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, January 27, 2012

Just Wrong...

At first glance, this public service ad is seemingly benign because promoting diabetes awareness is a cause I wholeheartedly support. With 507 new amputations occurring every day in this country, trying to increase an understanding between diabetes and limb loss is a noble cause.

However, after reading the accompanying article, I became disturbed by the photograph on the ad. I learned that the amputee on the ad is a PhotoShopped image. The model has both limbs and one was digitally removed for this picture.

I realize that images are digitally altered and enhanced as part of a normal editing process. Real life celebrities rarely resemble their photo images because PhotoShopping has become such an accepted norm. Despite the pervasive altering of images, I find this particular digital "enhancement" abhorrent.

There is an assumption that individuals portrayed on advertisements for "causes" have actually been directly impacted by that which they are promoting. I assume that the women featured on breast cancer commercials, touting to be survivors, have been diagnosed with breast cancer. I don't question the authenticity of these individuals because feigning such a devastating event would be in poor taste and would seem contrary to the awareness-raising endeavor. Using a bi-legged model and digitally removing a limb to create an amputee reeks of insincerity!

There are thousands of diabetic amputees throughout this country who would have been honored to participate in this awareness campaign. Why was somebody chosen who has not been impacted by limb loss to make the poignant connection between diabetes and amputation? With an active amputee community chomping at the bit to educate and to reach out to others, the effectiveness of this ad has been compromised by ignoring the population it is trying desperately to reach! In my opinion, using somebody who has actually experienced this complication would have been more effective and less insulting.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Stinky Business

Yesterday morning Robby came bouncing into the living room, proclaimed that he was all better and asked for waffles for breakfast. He was so sick 24 hours ago that it is amazing how quickly he bounces back with a few doses of antibiotics and ibuprofen in his system. I wish I could recover as quickly!

Although he was feeling better, I knew that Robby was still recovering and needed to stay calm. Despite his protests and begging, I wouldn't let him go outside to play in the stream. He became upset when I wouldn't let him hop in the moon bounce and didn't understand why he wasn't allowed to ride his bike through the neighborhood. All of his ideas involved running, jumping or creating a mess. I wanted him to quietly play and stay calm. We were destined to butt heads all day.

Using logic by trying to explain that his body was still fighting an infection and that he needed to conserve his energy was fruitless. I finally conceded that yes, I was a "mean mean Momom" but that I wasn't changing my mind. I put on a Tom and Jerry cartoon in the living room and retreated to my bedroom for a few moments of quiet.

Enjoying my brief respite, I happily sipped on coffee and caught up on Facebook. All of a sudden I heard little feet tramping down the hallway. Robby ran into my room and quickly slammed the door behind him. This was not a good sign!

Out of breath, Robby said, "Whatever you do Momom, don't go into the living room. Don't ever go into the living room again. Your bedroom is nice. We can just live here. Please, Momom, Please. Don't go out there." Yikes- certainly not the words I wanted to hear. Being that emphatic that I not go somewhere is a surefire sign that he has done something bad.

I put on my leg and walked past my panting little boy. He continued to plea, "Momom, I wouldn't go out there if I were you." I asked him what he had done as I nervously walked down the hallway. He simply muttered, "Oh, this is not going to end good."

Turning the corner to the living room I was overwhelmed with the recognizable stench. I took a sniff and looked at Robby. "Well Momom, I saw stink bugs so I decided to whack them with my yellow hammer. I squished them- and all of their stink- on the walls. I'm sorry. I don't think that squishing the stinky bugs was my best decision."

I spent the next two hours trying to get rid of the odoriferous results of Robby's bug slaughter. The bugs, or rather what was left of them, were scraped off of my walls and thrown outside. I scrubbed the walls with Pine-Sol, adding an evergreen scent to mingle with the bug odor. I tried spraying Lysol, which only provided an artificial fresh linen scent layering over the putrid smells of pine and bugs. The overwhelming mixture of smells was beginning to make me nauseous.

