day with my husband and little boy, I would be remiss if I failed to notice some discrepancies between Mother's Day and Father's Day celebrations in our family.

To be fair, Scott did encourage me to stop cleaning the kitchen. However, he didn't exactly offer to do it himself. True, he would have been fine letting chicken bones sit on the counter for another day. Smells don't seem to affect him. Experience showed me that leaving a household task over the weekend merely leads to a hectic Monday as I play catch up on all the housekeeping. So while I appreciate the sentiment of "Don't work on Mother's Day" it is simply not practical!

On Father's Day, Scott is often met with pancakes and bacon in bed. Last year Robby and I pulled out the juicer and squeezed fresh orange juice. I love Starbucks, and I appreciate his taking Robby to get me a latte. He also picked up a sprinkled covered doughnut for Robby. Rather than sitting at the kitchen table with him while he ate it so that I could sip my coffee in bed, Scott allowed Robby to eat his doughnut in our bedroom. It took me 15 minutes to get the ground in sugar sprinkles out of the white carpet.

Restaurants are always crowded on Mother's Day, leading to long waits and sub-par food. We have always chosen to eat at home on these holidays. I was told that I could cook anything I wanted for dinner. For Father's Day, at his request, I prepared filet mignon with crumbled blue cheese, crab cakes, twice baked potatoes and a homemade chocolate pie. Last night we had meatloaf.

Nascar, which typically has a race every Sunday, traditionally does not have an event on Mother's Day. Father's Day is typically spent watching racing all day long while I deliver assorted snacks and drinks bedside. The absence of a race did not mean that the television was not the center attraction on Mother's Day. Apparently the Dirty Jobs marathon was riveting TV. So much for watching my sappy chick flick!

I know that Scott and Robby appreciate me and everything that I do. I also know that there is no way Scott could meet the expectations set forth by the Hallmark and 800 Flowers commercials. I do have to admit that my feelings are a little hurt that I had to remind him to hang my traditional Mother's Day banner. Is that petty? The commercials are not realistic and I think they should be boycotted.

We were talking this afternoon, and he said that these holidays simply mean more to women than they do to men. I have to agree with that assessment. I am going to start a new movement. After all, the doting and spoiling rarely lasts past the last sip of coffee. I hope that everybody had a wonderful Mother's Hour!