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 17, 2011

Wall of Legs

Lined up along a wall in my living room I have an arsenal of prosthetic legs. I'm sure that it must look strange to guests who enter our house, but each leg has a purpose and a defined use. I never realized how much planning it would take to be an amputee!

I have a leg for walking. Receiving my Proprio foot was a life changing event. Despite its numerous attributes, a microprocessor does have limitations, hence the reason for my other legs.

I have a swim leg which I also use to play in the snow in the winter and run through the sprinkler in the summer. I also wear my swim leg when we dance in the rain, throw water balloons or play puddle tag.

When I want to run, jog or kick a ball, I wear what is referred to as my "running leg." I don my MOD III anytime I want to do a higher impact activity. Truth be told, Robby prefers my "running leg" because he knows that I can play tag while wearing it. He has even tried to hide my Proprio in an attempt to force my wearing the activity leg.

One of the most frustrating things about being an amputee is the need to constantly change prosthetics to suit the activity. Being active takes planning, and I'm not exactly renown for my planning abilities! More than once I've had to stop doing something or have had to return home because I had the wrong leg.

I would love a "one leg fits all activities" prosthetic. Despite the strides made during the past few years, this is not yet a reality. It would be liberating to have a leg that would work optimally in all conditions and situations. Until then, I'll try to plan ahead and keep my "wall of legs" at the ready.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Another Poop Blog... Yes, Sorry!

I realize that my need to stay busy borders on compulsion. I decided that this summer I was going to slow down and simply be in the moment with Robby and Scott. During the past few days I've been trying to relax my pace as well as reduce my activities. It has not been easy.

Yesterday the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Not wanting to work in the yard but wanting to enjoy the weather, we headed to the Animal Park. Robby could not have been more excited.

He chatted the entire drive to the park. Upon entering, he retrieved his cones of animal feed and we proceeded to visit his beloved goats. The most amazing thing happened while Robby's little baby goats were eating.

The event was the source of conversation for the remainder of the day and evening. Robby chatted about the incident to every park visitor we encountered.To my chagrin, he even ran over to share the news with our neighbors when we got home.

The baby goat pooped. For some reason, seeing the goat defecate is the source of both wonder and amusement for my little five year old. Witnessing this awe inspiring and comical event also seemed to remind Robby of the humor of the word "poop."

Last night, every other word out of his mouth was "poop." He didn't want a cheeseburger, but he hungrily ate his "poop burger." He refused ice cream but frantically asked for "poop cream" when I closed the freezer.He asked for a "poop bath" before getting into his "poop jammies." Before going to bed, he grabbed "poop bear" and gave me a "poop kiss." Each newly created word was followed by a loud and hearty laugh. (He was the only one finding the new game funny.)

Out of a desire to maintain my sanity and to escape the poop-inspired antics, I found myself outside picking up sticks at 7:30 PM. The mosquitoes were biting my ankle but the blood-letting didn't deter me. (I did find some satisfaction in the fact that only one leg was being bitten to pieces.) I was happy for the excuse of a chore to escape my house.

I had hoped that I had written my last "poop" blog. I was wrong, and I hate to complain. However, his poop jokes aren't funny to most people over the age of five and are beginning to drive me crazy. If he remembers the unflattering word game today, I am going to have to abandon my no housework vacation. Clearing out a forest of poison ivy will feel like a vacation compared to listening to another day of poop inspired jokes!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stink Bugs Stink!

Yesterday morning Robby and I lounged around the house. After I rode my bike (on the trainer) I took a shower and prepared for a day of doing nothing. Robby asked to go for a bike ride, so I switched legs and we headed outside.

We happily pedaled around the neighborhood singing "The Wheels on the Bus" with gusto. It's good that most of my neighbors are either elderly with impaired hearing or employed because I'm sure I'd receive complaints if they were able to hear us! What Robby and I lack in talent we certainly make up for with enthusiasm.

During the ride I began to smell the unmistakable odor of stink bugs. Those invasive little bugs have descended on our house like the plague. "Find the stink bug" is now one of Robby's favorite activities; the game can keep him busy for hours before he finally quits.

When we finally got home, we settled in to watch a cartoon and to make lunch. The stink bug smell was overwhelming. No matter where I went in the house the smell seemed to follow. I was beginning to feel grateful for my self-imposed day of relaxation because I was beginning to feel nauseous from the odor.

In the late afternoon, with the smell not dissipating, my frustration was rising. No matter how many bugs I moved out of the house, I couldn't get rid of the musty odor. I gave up, finally sitting down on the couch, kicking off my leg and turning on the TV.

Um... does anybody know how to get smashed stink bugs out of a liner and socket? Apparently a family of stink bugs crawled into my "play" leg. Unbeknownst to me, I was smashing and pulverizing them between my liner and socket with each step. No wonder the smell was following me everywhere I walked.

