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, June 18, 2010

My Next Project

With my downstairs neat and tidy, I decided to turn my attention towards another pressing issue. My running leg is still uncomfortable making it difficult for me to maintain my jogging regime. I worked so hard to get into shape for the 5k, and I find it frustrating that I have not been able to continue running.

I think that a bone spur is probably developing. However, I disagree that I need to see my surgeon immediately. The painful spot only becomes noticeable and swollen when I am wearing my activity leg. In my Proprio, I don't feel the tenderness or burning that plagues my stump when I am trying to run. I am not a doctor, nor am I a prosthetist, but I have concluded that the area is aggravated by the new prosthetic.

Yesterday afternoon I packed up Robby and headed to see Elliot, my prosthetist. We tried various alignments and component adjustments with each change providing valuable headway. Finally, after over three hours of trial and error, we were pleased with the result. I was sent home with my freshly tweaked prosthetic, excited to go for a jog to try it out.

After taking a brief detour on the way home to buy Robby an ice cream cone (he was, after all, a very good little boy during the long wait) I was ready to put my leg through its paces. With my two boys to cheer me on, I set out on my first jog in nearly two weeks.

I didn't run a great distance, nor did I run fast. I did, however, run pain free for the first time since becoming an amputee. Knowing that it is possible for me to run without pain has given me a much needed boost.

Fixing dinner I was still reveling in my pain free jog. Then, I began to hear a puffing sound. I immediately knew that I was hearing air pushing through the valve. My leg was no longer maintaining suction. Without success, I tried all of the tricks which have worked in the past. The valve was broken.

Today I need to make yet another trip to Elliot's office to get a new valve. It is more of an inconvenience than anything else. I know that it will be a relatively easy fix and that this is a routine repair. Still, I am annoyed that I have to go; what else can go wrong with this leg!

Prosthetics, I have come to learn, require maintenance. Before my amputation I thought that a leg would be built, I would wear it, and that I wouldn't have to be concerned about it. I didn't realize that the valves would wear down, that liners would tear and that components break down over time. I never conceived that a few millimeters in alignment could make the difference between a comfortable prosthetic and one which cannot be tolerated.

I never imagined the collection of prosthetics I would accumulate in order to live a relatively normal life. Wouldn't it be wonderful if a prosthetic could be designed that did not break down, didn't require constant maintenance and could be used for all activities? Imagine the extra closet space I would have if I didn't have to make room for a running leg, a swim leg, a walking leg and a spare.

Today Robby and I were planning on meeting Scott for lunch because students are out for the summer and he is finishing up some paperwork. Instead of meeting, we are going back to Elliot's office to get the valve replaced. Perhaps we'll take Daddy out for dinner instead!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Nice And Clean

This week I have been determined to get our downstairs rec room cleaned up and usable. Sunday was spent painting while Monday I spent all day scrubbing and cleaning. With the room cleaned out, I began to concentrate my effort on the smell.

For the past few years the room has had an unsavory odor that fluctuated. We assumed it was the litter box, although it didn't smell exactly like cat urine. I took the litter box out of the room and began to follow the odor. My nose led me behind our bar.

I remembered that Scott had unplugged the little refrigerator shortly after Robby was born when we realized that we were not going to be entertaining for awhile. My first mistake was not making sure that the refrigerator was empty before it was unplugged. My second mistake was opening the refrigerator door.

Apparently as turkey sandwiches rot, they begin to liquefy. Left long enough in an enclosed area, the liquid begins to morph into a powdery mold. After recovering from the odor and the powder that wafted up when I opened the door, I proceeded to throw the entire refrigerator into the trash. The offensive lingering smell is gone!

I am hoping that we will start to use this area of our house now that it is clean and family friendly. I am tired of the three of us congregating in our bedroom to watch television in the evening. Our bed has been been used as a couch for so long that it is beginning to wear out. Our bedroom has been transformed into Robby's playroom. Trying to relax at night I find myself lying on an uncomfortable lumpy mattress staring at toy cars and plastic dinosaurs spread from corner to corner. Not exactly tranquil, nor does it contribute to a romantic atmosphere.

When we moved into this house Scott convinced me that we needed a projector television with 103" drop down screen. We installed surround sound and bought a very comfortable sectional sofa. It is like having a personal movie theater. Because of the smell and the mess, for the past few years the projector has only been used to show the computer program when I am riding my bike. We returned the DVR box to Comcast because we were no longer using it.

