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, September 16, 2011

Vegas Bound!

Our bags are packed and we're ready to go. Well, not yet but they'll be packed soon. After all, this afternoon we're heading to Las Vegas!

We've known about our Las Vegas wedding adventure for a few months, but true to tradition, time has gotten away from me. I think I was so consumed with Kindergarten preparations, and then the trauma err.. I mean drama of dropping him off. A poorly timed bout of kidney stones has also thrown a kink into my timeline.

I woke up yesterday morning in a near panic when I realized that we are leaving today. Today I won't have time to hide in the bushes to spy because I have to head straight home to finish packing. I need to pack for four days for Scott and Robby, but I need seven for me. It doesn't matter that Robby is staying half as long- he still manages to require twice as much stuff.

I'm trying to be gone for a week but my wardrobe will be rather minimalist for the time when I work. I really only need to pack outfits for the time when Scott and Robby are with me. After they leave, my time will be monopolized by working in the Ossur booth. I'll be going from my Ossur outfit to my pajamas as quickly as possible when the exhibition hall closes every night as I have every intention of vegging out in my hotel room and gorging on left over wedding cake every night after work!

In addition to everything else, I have to try to hide my wedding dress in our suitcase. Scott still doesn't know what it looks like, and I would like to keep it that way. We've been married for seven years, and it is fun to have a surprise every now and then!

Our wedding is scheduled for 2:00 on Monday. If anybody lives in the Las Vegas area, please feel free to stop by the Little Church of the West to watch as we redo our I-do's. The ceremony will also be posted online. If you can't make it to Vegas I'd like to invite you to grab your laptop- and maybe a cupcake- and join us via the internet. I'll post the link as soon as it is available.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

First Impressions

Although he has been happy each day when I pick him up, my little Kindergartner continues to cry each morning. It breaks my heart when I drop him off in his classroom, seeing tears stream down his little cheeks as he pleads, "Please Momom, I want to go home. We are best buddies. Please let me come home with you. I miss you." It takes all of my Mommy resolve not to scoop him up and take him with me, but I know that he calms down as soon as I am out of earshot. Still, I find myself questioning my decisions.

Robby starting school has stirred up emotions and insecurities that, until recently, I thought I had settled. In my zeal to make a good impression on the staff and fellow parents, I've worked myself into nothing short of a panic each morning before school. I worry about everything, from my outfit and hair to my fingernail polish. Intellectually, I know that these details are insignificant but that hasn't hampered my attempts.

Yesterday morning, after four shirt changes and two hair styles, I was finally ready to take Robby to school. I looked like a trendy and hip Mom. He looked like a miserable little boy. His tears and crying began as soon as I buckled him into the car. Although he has cried the other two days, this was a particularly dramatic demonstration. My attempts at reasoning with and reassuring him were in vain, probably because he couldn't hear me over his sobbing.

He buried his little face into my legs as I tried to leave the classroom. My years as a teacher taught me that he would stop crying as soon as I left. I gave him a hug, the little red felt heart and a kiss good bye. I held my head high and tried to feign parental confidence as I nodded to the other parents and left the school.

Instead of going to my car and leaving (as I should have done), I found myself walking around the outside of the school. I just needed reassurance that he was okay. I located his classroom, but unfortunately my view was obstructed by bushes outside and art work hanging in the window. I am not proud of my actions.

At this point I was on a mission, and I was not going to be deterred. I needed to make sure that Robby was okay. Almost instinctively I slipped my prosthetic foot onto the horizontal slat and hoisted myself over the four foot privacy fence. In stealth-like mode I gingerly maneuvered through the flower garden (careful to not step on any of the pink impatiens flowers that were in full bloom) and shimmied behind the large holly bush planted in front of his classroom window. Crouching behind the thorny bush, I managed to peer into his classroom.

Robby, it turns out, does stop crying as soon as I leave. He was sitting on the reading carpet looking at a book with another boy. His red cheeks was the only clue that he had been upset minutes earlier.

Relieved, I felt more comfortable leaving him at school. Unfortunately I realized that I was also in a precarious situation. I didn't want to appear to be a hovering, overprotective mother (even if my current location indicated otherwise). Careful not to be seen by his teachers, I crawled around the holly bush and gingerly walked out of the flower garden. I scaled over the fence and landed awkwardly on the sidewalk- directly in front of a group of moms who were leaving the school.

Mortified at being caught, I muttered some explanation about being concerned about his crying. I smiled and then straightened my clothes and removed a dead holly leaf from my ponytail. Trying to keep my "confident Mom" facade, I walked purposefully to my car. It was only after I drove away that I noticed the open fence gate. So much for first impressions!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Had I Known...

