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, August 10, 2012

A Difficult Day

Those who know me realize the importance of my Mom in my life. She is my biggest cheerleader, my steadfast advocate, and my source of inspiration and strength. I know that whatever life throws my way, she will always be there to love me, to offer guidance, and to support me. I would not be the person I am today if it were not for her.

Today is a difficult day for our family. I will be driving my Mom to the hospital where she will undergo a double knee replacement. The surgery has me nervous, but I know that the pain in her joints has been debilitating. She rarely complains, so when she favors her knees, I know that she is suffering. She deserves to be pain free, and replacing her knee is the only option.

I know that when she wakes up she will be experiencing intense pain. I wish that I could take it away for her, but all I'm going to be able to do is hold her hand, fetch her pain medication, and try to keep her as comfortable as possible. I'll be taking care of her dogs while she is in the hospital and the rehab facility, but I wish I could do more.

I'm accustomed to being on the gurney. I am rarely the person nervously waiting for the surgeon to emerge with information. This perspective on surgery is foreign!

I know that my Mom will come through the double knee replacement with flying colors. She's strong in body and spirit. That being said, I also know that her recovery will be both painful and laborious.

The truth is, I'm scared for her. I'm not worried about something going array. I feel helpless because I know that there is little I will be able to for her. It's horrible when somebody who is so strong is in pain!

Please keep my Mom in your thoughts today. I'll post updates when I have information.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Power Washing Graffiti

Although I would like to be good at everything, I realize that I am not. Wisdom comes from being able to accept your limitations and recognizing when to call for help. A few days ago I had an epiphany. I have a lot of talents, but painting is not one of them. After much thought, I decided that we needed to call a professional to paint the deck.

If our deck were only in the back of our home, I don't think it would be as imperative that it was done correctly. However, our deck extends around the front of our house and is the focal point. If it were not painted cleanly, the entire exterior would suffer.

It took me nearly 24 hours to power wash the deck and front stairs. I shudder to think of how long it would take me to paint and reseal everything! Assuming that Scott would help, I'm sure it would be a multi-weekend project. Neither one of us is a skilled painter, and we would probably end up with splatters on the adjoining bricks and windows.

I've spent so much time working on our deck that I am beginning to resent the structure altogether. Finishing up the power washing on Sunday, I took out my frustrations and amused my juvenile sensibilities by playing with the spray nozzle.  I gleefully discovered that I could write foul words into the mold on the pillars. I spent the next hour writing foul graffiti on the perimeter of my deck.

It wasn't until I attempted to erase the evidence with the power washer that I realized an important piece of information:  adjusting the nozzle not only changes the size of the spray but also increases the intensity as well. In essence, I had carved the unseemly words deep into the wood. The only way it can be undone is with a sander.

It was at this juncture that I decided to throw in the white towel and call for estimates. Not only do I need the deck to be painted, but I need my graffiti to be planed away. I can't wait until this project is over, and I can just relax on my deck instead of working on it. I'm hoping that the painters can start soon because Robby can't have any play dates until the foul language is removed from the front of our house!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Inspiration? I don't think so....

A few times a week when I'm at the gym, I'm approached by another patron who feels compelled to tell me that I'm an "inspiration." I always thank them, smile, and continue with my work-out. I do not consider myself to be an inspiration, but I do have to admit that the compliment always makes me feel good.

I was initially surprised by the sudden onset of praise from my fellow work-out warriors. I am still on the pudgy side, my shoulders are so weak I can't press more than 10 pounds, and I am fairly confident that my dancing on the steppers provides comic relief for many.  I do nothing that could be construed as attractive or even remotely impressive when I am at the gym.  I've come to the conclusion that my form or the size of the weights I am struggling to lift are both inconsequential. Apparently my simply trying to lift weights to become healthy impresses people!

I'm not just flowered with praise at the gym. I had a lady tell me that she was "so proud of me" when I was ordering ice cream at McDonald's. Why is ordering my own ice cream something worthy of a compliment? Granted, I was proud of myself for opting to go for the vanilla cone in lieu of the hot fudge sundae, but she could not have known that. I know she meant well, but her compliment was simply misplaced. 

The bar for amputees is set pathetically low, so it is not difficult to leap frog towards "impressive" or "inspiring." So many citizens hold such low expectations for anybody with a disability that by simply participating in life we are considered to be achieving something incredible. I am hoping that time and exposure to individuals with disabilities in the mainstream will help to diminish this perception.

I have learned to accept the compliments the same way I accept the naysayer's stares. I try not to take my bi-legged peers well-meaning yet condescending praise to heart. I'm hoping that by seeing me, and others with disabilities, actively engaged in the community, the level of awe can be diminished.