The socket has been wiped clean with Clorox wipes and the liner has been run through the washing machine. I'm not confident that the smell has been removed from the liner because I haven't been able to remove all of the little bug parts from the fabric. I really need to remember to look inside my legs before putting them on!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Real-Life Role Models...

Is it just me, or is anybody else aggravated that the only accolades afforded to amputees involve athletics? While admirable that Oscar Pistorus may be able to compete with non-disabled Olympians, he is not representative of the amputee population. Whereas I can appreciate his athletic prowess, I find it unattainable and I cannot relate.

In fact, the majority of amputees are not in the stratum of the superstar athlete, yet these individuals, with their impressive physiques and dedication to training, are constantly held up as esteemed examples to the amputee community. The truth is, most of these individuals were superb athletes before they experienced limb loss.

Our community is in dire need of role models, but these individuals must be more reflective of the average amputee. The accomplishments of the "normal" amputee have, in effect, become a victim to society's superstar athlete worship occurring across our culture.

I, for one, find feats of normalcy far more motivating than those of Olympic proportions and celebrate the victories of the everyday amputee heroes. These individuals are living and adjusting to a new limb loss everyday and choose to keep trying despite the pain and setbacks. (This list is by no means inclusive but is simply presented as an example of amazing, real-life amputees who inspire me.)

Debbie, a reader of this blog, went for a walk with her young grandson over the weekend. For the first time since he was born, she was able to hold his hand while crossing the street because she was relying upon only one crutch and her prosthetic. For her and for her grandson, this event was life changing and marked the beginning of a new and happy chapter in her life.

Leslie, in a single year following her amputation, quit her job and enrolled in college. She decided that her amputation was a conduit to change her life. She learned to walk on her prosthetic, went rock climbing and has returned to riding ATV's. Instead of letting her amputation define her, she has taken it as an opportunity to redefine herself.

Mary, a nurse's aide in Arizona, lost her arm three years ago due to infection. Admittedly in the throes of depression because she thought that she had lost her career as well as her arm, she refused to give up. She kept seeking prosthetic care until she found a practitioner who agreed to fit her with a new hand. Working up to four hours every day, she has learned how to use the prosthetic and has just passed her reemployment proficiency exam. She returns to work in July.

Sarah, a young mother, lost her leg when she was hit by a drunk driver. She spent months in the hospital, away from her baby and husband. Angry with the situation but determined to move forward, she now speaks out against driving intoxicated. Because of her courage to tell her story I am certain that countless people have thought twice about driving after drinking. She and her daughter have both learned to walk and are active in the community.

Personally, I find these women far more motivating and inspirational than any Olympic athlete. Perhaps their triumphs cannot truly be appreciated unless you have been in their situation. They, along with all amputees who are living happy lives and adjusting as best as they can, deserve to be lauded for their fortitude and courage.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My 3S Summer

This is Scott's last week of school before summer vacation. It has occurred to me that this also is the last week that I will have the same schedule as Robby. When Daddy is home for summer, our routine goes out the window. This fall, when Scott returns to school, Robby will be going to school as well!

For now, I'm pushing the "K" word out of my mind and concentrating on what I am dubbing "The Summer of Sun, Smiles and S'mores" also known as "3S." I was devastated about the prospect of my plans being derailed by a revision surgery, but my new socket has continued to keep my pain at bay, allowing me to postpone the surgery for awhile. I know that eventually I will need to address the issues, but if I can wait to have surgery, I will!

My 3S Summer is back on, and I couldn't be more excited. This weekend I purchased and assembled an inflatable pool. It isn't deep enough to go swimming--it is only 2 feet deep--but it is long and perfect for lounging, splashing and playing with assorted water toys. Luckily Robby is still little and thinks that his new pool is "absolutely ginormous."

I initially planned to have the pool on my deck until I realized the amount of water required to fill it. The collapse of our deck would certainly be a depressant on my 3S summer. I thought better of my idea and opted to place the giant inflatable in the only practical, albeit highly conspicuous location. Visitors this summer will have to walk past the giant splash pool that is positioned directly in front of our main
door. (It's a good thing we don't get many visitors!)

Robby was excited to take his new pool for a test swim last night. The fact that it was raining, the air temperature was chilly and that the water was freezing apparently was not a deterrent. I have to admit, once my body became completely numb, the temperature didn't bother me and I had a good time.

During my 3S Summer I am vowing to relax and simply stay in the moment. I realize that I have a need to stay busy and active and have a drive that borders on compulsive. I think a lot of my compulsion is stress related, but that is probably a topic for another blog. This summer I want and need to slow down and simply have fun.

Our pool is inflated, my pantry is stocked with marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers and I have a new bottle of sunscreen. Bring on the lazy days of summer- I'm up for the challenge!