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, February 17, 2012

Weather Pain

These weather fluctuations are wreaking havoc on my poor aging body. Robby and I can play happily outside in 50 degree weather one day and wake up the next morning to temperatures in the low teens and blustery winds. This has been one of the most unpredictable--and painful--winters since I have become an amputee.

The past few days we have been experiencing cold and steady rainfall. My body would fair better if the precipitation that was falling was of the fluffy white variety. Although it makes navigating the roads trickier, snow doesn't cause the nagging phantom pain that I feel during these dreary rainy days.

I have resigned myself to "bad leg days" until the weather shifts. Now it is no longer a question of if I will be uncomfortable. I know that I probably won't be completely pain free until a new weather stream blows into our area, and I am not a happy camper!

My leg, which typically fits well, has been providing variable degrees of comfort. Instead of slipping into a prosthetic in the morning based on my anticipated activities, I now try each one on to see which feels less uncomfortable. I realize that my limp is more pronounced during the past few days, the result of a less than perfect prosthetic fit, but I really don't care. At this point, I'm just happy to be mobile and hoping to make it through the day until the weather changes.

My leg hurts, my hips are sore, my back aches and my shoulder is constantly enveloped with a dull ache. I'm only 21 (that's what I told Robby and I'm sticking with it) yet I feel like I'm in my late 60's. I keep telling my self that the sun will come out tomorrow, but the cliche is of little comfort. Right now I need a steady supply of Ibuprofen, a heating pad and a massage. I suspect I'll have to settle for two out of the three for right now.

Hopefully the weather will change and I'll return to my normal, happy, pain-free self. In the meantime, I'm going to complain. Have I mentioned that sometimes being an amputee stinks?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Closure Lunch

I despise leaving things undone. Whether it be a project or a friendship, when I commit I try to stick with it through completion. I hate when I am forced to step away from a project before it is finished, and I often feel haunted by friendships that have ended without closure.

Closure, I am told, is a good thing. Both Dr. Phil and Oprah have dedicated countless hours of not-so-riveting TV to this issue. Both celebrity "experts" touted the healing benefits that come from making amends with those who have caused you pain in the past.

A few weeks ago I was presented with an opportunity to achieve "closure." In a diluted moment of strength, I extended an olive branch, by means of an invitation to lunch, to somebody who at one time meant a great deal to me. Our friendship ended abruptly and left me fragmented with pain and unanswered questions. Channeling my inner Oprah, I decided it was time to conquer the past.

I should have known better than to take sage advice from a talk show host! Our meeting, although pleasant, failed to provide the eureka closure moment I was seeking. Instead, I left feeling deflated and saddened by the confirmation that somebody who was once a friend has become a stranger. Oprah never mentioned this on her show.

Confrontation does not come easily for me, so I am giving myself credit for providing a voice to the pain that I experienced. I wish I had said more, but I was able to relay that I felt alone, lost, and discarded during a time I desperately needed support and love. Last night I felt disengaged and in a funk as I reflected on those memories.

I don't know if true closure was achieved during yesterday's lunch. I do know that I am beginning to feel a sense of relief that came from my acknowledging my pain. The nagging thought of "I hope (fill in the blank) isn't here because I don't know what to say to him" will no longer be in the back of my mind when we travel to his neck of the woods. I didn't achieve resolution nor did I feel the all-encompassing peaceful embrace I had hoped for, but I did find some comfort in seeing my lost friend and bringing the issues to light. For now, that's enough.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dragon Slayer

Despite several dedicated classroom talks, Robby's peers remain fascinated by my prosthetic. They continue to rush me as soon as I enter the classroom and begin to barrage me with questions about my leg and pleas to hold it. I've tried wearing jeans in an attempt to camouflage my prosthetic, but my efforts were in vain as the students simply lifted up my pant leg and added, "Why are you covering it up" to their lists of questions.

It is obvious that although his classmates continue to be enthralled, Robby is bored with the attention my prosthetic is garnering. To him it is completely normal; he fails to understand the "novelty" of my taking off my leg. Lately I have noticed that Robby is becoming increasingly annoyed with the constant requests to learn about my prosthetic. He has begun to say things like "Yeah yeah, she can take it off. Now can you (referring to his classmate) move so that we can leave?" His patience with his inquisitive classmates is certainly wearing thin!

I decided that it was time to have a special heart to heart with Robby to discuss his friends' curiosity. Tuesday afternoon we sat down over a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies (my attempt to keep him still during our talk) and reminded him that not every Momom can take her leg off. His friends, I explained, were excited that I was able to use a prosthetic. After all, my leg is special because not everybody gets to have one. I had a moment of private celebration as I congratulated myself on a fantastic explanation! He chomped on his cookie and seemed unfazed.

