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, March 23, 2012

My New Discovery

Perhaps my favorite part of working these conferences, with the exception of room service, is the ability to see all of the new prosthetic products available. I am constantly amazed at the rapid advances that are being made. While the focus is often on the computerized, sexier prosthetics, some of the most life enhancing products are often unsung and taken for granted.

Yesterday morning I was hurting. The skin on my limb was beginning to chafe, and a small blister on the side had still not healed. I spotted my prosthetist when I entered the exhibition hall, dreading the 8 hours of standing that I was facing. From the way I was feeling, I knew it was going to be a long day!

When he came over I explained the skin breakdown and discomfort. Without missing a beat he reached into his conference bag and handed me a lotion sample and told me to give it a try. The unassuming small white bottle was simply labeled prosthetic skin lotion. Although I was cynical that it would make a difference, I complied and excused myself to apply the lotion.

As soon as the lotion was applied, I knew that it was special. It absorbed quickly, leaving my skin soft and smooth. Donning my liner was easy, and I didn't feel the nagging skin tugging that I was experiencing when rolling on my liner. I stepped into my leg and took a few cautious steps. I never would have imagined that a simple lotion would have such a profound impact. My discomfort was completely gone!

It turns out that my skin has been pulling against my liner. The constant tugging has been causing friction burns that resemble chapping. I don't often endorse a specific product, but I couldn't make this lotion discovery and not share my experience.

After one day I am sold on this product, and plan on having my prosthetist order me more when I get home. If you are having skin breakdown, or feel like you might be tugging within your liner, give Alps Prosthetic Skin Lotion a try. I was shocked that it yielded such profound results for me.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Ups.. and Downs

Yesterday morning was busy finishing up the last minute details before my trip. I folded the laundry and laid out three outfits for Robby to wear on the days that I'm gone. Meals were labeled and organized in the refrigerator. I wrote out a dozen little cards and hid them around the house for Robby to discover while I am away. With my boys taken care of, all I had to do was pack.

Mr. Bill drove me to the airport with Robby happily chattering in the backseat of his truck. I thought that there were going to be tears or at least an obligatory lament of "I'm going to miss you." Instead I got a quick, "Have a good trip, Momom" followed by a happy proclamation that "Daddy and I are going to get dinner at Sheetz tonight because that is where a real man goes to eat." So much for the meals I prepared!

With no tears shed, I felt a surge of confidence when I entered the airport. This, I decided, was going to be a fantastic trip. I was open for any opportunity or adventure that lies ahead. I felt a surge of enthusiasm and was becoming excited about working at the conference.

A smooth TSA experience only bolstered my excitement. I went to Auntie Anne's (my favorite airport treat) and learned that it was buy one- get one free pretzel day! Could this trip get any better?

Armed with my free pretzel, I took my seat on the plane. The flight was so smooth that I forgot that I was flying. I became so immersed in my book that the flight time passed quickly.

My bag was actually waiting for me by the time I arrived at baggage claim. There was no line for a taxi. The temperature was warm, and the sun was shining brightly. It felt as if the universe was affirming that this trip was going to be fantastic.

I told the taxi driver my hotel name and settled back for a comfortable ride. I reached for my cell phone and heard squealing brakes and felt a strong lurch. Boom! Perhaps I became too confident. My taxi driver rear-ended the car in front of us.

My neck jerked forward and my body tensed simultaneously. My bag went flying against the seat in front of me. Steam was rising from the hood of the taxi. My taxi driver began cursing in a language I didn't understand and, at one point, I was fairly confident that he was going to get in a fist fight with the other driver.

I gave my information to the airport security officer, took the bad taxi driver's card, and grabbed my luggage. I hoofed it back to the taxi stand, shaking and upset. I was flipped off by my first driver when he saw me drive past in another taxi, apparently upset that he lost the fare.

My "good news conference attitude" was teetering by the time I arrived at the hotel. Thankfully, I was only the third person in line to check in. I was looking forward to lying down for a few minutes, relaxing, and gathering my composure before conquering the booth for the welcome reception.

Unfortunately the entire computer system for the hotel was corrupted. I stood in line for 90 minutes before I was checked in. I made it to my room with only enough time to change my clothes, put on make-up, and go to work.

Today I will be working in the booth all day. I am no longer feeling the sense of invincibility that I felt before I sat in the first taxi. At this point, I'm not expecting great things. Now I'm just hoping to survive unscathed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


This morning I'll be packing my bag and flying to Atlanta. I've been asked to work in the Ossur booth at the AAOP (American Academy of Orthotics and Prosthetics) conference. While I hate leaving my boys, I have learned to enjoy the "me" time that the solitude of a hotel room, and control over the television remote, affords.

Preparations for previous business trips were easier before Robby was in school. I would simply pack him up and take him to my mom's house. He would enjoy a few days being spoiled by Nana while I was gone. Although it was more work for her, it was certainly easier for me!

This trip, Scott and I found ourselves trying to keep Robby in school while accommodating everybody's schedule. Thankfully our neighbor Mr. Bill will be watching Robby this afternoon until Scott comes home from work. Originally Mr. Bill was going to come over to our house before Scott went to work on Thursday, get Robby ready and drive him to school for us. Unfortunately he is recovering from surgery and Scott and I both felt that asking him to come over at 6 am was simply asking too much.