I knew that it didn't matter how clean the rec room became, we were not going to spend any significant time using it until we had cable again. At my urging, although he would call it nagging, Scott finally went and picked up a cable box. I assumed it would be as simple as making a few connections and my room would be complete.

I was wrong. I went downstairs this morning to set up the cable box. I quickly became tangled in a sea of green, blue, yellow and red cords. I was also confronted with the occasional black cord just to add extra confusion. In an act of frustration, I decided that it would be easier to start from scratch so I hastily unplugged everything.

In retrospect, that was not my brightest move. I worked for nearly 3 hours as I logically tried to connect the dots to complete my cable puzzle. I am not sure how I did it, and I am fairly confident that I couldn't do it again, but we now have a working cable box, dvd player and surround sound hooked up to the projector. (I could not figure out how to hook up the VCR so I unplugged it and put it in the garage.)

With the room clean, odor free and fully wired, I was excited to put it to use and to reclaim my bedroom. After his bath and getting into his pajamas, we tried to convince Robby to come downstairs to play and watch cartoons before going to bed. He refused and ran into my bedroom.

We tried to pick him up and carry him downstairs, thinking that when he saw the big television playing cartoons he would be convinced. He began to cry and shake. I scrubbed and cleaned for days. I wove my way through a maze of confusing cords and wires. None of this made an impression. Apparently I had done nothing to get rid of the goblins.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

That Stings

Every morning I wake up early to begin what inevitably turns out to be a busy day. Robby is a wonderful little boy but requires a lot of attention and energy. I not only cook his meals but also prepare Scott's lunch and dinner for the family. Many times I am asked to prepare food for Scott to take to work for his students. I clean, albeit not that well, and I do the laundry. I take care of the bills and the household shopping.

Several times a week Scott will call home from work to check in. He'll remark that he is "bored." I am typically elbow high in housework or finger paints, many times both simultaneously. I bite my tongue from responding, "You're bored? I am not. I'm never bored. I'm always busy!"

I'm not complaining about everything that I do. I love being a stay at home Mom although it is a lot harder than most realize. I would not miss out on this time with Robby for anything in the world, and not a day passes when I am amazed at how lucky I am.

With all of my responsibilities, I was surprised when I was informed today that I "do not contribute significantly to the household or family."

Several weeks ago I received an invitation to apply for membership in the National Association of Professional Women. Not knowing much about the organization, I did some research. I realized that it was an opportunity to network and to raise awareness both for my blog and my website. I submitted my application, listing my previous professional endeavors as well as my website and my blog.

I had actually forgotten that I applied for membership until I received a phone call yesterday from an individual in "membership services." I answered her questions concerning my blog and my website. She remarked that my blog was "awfully cute" but that it "did not affect the positive change the organization promotes." I was promptly thanked and then denied membership.

I am insulted that a stay at home Mom is so undervalued by this group. I have also invested a lot of time on my blog and website. It may not be on par with their professional standards, but they are not my audience and I would not expect them to understand my purpose.

Receiving my denial prompted me to take to the Internet to research this "elite" organization of women. I wanted to research the standards that I failed to meet. In an act of total irony, I learned that this organization is a scam. Apparently they recruit women for membership, solicit their credit cards and charge exorbitant and undefined fees, totaling in excess of $700 a person.

I assume that, upon learning that I am a blogger and a stay at home Mom, they figured that I did not have access to a credit card. I am lucky to have been denied access. I have learned a lesson, and I will not be so quick to apply to an organization soliciting my membership in the future.

Apparently this suspect organization considers me to be unworthy of their scamming resources. In this case, my "not contributing" to the household worked to my benefit, dubbing me unworthy and assumed indigent. As for my blog not "affecting positive change," I must take issue. I am warning my readers about the suspect practices of the National Association of Professional Women, hopefully thwarting their efforts to bilk money.

I would be remiss if I didn't admit that being denied membership into a fake organization because I am considered beneath their standards stings. I am a stay at home mommy, and I work hard. Even if the organization was legitimate, I am glad that I was not admitted. I would not want to be a member of a group that does not value my contributions and my efforts. Still, being rejected by scammers is a whole new low!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Hate Cleaning!

Yesterday morning I woke up energized and determined to get our downstairs rec room clean. It was, to be honest, beyond cluttered. The entire downstairs was dirty and in complete disarray. I flashed to scenes on "Hoarders" every time I entered into this part of the house. Because of the dirt and disorder, we have avoided spending there.