Later that night. Scott and I packed up Robby and went to Chick fil A because the restaurant was hosting a Prince and Princess kids night. In addition to a variety of medieval themed crafts, if your child came in costume they ate free. I put Robby's pirate hat on him, told him that he was now Prince Robby, and set out to claim our free meal.

Robby was delighted to be at Chick fil A, and seemed just as happy to be a prince. He and Scott decorated a shield and Robby played with the other princesses and princes of the Chick fil A kingdom. After eating our meal and surrendering to the fact that Robby was too busy playing to eat his, I went into the playroom to retrieve my little Prince.

Almost as soon as I entered the room I heard Robby's playmate ask, "What happened to your mommy's leg?" After seeing him roll his eyes and hearing what I swear was a sigh, I saw Robby crack a little smile. "Oh, her leg got bit off by a mean dragon that was breathing fire. Don't worry though, because I killed him with my magic sword."

The little girls eyes almost bugged out of her face! Robby grabbed my hand and he skipped out of the playroom. In that moment I realized that Robby is going to be facing questions about my leg for years to come. I think he'll learn to navigate those waters in his own unique way.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Not Romantically Inclined

Happy Valentine's Day! According to the no fewer than 18 emails I received this morning, it is not too late to send flowers to your sweetheart. Personally, I have a love/ hate relationship with this holiday. I love any day that celebrates love, flowers, chocolates, and cake. I hate that my husband boycotts celebrating this day.

When we began dating, Scott was extremely vocal about his hatred of all things Valentine related. Of course, being newly in love, I didn't fully believe that he could have such a cynical and crotchety view. After all, how could somebody detest a day devoted to chocolate and sweets. Our first February 14th together, I toiled in the kitchen preparing a love filled dinner of all of Scott's favorite foods. I outdid myself by making a heart shaped chocolate pie for dessert. I changed into a sexy dress and waited for Scott to arrive.

To my frustration Scott showed up for dinner 45 minutes late. Mumbling "Happy Valentine's Day" he handed me a bag from 7-11 holding a few Cadbury Creme Eggs and a bag of jelly beans. He offered a half-hazard explanation of "They were out of the heart shaped crap." Offering slightly off color ideas about what he could do with his Easter candy began what has become an annual tradition--the Valentine's Day Fight.

This is our 11th Valentine's Day together and, according to Scott, each one has been painful. I have given up any hope of romantic gestures and of being swept off my feet on Valentine's Day. He surprises me throughout the year, but refuses to participate when doting is mandated by Hallmark and society expectations. I am no longer disappointed because he has squashed all expectations.

Unfortunately, I think that Robby may have inherited his Daddy's Valentine's Day philosophy. The other day he declared that "There is NO WAY I am ever going to let some little flying archer man wearing a diaper shoot me in the bum with an arrow." Maybe I need to click on one of those emails I received and send myself flowers today.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine Homework

Armed with a class list, a box of Scooby Doo Valentine's, and a brand new heart pen, Robby and I sat down to complete his homework assignment Saturday afternoon. He was instructed to practice his handwriting skills by writing both his name and the name of each classmate on each Valentine. I poured myself a heaping mug of coffee, grabbed a few cookies along with the handwriting dry erase board and prepared myself to knock this project out in 30 minutes. After all, we only had to address 18 Valentines!

My little procrastinator knows his letters; he just detests writing. He tried every ploy to avoid his assignment. He addressed one Valentine and then hopped out of the chair, complaining that he was wearing the wrong pants. He was insistent that he change into his "writing pants" before continuing with his homework. Silly me, I didn't realize that he had specialized trousers.

Donning the proper pants, we resumed our homework project. He addressed two more cards before his motivation began to falter. This time he ask for a break claiming that his "hand muscles were getting too strong to hold the pen." He warned that the pen might "snap into two" if he didn't relax. By this time we were an hour into the project and I needed Tylenol, so I agreed to the break.

All told, Robby and I invested nearly four hours of our weekend in addressing his 18 Valentine's. Much of this I spent listening to his complaints about writing and trying to block out his whines of fatigue and of being "bored." By Saturday night I was beginning to wish that we had some brandy to spike my coffee.

I'm not sure who was happier when Robby finished addressing the final Valentine, him or me. I don't understand where he got his passionate hatred of handwriting. I have decided to blame this unattractive trait on Scott because I remember taking pride in my penmanship when I was young. In spite of his complaints and nearly constant whining, Robby's letter formations are good.

Before Robby was born I worked as a teacher for the visually impaired. I taught basic handwriting skills to numerous children with little or no vision. I have come to the sad conclusion that teaching blind children penmanship was easier, quicker, and less stressful than teaching Robby!