After much debate, it has been decided that Scott will take leave time on Thursday and Friday, going to work late after dropping Robby off at school. Mr. Bill will pick up Robby on Thursday to save him from the dreaded nap time. Scott will leave work early on Friday, hopefully redeeming himself (Robby still contends that his daddy forgot him at school, forcing him to stay for nap time) and emerging as a hero.

Confused? Although we've been over the schedule numerous times, I've written it down and posted it on the refrigerator. I've also given Bill a copy. They say that it takes a village to raise a child. The truth is, it takes a supportive partner and a fantastic neighbor!

With Robby's care figured out, I am finally able to become excited about my upcoming trip. I'll be in Atlanta for three nights. Three wonderful nights, with the bed to myself, room service at my finger tips, and somebody else responsible for making the bed. I'm looking forward to this Mom-cation, even if I will be working 10 hours a day in an exhibition booth.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Instilling Fear...

Robby has been doing a great job with his ice skating lessons. Yesterday he had his third class and, to his delight and my surprise, he fell only twice. He hasn't forgotten the first lesson when we arrived woefully unprepared; before every class he reminds me to bring his warm clothes so, "We are prepared this time because it is more fun when I am not shivering cold on the ice." He certainly has a propensity towards the dramatic!

Scott and I stood by the rink throughout the lesson, proudly watching every move our little skating novice made. Every once in awhile Robby would look up and wave from across the rink, occasionally offering a thumbs up when he completed a circuit without falling. Thirty minutes flew by and before we knew it, his class was coming to an end. Our previously quiet viewing area became congested with kids waiting for their classes to begin and parents waiting to retrieve their children.

Because I take no steps to conceal my prosthetic, I am accustomed to hearing whispers and capturing attention of bystanders. Most of the time the comments and not-so-subtle pointing don't phase me. I am never bothered by a child's comments or questions; I would rather they inquire and satisfy their curiosity instead becoming scared of something simply because it is different. Usually parents try to hush their children when they ask questions within earshot. Occasionally I hear the parent encourage the child to speak directly to me. My heart breaks when I hear a child being reprimanded and scolded simply because I piqued their curiosity.

Yesterday, when I was standing waiting for Robby to come off of the ice, I heard a little girl ask her Dad about my leg. I gave my best "it's okay, I don't mind her noticing" look to the father in an attempt to relieve the pressure. My look of acceptance quickly morphed into that of disgust and disapproval.

Instead of using the situation as an opportunity to teach his daughter, the man looked at her and snapped, "You see, she didn't listen to her skate instructor and the blade cut her leg right off. If you don't start paying attention to your teachers,the same thing will happen to you. You don't want that to happen to you, do you?" The inquisitive little girl's happy disposition evaporated as she hid behind her dad, staring at the ground until I left the area.

I was appalled that a father would explain my amputation to his daughter in such a fictitious and scary manner. Instead of embracing an opportunity to foster acceptance, this parent chose to use me as an unwitting accomplice to scare and shame his child. I was taken off guard by his brazen explanation and was left without a response. (Yes, me without words has happened, although it is rare!)

During the coming week I am going to figure out a way to approach this family in an attempt to undo the fear that has been instilled because of my amputation. I don't want to overstep my boundaries, but at the same time I am going to obsess on this incident until I rewrite the ending. I will not let this little girl graduate from the Snowplow Sam Beginning Skate class fearing an amputee!

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Little Hero

I have inherited many things from my mother. I possess her love of writing, her eternal optimism, and her straight and prematurely greying hair. I've been told that I have her wit and her voice. It has become painfully clear that I have also inherited one unfortunate trait: her weak back.

A few days ago I was in the car, running errands and tying up loose ends. While bending down to pick my cell phone charger off the floor, my back when into a spasm. I let out an instinctive, blood curdling yelp, the shock of which almost forced Scott into the oncoming lane of traffic.

It took me nearly twenty minutes to get out of the car and into the house and struggled all night trying to find a comfortable position. Ice, heat, pillows, and muscle relaxers were all utilized in my attempt to combat the debilitating back pain. Finally I drifted off to sleep around three, probably because of the muscle relaxers because I most certainly never found a comfortable position!

I woke up exhausted, grumpy (an unfortunate side effect of the muscle relaxers) and struggling to move. I sat on the edge of the bed, staring at my prosthetic. I felt as if my leg were taunting me. There was no way I was going to be able to bend to don my liner. I felt defeated, yet I knew that staying in bed all day was not going to be an option. Being an amputee and not being physically able to put on your own prosthesis is a humbling experience!

Thankfully my pint sized hero came skipping into the bedroom. Without missing a beat he grabbed my liner and said, "Don't worry lovely lady Momom. I'm here to help you. I can put your leg because I know how to do it." He grabbed my liner, put it inside out and placed it onto the edge of my leg. He then carefully rolled the liner onto my limb, careful around the "ouchy" spots and deliberately pushing out all the air bubbles.

He was so proud of himself when the liner was on and I was able to step into my leg. "See Momom, I will always be here to help you when you need it. I'll take care of you and be super careful to not step on any cracks today because I don't want your back to break more." I was so proud of my little helper; he didn't miss a beat when I needed him.

While Robby was at school I rested on the heating pad. All of a sudden I felt a click and heard a loud crack. My back, although sore, was suddenly healed. I am going to work on strengthening my core muscles to try to minimize bad back episodes. However, I am resting a little more comfortably knowing that Robby is up to the task should I need his prosthetic assistance again!