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.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

By 6:15 this morning, all of the presents were unwrapped and my living room looked like a paper tornado had landed! Robby was excited about all of his gifts, but squealed when the coveted "Criss Cross Crash" was opened. He immediately asked his Daddy to help him put it together.

As Robby was happily skipping through the living room, looking at his new treasures, Scott set out to assemble the HotWheels toy. One look at the parts that were included in the box and we both knew that something was wrong.

Despite the box being factory sealed, Robby did not receive Criss Cross Crash. He now has the box for Criss Cross Crash filled with a few pieces of another HotWheels set. Unfortunately all of the pieces for the incorrect set are not included either, so he basically received a few pieces of useless plastic.

Robby handled the disappointment better than his parents. Scott and I are both sad for him and upset. There is nothing that we can do to rectify the situation today so we put the box out of sight.

He loves his other toys and is happily engrossed playing. There is a gentle snow falling outside, and everything looks beautiful. Despite the Criss Cross mix-up, it has been a wonderful morning.

Snowman and Santa shaped pancakes are being requested by both boys, so I to work my culinary magic.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010


Merry Christmas Eve! It is hard to believe that tonight Santa loads up his sleigh and travels the world delivering toys and treats to all the good boys and girls. Robby is convinced that Santa will be stopping at his house and is giddy with excitement. (I suspect he is playing the odds that the Jolly Elf has been too busy to check his list twice!)

I am an expert sale shopper. If I could parlay that skill into a profession, I would be wealthy. I stayed well within budget this year by shopping sales and Craigslist during the summer months. All of Robby's Christmas presents have been riding in the trunk of Scott's car waiting to be wrapped. Yesterday morning I sent Scott to buy wrapping paper at the Dollar store.

He returned from the quick errand nearly four hours later. It seems that a new toy store opened up next to the Dollar Store. Scott, unsupervised in a toy store, is a recipe for a budget disaster.

He decided to stop in and pick up a few stocking stuffers. Apparently Scott anticipated Robby hanging Andre the Giant's stocking! Three toy stores later my happy toy shopper returned. The seats in his car are now piled to the roof with "must have" toys. When I asked about the price, I was reminded that Robby is only this age once and told that the toys he picked were "super cool and fun." So much for my budget!

Tonight will be spent munching on cookies, sipping cocoa and assembling presents. Everything will be Norman Rockwell perfect when Robby wakes up tomorrow morning. The tranquility will last approximately 5 minutes as he eagerly tears through his haul.

Merry Christmas Eve. I'll post pictures tomorrow, as well as Robby's reaction to receiving the coveted "Criss Cross Crash" toy, a much wished for set by many, many little boys. It's a good thing that Santa has had it in the trunk of his sleigh for a few months!

I couldn't find all of the stockings this year. We decided to improvise!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rude Rude Rude

Today Christmas came early for Robby and his cousins. Robby has missed his Candy Papaw since he took a new job and moved. My Dad and his wife are visiting her family for the holidays, and they have decided to create a special visit for the grandchildren as they travel through the area.

Hotel rooms have been reserved for my family, my sister's family and my Dad and Phara, his wife. All of the kids are excited about swimming in an indoor pool and seeing their beloved Candy Papaw. My sister's children have never been to a hotel room which adds to the excitement for my niece and nephews!

Since the birth of his first grandchild, it has become a tradition that I do the toy shopping for my Dad. At first it started because he was busy with work and traveling between DC and Texas weekly. Not to brag, but I pick out excellent gifts on behalf of my Dad. I believe I am partly responsible for his "hero status" among the kids!

Armed with his credit card and my shopping list, I set out on my mission. I have spoken with Santa's main distribution officer to confirm what each child will be receiving on Christmas to avoid duplication. With my reindeer antlers proudly on top of my head and my jingle bell shirt singing with each step, I set out to conquer Target.

Because of my back injury I am forced to walk gingerly. My gait has been compromised and I have given up worrying about the aesthetics of my walk until I am healed. Right now I am more concerned with ambulating without pain versus looking graceful and natural. Apparently my walk was more awkward than I realized.

I wasn't in the store five minutes before I was approached by a middle aged woman with mismatched clothes and unruly hair. With a booming voice, she nudged me on the shoulder and said, "Well, don't you look like Tiny Tim!" I responded with an eloquent "Huh?"