Despite the cold temperature outside, I admitted defeat and opened up the windows. Robby and I retreated to the bedroom while the area aired out. Curling up on my bed to watch Scooby Doo, Robby looked at me and said, "See Momom, I told you. You shouldn't have gone out there. It's better in here." I think tomorrow he'll be well enough to go back to school.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sick Boy

Robby happily skipped into school Monday morning. After giving me a hug he assumed his assigned position on the green carpet and waved goodbye. He was not the same child when I picked him up.

I took one look at Robby through the classroom window and I instantly knew that something was wrong. He was pale, had deep purple circles and bright red ears. He smiled when he saw me but he was not nearly as animated as normal. His teacher told me that he complained of being dizzy but did not register a fever when she checked. I suspected that would soon change.

Two hours later Robby was sobbing because of the pain in his ears. Seeing Robby's eyes swollen from tears broke my heart. I knew that he was in pain and, aside from trying to offer comfort, I couldn't do anything to make him better. It's so hard being a Mom when your child is hurting!

I made two phone calls. I called his pediatrician who asked me to bring him into the office, and I then called Scott who said that he would meet us there.

Scott was at the pediatrician's office when Robby and I arrived and carried our sick little guy into the office. We were immediately ushered into the examination room. Within minutes the doctor was examining Robby and confirmed my suspicions. Both ears were infected- again!

Although it isn't easy for me, Scott has a particularly difficult time seeing Robby sick. His face instantly melts and his heartache is evident whenever our little guy is in pain or isn't feeling well. When the doctor took Robby's temperature and said that it was 104 degrees, I was fairly confident that my husband was going to faint.

I put Robby down and took Scott's hand. Our pediatrician brought a chair over and instructed Scott to sit down. In a comforting tone she said, "Mr. Chenoweth I need you to take a deep breathe and try to calm down. Here, sit down and try to relax, let me get you a drink of water. It's going to be okay. He is sick now but he will start feeling better as soon as he has the medication." Scott kept shaking his head with worry while muttering, "His little fever is so high... poor little guy."

She handed him a cup of water and the prescription for antibiotics. I was instructed to make sure that they both drink a lot of fluids, stay comfortable and rest. Within a few minutes Scott regained his composure and went to the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions. I took Robby home and tucked him into bed.

Scott always rises to the occasion and earns "Super Dad" stripes when Robby is sick. He had to drive to five pharmacies before locating the ear drops to help alleviate the pain and discomfort. He made sure that the antibiotics were flavored "very cherry" and even had the pharmacist add an extra shot of flavor to the ibuprofen. After the sun went down and we were all in our pajamas Robby asked for SpongeBob macaroni and cheese. Without saying a word, Scott got dressed, put on his coat and drove to the grocery store.

He may not be good at seeing Robby sick, but he is fantastic at helping to make him better! Between the various cherry flavored medications coursing through his system, the ear drops providing numbing relief and a lot of tender loving care, Robby is on the mend. I think after another day at home, he'll be ready to go back to school. In the meantime, I foresee an afternoon of Scooby Doo and The Flintstones is in my future.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy Feet

During a recent visit to my mom's house, I was excited when I read that her local movie theater was showing a matinee of Happy Feet 2 because Robby has been chomping at the bit to go see the movie. Unfortunately, movies are expensive. It typically costs at least $30 for the two of us to see a matinee, making it cost prohibitive for our family. The small theater near my Mom specializes in second run movies, and tickets are sold at the budget friendly price of $2.50! He was delighted when I surprised him with an afternoon movie date.

Memories flooded me when I entered the small theater. I used to see movies there when I was Robby's age. Although it has been refurbished since I was a child, it looked the same as I remembered. Sitting next to Robby felt oddly surreal, almost as if my life has gone full circle.

The theater showed a Tweety Bird short film before the feature movie, but Robby was not amused by the cartoon. He became agitated that Sylvester the Cat was being beaten up, run over, and hit in the head with hammers by a little yellow bird. He ended up closing his eyes and, when the show was finally over, sighed and said, "I don't want to see that again. Thank goodness that's over!"

Robby was, however, utterly delighted by Happy Feet 2. He gleefully rooted for the little penguins, cheering and stomping as they danced on the snow. The film quickly became an interactive event with the audience stomping and dancing along with the penguins and seals.

