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 28, 2011

Sledding Fun!

Preparing My Snow Leg

Yesterday an official snow day was declared at our home. Scott was off work (he is off again today making for a one day work week) because we received almost a foot of snow. Robby could barely contain his excitement.

Knowing that I was going to be outside for a long time, I employed all of my amputee stump-warming tricks. There is little more uncomfortable than a frigid residual limb! It would have disappointed Robby had I cut our snow fun short because my leg was cold.

I activated two hand warmers and placed them in the bottom of my socket. I found that the heat that is generated counters the cold that is conducted up through the pylon in my prosthetic. I buy my hand warmers by the case as they have proven an invaluable tool in the winter.

I then wrapped the pylon with an ace bandage. I hate when snow becomes impacted inside my foot shell; I end up leaving a trail of melted water throughout my house as my leg thaws. The simple step of wrapping the prosthetic keeps snow from sneaking into the nooks and crannies of my prostheses.

After I slipped on my leg, I pulled on a suspension sleeve. I wear a seal-in liner so I typically do not need the sleeve. However, I have learned that deep snow can have a gripping effect on a prosthetic. After walking completely out of my leg when maneuvering through high drifts and landing face first into the snow, I've learned to reinforce my suspension!

With my prosthetic now snow ready, I pulled on my snow pant overalls, put on my scarf, gloves, coat and hat. Finally, I was ready to conquer the snow. Of course, I then had to dress Robby in his arctic garb.

Robby and I were outside for hours and had a great time. After clearing the driveways of all three neighbors (my little guy loves to be helpful) we retired our shovels so that we could play. We threw snowballs and went sledding. Okay, he went sledding. I ended up pulling the sled around the yard like a sleigh dog.

I'm glad that I took the extra precautions to protect my limb from the cold and to secure my prosthetic. I despise being cold almost as much as I hate being limited by my amputation. Robby went to sleep early, exhausted from playing. I'm sure he had visions of snowballs in his dreams. If you need me today, I'm sure I can be found bundled up, outside playing in the snow again.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Play

Unlike much of the East Coast, we have not had a lot of snow this winter. Robby has been lamenting that he hasn't been able to go sledding and his new shovel has barely gotten a workout. Yesterday the weatherman's predictions became a reality and the fluffy white flakes began to fall.

As soon as we had enough snow to cover the grass, Robby began pleading to go outside and play. Putting dinner on hold, I dressed him in his snowpants, coat, boots, hat and gloves. As soon as he was bundled up he informed me that he had to "pee pee."

I began to remove the layers when Robby had a "great idea." He began to beg for me to go outside to pee in the snow. He explained that Mr. Bill told him that "peeing in the snow is a good way to practice my letters for kindergarten." Although I don't understand the novelty, I am beginning to accept that boys simply like urinating outside. I let him practice his letters.

Once he was re-zipped and his gloves were put back onto his hands, we headed out to tackle the snow. As we played outside for about an hour, the flakes were falling so fast that it was difficult to see. The sun was setting and it was beginning to get dark. I finally lured my frozen little boy into the house with the promise that we would play again tomorrow.

The snow continued to fall throughout the afternoon and into the night. By the time the flakes stopped falling, we received about 11 inches. Scott's school called off early so he didn't have to worry about getting up for work. Robby went to sleep anticipating Daddy's snow day and playing for hours outside.

I used to think that an undisturbed and freshly fallen snow on the trees in our woods was the prettiest sight in the winter. Looking outside, I realized I was wrong. My yard is covered with foot prints. Sled paths have been carved into the snow on every hill. A small army of snow angels has been made up and down the driveway. The remnants of Robby's letter writing are still visible. From where I'm sitting, my yard is absolutely beautiful!

Wish me luck as I try to keep up with Robby in the snow. I may even try sledding, which I haven't done in years. Of course, the roads haven't yet been cleared so taking me to the hospital should my natural grace rear its head again could be tricky. Maybe I'll just stick with building a snowman!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Am I a Maid?

Yesterday, after spending several days at my mom's house, I packed up Robby and returned home. I was hesitant about leaving my Mom alone so soon after her surgery, but I understood her request to be alone. Robby was well behaved but he is still full of energy and requires a lot of attention from his Nana. My mom wanted to sleep and relax until her follow-up appointment on Friday.

Robby and I have been away from home since Saturday morning. It didn't take much to convince him that it was time to go home. I merely mentioned that Charlie cat missed him, and he took off to grab Black Bear and his coat. It had been a long few days, and I was looking forward to getting home and relaxing.

As soon as I entered my house, I felt the sense of comfort that comes when you return home. The warm and cozy feeling was quickly replaced by ire. The house was exactly how I had left it- nothing was different.

I made cheeseburgers for Scott before I left Saturday morning. The frying pan was still on the stove, full of old beef grease. The cup of milk that Robby drank Saturday morning for breakfast was still in the sink, only it had turned from a liquid into a solid. The Golden Grahams had soaked up all of the milk in the bowl and then shriveled into tiny sticky little squares that were stuck on the bottom of the cereal bowl.

The crumbs on the counter were undisturbed. My half-full coffee cup was covered with a layer of what I can only assume to be some sort of mold. The dishwasher, full of clean dishes, was untouched.

Scott slept three nights in our bed without knocking over the piles of folded laundry that were placed opposite of his side of the bed. I was relieved to know that we had clean clothes because he forgot to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer Saturday afternoon. The clothes that were washed have to be rewashed in order to remove the moldy odor.

