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, December 30, 2011

My Year In Review

So much has transpired during the past year. Looking back, I never envisioned the way that my professional life is unfolding. I am entering 2012 excited and energized about the challenges and possibilities that lie ahead.

I began the year by writing a blog for my prosthetist. I am now managing his website, his blog, and his various social media outlets. I am also writing his rebuttals for insurance appeals and denials. I never thought that writing technical papers could be so satisfying. However, knowing that my words will help an amputee secure the device that they desperately need is amazing. I am honored to be part of the process.

During the past twelve months I have continued to work as a Spokesperson for Ossur. I traveled to Florida (twice), Las Vegas, San Antonio, Philadelphia, and South Carolina. Robby and Scott were able to travel with me on a few of these trips, allowing us to create family memories that will last a lifetime. To my surprise, a photo featuring both me and Robby was chosen for the 2012 Prosthetic catalog. My Ossur year ended with the unveiling of the new corporate video (I'm featured at minute two).

In November I was was presented with an unexpected and unique opportunity to help amputees on a nationwide scale. I am now working for the Amputee Coalition of America managing their Facebook page. When I assumed responsibility for the page it was relatively stagnant. Within two weeks the page traffic has increased an astounding 490%! Amputees of all experience levels and backgrounds are now posting questions and are actively helping each other on this page. I couldn't be more delighted to be a part of this important outreach!

In reality, my greatest accomplishment of 2011 was not professional. In September Robby (and I) successfully transitioned to his attending Kindergarten. I survived and, although there were tears shed, I did not have to be physically pulled away from his classroom on the first day of school!

With Robby being in school a few hours a day I had anticipated an increase in "me" time. Those hopes evaporated with each new professional venture. Some days there simply aren't enough hours to get everything done. I often find myself up late at night and early in the morning, thankful for the quiet to work. It's a good thing that I love what I'm doing!

So much has changed during the past year. It is hard to believe that I have been presented with these amazing opportunities. I can't wait to see what unfolds in 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sing A Long Fun!

During the past few months, Robby and I have been making a bee line to the Karaoke machine demonstrated at Costco whenever we have been in the store. Feeling no inhibition, we would serenade our fellow shoppers with rousing renditions of everything from the ABC song and Jingle Bells. We could typically get through three songs before Scott would put an end to our floor show.

To our delight, Scott surprised both Robby and me with the Karaoke machine for Christmas. I was completely unaware that he was planning on buying the gadget. I love singing although I am acutely aware that I have no talent, and I'll never forget being directed to "sing silently" in my mandatory 5th grade chorus. Unfortunately enthusiasm does not trump talent.

Just like me, Robby loves to belt out a tune at the top of his lungs. Unfortunately, he has inherited my singing abilities. Amplified through the two microphones on the karaoke machine, our duets are compelling--just not in a good way.

Both cats have learned the soft clicking sound that signals the karaoke machine has been turned on. The seemingly benign click is enough for them to immediately take off running, seeking refuge from the noise in the basement under a pile of blankets. It seems that Robby and I manage to hit tones that are painful for animals!

While I love having the karaoke machine in the house, I have noticed one drawback (other than the pain it inflicts on our cats). Now whenever Robby wants or needs something, he simply grabs a microphone. "Attention, Momom. This is Robby. I need more milk." Apparently my Christmas present is also an effective intercom system. I am not sure who is going to be more annoyed by the karaoke machine--our pets or me! This conundrum to be solved in the near future.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Legal Hell

Hate is a strong word. I was raised to use it sparingly because of the power of emotion it implies. I can say, without a doubt, that I hate both the workman's compensation system as well as my insurance adjustor. My medical care and my family's future is being held hostage by their quagmire of paper and penny-pinching protocols. My interests, and especially my health, are secondary to the primary focus of delaying treatment at all costs in order to avoid payment.

For the past few weeks I have been living the workman's compensation roller coaster. My favorite ride attendant Elsie (my adjustor) is at the helm, seemingly in charge of each stomach-jumping turn and heart-racing loop. I feel like screaming, "Stop the ride... I want to get off!"

Yesterday I received a letter from the workman's compensation commission informing me that a hearing date will be "forthcoming." According to the dictionary, forthcoming is an adjective meaning "about to happen in the near future." In the legal realm, I've discovered it means "anytime between now and whenever the hell we feel like it." While the powers that be search their calendars for a convenient date to decide my care, I wait. I have no choice!

It will be weeks before I have a hearing date which will be set for months in the future. In the meantime, I will be playing the amputee version of infection roulette: walking around with a compromised, torn and hole riddled liner hoping that my skin that isn't protected doesn't get nicked or cut. I will continue to be in pain, and I won't be able to schedule a date for surgery. My life will continue to be put on hold. The insurance company will delay paying their bills which is apparently the ultimate goal. They are, in essence, winning.

I am frustrated to the point of tears. In an almost laughable attempt for understanding, I phoned my attorney. I don't know why I expected that I would speak with him; he still has not returned my previous four calls! Perhaps leaving message with a quivering voice and the audible snorts as I tried to hold back the tears will elicit sympathy and a return call. I'm not holding my breath!

