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 30, 2011

My New Profession

I've been working for my prosthetist Elliot for the past year, writing his blog and managing his facilities social media connections. I have managed to carve out my own little niche that allows me to work at home while earning money. It has been an ideal set up.

This week I had a meeting with Elliot to develop a social media plan. Typical to my fashion, I went into the appointment armed with statistics, information, a notebook full of ideas and a stomach full of nervous energy. It turns out that we never discussed anything on the agenda and my nerves were not necessary.

As soon as I sat down I was offered a new professional opportunity. Initially I was taken aback, but it didn't take long for my excitement to grow. After all, this position is the perfect blend of my professional goals and personal aspirations.

Like prosthetists across the country, Elliot has been having a difficult time getting reimbursed by insurance companies, particularly for bionic devices. Adjustors routinely deny the initial claim request, prompting the practitioner to file a lengthy justification and appeal. The process is time consuming for the billing specialist; ultimately resulting in a backlog of appeals, a loss of revenue, and rendering the amputee without the needed prosthetic device.

I understand the frustrations that arise when care is determined not by my physician and prosthetist but by a bean counting, heartless insurance adjustor who obviously lacks a moral compass. (Is my bias showing?) I find little as satisfying as helping another patient maneuver through the paperwork minefield in order to obtain their entitled services and devices. I am going to be working in a professional capacity to help my fellow amputees. The fact that I get to stick it to the insurers at the same time is a bonus. This position could not be more perfect for me!

Going into the meeting I never imagined that this position existed, let alone that it would be offered to me. I've often heard that some of the best opportunities in life are unplanned surprises. This is certainly true in this situation.

I was feeling like everything was beginning to fray around me. Countless nights have been spent sleepless as I've worried and fretted over finances and pondering "what am I going to do when I grow up." Now I will be able to continue to work from home, which is the ideal situation for my family. I suspect that the few hours a day that Robby will be in Kindergarten will virtually evaporate under my increased workload. Who knows! If I have enough hours, I may even hire a cleaning service to help twice a month!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Schedule Change

It feels like it has been overcast, dreary, and gray forever. Rain has been falling sporadically for the past week. Our yard looks like a mushroom farm with all the little fungi sprouting up everywhere. I miss the sun, and I am beginning to get depressed!

In truth, my blue mood is the result of more than the weather. Robby and I have had a comfortable, workable schedule for the past five years. All of a sudden our routine has been disrupted, and I am having a difficult time adjusting. I am sure that I have mentioned this before: I don't like change.

Despite the 2.5 hours without Robby everyday, I am finding it impossible to get everything done. My workload has increased and, despite the quiet time everyday, my to-do list is getting longer--not shorter. I just can't find enough time in the day.

I had envisioned quiet mornings sipping coffee while listening to music as I cuddle up in the corner of my sofa and work on my computer. My dream could not be further from reality. Yesterday morning I became so preoccupied sending faxes and answering phone calls that I forgot to put a mug under my Keurig. Coffee poured all over the counter, spilling onto the floor in my bedroom. I then had to spend the remaining of my solitude time (45 minutes) on my hands and knees trying to clean the brown coffee stain out of the white carpet--to no avail.

I always find it difficult adjusting to changes in my routine. Between work responsibilities, homework, and chauffeuring a five year old to and from school, my days are evaporating and I feel as if I have little to show for my efforts. I'm spinning on a hamster wheel, desperately trying to keep up but never getting anywhere. Of course, the dreary weather certainly has not helped to uplift my mood!

I'm hoping that over the next few weeks a new schedule will naturally emerge. In the meantime, I am going to forgive myself for the messy house, coffee stained carpet, and piled laundry. After all, I am sure that all of those chores will be waiting when I can finally find the time. Of course, if the sun ever decides to peek out the housework will have to wait even longer!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Disability, But Not Disabled.

Every morning before taking Robby to school, I find myself fretting about our outfits. I strive to make sure that he is wearing unstained clothes (a requirement which severely limits his wardrobe) while I try to find pants that conceal my prosthetic. I'm not ashamed of being an amputee, but it is important to me that Robby's peers get to know him on his own merits, not as the child of a robot Mommy.

Yesterday morning was especially hectic. Robby slept in--a habit that astounds me. He has been up at the crack of dawn every day for the past five years. The moment he enrolls in school he starts to sleep past 6:00. Still sound asleep at 8:10, I knew I had no option but to wake him up. He apparently does not appreciate being woken up!

I suppose that my forgetting was inevitable, but I have to admit that I am surprised by how quickly it occurred. Scurrying around, trying to get him dressed and fed, I completely forgot to worry about my outfit. For the first time, my prosthetic was fully exposed when I dropped Robby off at school.

It didn't occur to me that my leg was showing as I walked him into school. It wasn't until I opened the classroom door and a little girl leapt off the circle time carpet to get a closer look did I realize that I was making my prosthetic debut. Had I known my leg was going to be taking a starring role, I would have put on a clean sock!

I spent the next ten minutes trying to get Robby situated and leave the classroom. My hopes of exiting without disturbing the lesson were destroyed as I was bombarded with questions from his little classmates, all of whom were nothing short of fascinated. Robby, of course, remained oblivious about the attention my leg was garnering. In an uninterested manner, he simply responded to his little friends inquiries by saying, "Oh Momom doesn't have a fake leg; she's just wearing her Proprio today."

