About Me

My photo
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, December 23, 2011

Christmas Fun

Yesterday was exactly what I needed to reignite my Christmas spirit! Robby's classmates were ecstatic about their party. All of the kids were decked out in their best Christmas attire, from glittery dresses to reindeer and Santa shirts.

I, of course, would have taken the prize for most festively dressed had one been available. I wore my Santa Claus shirt, Jingle bell skirt and blinking reindeer antlers. Looking in the mirror I felt somehow under dressed for the festive occasion. I quickly wrapped battery operated multi-colored LED lights around my socket for that "extra special" touch. I turned more than a few heads when I had to run into the grocery store to pick up a few last minute party supplies!

Robby was delighted with my spirited attire. I am so glad that he isn't yet at the stage where he is embarrassed by me. I know that one of these days he will ask me to tone it down. I'll comply, but I'll be sad.

For now, Robby thinks of me as fun loving and (dare I say) cool. I'm glad that he hasn't yet banned me from his classroom because I love watching Robby play with his classmates. He has integrated into the school routine so naturally. All of my sleepless nights worrying about his adjusting were for naught. He is flourishing!

It turns out he is also quite the girl magnet. He spends much of his time in the company of three little girls who vie to sit by him during activities and lunch. Each girl refers to Robby as her "boyfriend." He simply calls them "friend" because, although he won't admit it, I'm fairly confident that he hasn't learned their names. (He is really bad about learning the names of his classmates!)

I was taken aback when one particularly forward little girl asked Robby to play on the playground with her. Robby politely declined, opting to play basketball with his little friend Nick. Undeterred, this little gal coyly smiled and promised "to do her super model walk" if Robby played with her. Both he and Nick quickly immediately abandoned their basketballs and obediently followed.

Robby's school party was a rousing success. The kids had a great time and left with a backpack full of glittery crafts and a tummy full of treats. All of his classmates insisted on hugging me when we left, each thanking me for the fun party. Robby was absolutely beaming!

The party has reinvigorated my Christmas spirit. Robby and I spent the afternoon baking cookies and making marshmallows. We sang Christmas songs and reenacted Rudolph in the kitchen.

Although my leg still hurts, I haven't slept in days because of phantom pain, and I am still waiting for both my biopsy results and a call back from my attorney, yesterday none of that mattered. I simply had a great day with my little guy!

I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas. Rest assured, I will post pictures and videos on Christmas morning, after Robby unwraps Santa's loot. Gauging from his excitement, I predict he'll be up obscenely early on Christmas morning!
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Bah Humbug Biopsy Mood

Yesterday I took a "Bah Humbug" day to a new level. I woke up and was immediately frustrated by the pine needles scattering my floor. I find it impossible to keep the cat from climbing 10 feet in the air to perch on our trees branches. I stepped outside and became annoyed because the temperature was warm and it was raining; it felt as if the weather was conspiring to keep me from feeling festive!

After dropping Robby off at school I went to the hospital for my scheduled biopsy. I'm sure that the procedure was the true impetus behind my foul, grinch-like demeanor. I am worried about the results and, to be honest, I resent the fact that I had to endure more needles and pain.

I look at many of my friends and I have to admit that I am jealous. They have all their limbs. They don't have to contend with socket issues that cause pain and interfere with sleep. They aren't facing a re-amputation in the next few months. They don't have to wait by the phone for biopsy results. I have to deal with all of these issues. Sometimes, it takes all my strength not to scream, "This isn't fair!" at the top of my lungs. Yesterday was one of those days.

To add insult to an already bad day, I am still waiting to hear from my attorney. I've left four messages for him and have yet to receive a return call. So much of my life right now is tied up with this man who doesn't care about me beyond my name and file number.

I can't make any decisions until I hear back from him. I've been living in limbo for the past few months, jumping each time I hear the phone or check my mail. I have a family and responsibilities, and I need a timeline so that I can begin to plan and prepare. I don't think my request is unrealistic!

I would rage at my attorney, but I'm simply too exhausted to muster that much emotion. I haven't slept more than a few hours a night in over a week. My leg has been hurting and the phantom pain has been borderline unbearable at night. I've been running on a steady stream of Gingerbread coffee and Advil.

Typically, I try to avoid "why me" sentiments. I firmly believe that everybody has something that is "wrong" with them. Mine just happens to be more visible. Wallowing is never productive, but on occasion it can be cathartic. I have learned to allow myself to visit those dark emotions. It's unnatural to be optimistic and happy all the time. Yesterday I granted myself permission to throw a good, old-fashioned, woe-is-me pity party.