In the final scene of the movie, the penguins, seals, and other arctic friends had to dance to loosen up an iceberg to free the stranded penguins. Robby along with the other young audience took this task seriously. The theater was filled with the sounds of stomping feet and clapping hands. (I admit that I was also dancing along, hoping to free the penguins.)

For few tense moments following the crashing iceberg, the theater became quiet. We didn't know if the stranded penguins survived the crashing ice. Once the snow settled, the penguins were revealed, alive and free. Robby instantly threw his arms in the air as if he had just made a touch down and screamed, at the top of his lungs, "Hallelujah, they're free!"

The adults in the audience began to chuckle at Robby's enthusiastic outburst. Considering that we are not devout in our church attendance, I have to admit I was certainly surprised by his word choice. He is nothing if not spirited!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sled Time!

Friday night all I wanted to do was curl up with Robby in front of a fire, roast marshmallows while watching a movie, and go to bed early. After the stress and emotional turmoil of the previous few days, I was running on fumes and needed to decompress. Thankfully, Robby did not need convincing to go along with my plans!

After gorging on quasi-burnt marshmallows and finishing Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, Robby surprised me by happily hopping into his race car bed for the night. I was delighted that it was 8:30 and, had I not been so tired, I probably would have skipped to bed. I turned on the electric blanket, turned off the tv, popped off my leg, and snuggled in for a long nights sleep.

As soon as I laid down, my leg began to do the jitterbug kick. Then the stinging sensations began. At first it was felt like it was on of my stump, but quickly migrated across my whole limb. For good measure, my missing toes decided to join my phantom pain party. My big toe felt like it was being twisted in a vice. At one point I was sweating because of the pain.

At 1:00 I finally broke down, put on my leg, and went to the kitchen to get some Tylenol PM. Although I hate taking sleep aids, in retrospect I should have admitted pain defeat earlier as I could have saved myself a lot of pain and lost sleep. As it turned out, the pills worked quickly, and I was asleep in about 30 minutes.

In the morning, Robby walked into our bedroom and squealed with delight when he looked out the window. The ground was covered with snow! My phantom pain episode suddenly made perfect sense: my leg always hurts when it is snowing! Although I was groggy, I knew that I was destined for hours of sledding fun. After all, Santa gave Robby a super cool new sled that has remain unused because of the unseasonable winter.

Despite his protests, I insisted that Robby drink a cup of milk and eat an Eggo before going outside. I quickly chugged two mugs of coffee before giving the go-ahead to get bundled in his winter gear. Not wanting to waste anytime, Robby put his snow pants over his SpongeBob pajamas, put his gloves on the wrong hands, and forgot about wearing boots. Thankfully, Daddy was at the bottom of the steps to fix his wardrobe malfunctions!

Robby ran to the top of our hill and stopped where he wanted the sled placed. I put the sled down and Robby hopped on. I tried to remind him how to use the brake, but he immediately stopped my instruction. "Momom, I don't plan on stopping. I am going to go super fast and I don't need a brake." I ignored his pleas for speed and refused to let him ride until he finished the safety lesson.

Finally, it was the moment of truth. Robby was poised on the sled and gave the ready signal. I gave him a small push. My little boy, in his cherished new sled, went flying down our hill.

I have to admit I was surprised by the speed of his little sled. He went zooming down the hill. My heart skipped a beat when I saw him slide across the ice covered driveway; I felt a surge of panic and took off running when I saw Robby and his sled go down the embankment leading to his tree house. I couldn't see him for a few seconds, but my fears were quickly alleviated when I heard him scream "Wahoo! That was so amazing! I'm the bestest sledder in the whole world!"

Robby, it turns out, is an excellent sled driver. He was able to steer the sled between the tree house footers with ease. We only had an inch of snow, yet we were able to play all afternoon. Even Scott and I took turns on the sled and the decision is unanimous. His new sled is awesome!

Saturday night I was exhausted, but this time the cause was physical rather than stress induced, and I found myself going to bed at 8:30. Thankfully, I had no problems going to sleep. I still woke up sore, but this time it was from sledding. I'm reminded that I'm getting too old to go zooming down hills on a child sized sled.