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, July 22, 2011

Civil War Revisited

For months road crews have been frantically fixing pot holes and grounds crews have been clearing brush and poison ivy. Fences have been mended, dead trees have been removed and new sidewalks have been poured. All of this work has been in preparation for this weekend.

Tens of thousands of Civil War reenactors have descended upon our battlefield to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Manassas. They are camping in small pitch tents in yards, fields and parks as they fully embrace the civil war experience. It was a tad strange seeing the men in antiquated looking uniforms standing in line at Starbucks!

We have even been approached by a reenactor who inquired about securing "squirreling rights" on our land. Mr. Bill jumped on the opportunity--apparently the squirrels are eating all of his bird food. He is hoping to reduce the squirrel population so that he can save money on bird seed. If that doesn't work, he figures that he made money to buy more seed so either way, everybody wins. Except, of course, for the squirrels.

Spurred on by the squirreling opportunity, Mr. Bill has decided to embrace the opportunities provided by the reenactment being less than 1 mile from our homes. A metal detecting enthusiast, he has amassed an impressive collection of Civil War relics. This is, he decided, the perfect time to lighten his collection while padding his pockets.

This weekend I will not be working on the tree house. Instead Robby and I will be sitting on the tailgate of Mr. Bill's pick-up truck pedaling his cannon ball fragments and spent bullets to tourists. We are crucial to his sales plan because "nobody can resist an old man who can't move his neck, a one-legged woman and a cute little boy." I have no doubt that we will sell his two 10 gallon buckets of merchandise!

The heat index is expected to peak at 120 degrees over the weekend. I have to admit that I worry about the health of the reenactors. After all, these middle aged men will be running around an open field (which provides no shade) wearing heavy wool uniforms while toting awkward weapons after sleeping in small tents and eating nothing but squirrel. Of course, if Mr. Bill and I have anything to do with it, their pockets will also be weighted with a few genuine cannon ball fragments!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Too Small/ Too Big

Despite the heat, yesterday I woke up feeling revitalized and excited. We were told that we would not be working on the tree house, and quite honestly I was looking forward to the respite. Although I have been thoroughly enjoyed the construction, three days working in the sun has taken its toll. Instead of working, I planned an afternoon of swimming fun and relaxation by the pool.

Robby and I played Angry Chicken, happily splashing and laughing for about two hours. All of a sudden he jumped off my back and out of the pool. Mr. Bill, along with his fully loaded pick up truck, was in our driveway. So much for our building hiatus!

I managed to stop Robby to put his shoes on him before he grabbed his hammer and hardhat to help. I went inside, dripping wet, threw on a sundress and broke the bad news to Scott. Apparently the 100 degree heat and high humidity thwarted Bill's roofing plans, so he decided to work on the tree house.

Before I knew it, the ladder was installed. The ladder attached to the tree house is metal with round rungs, and I instantly knew that climbing down was going to be dangerous with my prosthetic. Thankfully, I knew that we were installing a slide so I didn't have to worry!

Robby was shocked and delighted to have a yellow slide. (We kept this detail from him during the planning process so Mr. Bill could surprise him.) I was ecstatic when the slide was bolted into place knowing that I wasn't going to have to descend using the ladder again!

Robby was the first to go down the slide. He was initially hesitant, but I'm not sure if that was because it is steep or because his pants were wet from the pool. In either case, he slid fast and was nothing but giggles by the time he reached the bottom!

I accepted Robby's invitation and climbed into his tree house. He slid down the slide first and asked me to follow. I walked over to the slide and sat down, preparing to go down. That is the first time I took a good look at the slide.

Shoot! I took one look and realized that there was no way my ample bum was going to fit onto that narrow slide. So much for my easy, safe and comfortable tree house exit strategy.

I went through all of the geometry strategies I learned mastering Tetris trying to figure out how to make my bum fit onto the slide. Finally we (yes, by this time Mr. Bill was involved with the problem solving) decided it would be best to put one cheek fully onto the slide and go down on an angle.

Our strategy failed. I got stuck at every little wavy bump, forcing me to stop my descent so that I could physically dislodge my cheeks. The boys seemed to think that my becoming wedged into the slide was hilarious, but I failed to see the humor when I was five feet in the air and wedged tight in a plastic slide!

Not only did my ego take a blow because my bum is too big for the slide, but I am faced with a more pressing issue. I still don't have a safe strategy to get out of the tree house. Staying out of the tree house is not an option.

I'm going to Home Depot today to remedy the problem. I am not sure which I am going to purchase: a slide that can accommodate a bigger sized bum or a ladder that can accommodate a prosthetic foot. Wish me luck!

<---- note the small diameter ladder rungs

note the slide/bum ratio---->

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Heat + Prosthetic = MISERABLE

I have come to the conclusion that being a prosthetic-reliant amputee during the summer stinks! My stump is so swollen because of the humidity that it now feels like a sausage stuffed into a casing. The tissue is burgeoning over the top of my socket, giving a whole new meaning to the term "muffin top."

Despite thoroughly applying antiperspirant spray, I am constantly removing my liner to pour out the copious amounts of sweat. This task always disgusts me! Knowing that the sweat is not conducive to limb health, I am left with no option but to constantly pour out the yucky fluid and dry my leg. Of course, that doesn't mean that I am not going to complain about it!

With the temperatures this high, there is little I can do to make my leg feel comfortable. Of course, standing under the beating sun for the past three days building a tree house has aggravated the swelling issue. I realize that keeping my weight off my leg would help, but I feel compelled to assist with the construction. As soon as the tools are put away, I go into limb recovery mode.

