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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.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Most Depressing Statistic

According to many experts, 95% of all health problems are held by 5% of the population. The fact that such a small minority of society endures the vast majority of ailments is difficult to fathom. The uneven distribution of health issues seemed unfair!

Unjust as it appears, in my experience the statistic seems valid. Since I have become an amputee, I have developed a variety of "secondary" medical conditions which are a direct result of my limb loss. I have been diagnosed with osteoporosis because of uneven weight distribution throughout my skeletal system, a neuroma, and bone spurs. 

I have problems with my shoulder, neck and back because of a compromised gait pattern. A few weeks ago I thought Robby and Scott were surprising me with breakfast in bed. I quickly realized that it was my body, and not a bowl of cereal, that was going snap, crackle and pop. As much as I hate it, from a skeletal perspective I am older than my age.

Because of my prosthetic use, I am prone to infections in my limb. The warm, moist environment of my socket, combined with the constant wear and tear of walking, creates a perfect storm for bacteria growth. Skin breakdown, even the slightest nick or blister, can become a conduit for a swift growing infection. My circulation was compromised by the amputation and I can't always feel when a sore is developing. Each night I must physically inspect my leg to ensure limb health.

Sometimes, all of the proactive measures don't prevent an infection. While I am currently healthy, several of my amputee friends are currently waging war with various infections. Each has a unique circumstance around how the intruders entered the body, but each friend is currently in a battle to save the limb and, in at least two cases, for her very life. Infections in the residual limb cannot be taken lightly!

An individual may not be disabled by the primary handicap, but can quickly become debilitated due to the secondary conditions that arise. When health impairments begin to cascade, we are put in a position of playing medical roulette. Physicians are relegated to trying to treat the current ailment without doing too much damage on the body and causing another issue. 

As much as I hate the reality, I have to agree with the depressing statistic. When you live your life with a disability, no surgery is ever routine and no cold should be considered "common." My friends' health struggles remind me that seemingly healthy person can quickly be battling for life and limb. I am appreciative of the fact that I am healthy, but I am acutely aware that I could be in their situation. Please keep my friends in your thoughts.

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