I know that Scott ate while I was gone. I found his dishes in the sink as well as an empty ice cream container in the computer room. Unfortunately, he failed to run the garbage disposal after jamming his scraps down the sink. My kitchen wreaked but, in fairness to my garbage disposal, the smell from the chicken bones that were thrown in the trash on Thursday was worse.

I had a nice visit with my Mom, and I was glad to be able to help her. My hopes of relaxing with my family Tuesday night evaporated when I saw the state of my home. I had returned to a bachelor's squalor. Since today is a snow day, I think it is the opportune time to give the part-time bachelor a lesson in cleaning.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Fateful Encounter

Yesterday I woke up at dawn, prepared to sit and wait for most of the day. I dressed comfortably, opting for an over sized sweater and my black capri style sweat pants. I wasn't exactly making a fashion statement, but being both warm and comfortable were my priorities.

After arriving to the hospital two hours before the procedure time, and waiting nearly 3.5 hours (the doctor was running 90 minutes late) my Mom was finally wheeled into surgery. She was administered a relaxant through her IV as she was being taken into the operating room. By the time I kissed her good-bye she was smiling a goofy broad smile and repeating that she "liked that nurses medicine."

I grabbed my laptop bag, a cup of coffee and settled in for a long day. Sitting in the waiting area, working on my computer, I noticed an older couple staring at me. I smiled and continued working. I heard them begin to whisper about my leg which, until that moment, I didn't realize was noticeable. I suppose am so accustomed to being an amputee that many times I am unaware of when my prosthetic is visible.

In an attempt to thwart the attention so that I could resume my work, I decided to engage the couple in conversation. I had no idea that a simple "hello" would cause the lady to break down into tears. I have always been a believer in fate, and yesterday merely made my belief stronger.

The couple were waiting for their child (Rick, a 22 years old male) to come out of surgery. Apparently Rick had been in a snowmobiling accident earlier this winter and had injured his leg. His wound failed to respond to treatments and he was having his left foot and ankle amputated.

These loving parents were terrified as they were waiting for their son to have his leg amputated. Of all of the places I could have chose to wait in the hospital, I ended up on the couch across from them. They must have been shocked to see an amputee at that precise moment!

I told her about my accident, the surgeries and my ultimate decision to amputate. I focused on the recovery, especially what I felt immediately following the surgery. We talked about prosthetics and how they work. The Dad looked relieved when I popped my leg off and let him examine it.

I spoke with this couple for the duration of their wait. I tried to answer their questions as honestly as possible, and I tried to address concerns that I perhaps they were too polite to ask. Above all, I tried to relay that the journey won't always be easy for Rick, but that he can find life as fulfilling on one leg as he did when he had two. I cautioned them to allow him time to grieve, and to remind him that he is loved and accepted. The pain will initially be intense, but it wanes. I warned the parents to be careful about him becoming dependent upon pain medication. Too many amputees turn to prescription drugs to numb emotional instead of physical pain!

I was with the parents when the surgeon arrived with the news that the surgery was complete. I saw the look on their faces, relief that the procedure was over mingled with the reality that their child is now missing a limb. I gave them a hug and my contact information when they left to be with Rick.

I was thankful that I was able to help somebody yesterday. I was feeling helpless simply sitting and waiting for news on my Mom. In many ways, it is a lot easier being the patient!

On another note, my Mom came through the surgery without complications. The procedure was longer and more involved than anticipated, but she is a trooper! She is comfortable at home, wearing her new pajamas and relaxing with her puppies.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Funny Patient

This morning I find myself in an unusual situation of spending the day at the hospital. I am used to being a patient, but this morning my role has changed. I will be in the waiting room as my Mom is having surgery. (Yes, I will have to sign off as the "responsible adult.")

Thankfully, the surgery is not life threatening and has been described as "routine." From experience I've learned that anytime a scalpel is involved, the only individual who would refer to it as routine is the surgeon! I'm apprehensive, but I'm happy to be able to support and help my mom. My mom has certainly been on the waiting end for enough of my surgeries.

The first time I took my mom for a procedure, I didn't know what to expect. I was uncomfortable with the role reversal as I had become adept at being the patient. Being the caretaker was out of my comfort zone. In some ways, it is easier to be the patient.

I never would have imagined how funny my mom becomes waking up from anesthesia. She certainly makes each procedure a comical adventure. Although I'm sad that she has to have surgery, I have to admit that I am looking forward to the emergence of "Goofy Mom."

Once she decided that she didn't like the post-operative nurse and decided to be defiant. When asked to provide her daughter's name, she decided that it was none of the nurse's concern. My Mom lied and told the nurse her daughter's name was Sue. I had to lie to the nurse about my name to be able to retrieve my mom. (My most uncooperative patient continued to make faces behind the nurses back as we left the hospital.)

After another procedure. my Mom insisted that I drive through McDonald's on the way home. She was insistent, despite warnings that the food might upset her stomach so soon after anesthesia. As I reached for the food through the window, my Mom leaned over and screamed "Thank you for the fat. Your greasy food tastes good!" She quietly munched on her hash brown patty for the rest of the drive home.

Today, I am prepared to sit and wait. Thankfully there is a "Decorate your own Doughnut" shop next to the hospital which should occupy Robby during the procedure. Between managing Robby on a sugar induced high and caring for my Mom on an anesthesia induced stupor, my afternoon should be interesting!