On Friday I will be talking with Robby's classmates about my amputation and prosthetic. After speaking with his teacher, we've agreed that it is best to answer all of their questions at one time so that this isn't a constant distraction. I am excited about this opportunity, but I have no doubt that Robby will be bored during my lesson.

I love that my prosthetic use is simply a mundane reality for my little boy. Prosthetics, bad leg days and socket issues are as openly discussed around our dinner table as the news and gossip from work. He doesn't seem to realize that his mom is viewed as disabled by the majority of the public. He knows that his Momom is always ready to kick a soccer ball, play tag or go sledding. Although I have a disability, Robby realizes that I am anything but disabled.Hopefully his classmates will feel the same way after our talk on Friday!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good Karma

About six weeks ago during our monthly pilgrimage to Five Guys for burgers and fries, I asked Scott to stop the car and pull over. In the middle of a busy intersection I spotted a camera. Obviously the camera had not been there long because, with the traffic whizzing by and the sun beginning to set, it was a matter of moments before it would have been run over and destroyed.

I ran out of the car and darted into the intersection to retrieve the camera. The only damage seemed to be in one corner where it had fallen onto the asphalt. I could only assume that we were the first car to come upon the lost camera. Lacking any identification I turned it on. I have to admit that I was a little worried viewing somebody's photos and videos! Hoping that what I was about to view was not pornographic, I pressed play.

I watched three videos of a happy family singing happy birthday and another two showing what appeared to be a middle school volleyball game. I tried to identify the school but we couldn't figure it out. I was beginning to feel discouraged but, channeling my inner Mr. Monk, I decided to watch the last video. Finally, the last video of a little boy in a karate class began to play. Zooming in I was able to identify the name of the karate studio on the back of the uniform. We had our first clue!

At home I Googled the karate school and found two locations. The next morning I grabbed the camera and drove to the school that was closest to where we found the camera. I had an instructor view the video and, after pausing the frame on the little boy's face, he was able to identify the child.

Thrilled that we had located the rightful owners, I left my contact information and took the camera home. For some reason I simply didn't feel comfortable leaving the expensive electronic with somebody else because I felt like I had a responsibility to turn it over directly to the rightful owners. I placed the camera on top of my microwave in the corner of my kitchen and waited for the call.

Apparently the karate instructor did not view contacting the family as a priority. They didn't receive my message that I had found their camera until yesterday! I had nearly given up on returning it and was beginning to ponder simply dropping it off at the school and hoping for the best.

The owner was thrilled when we spoke yesterday. As I suspected, she had placed camera on her back bumper and had driven away. She told me how she had retraced her route, posted flyers and put out an ad on Craigslist all in an attempt to locate the camera. She wasn't concerned about the device but was upset about the loss of all of the videos and photos. She remarked that her husband had given up looking but that she persevered, maintaining that sometimes people do the right thing and that it might be returned.

As it turns out, last year she was in a similar circumstance to me. She explained that she had found a diamond engagement ring in the dressing room of a store. Uneasy about leaving it with mall security, she left a description and her contact information.

In the meantime she visited local jewelery stores asking if the piece could be identified. At the final store she was delighted when the jeweler recognized the workmanship and contacted his client. Because of the time she took, the ring was returned to the happy bride.

Robby and I had a good time playing detective. We formulated a plan and looked for clues. Not only did I sincerely want the camera to be returned, I felt that it was a good lesson for him. Too many people don't take the time to do the right thing and to go the extra steps to help a stranger.

Hearing the camera owner tell the story of the found engagement ring, I can't help but think how the situation has gone full circle. She found something treasured and actively sought the owner. To her husband's surprise, we located her camera and returned the favor. I think that good karma has been established.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Last year at this time my life seemed to revolve around Robby's bathroom habits-- or more specifically his lack of toilet use. This year I find my conversation again revolving around all things bathroom related, only this time the subject is different: I've been dealing with kidney stones which have been making me miserable!

I was diagnosed with the pesky little pebbles about two weeks ago. Since then, it seems that every conversation somehow involves my urinary tract. Is there still blood, have I passed more stones and my favorite inquiry comes from Scott, "How is everything flowing down there?" I appreciate the concern but I am frustrated that my conversations still revolve around toilet activities!

I thought that I had passed my last stone before my Las Vegas trip. Because of my commitments in the exhibition booth, I fully admit that I did not consume enough water last week. My self-imposed dehydration has apparently obstructed the passing of the the remaining stones, so the past few days I have been miserable.

My problems resurfaced during the long flight home on Thursday night. I began to feel severe back pain. The discomfort, combined with a near constant urge to urinate combined, made for a torturous flight home. Of course, the sudden onset of what I can only suspect to be food poisoning did not help my situation. By the time I finally arrived home (at 2 am) I was exhausted and sick.

I spent most of the weekend drinking water and trying to flush those little stones out of my system. I found myself sleeping in my liner out of convenience because I was constantly getting up to use the bathroom. It is during those moments that I find myself cursing my amputation- I wish I could just get up and go like my bi-legged friends.

Although I am physically recovered from the food poisoning, I am fairly confident that I will never eat another mozzarella and basil sandwich. I'm feeling better, but I am still worried. My doctor is going to check me today, and if my stones aren't gone, I will be hospitalized. Not only do I want to avoid a hospitalization and surgery, I am really tired of discussing the bathroom. Here's hoping that I flushed those little rocks away!