She went on to repeat that I looked like Tiny Tim. In an attempt to prove her point she proceeded to mimicked my gait as she circled my cart. Only the facts that my back hurt and that I didn't want to be arrested for assault kept me from running this ignorant, bad breathed, bed-head haired woman down with my cart full of toys.

Imagine the headlines had I not demonstrated such Olympic restraint. "One-legged Reindeer Impersonator Goes Wild" or "Attacked by Rudolph, Shopper Visits Proctologist to Remove Jingle Bell." Once the facts were revealed, though, I am fairly confident that I would have been acquitted by a jury!

Instead of responding or starting a full blown throw down at the Target, I simply smiled. I curtly told her that I am an amputee and my back hurts. I wished her a Merry Christmas, put the Lego's in my cart and continued with my shopping. I briefly considered ramming into her with my cart as I walked away. Instead I held my head high and just hummed "Grandma got run over by a reindeer."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bad Bad Back

This has not been unfolding into the carefree, memory-creating Christmas week that I had envisioned. I imagined Christmas music wafting through my house as we sugared our treats and glittered our crafts. I planned on working up the enthusiasm for Santa to a fevered pitch. This was going to be the best Christmas season ever.

Monday night I went to sleep with thoughts of baking cookies with Robby. I was looking forward to waking up in the morning and turning my kitchen into a cookie factory. Instead, I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain.

I consider myself as a heavy weight when it comes to pain tolerance. I've survived an amputation and chemotherapy treatments. It takes a big blow to knock me down.

I woke up with a painful back. After lying in bed for nearly an hour, contemplating whether or not the pain would subside, I finally conceded and knew that I needed ibuprofen. After another 20 minutes of moving gingerly and contorting, I finally managed to get my leg on. Putting on the liner was torturous because every movement released another sharp stabbing pain in my back. I was miserable!

After managing to don my liner and prosthetic, I walked towards the closet to retrieve my housecoat. I was hoping that sitting in my rocking chair would alleviate some of the pain while I waited for the medicine to take effect. I reached to take the robe off of the hook on the closet door.

Time seemed to freeze in that moment. I was standing in the closet with my arm extended, and I could no longer move. It was as if I the intensity of the pain had turned me into a statue. I felt as if everything was becoming darker as the ringing in my ears became louder. I screamed for Scott to help me.

I remember Scott standing over me as I was lying on the closet floor. Apparently he had arrived in time to watch me pass out. I have no memory of my falling or hitting the ground. I was terrified.

I stayed on the closet floor for nearly an hour, partly because I couldn't move because of the pain but also because I was scared. I have never felt pain so intensely debilitating.

A visit to my doctor Tuesday morning confirmed that I had an "intense muscle spasm." I could have saved myself the $15 copay with that diagnosis! My doctor also confirmed that I fainted because of the intensity of the pain. If I wasn't hurting so badly I am sure I would have said something witty about his medical deducing powers. I held my tongue primarily because he held the power- which in this situation was in the form of his prescription pad.

After a day of rest and medication, I am feeling better. My back continues to feel tender but the pain is not nearly as strong. Instead of enveloping ourselves in the sights, smells and sounds of the season, I found myself sitting in a physician's waiting room and listening to the jingle of pills in a bottle instead of bells.

My Christmas baking plans have been hijacked, but I will not surrender. I'm sure everybody will welcome a box of cookies for President's Day instead of Christmas. And while I'm at it, maybe I can substitute family Valentine's Day cards in lieu of Christmas cards?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Christmas Wish... A Radio Essay

Several weeks ago I heard a commercial for a contest on my local radio station. Listeners were asked to write an essay detailing their Christmas wish. Throughout the month of December, until Christmas Eve, deserving essays are chosen and the wish is granted.

About a week after I submitted my essay I received a telephone call informing me that I was a finalist. It was difficult for me to temper my excitement, but I am glad that I was able to hold my secret. Since it is almost Christmas Eve and I have received no further contact, I can only assume that my essay was not chosen. Despite not winning the contest, I wanted to share my essay.

My Christmas wish is not for myself, but rather for the members of one of the strongest families I know. My sister Sheri, along with her three young children and husband, have been through hell during the past two years. Despite the obstacles, they have remained a loving, optimistic and cohesive team. My wish for them is a vacation, to rejuvenate as a family and to create positive memories.

In the summer of 2009 the Baker family was looking forward to a Disney vacation. Unfortunately Sheri was diagnosed with breast cancer that spring. The summer months were spent undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. She lost her hair but not her spirit. The family, already struggling financially, nearly broke under the weight of the medical bills.