In the meantime, I will accept the compliments and praise at the gym. Even though I know it is unwarranted, I certainly need all the help I can get in that arena! My fellow gym members should not be impressed or inspired by me. If they knew me, they would quickly realize that I am uncoordinated and probably would not even be at the gym had I not overindulged in cookies and cupcakes during the past winter.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Poison Ivy...

The past few days have been miserable for my little guy. His saga began with a seemingly benign complaint on Saturday afternoon. By evening his little legs, along with his arm, torso and neck were covered with distinctive red bumps. I had no doubts: he had his first exposure to poison ivy!

Thankfully, I followed my Mom's advice and took him to the pediatrician. He received both a shot in the bum and a lollipop. He was not amused, but his mood was uplifted slightly when I swung by Cold Stone on the way home for ice cream.

Looking at his rash, I shudder to think how much more discomfort he would be experiencing had I not taken him. Even with the injection and about $40 worth of ointments, creams, lotions and sprays we desperately purchased, he has been miserable. It is so hard seeing him in pain, especially when I know that there is little I can do to make it better.

Anxious to find some relief for him, or if that wasn't possible at least a distraction, yesterday I heeded my friend's suggestion and took him to the pool. I knew that even if the chlorine didn't dry the oozing bumps, hopefully the novelty of playing in the water would take his mind off of the itching. To my delight, the pool was precisely what he needed!

In addition to swimming, Robby mustered his courage to attempt the lifeguard-administered swim test. He was over-the-moon when he easily passed, earning the coveted orange wrist band which allowed him access to the "ginormous big kid slide." His swim lessons were the best thing we've done this summer!

Brave, but not so brave that he didn't insist that I accompany him, he climbed the 42 stairs to the top of the structure. When it was his turn he gave me a kiss, took a deep breath and screamed "Guacamole" as he propelled down the slide. (I think he misunderstood the bigger kids, who were screaming "Geronimo.") He was all smiles throughout the ride.

I positioned my swim prosthetic on top of my leg and when whizzing down the twirling slide. When I went splashing into the pool at the bottom I was met by Robby, who gave me a huge hug and told me that it was "totally way awesome." Needless to say we went on the slide again.

All told, we went down the slide 30 times. Considering that we climbed 42 stairs to reach the top, I figure that we climbed 12600 stairs yesterday, a feat which is especially impressive considering that I was wearing my swim prosthetic--basically a pole and a rubber foot!

The pool worked its magic yesterday, not only distracting Robby but also helping to dry the poison ivy.  He barely noticed the itching. Although, in all fairness, it is difficult to say if the lack of itching was because the rash was drying or because he was simply too tired to complain!

Monday, August 06, 2012

The "F" Word

The past few days have been a struggle. I've been lethargic, feeling ugly, and in a downright funk. I've also been on the verge of tears and overly emotional. In all fairness to my seemingly fragile psyche, I suspect that many of my emotions are due to the Prednisone that I am currently taking to treat the hornet sting reaction from last week. Whether or not my mood is steroid enhanced, I have been the equivalent of an emotional basket case!

Back to School commercials have merely exacerbated my anxieties. Remembering the angst ridden days before Robby started the dreaded "K" word last year, my friends have been asking about my adjustment to First Grade. The answer is simple: not well!

I can't seem to fathom the fact that my little baby is now a first grader. He is changing and, although I love the person that he is becoming, I miss my little boy. He is going to be in school all day, and I am concerned that I haven't done enough during the past six years to prepare him. I worry that I've failed him.

While I'll miss him during the day, in my heart I know that he will adjust to the new schedule. We will both sync into a routine and create a new "normal." Knowing that we will adjust hasn't stopped me from fretting in the middle of the night. Will he make friends? Will he be picked on? Will he succeed? Will he be happy? Have I prepared him enough to take on school? These questions haunt me and keep me from sleeping. I guess it's apparent that I am worrying about everything right now!

Robby is such a sensitive child, and seeing him hurt and disappointed is heartbreaking to witness. I know that all of these experiences are a natural part of growing up, but as a Mom I want to hide and protect him.

I'm trying to talk about school with as much enthusiasm as possible because I want Robby to be excited about this new adventure. He doesn't need to know that I feel like I'm losing my little boy when I send him off to school for the first day. Pathetic and trite as it may sound, I smile during the day and shed my tears quietly at night.

Soon I will be off the Prednisone and hopefully my pharmaceutical intensified emotions will calm. In the meantime, I am going to ignore the Back to School ads and the fact that we are entering the last few weeks of summer. Although probably not the healthiest approach, I've found avoidance and denial to be an acceptable coping method!