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, January 21, 2011

Nightmare Vision

Occasionally I am profoundly affected by a story that I read or hear on the news. I was moved to tears and perseverated for days when I learned about the individuals with Albinism who were being hunted because their amputated limbs were touted to have medicinal value. Last night I heard about another event that moved me, and I have not been able to put it out of my mind.

I saw a fleeting reference to a "mob boss" in Bangladesh who was arrested for amputating the limbs of children. I searched on-line to learn more about this story and continued to hope that the teaser was an exaggeration. I was horrified when, as I dug deeper, I realized that the details were more horrific than anyone could have imagined.

Begging in Bangladesh is common for residents of this poverty stricken country. With begging children plentiful, the sympathy that was elicited was fading. In order to make more money, an organized crime ring decided to make the common toddler and young child more lucrative.

Over 15 children, all born with healthy limbs, are now amputees. They were attacked and had their limb (sometimes more than one) bludgeoned off with a machete. The young victims were then forced into servitude as beggars to earn money.

I tossed and turned last night, my mind racing with the gory details. I ended up moving to the pull-out sofa so that I could spare Scott a sleepless night. No matter how I tried to think of other things, my mind kept returning to the conjured images of those sweet little children and their horrified parents.

I had nightmares imagining Robby being torn from my arms to suffer as similar fate. The thought of his being maimed in such a heinous fashion makes me queasy, terrified, furious and grateful to live in Virginia. I feel guilty fretting and worrying over issues in my life when I realize what other people are enduring.

To put it simply, this under-reported news story has broken my heart. I know that this post is neither uplifting nor humorous, and I apologize. I guess I just needed to verbalize my feelings about this news story as an attempt to put the visions to rest.

Stories like this affect me differently now that I am an amputee and a mother. I wonder if I would have had this profound reaction if my situation were different. I never appreciated how precious it is to have a healthy child or have intact limbs before I became an amputee Mommy.

Last night, I migrated from my bed to the pull-out sofa in the living roomand then to the red race car bed in Robby's room. I knew that he was sound asleep and didn't need me. I suppose I needed to see him. With Robby continuing to feel ill (he is now on a different antibiotic) I am going to take every opportunity to cuddle with him, sneaking in extra hugs and kisses whenever I can!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Fashionista

This has been a laid back week. Poor Robby is still fighting off pneumonia, although he's been on antibiotics for a week and is still running a fever. He is taking frequent naps and doesn't want to do anything overtly strenuous. (I hate to admit that I have enjoyed his sudden return to napping, but it makes me sad that it is due to illness.) He seems content playing with his cars and watching them crash.

I should have been using this time to work on my mounting home to-do list. Instead I've been just as content sitting on the couch, watching television with him, and working on the computer. I am sure that when Robby is back up to full steam I will be kicking myself for not being more productive during my brief reprieve!

Out of desperation, I finally turned the channel from cartoons. If I heard "Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea" one more time I was going to run out of the room screaming. I tuned in "Say Yes to the Dress" thinking that a show about wedding dresses would bore Robby, perhaps lulling him off to another nap.

Who would have thought that my little four year old boy would unclench his matchbox cars and become enthralled with the show! I was surprised by his discriminating eye as he was providing his own critiques. I simply agreed when he looked up at me and in a sweet little voice said, "Momom, that dress makes her bum look too big. I liked the other one because her boobies are prettier." Typical male observation!

I have to admit that Say Yes to the Dress is one of my guilty pleasures. I love curling up on Friday nights with a bowl of ice cream to watch arrogant brides throw tantrums and cry. Some of the dresses are beautiful, but I can't fathom spending $10,000 on a garment that will only be worn for a few hours.

The show does make me dream though. Every Friday night I seem to dream of walking down the aisle wearing a flowing gown. I have written before about my desire for a wedding re-do and the show solidifies those feelings. If we ever do renew our vows, I think I'll take Robby dress shopping with me. I know he'll tell me if my bum looks too big in the gown!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm Leaving... After Cookies

Yesterday morning the phone rang at precisely 4:30 AM with the news that we were hoping to receive: Scott's school was closed for the day. Snow days, whether you are the student or the teacher, are simply a lot of fun!

Robby was delighted when he came prancing into our bedroom in the morning. He began jumping up and down on the bed, chanting "Daddy has a snow day hooray" repeatedly until Scott finally put on his glasses and sat up. Unfortunately, this was the last pleasantry demonstrated by Robby Rotten for the remainder of the morning.

He morphed into a little terror. He was mad he couldn't go outside to play in the snow. The fact that we had no snow, only ice, seemed to be my fault. He was angry that I wouldn't let him go ice skating on our pond. This request surprised me because he does not know how to ice skate nor do we have a pond. Both of these tidbits seemed to be my fault as well.

The morning came to a head when, after I told him for the third time that we were not going to bathe Charlie Cat, Robby looked in my eyes and told me that he hated me. I would be lying if I didn't admit that those words stung. I knew that eventually he would feel that way, but I thought I had at least ten more years!

After telling Robby that I will always love him, he stormed off to his bedroom. He emerged about ten minutes later, with his Thomas the Train bag overflowing and Black Bear tucked under his arm. He informed me that he was running away, told me that I was a "mean mean Momom" and he explained that he was a big boy now.

Without pausing, he then asked me to bake him some cookies so that he would have something to eat on his trip. He requested sugar cookies, and suggested that cupcakes might be nice as well. I was reminded that yellow sprinkles on his cookies are his favorite. He handed me a sippy cup and asked me to fill it with milk so that he had something to drink as he was running away.