If I could change one decision made after my amputation, I would choose to go to physical therapy. I did inquire about therapy after my amputation but was quickly denied by my insurance adjustor with the explanation of "bk's don't need PT." I accepted this determination probably because I was emotionally and physically exhausted from the amputation, and I wasn't inclined to fight.

Although I had no problems using my prosthetic the first time I slipped into my socket, it took me years to work out the nuances of my gait deviations. I now realize that a trained physical therapist could have saved me years of trial and error as I tried to self-correct my issues.

Whenever asked, I always encourage a new amputee to attend physical therapy. I now know that walking with a prosthetic is not as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. I wish that somebody had encouraged me to attend PT, but I simply didn't know that the benefits were worth the battle.

During the past few years I have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing physical therapists because of my affiliation with Ossur. I have been an amputee for over eight years, yet I learn something new about the way I walk every time I work at a conference or training session. Next week I will be attending the AOPA Conference in Las Vegas. I can't wait to discover what tidbit I will learn this time!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Adventures in School

Yesterday morning in preparation for the first day of school I woke up early and made CARS shaped pancakes. I had a vision of him happily munching his breakfast as he excitedly chatted about the day ahead. Instead he slept in, waking about an hour before we had to leave for school. He was too nervous to eat.

Although I had everything laid out, I was frantic getting him dressed. I changed his shirt three times trying to find the perfect look for the first day of Kindergarten. Worried that he was going to feel abandoned, I made a heart out of construction paper and handed it to him. I explained that he had all of my love and that I was very proud of him. If he felt alone or scared during the day, all he had to do was reach into his pocket and feel the heart to remember that Mommy will be there soon to pick him up. He quietly slipped the heart into his pocket and told me that I shouldn't worry because "I will always come back."

Robby happily skipped into his classroom, only appearing nervous when the teacher showed him his cubby. He seemed perplexed as he stared at his little storage area clearly marked with both his photograph and name. Finally in a hushed tone he asked, "How am I going to get my bum to sit into that small square?" I had to explain that the cubby was a space to store his backpack; his bum was going to sit in the chairs and rugs around the room.

After I alleviated his fears that he would be stowed in a cubby during the school day, he gave me a hug. I left him in his classroom feeling both proud of my little student and sad that my baby is gone. I cried on the drive home.

I spent the next three hours trying to keep busy as I worried about Robby. Was he having fun, or was he crying? Not knowing how he was adjusting was hard!

As it turns out, Robby did not have a good first day of school. With his arms clung tightly around my legs, his teacher told me that he was emotional. Although he never cried, he fought tears throughout the day. As soon as he saw me the flood gates opened and he began to sob. He reached into his pocket and handled me the paper heart, crumpled from being held during the day.

I carried my inconsolable little guy to the car, hugging him tight and reminding him how proud we are of him. He begged me to "never ever make me do that again" and simply began to cry harder when I tried to assure him that he would have a better day tomorrow. I felt like a maternal failure!

As promised, we stopped by Mr. Bill's house (our neighbor) on the way home. Gnawing on bricks of cheese and eating crackers, Robby began to talk about school. Despite the flood of emotions and difficulties separating, Mr. Bill managed to convince Robby to give Kindergarten another try.

Throughout the evening Robby began to talk about some of the positive aspects of school. He apparently enjoyed recess, and his teacher "reads a pretty good story" in the morning. We tried to direct all school conversation towards the positive experiences instead of lamenting that he missed me.

This morning, I'll reheat the CARS pancakes. I will send him to school with a new, laminated heart in his pocket. Mr. Bill has promised another cheese and cracker picnic so that Robby can tell him all about school. I'm hoping that today is a better day!

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Super Big Kindergartener!!!

Ready or Not...

I can't believe that this morning I'll be packing Robby's backpack and driving him to school although I've been struggling with this transition for months. Robby is excited to start this new adventure. I know that he's prepared, and that he'll even thrive with the structure and socialization. Despite knowing that the program is ideal, this change is hard for me.

I've been on the verge of tears for the past week. Careful not to cry in front of Robby, I suspect he senses my apprehension. Last night he hugged me and told me, "Don't worry about school Momom. I'm just going to go for a little while. I'll play and have a snack, but I will always come home. We will always be best buddies." Do you think I'll be able to hold him to that promise when he is 18?

I still want to stop Robby from growing up so fast. I've toyed with the idea of switching his diet to cigarettes and beer in an attempt to stunt his growth, but I don't think I'd be able to get Scott on board with the idea. I am left with no choice but to let him grow up and try to savor every moment!

Wish us both luck with Kindergarten this morning. Robby, I'm sure, will have no problem separating from me. Mr. Bill has offered to go to the school to pry my arms away from Robby's ankles should I have trouble letting him go. I don't think that will be necessary, but I do think that there will be some tears shed in the car on the way home.

Stay tuned for pictures later today.