- 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, July 01, 2011
Before entering my prosthetists office again Robby and I reviewed the "rules." People are different, and it is not nice to talk about physical variations. He was to keep his remarks, observations and thoughts to himself and we would talk about them privately. After all, he doesn't want to hurt anybody's feelings or make them sad.
Before going inside, I took a deep breath and simply hoped for the best. I also hoped that the woman whom he offended earlier was not in the waiting room. I felt a wave of relief when I opened the door and she wasn't there.
My appointment went smoothly and Robby was well behaved. On our way out, as I was talking to some of the office staff in the hallway, I saw a man with dwarfism enter. The look of amazement and awe on Robby's face let me know that he saw him enter as well.
"Psst... Momom. Psst... Momom I have to tell you something." I shot Robby the "don't do this to me or your little world will come crashing down" Mommy stare. He hesitated as if he was contemplating whether it was worth it to proceed. Apparently it was worth it.
"Momom. I have to tell you something right now." I grabbed Robby by the arm and took him into a treatment room. Closing the door, I explained (again) that it isn't nice to comment on what other people look like. My prosthetist, who happened to be in the room, simply told Robby that he shouldn't laugh because people come in all shapes and sizes.
Apparently that simple statement made the greatest impact. Robby walked past the man without a remark or giggle. The entire drive home he simply kept talking about how people come in all shapes and sizes. I felt a sense of calm as I contemplated that this uncomfortable developmental stage is behind us.
My tranquility was shattered when I took Robby to the grocery store. He spent the entire shopping trip pointing out all of the different shapes that he saw. I was happy to escape the store unscathed after he pointed to a rather large biker and said, "Momom, look at that shape!" I think we are going to start working on his quiet voice.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
It took me a long time before I allowed myself permission to grieve my limb loss. I erroneously believed that I was somehow not entitled to feel sadness or pain over my amputation. Because the medical decision to amputate was mine, I worried that it would be hypocritical to then grieve the result.
I didn't regret my decision to amputate. I was relieved that the nagging pain and constant surgeries were behind me. I had peace with the decision, knowing that it was carefully weighed and the correct treatment for my injury.
Finally, it occurred to me that it was okay to grieve the loss of my foot without casting doubt on the decision to amputate. My foot, good and bad, was a part of me for the first 29 years of my life. Allowing myself to verbalize something as simple as, "I miss my foot" felt liberating. Slowly I began to become the well-adjusted amputee that I was portraying for so long!
Grief is a personal process. For me, I became empowered by giving voice to the feelings. I began writing and confiding in my friends and family. I learned (the hard way) that trying to repress these feelings only limited my potential for growth and my ability to adjust.
I don't live my life in a state of grief. Most times I don't give living my life as an amputee much thought; it has simply become a reality. If you know me, I hope that you realize that I am a happy woman who is actively involved with life.
Though, I have to admit there are times I miss my foot. Typically I miss the simplicity of living as a bi-legged person. These are the days I realize all of the small accommodations that I have naturally made because of my amputation and I find myself resenting the extra planning that it requires to live with a prosthetic.
I am having an "I miss my leg" day. I realize that it is probably because of the approaching ampu-versary. I know that the feelings will wane and that I will assume my normal outlook soon. In the meantime, I know that it is okay for me to feel a tad blue today.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Despite my best efforts, I did not pack well for this trip. I only brought one liner and I forgot my leg cream. I suspect that staying in a wet liner after swimming and/or sweating, combined with not having my normal moisturizer created the perfect storm for chapping the sensitive skin. I'd kick myself (if I could) because I should have known better!
I've never had a chapped stump before, and I have to admit, it doesn't feel good! I can't say that it is painful, but I am certainly more aware of my limb when I walk. I am concerned about the cracks opening and becoming infected, and I have been trying to keep my activity to a minimum until I am home and can treat it properly. Needless to say, I was happy for the hours the drive afforded me to remove my prosthetic completely!