My wallowing ended this morning. Today is Robby's Kindergarten Holiday party! He and his classmates have been looking forward and planning this event for weeks. I'm ready to throw down my room mom gauntlet again, decked out in my Christmas sweater, jingle bell necklace and reindeer antler headband. Nothing like the festivities of Kindergarteners combined with a friendly room mom rivalry to lift my spirits!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Leg Woes

It amazes me how quickly Robby bounces back from an infection. He was pitiful on Monday. Today, he is back to school. Some TLC, Christmas cartoons, and antibiotics have worked their collective healing magic!

With a mounting holiday "to do" list, Robby's return to school couldn't have come soon enough. I haven't been able to get much done because of his insistence that I stay with him. Apparently he doesn't like to be alone when he is sick.

In reality, I didn't mind the respite. I received a new socket last week, and I have been having a difficult time adjusting. It is snugger than I prefer and, although I know I will eventually adjust, I have been wretched wearing it!

My liner has to be thoroughly saturated in hand sanitizer in order for me to slip into the socket. If it is not thoroughly lubricated, my stump doesn't slide completely down into my leg, leaving me unbalanced and compromising the suspension. In addition to the inconvenience of requiring lubricant, I am downright uncomfortable in my new leg.

My limb feels as if it is being squeezed from all sides within the socket. I am constantly sitting down so that I can press the valve to release the pressure. I feel an instant sensation of relief as the suction breaks and the compression is broken. And then I have to stand and walk, and the cycle repeats.

I hate being constantly reminded that I'm an amputee. With the exception of the moments where I break the seal, I am miserable. I now find myself planning my activities around my socket, identifying locations where I can break to release the valve before proceeding with any plans.

A squished limb during the day always equals an angry stump at night. My leg has been doing the jitterbug nearly non-stop. It feels as if it is being stung by swarms of annoyed bees. Massage, which typically helps, has been virtually useless in thwarting the stinging.

I've been through this before, and I know within a few days my limb will adjust and I'll be back to normal. I can't wait until I can walk through my house casually, without rushing to sit down and release the pressure. Hopefully my leg will adjust sooner rather than later because, if it doesn't get better soon, I might just give up and start wearing my running leg full time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sick Little Elf

All of my plans for yesterday evaporated when I first looked at Robby in the morning. He was sweaty, pale, and coughing. A fever of 103 confirmed my suspicions: he was sick.

So, instead of going to Walter Reed to visit wounded heroes, I packed him up and went to the pediatrician. It wasn't nearly as rewarding a trip as our cheer-spreading mission, but perhaps just as beneficial. He was diagnosed with both strep throat and an ear infection (again).

Prescription in hand, I drove directly from the pediatrician to the pharmacy. The pharmacist, probably out of habit, asked how he was doing. It would have been better had she remained quiet. Robby tends towards grumpy when he is sick. My typically sweet little boy scowled and responded, "Do I look like I am okay? Can't you see that I'm sick? I wouldn't need cherry medicine if I wasn't sick!"

Sitting quietly and waiting for the prescription to be filled, I tried to talk with Robby about his response. I let him know that he was not being nice, and that the pharmacist was just trying to be polite. He broke down and began to sob. Apparently he is emotional as well as grumpy when he is sick.

By the time we arrived home Robby was exhausted. I carried him into the house (all 55 pounds of him) and laid him down on the couch. He remained there for most of the day, stirring to request a new cartoon, a drink, or to inquire about when his daddy would be home. When he is sick, he only wants his Daddy! He didn't want me to cuddle with him, but he complained whenever I left the living room. I put down my "to do" list and resigned myself to an afternoon of Scooby-Doo cartoons in the living room.

I am hoping that my little guy starts to feel better today. I hate seeing him sick, and I need his help. After all, we have a lot to do. Santa comes in just a few days!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Valid Excuse...

To his delight, Robby will not be going to school today. Although we try to avoid his being absent, I think that we have a valid excuse: he has been invited to a party at the Walter Reed rehab facility!

There was no doubt that we were going to accept when the invitation was offered. Yes, school is important; however, this is a life opportunity that cannot be learned in a classroom. His teachers were understanding about the absence, and his classmates have drawn pictures and cards for Robby to distribute.

During the past few days Scott and I have been prepping Robby for this experience. We've tried to convey that although they are hurt and look different, he shouldn't be afraid because they are still people who deserve respect and kindness. Still, I worry that he is going to see physical scars and wounds that may be frightening in the eyes of a five year old. Can a child ever be prepared to witness such physical and emotional pain?

We told Robby that he was invited because he is a happy boy who is good at cheering people up. I think he is up for the task! He has been practicing his holiday songs and his Nutcracker inspired cowboy dance all weekend. Seeing a little boy in cowboy boots enthusiastically perform a pliƩ immediately followed by a modified two-step shuffle is sure to crack more than a few smiles.

Per Robby's request, we spent much of the weekend baking cookies for him to give out to his "new hospital friends." He genuinely seems excited for the visit, and I think he is prepared. Or, at least he is as prepared as possible. Wish us luck!