Wade, my brother in law, took a second job to provide his wife with the best medical care possible. Working nearly 16 hours a day left him on the brink of exhaustion. Because of his long hours, he spent little time with his children, at the time ages five, three and two.

My sister, sick from the treatments, struggled to care for her children. It was a difficult summer, but our families rallied and my sister was pronounced cancer free. She has remained cancer free and ran the Komen Race with me in May on the one year anniversary of the date she started chemotherapy.

Finally, after several tumultuous months, all seemed to be returning to normal. Wade was able to give up his second job and my niece was settling into kindergarten. Happiness and normalcy were slowly beginning to replace the stress that had been residing in the home since the cancer diagnosis.

On November 12, 2009 the family suffered another devastating blow. My nephew Jacob, at the time only 3 years old, was struck by a car in Hanover, Pennsylvania. He was flown by helicopter to Children's Hospital in Hershey. My little nephew's seizure disorder complicated his case, leaving him medically fragile.

Miraculously, Jacob survived his injuries. He suffered a broken pelvis and leg, lacerations and a head injury. By all accounts, his injuries should have been much worse. Physical therapy was added to the growing list of therapies that Jake was already receiving because of his seizure disorder and resulting disabilities.

In the midst of this tragedy, the family focused upon the miracle of little Jakey's survival. My sister tackled Jake's rehabilitation with the same tenacity that she battled cancer. I remain in awe of my sister's strength and resilience during this trying time.

Wade, a truck driver, had his hours reduced during the winter because of the harsh weather. The reduced pay check combined with mounting therapy costs and hospital bills left the family frazzled and financially uncertain. It took months for the uninhibited laughter of childhood to return to the home because of the financial and the emotional strain.

Every day after school my six year old niece puts her extra lunch money in a jar to save for vacation. The medical bills are still being paid, leaving "fun money" in short supply. My sister and her family have been through so much, yet they continue to consider themselves blessed.

I would like my niece and two nephews to have happy memories to help temper the turmoil from the past two years. My wish is that I could make the family's dream vacation of going to Disney World a reality.

I'm bummed out that we didn't win. I was looking forward to giving my niece and nephews Mouse ears for Christmas. At least I tried...

Monday, December 20, 2010


It's beginning to sound a lot like---barking? Yes, my poor little guy has come down with croup. He became sick so quickly that initially I suspected that he was trying to manipulate us into letting him watch cartoons!

I feel bad for not believing his complaints. We were at a Christmas party on Saturday and he was fine. He was happily playing with his little friends and protested when it was time for us to leave. Somewhere during the walk back home, which was only two houses, he became ill.

When I started to hear the high-pitched seal cough I knew immediately that it was going to be a long night. I had several episodes of croup when I was a child and I vividly remember waking up in the middle of the night trying to gasp for air. My Mom would scoop me up and usher me to the bathroom which she would quickly fill with steam. What I most remember is being absolutely terrified.

I wanted to spare Robby as much of the terror that I felt when I had croup. I pulled out the sofa bed next to him and settled in for a long night. His cough was becoming worse, and I knew that the seal bark from my childhood nightmares returned to terrorize my child.

I suspect that there is little about of being an amputee that I detest more than my delayed response time when Robby needs me in the middle of the night. I heard my little boy bark with croup and my first instinct was to pop out of bed and grab him. I acted on instinct and forgot that I am an amputee.

My middle of the night the Mommy rescue went something like this: "Bark cough, bark cough, step, thud, oh sh*#!" (Thankfully the other expletives were masked by the loud barking cough. Luckily I was sleeping in his room, so my fall was broken by the side of his race car bed.

My little boy was in a full croup attack, and I had to stop and put on my stupid liner and leg. I am fairly confident that I donned my liner and leg with record speed. It wasn't until Robby's cough had calmed and I was getting him a cup of water that I realized my leg, and hence my foot, was on sideways. I was mildly impressed with my ability to walk on such an askew device.

He had several croup attacks during the night, but I am a quick study. I slept the rest of the night with my liner in place. It certainly wasn't the most comfortable but it increased my response time.

Robby woke up Sunday morning and was no worse for wear. His croup left as quickly as it arrived and spent the day making glitter art, specifically a variety of happy faces. I spent part of the day stewing. I resent that I have the slightest delay when caring for Robby when he is in trouble! And now I have laryngitis... Sheeeeshh!