We stopped at a hotel in West Virginia for the night and we will be home today. On the drive home today I plan on keeping my leg lathered in the cream that Scott found at the Target near our hotel. I'm hopeful that the constant moisturizing will help to restore and heal my skin. I'm at a loss for what else to do. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Robby has been laying the charm on his Ohio relatives. Scott and I have both remarked how well-behaved he has been during the past few days. If he would only be this good when we are at home! Of course, then I suppose I wouldn't be provided with fodder for my blog!
Yesterday was the only day that we didn't have an agenda. We spent the morning lounging and playing around the yard. In the afternoon Scott and I packed up Robby and we went on an Ohio field trip. We went to a dairy farm with his cousins.
I should divulge that my suggesting the trip to the dairy farm had an ulterior motive. Our local Chick Fil-A offers free gift cards to families that pose with bovine during the summer months. Eh... did I mention that the majority of the family members must be dressed like cows?
Robby and I glued white spots onto one of Scott's black shirts. I put on a white top and black skirt. We printed and colored cow masks that we found on the Internet. Voila! We had our cow costumes. (Robby wanted to be a farmer so we gave him a pitch fork.)
Scott initially complained that I wasn't wearing any spots and that I didn't look “cow” enough. As soon as the cows marched past us to get milked, his complaints about my costume turned to snickers. I was covered with spots... of cow poo! If you ever visit a dairy farm, learn from my mistake and don't wear a white shirt, a cute little skirt and open toe sandals.
I was surprised by two things: the overwhelming smell that emanates from a dairy farm and how skinny the cows looked. I tried not to comment on the odor for fear of offending our hosts. Robby, on the other hand, was not as discrete. He and his cousins bantered about the smell for the duration of our field trip. The farmer simply laughed when he heard me fretting about the anorexic looking cows. Apparently all of the food the cows consume go into energy for milk production so milk cows don't get plump. Dairy cows don't get fat. I thought that was interesting.
Robby was impressed with the cows being milked, but he was truly in awe of the vast quantities of cow poop. They even had a machine to push the mounds of poop around the barn. Robby is insistent that someday he was going to drive the poop mobile. I assure you I will dress more appropriately if/when his dream is realized.
I've been running the numbers in my head, and I'm fairly confident that the gift card for Chick Fil-A might cover the cost of the clothes and shoes that were decorated with feces. Oh well, at least Robby got his farm adventure and I learned all about cows.
Monday, June 27, 2011
At the birthday party at the "fancy hotel" (which I later learned was the Holiday Inn) I met a myriad of new relatives. During a conversation with an adult cousin, I thought I hit the jackpot. He promised a teddy bear larger than me was going to be delivered to my house when I got home. I remember skipping over to my Mom, who promptly told me that he was teasing and that I shouldn't expect a package.
I didn't believe her. After all, who promises a child a ginormous teddy bear with no expectation of actually following through? In my child mind, it didn't make sense. I waited for weeks for my bear to be delivered. It never arrived.
My cousin, I discovered, was a schmoozer. He is a very nice man but I have never fully trusted him. After all, you can't completely trust somebody who promises a toy to a child but never sends it.
Over the years, I have learned to identify schmoozers for what they are- primarily insecure individuals. In the moment when the promise is spoken I believe that they feel a sense of gratification while they soak up the "thank yous" and the "that's so kind, how thoughtful" compliments.
I no longer believe that schmoozers are malicious. They are merely thoughtless and insensitive to the ramifications of their inaction and false promises. I no longer hold expectations that pledges will be honored by those who have demonstrated these habits in the past.
While I have learned to protect myself from disappointment, I find it heartbreaking when my little boy is let down. He, like I was, is naive about the schmoozer. When somebody promises him something, he fully expects that it will happen. I don't want to diminish his youthful optimism, but I find myself wanting to protect him from the disappointment of being let down.
I never anticipated that being a mom would be so emotionally draining. I know that I can't protect Robby forever, but I'm going to try. He is going to have enough interaction with schmoozers when he is an adult; he doesn't need to be let down when he is five! So, in fair warning, please know that this Momom will come out swinging. Beware if you lie to Robby: you might just discover a rusty fishing hook on your chair when you sit down!