He went on to explain that he was moving to Alabama to catch "Monster Fish." He told me not to worry, but that he was "out of here." Leaving his bag in the hallway, he told me that he would wait for his cookies and cupcakes before he left.

I found him five minutes later, sound asleep on my bed. I decided to bake the cookies anyway. He seemed thrilled when he woke up to discover his baked treats. He didn't mention his move to Alabama again and neither did I. We spent the rest off the afternoon playing pirates and crashing cars.

The antibiotics are working on Robby's infection, and despite the little breakdown his behavior has been improving. Right now, I'm glad that cookies and sleep seem to take away his problems. I know that our relationship won't always be that easy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bone Spur/ Bursa Strikes Again

Perhaps it would be prudent for physicians to issue a prescription for antibiotics for parents whenever one is written for their children. Robby began feeling better at precisely the same moment I began to feel ill. Gone is the time when he wants to snuggle in bed and be still. He apparently has a lot to do--until his illness catches up with him and he crashes.

Soon after Robby was born I learned an important lesson of Motherhood. Unlike father's, mommies are not afforded the luxury of not feeling well. I must have a high fever, accompanied by vomiting, night sweats and some level of delirium in order to be deemed sick enough to stay in bed. Anything less is classified as not feeling well. This simply means that it takes me longer to do everything around the house.

I am not sure if it is a coincidence, but my bone spur/ bursa has started to become more bothersome during the past few days. I suspect that I am run down and not compensating within my socket to keep the lump from rubbing. It has become natural for me to push back in my socket to avoid putting pressure on the sore spot. When I'm not feeling well, every movement, including those within my socket, become more laborious. I guess I'm just becoming lazy as I walk in my DayQuil induced daze.

I am reminded that I need to call my surgeon and schedule an appointment. I've been dealing with the bone spur/ bursa for nearly a year. Although I have learned to compensate for it, moments like this motivate me to have it removed completely.

Unfortunately, removing the lump means surgery, and I hate having revision surgeries. I'm not afraid of the pain of the actual surgery; I've certainly had enough experience dealing with that! No, I dread being without my leg.

I have had two revision surgeries since Robby was born. I encountered difficulties caring for him after both procedures and had to elicit help from family and friends. I'm hoping that now that he is older, mobile and able to listen (not that he always does) being without my leg will be easier. Of course, it is nearly impossible to schedule a time that is convenient for Mom to be without her leg.

Robby, although he is feeling better, is still not well. He needs to stay quiet and has been content playing with cars and cleaning my floors with a small dust pan and broom (I don't stop his efforts). I'm just as happy to stay home because I know that keeping my leg off is the best course of action. I figure that my floors will be swept completely clean by the time I'm feeling better and able to walk without pain, so right now I'm not complaining!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Seeking Help

A lot of energy was spent last year contemplating and worrying about my future employment. With Robby entering kindergarten next year, my tenure as full-time stay at home Mommy is coming to an end. I spent seemingly scores of sleepless nights worrying about my future and what path I wanted to take. For the first time in my life, I felt as if I were approaching a professional crossroads and was completely lost.

During this time I wasn't able to clearly define my future professional aspirations. However I did rediscover passions that I thought had been lost. I love to write, to meet new people and to share ideas and support.

Searching on the internet one night (during another worry induced insomnia episode) I discovered that my prosthetist office (Orthotic Prosthetic Center) had a blog. I clicked on the link and was surprised when I realized that no posts were written. A blog with no posts is not exactly useful!

On a whim, I sent my prosthetist Elliot an email, offering to help him write his blog. He took me up on my offer. With a simple offer I began my professional blogging career. During the past few months the job has expanded to include maintaining the OPC Facebook page, a twitter account and the website. I even have a title: Director of Social Media. Yes, I figured out a way to turn my guilty little social networking pleasure into a part time job!

Last week I was asked to help OPC organize and promote a venture that is close to my heart. I have been honest revealing my struggles concerning my weight. I have come to the conclusion that maintaining a healthy weight is going to be a lifelong struggle. I simply love brownies, cookies and cake!

I mentioned to Elliot the need for amputee role models in terms of weight loss and maintenance. He agreed, and lacking any role models we have decided to create our own. We are organizing a weight loss competition for area amputees. Elliot has agreed to provide a free prosthetic foot or hand to the winner, a huge incentive.

We are launching "New You, New Year, New Foot (or hand)" and I have been asked to solicit participants. Reaching out to our patients is easy. However, we would like to open up the contest to all amputees in the Northern Virginia, Maryland and DC area.

Never undeterred by my lack of training and experience, last week I sat in front of my computer and contacted the local newspapers and television stations. I know that a little publicity would help boost participation.

I want to do a good job, to prove myself as an asset. For the first time in over a year, I have been feeling optimistic about my professional future. I'm excited about the work that I've been doing, and I know that this position could be the perfect fit for both my personality and family priorities. To be blunt, I don't want to mess this up! In addition, it is something about which I have a passion. Being overweight as an amputee is harmful in more ways than I can enumerate, and yet most amputees find it difficult to find help and inspiration to achieve their weight loss goals. I need to find a way to reach my audience.

I don't have any experience promoting events, and I'm not sure how to go about it effectively. I followed the advice from web pages etc., but if anybody has any practical knowledge that they are willing to share, I would be grateful. How does one go about enticing the media to cover an event so that we can reach more amputees? Right now, this job is too important for me to fail. If you can help in any way, I would appreciate it. I might even send you some cookies!