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, March 25, 2011

Robby Rotten is Back!

When I was in Florida last week, the weather at home was beautiful. Both my mom and Scott bragged about blue skies and 70 degree weather. I, of course, was stuck in a conference hall unable to soak up any of the gorgeous Florida sunshine.

I returned and the weather immediately took a nose dive. It has been dreary, rainy and cold. We've had severe thunderstorms and high winds at night, keeping Robby from sleeping. He never used to be afraid of thunderstorms until we had a tornado warning a few weeks ago and his Daddy told him to "run for his life." Apparently it made quite an impression upon him because now he seeks shelter in the bathroom at the first flash of lightening.

Robby has been holed up all week, and he is jitterbugging all over my last nerve. Bored and antsy, I am convinced that he is purposely seeking mischief and trouble. His lack of sleep is certainly not helping his mood. If the weather doesn't clear up soon, I think that my house (and sanity) might be beyond repair.

Robby Rotten proudly drew a happy face on our new flat screen TV with a yellow crayon. He cut "pee pee" holes in several pairs of his underpants, explaining that it was going to be easier to go potty. I came upstairs from riding my bicycle and found him sitting, naked expect for his newly tailored big boy pants, eating ice cream from the container-- with his hands.

Yesterday afternoon I found him chiseling at the bricks on our fireplace with a screw driver. He was convinced that there was a secret passage that he just needed to find. I tried to explain that, if there were a secret passage, Mommy would have taken refuge in it a long time ago! He wasn't convinced and became irate when his tools were confiscated.

In addition to Robby Rotten making an unwelcome appearance, he doesn't even have the courtesy to be polite. His sweet little boy voice has morphed into a loud squawking tone with two levels, shriek and scream. He has taken to barking commands like a Drill Sergeant at boot camp. He was sentenced to time out from the military tribunal (me) when he suggested that I "put on the stupid running leg, hop to it and get a move on to make some pancakes... NOW!"

I am thinking about wearing my Bose ear phones around the house simply so I don't have to hear, "I'm so hungry" every few minutes. He has mistakenly taken me to be a short order cook.

Watching the evening news last night I nearly broke down into tears. Our extended forecast calls for cold rain through the weekend. I'd love to seek refuge in a long hot bath, but I'm worried that the leak hasn't been completely repaired yet.

I find myself looking at my little egg tree longingly. The sweet little boy who proudly presented it to me seems to be a distant memory. I miss him! Here's hoping that I survive the weekend and I am able to blog on Monday-- wish me luck!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


It's hard to believe that it has been three weeks since my sister Sheri had her stroke. I vividly remember driving to the hospital, terrified about how much neurological damage she could have sustained. At the time I never envisioned that she would be doing as well as she is 21 days later.

Sheri's recovery has been nothing short of miraculous. Her speech has been completely restored and her word recall is improving daily. She is able to walk without assistance and only has a slight shuffling of her feet. Although it remains her biggest obstacle, she is gaining strength in her right arm and hand.

My sister is now in an awkward stage of recovery. To onlookers, she appears completely healthy and unscathed. Only her close family and friends realize how difficult the most mundane tasks remain for her.

She can't move her arm enough to cook and her strength limits her activities. Opening a can is a laborious task. Every movement, especially on her right side, requires deliberate thought. Between daily functioning, caring for her husband and three small children and participating in grueling therapy sessions, she is exhausted.

Others fail to see that she still needs help and much of the initial outpouring of support is drying up. I know what she is feeling because I experienced a similar trend. This is normal: the crisis is over and people return to their lives. Knowing that something is expected doesn't make it easier to handle.

Perhaps my experiences have caused me to be hyper aware about continuing the support (and meals) past the crisis stage. I don't want those whom I care about to feel the sense of abandonment that stings so much, especially when they are continuing to struggle. I wish I lived closer to Sheri so that I could help more or at least cook her dinner.