I have found that my leg instantly feels better when it is submerged in the cool pool water. Yesterday, with the temperatures near 100, I went directly from the tree house to the pool. Robby thought that swimming in our clothes was a special treat, and we created a new game called Catch the Sawdust. I am amazed at how being suspended in the water for a few minutes can make the nagging burning, tingling and stinging sensations leave so quickly.

At night I have returned to wearing a shrinker sock to control the swelling. It certainly helps, but I simply don't like wearing the tight sheath. I silently curse the thermometer every time I slip the compression sock onto my leg.

The sweltering temperatures are showing no indication of breaking. Today we are taking a hiatus from the tree house construction, so I will be spending my afternoon in the pool where my limb feels best. When the humidity and temperatures are so high, being comfortable is not feasible. Instead, I strive to feel the least uncomfortable possible.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Since my foot injury and amputation, I have developed a small ladder fear. I have refused to go higher than the third rung for fear of falling. I'm not afraid of going up, but coming down scares me to death. I don't fully trust that my prosthetic is on the rung. With my natural grace and poise, I think that my fear is justified!

I have been successful avoiding most ladder activities for the past eight years. I even opted to balance precariously on top of our piano when repairing our leaky plumbing instead of pulling out our ladder. I couldn't envision anything that would motivate me to climb a ladder.

Of course, this was before Mr. Bill started construction on Robby's dream tree house. Scott, Mr. Bill and Robby have been busy building the little house for the past two days. Wanting to contribute more than stimulating commentary and cold drinks, I naively offered to help. I was promptly handed a drill, a fistful of nails and instructions to work on the platform.

I didn't have a problem climbing the ladder, nor did I encounter any difficulties with my designated construction jobs. The issue arose when it was time to take a break, and I realized that I couldn't get down. Not knowing whether to cry or scream in fear, I simply froze.

We spent the next 15 minutes talking through my various exit options. I was beginning to resign myself to a life in a tree house. Perhaps worse than not knowing how to get down safely was the realization that I was so frightened in front of my neighbor and my little boy. I hate feeling--and looking--vulnerable!

Scott ended up climbing the ladder to escort me down. When I finally had my foot on the ground, I felt a sense of relief rush over me. I was greeted with a high five and a round of applause from my little cheerleader. Hearing "I'm proud of you, best buddy Momom" made all of the shame I was feeling evaporate.

I have been in the tree house several times since the first ladder incident. While I don't particularly relish climbing down, I have learned a technique that (knock on wood) has not resulted in my falling and allows me to feel in control.

After witnessing the ladder incident, Mr. Bill has decided to incorporate a slide to the design. Like Robby, I'm thrilled with the addition of the yellow slide. Despite the strides that I have made conquering dismounting the ladder, I can say with some certainty that I will exiting the tree house via slide. That is, until the zip line is installed...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Adventures at Chick Fil-A

After a fun-filled day at the animal park, I was simply too tired to cook dinner on Friday night. I also recognized that Robby's energy was exceeding mine, and that unless he played more, I was going to be in for a lengthy battle over bedtime. I could have made a picnic and gone to the park; I opted to put him in the car and drive to Chick Fil-A.

Robby loves Chick Fil-A (I have to admit that it is my favorite fast food restaurant). Not only are their french fries my all time favorite, but also the restaurant has a fantastic indoor playground. Robby gets to run and play in an enclosed environment and I get to eat fries and relax. A win-win scenario!

After wolfing down his meal in record time, Robby shed his shoes and took off into the play area. I joined him in the playroom with my tray of fries and chicken strips. By the time I got there, he was busy chatting with a little boy and his extremely pregnant mother.

The pregnant mom quickly exited the play area, opting to sit at a booth nearby and chat on her cell phone. As soon as she left, Robby approached me to discuss her "very interesting shape." I explained that her tummy was big because there was a baby inside and that babies take up a lot of room. I exhaled a sigh of relief when he seemed satisfied with the answer and continued to play.

A few minutes later, Robby approached me again. "Momom, I have one more question." I knew that this probably wasn't going to be good, but I asked him to tell me his question. "Well, that lady has a big tummy because there is a baby inside." I nodded in agreement. "So I was thinking, Momom. Do you have a baby growing in your bum?"

Ouch, that innocent inquiry hurt! I then had to assure Robby that my bum was just big and was not protecting a hidden baby. I put down my fry and quietly sipped my diet lemonade for the rest of the evening.

About twenty minutes and four playmates later, Robby was busy playing with another little boy. Not to mince words: this child was simply mean. He was bossy, rude and extremely loud. Unfortunately he was the only other child in the playroom, so he became Robby's default playmate.

Hiding behind the slide playing some sort of shoot the robots game, the mean boy asked Robby if I were his mommy. Robby said that yes, I was his Momom. The little boy then scoffed and said, "Your mommy has really ugly legs. Her legs are sooooo ugly" and then he proceeded to laugh in his face.

I felt horrible that Robby was subjected to teasing because of my amputation! Knowing that Robby needs to learn to deal with mean children and taunts, I stayed quiet. I have to admit that it took all my resolve to stay silent when all I wanted to do was to scoop up my little boy and flee.

Robby seemed oblivious to the mean boy. After the mean boy stopped laughing, he simply popped his head up and asked where his momom was sitting. The little boy pointed to his mom which prompted her to wave. Robby waved back, and then smiled and said, "Wow, your momom has a really ugly face."

The mean boy ran out of the play room. I received scowls from the "ugly faced mom" until she finally left. While I don't condone Robby calling names and deliberately hurting somebody's feelings, I have to admit that I am proud of my little defender! Maybe I don't have to be concerned about his coping skills.

Who would have thought that an evening at Chick Fil-A could be so eventful!