After my morning coffee, I donned my tiara (which I always wear when I clean) and entered the disaster area armed with a box of trash bags and a bottle of cleaner. I quickly became overwhelmed and had a difficult time getting started. I finally opted to start in one corner and work my way outwards.

Before I knew it, I had filled 10 trash bags with garbage and junk. It became cathartic throwing things out, and I was actually starting to have fun. Robby was a great little helper, eagerly pointing out more trash and organizing his toys.

After five hours and numerous trips up and down the stairs, I was starting to lose my enthusiasm. I was tired, my back was twinging and my stump was sore. I also knew that I was in the homestretch and that I needed to keep going. I ate an ice cream sandwich, checked Facebook and went back to work.

At about hour seven into my project, I began to think about how far I've come since my amputation. For the first several years following the surgery, we hired a cleaning lady to come once a week. I was convinced that I was not able to clean because it was more difficult on a prosthetic. More importantly, I had Scott convinced of the same, so he never objected.

After Robby was born and I began to stay at home, we reduced the cleaning service to twice a month. I reasoned that I was able to keep up with the light housework but that the heavy scrubbing etc. was still too difficult with an amputation. As I began to become healthier and to lose weight, I realized that my cleaning ability was not impacted by my prosthetic but only my attitude. We ended the cleaning service.

As I was pushing a queen size bed, I began to rue my own independence. I easily could have kept up the facade of "I can't do this" and I would have saved myself a lot of work today. I have discovered that I can do it; I just don't like to! I've already proven that my amputation isn't an obstacle when it comes to scrubbing. It would be nearly impossible to un-ring that bell and convince Scott of the necessity of hiring a cleaning service.

Scott developed a system years ago which he religiously refers to when dividing household jobs. Basically, he attempts to classify a chore as either an "ovary job" or a "penis job." He has been unsuccessful fully implementing his plan because I have noticed an inordinate amount of jobs under the "ovary" category while the "penis" responsibilities are limited.

I worked for nearly nine hours cleaning, scrubbing, moving, organizing and sorting out the junk. The downstairs is now a room we want to use. I filled over 25 trash bags and piled them by the door. Since Scott classifies cleaning as an "ovary" job, then taking out the trash surely falls under the realm of a "penis" job!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Why I Don't Relax....

It seems that everything has been moving at an uncomfortably fast pace lately. I feel as if I've been bouncing along my "to do" list, focusing all of my energy on the next project. As a family, we were in desperate need of some down time, to just relax and do nothing at all.

This past weekend we took full advantage of having nothing pressing to do. Robby and I spent Friday afternoon preparing for our "firefly party." The good thing about a four year old-- anything can become a party. It didn't seem to phase him that he and I were the only "guests."

Armed with bug boxes to hold our new friends and light sticks to help us see in case we got lost (Robby's idea), we started our quest. We found a few firefly bugs in our yard, but I noticed that our neighbor, Mr. Bill, had a lot more flying through his yard. I immediately remembered that, in an effort to get rid of mosquitoes and ticks, I sprayed for bugs earlier this Spring. Apparently I managed to eradicate most of the lightening bugs as well.

Mr. Bill is a wonderful neighbor and absolutely adores Robby. He invited Robby to hunt for the bugs in his yard. After 45 minutes of bug hunting fun, the bug box was full and glowing. We ate our ice cream and called it a night.

Saturday was spent running errands and watching the World Cup. I find it odd that Scott demonstrates a devoted interest in soccer only every four years, but I have accepted the fact that he will watch anything as long as it is a sport. Saturday evening we went out hunting for more bugs.

By Sunday I was quickly becoming bored with our weekend of doing nothing. I convinced Scott and Robby to accompany me on a blueberry picking expedition where we gathered nearly 10 pounds. I love blueberries!

While the boys were watching more sports on television, I set out to finish painting our downstairs rec room. I am not a particularly talented painter, but I must admit that it looks great. The walls are now a beautiful blue, as well as my hair, my arms, my prosthetic and two footprints on the carpet.

So much time spent "relaxing" forced me to look closely at the state of my house. It is, without a doubt, a wreck. I need to conduct a thorough cleaning, scrubbing baseboards and throwing away junk. With so many activities lately, the house has certainly fallen apart.

I'm feeling overwhelmed, but I have devised a plan. I'm going to start downstairs in one corner. Armed with trash bags and a bottle of cleanser, I am going to make sure that this house will be uncluttered, clean and organized. It is going to take me all week, and I know that I'll be tired. I guess it's a good thing that I was able to rest this weekend because I don't foresee sitting down in the near future.