In addition to struggling physically, my sister has officially entered the "anger" stage. I knew that it was coming; it was inevitable. Initially, she was so thankful to be alive and focused her thoughts on how bad things could have been. Now, although still grateful, she is comparing her current abilities to those that she had three weeks and a day ago. She is frustrated and angry that this has happened to her. I agree. It simply isn't fair!

There comes a time when somebody is recovering that they don't want to be reminded about how lucky they are. Yes, I knew that I was lucky to still have my knee and the rest of my limbs. I realized that I was fortunate to have been able to schedule my amputation. Despite all of the blessings that I was constantly reminded of, the fact remained that I no longer had my foot. At times I wanted to scream, "If I were truly lucky I wouldn't be in this situation at all!" I suspect my sister wants to yell something similar every time she is met with, "Wow, you're so lucky."

Three weeks ago our lives were forever changed. My sister is now working feverishly to regain her skills and independence. Although the doctors predict that she will be "normal" in six months, she will be living a new reality. She is now a stroke survivor.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Curious Cat...

Last night while giving Robby his bath, Scott noticed water dripping through the ceiling. He called for me and I immediately took off running down stairs. I have learned that when a leak is spotted, the dry wall will be hastily removed. By the time I arrived, he was already ripping down pieces of our ceiling.

After looking at the pipes--courtesy of the newly created hole in the ceiling--we were left perplexed. At this point Scott remembered that the bathtub has an access panel so we went upstairs and removed the panel. We immediately diagnosed the location of the leak. We reasoned that the drain in the tub became unsealed, allowing water to seep through when the tub was filled. Thankfully it will be an easy fix!

Scott and Robby settled into bed to watch hockey, and I was working on the computer. I was trying to put the leak out of my mind. After about 30 minutes I heard a meow. Scott heard it as well, and we began to search for the cats.

Sophie was easy to locate. She is old, pudgy and sedentary. She was asleep on Robby's race car bed. We knew that we were looking for Charlie.

Meow... meow... meow. The cries were loud but the location was difficult to locate. We went downstairs and it became louder. Meow... meow... meow. Standing under the newly formed hole the sound became even more pronounced. Scott and I exchanged looks and immediately knew that we had a problem.

The access panel was still off of the bathtub and Charlie took the opportunity to explore. The poor little kitten was imprisoned in our ceiling. He was scared, and Robby became frantic about his little companion being trapped.

Since I became an amputee, I have learned to hate ladders. I avoid climbing at all costs, but rescuing the kitten was worthy of trying. Despite my efforts, I couldn't keep my footing secure enough to grab Robby's furry little friend.

Scott took over and climbed to the rescue. Using a can of cat food we were able to lure Charlie within reach. Scott grabbed him. I heard the cat squeal, and then I heard Scott scream. In a flash, I saw the ladder get kicked out.

Dangling from the ceiling, I could only see Scott's torso and legs kicking wildly in the air. Drywall began to crumble. Between Robby crying, the cat squealing and Scott screaming a few choice expletives, it was quite a scene. I grabbed the ladder and tried to direct his feet onto the rungs.

Unfortunately he lost his grip on the cat. Robby continued to fret and was nearly inconsolable. He also took the opportunity to repeat every choice word he had just heard muttered.

After nearly an hour of cajoling and failed attempts, Scott managed to get another grip on Charlie. He screeched and fought but he was finally removed from the ceiling. Robby was delighted to have his little friend back. He smothered him with hugs and kisses before reprimanding the "damn cat" for getting caught in the ceiling. Charlie began to purr and seemed to immediately forget the drama. Meanwhile I lathered Scott in Neosporin to treat his scratches and cuts.

We immediately put the access panel back on the bathtub. Today I will to go Lowes to buy a new seal for the drain. The hole in the ceiling, which became shaped like a semi-circle when Scott's stomach became wedged, at some point will need to be repaired. In the meantime we have a Christmas quilt jammed into the hole, just in case the curious little kitty decides to go exploring again. And I thought we were going to have a calm night!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fish Wrangler

Robby's Nana gave him the greatest present ever last week. After dropping me off at the airport, she and Robby went directly to the sporting goods store where she bought him his very own, "big boy" fishing pole.