Many times I make light of living with limb loss because I've always been an optimistic person. Being negative is only going to make me feel worse and isn't going to change my amputee status. The truth is, being an amputee isn't easy. Everyday I wake up not knowing if my prosthetic will feel comfortable. I have to plan my activities in advance so that I can have the proper leg with me. Every evening I have to inspect my limb for infection. There are days when my big toe hurts so badly I feel like I want to chop it, and then I get angry because it isn't there!

In spite of all of these obstacles, I remain more handicapped by the workman's compensation system and its minions of fools. I have mastered walking with a prosthetic. I don't think I'll ever learn to navigate the contrived, nonsensical, regulatory waters that are supposed to "protect" me.

Perhaps those who make their living spreading the red tape in the workman's compensation system should be held to their own regulatory standards when they receive their medical care. Maybe then everybody involved would realize that they are dealing with lives, not just file number and dollar signs. I feel emotionally depleted. In a few days I know that I'll regroup and rise to fight the battle. Until then, I may just hide from the world.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Crossing Annoyance

I have been dealing with a particular minor frustration for many years. I typically brush it out of my mind, try to adapt and not give it much thought. I realize that many will think that this complaint is petty and, for the most part, I tend to agree. However, for some reason recently it has been irking me!

Since the time I began sitting in chairs, I have crossed my legs because I don't feel comfortable with both feet flat on the ground. After I become an amputee, my need to cross my legs when sitting increased. I have found that with both feet flat on the ground, I don't have as much control within my socket causing uncomfortable pressure spots within my prosthetic. With my legs crossed, I can shift the weight distribution alleviating any discomfort with relative ease.

Most of the time crossing my legs is not a big issue, and I don't give it a second thought. Sometimes though, I must perform feats of flexibility in order to become comfortable. Sitting on a plane is always cumbersome as I often knock the tray table down or accidentally kick my fellow passengers. I try to be discrete, but I almost always garner attention.

My frustrations came to a head a few weeks ago while I was at a lunch meeting. I found it nearly impossible to get comfortable in my chair! Although I tried my best to maintain a quasi-professional air, I'm sure that I must have appeared squirmy as I struggled to get my legs crossed.

Because of the size of the table and the darn pole in the center, I wasn't able to find a comfortable position. I tried to concentrate on our conversation, but my legs kept moving to diminish pressures within my socket. I ended up kicking the table. Any hope of remaining discrete evaporated with the water spilling over everything!

I've been told that yoga might help with my leg crossing obstacle, so perhaps I'll sign up for a class in the New Year. Even if I don't become adept crossing my legs, it is sure to be good fodder for a few blogs!

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Break

I think I am suffering from a carbohydrate hang-over. Between the cinnamon rolls (homemade) in the morning, the seemingly endless buffet at my Mom's for dinner and the gorging on Christmas cookies at night, I feel like I might explode. It's a good thing that the New Year is right around the corner. I'll worry about the repercussions of my festive gluttony with my resolution. In the meantime, I am in full celebratory mode!

Robby proclaimed that he had the "bestest Christmas of my whole life, except it was a little sad because there was no snow." I have to admit that snow would have been nice, especially since he received a super cool new ski sled. I guess that's one toy he'll have to wait to take for a test drive.

I have to admit, Santa did a great job picking toys for him this year. Robby was excited and eager to play with everything he unwrapped. My living room resembles a toy store after a raid, but the smiles on Robby's face are worth the mess.

Unfortunately being on my leg all day took its toll. I'm sore, walking with a pronounced limb and utterly exhausted. It is hard for me to do, but I'm giving myself a gift this year. I'm allowing myself the luxury of a vacation. Cleaning up the aftermath of Christmas can wait, and we can munch on leftovers and pizza for a few days. I'm going to sit in my rocker and watch my little guy play with his new treasures for awhile. I deserve the break.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas FUN!

Merry Christmas!

For the first time in his young life, Robby was speechless this morning. He stopped in his tracks and simply stared at the presents piled under the Christmas tree. Finally, after about 45 seconds, he looked at me and whispered, "Momom, I guess I was too good this year. Look at all these presents. And how in the world did Santa get that (pointing to his new ski sled) down the chimney. Holy crap-- let's start unwrapping!"

Weeks of meticulous planning and over two hours of wrapping were undone in 15 minutes. He had paper strewn in every corner of our living room. Pausing only for the occasional picture, he had unwrapped his loot in record time!

Among his new treasures include a ski sled, a Mario racing car and the coveted archery set. Robby couldn't wait to shoot his first arrow. He took aim, held his breath and let his arrow fly. It shot Scott squarely in the bum.

I'm sitting in my comfy rocking chair, watching Robby and Scott play with the Army men that Santa left under the tree. Instead of carols and a crackling fire I am hearing a barrage of "boom boom boom" and "pow pow pow." I did have to chuckle when Robby screamed, "I'm going to kill you real good on Christmas!" Apparently playing with army men is a game that only men understand, because I simply don't fathom the appeal!

Have a wonderful Christmas. I'll post more on Monday. I need to go save the cat from a young archer in training!