He apparently spent countless hours fishing off her back deck. According to my mom, he only stopped to get a snack or to get the fishing line untangled. I suspect that her gift had an ulterior motive of keeping him occupied in my absence. It certainly worked!

On the way back to Virginia on Sunday I remembered that the beloved Animal Park opened for the year. Robby and I have been going to this little zoo since he was one year old, and it is one of our favorite places. We both miss going when it is closed for the winter.

I told Robby that I had a secret but that I wasn't going to tell him what it was. I called Scott who packed a picnic and met us. Robby was beyond excited when I turned into the zoo. He began clapping his hands and screamed "Hooray! Spring has sprung in Virginia. Now let's get going to see those animals."

After petting his favorite little goat friend, we headed down to the pond. We talked about how he can bring his new fishing pole for the fishing derby this year, and Robby is convinced that he is going to catch a "ginormous cat fish."

Down at the pond we started chumming the water with cat food (which was stashed in my purse). The fish (carp) were swimming everywhere, extremely close to the shore. So close, in fact, that Scott told Robby to reach down and try to catch one with his bare hands.

I wanted to kick Scott for telling our little fisherman to try to wrangle a fish! I knew that we were destined to spend hours down by the pond as Robby tried to grab a fish. Two hours and a box of cat food later, Robby was not able to catch a fish. He got a good grip a few times, but the fish wiggled out of his hands.

I was hoping that he would forget about Daddy's suggestion of catching a fish with his hands. Those hopes were dashed this afternoon when I heard him talking to his fishing pole as he was practicing casting. I overheard him say, "Charlie (the name he has also given to his fishing pole as well as his cat), I will take you to the fishing derby at the Animal Park. I will put you on the picnic table so that you can watch and I will reach into the water and grab that fishy with my bare hands. I am strong and he won't wiggle through my fingers this time."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Welcome Home Present

Despite the adventure and "Mommy break" of last week's conference, I was ready to come home. It felt like the final leg of my flight home was taking an inordinate amount of time. Eager to see Robby, I admit that I threw an elbow or two to get off the plane quickly. I couldn't wait to see my little boy!

As soon as I walked passed security, I saw Robby. I knelt down (I knew that I risked being knocked over by him if I wasn't stable) and he ran into my arms. After my hug he turned and ran back to his Nana and retrieved something. He ran back to me and presented me with a treasure.

Robby and his Nana (my mom) went shopping to buy me something special. Robby initially wanted to get me diamonds because he knows that "Momom likes sparkly pretty things." Unfortunately he only had $20 of Kohl's cash.

He found something better than diamonds because what he chose is covered in glitter and is yellow. It happens to feature one of his favorite objects, the egg. Robby bought me an egg tree which he thinks is nothing short of magical.

Since presenting it to me, Robby has been insistent that the egg tree always be within my reach. If I walk out of a room, he quickly follows carrying the little treasure. At Robby's urging, the egg tree sat buckled into the front passenger seat on the ride back to Virginia. Since I returned home, the tree has been in the kitchen, the living room, my bedroom and, much to my chagrin, the bathroom. He is so proud of his gift that he showed it to Charlie Cat and to Mr. Bill.

Mr. Bill, after appropriately ooing and ahhing over the egg tree, asked Robby when the eggs were going to hatch open. He told my little animal lover that the eggs hanging on the branches need to be kept warm so that they will grow and hatch. I immediately told Robby that Mr. Bill was teasing, but I knew that part of Robby thought that Mr. Bill might be right.

I think I managed to convince Robby that the kitchen is the perfect location because I can look at it all the time. My little buddy agreed, and added that the kitchen stays nice and warm, especially when we bake cookies. I took that comment as a hint to start baking.

He was not hinting for cookies. I walked into the kitchen to find my cute little fake egg tree swaddled in a towel. Robby immediately offered his explanation, "Momom, you just never know what might be inside those eggs, so it is a good idea to keep it warm just in case. There might be a little tiny baby birdie in there."

I guess I should be happy that Mr. Bill didn't tell Robby that he needed to sit on the eggs!