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, October 12, 2012

Farmer Robby

Yesterday morning I woke up to the sounds of Robby softly serenading Charlie Cat with his rendition of "Old McRobby Had a Farm." Knowing that he was excited about his field trip, I decided to keep with the farm theme by preparing him a "farmer's breakfast" of waffles, bacon, apple crisp and milk. He happily munched away, and I was delighted because I suspected that once the field trip commenced, the chances of Robby eating his lunch were slim to none!

As promised, I followed the bus of eager first graders to the highly anticipated "Corn and Cows Farm." All of the kids looked adorable in their matching field trip t-shirts. Although they were all dressed the same, it wasn't hard to pick out my little guy. He is at least a head taller than everybody else in his class.

Robby and I have been going to petting zoos and visiting various farms since he was in a stroller. Although I planned most of these adventures, it wasn't until yesterday that I realized the wealth of experiences he has gained. His classmates were mesmerized as many of them had never seen a cow nor had they been on a hay ride. Robby enjoyed the time with his friends, but none of these encounters were novel.

Not only has Robby had significant exposure to agriculture, I have to give myself a pat on the back for teaching him a thing or two. During the butter making class, Robby not only knew what would be made by shaking heavy cream, but  also offered that it is "really super yummy on homemade bread, which has to be kneaded a long time." The butter instructor seemed surprised when he continued to explain how to flavor the butter with various herbs and spices.

When the farmer asked the students to guess what is produced the most at a dairy farm, every little boy and girl answered milk. The farmer was about to go into his lecture when Robby piped up and offered the correct answer-manure. Apparently Robby thwarted the farmer's speech because he was silent on the hayride for about 3 minutes when he pointed to the manure sprayers and explained that the odoriferous byproduct was used to help plants grow.

During the final session, when everybody was going over everything that they learned on the trip, I felt myself beaming with parental pride. While I was proud of his behavior, I was also proud of all of the experiences we created for him during the past six years. Seeing the great wealth of experiences he brought to the field trip, I couldn't help but congratulate myself for a parenting job well done!

Basking in my parenting accomplishments, I was eager to hear Robby's contribution to his classes recap of the field trip. I leaned forward and prepared myself to be wowed by his take on the farm. He stood up, looked at the farmer and Miss Lauren (his teacher) and excitedly exclaimed, "This farm is f*cking awesome."

So much for my good mom vibes!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cramping My Style

Yesterday, after a busy morning both working and visiting my prosthetist, I decided to relax by taking a walk. The weather was gorgeous, and I figured it was the perfect opportunity to test walk my new socket. Eager to take advantage of the sunshine and burn some calories, I headed out the door.

By the time I reached the end of our street my stump was aching. I chalked it up to the socket and paused to readjust the fit. It immediately felt better, and I continued my afternoon jaunt with a happy spring in my step.

I was about a mile away from my house when my leg began to cramp. Typically I can walk through the cramp and it doesn't last long. This time each step made the pain more intense. By the time I made my way to the guardrail on the side of the road, pain filled tears were filling my eyes and I could not bear weight on my prosthesis. 

My toes felt like they were being twisted in opposite directions, and my ankle felt like it was being beaten with a hammer. Frantically I sat down on the guardrail and worked to remove my leg. What remains of my calf muscle was in such a spasm that it made removing my prosthesis extremely difficult. After about five agonizing minutes I was able to free my limb. 

It felt like the cramp would be relieved if I could wiggle my toes. Unfortunately I don't have my foot anymore, so that eliminated that possibility. I tried to imagine my toes and move them, but that simply intensified the muscle contortions. All I could do was balance on the guard rail and wait for the muscle to relax. 

The pain became so intense I began to see stars, sweat profusely and shake. I ended up sliding down the guardrail, sitting precariously on the side of the road in what I am hoping was not poison ivy. Rubbing my leg provided little relief, and for the first time in a long time, I felt completely helpless. 

During the 40 minutes I sat on the side of the road with my leg removed, I was passed by countless cars and trucks. I was disappointed that not one of my neighbors slowed down and offered assistance. I surely would have offered to help if I saw somebody I knew in that situation! 

Finally the muscle relaxed enough for me to don my leg and hobble back home. Mr. Bill saw me coming down our street, immediately knowing that something was wrong he hopped in his truck and picked me up. This gesture restored some faith in humanity, and I promised that I would call him if I ever encountered a problem when I'm walking.

Last night my entire body was sore. Apparently all of my muscles tightened during the incident because it felt like I had hit a brick wall. Today I wish I could simply rest. Instead I'm switching to my other leg and assuming chaperone duties for Robby's much anticipated field trip to the farm! Hopefully nothing will happen to "cramp" my fun Momom style!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


All of a sudden the temperatures have plummeted. After a swamp-like summer, the cool crisp air feels heaven sent. Last night we even lit our first fire in our fireplace. We are in that wonderful stage of the season where we can enjoy fires for ambiance and warmth yet aren't annoyed by the dirt and the constant hauling of wood into the house!

Despite heralding a new school year, I love autumn. Something about the changing leaves, apple pies and jumping into my pajamas right after dinner because it's already dark just makes me happy. The absence of humidity and relatively mild temperatures afford me few weather induced "bad leg days."

My only complaint about being an amputee in autumn lies with trying to navigate the nuts that, for whatever reason, are lying an inch deep on just about every surface outside. Acorns aren't much of an issue. They are typically fragile and are squished underneath my prosthetic as I walk. My neighbors are beginning to recognize the distinctive crunching sounds that follow me as I walk through the neighborhood. 

Unfortunately, our yard hosts several hickory trees. Hickory nuts are not only large (about the size of a golf ball) but also boast extremely hard shells. They are so strong that they have been known to remain intact when run over by our car. When I am unfortunate enough to step on a hickory nut with my prosthetic, I quickly look like a cartoon character slipping on a bag of marbles.

Necessity is, indeed, the mother of invention. I have convinced Robby and his friend Rowan that "harvesting" hickory nuts is a lot of fun. Each morning before school, and again in the afternoon, Robby fills buckets full of the hearty little hazards. I have to give myself a maternal pat on the back because the obstacle has been removed, and Robby was entertained at the same time!

When the nuts fully dry (in about a month) we will spend another few days whacking them with hammers. For a six year old boy, little is more fulfilling than being asked to hit something with a hammer! When the nuts are opened and the meats are removed, we'll bake our much coveted hickory nut cookies for Mr. Bill. Since we don't have plans to remove the trees, I'm pleased that I was able to devise a solution to my nut obstacles that benefits everybody!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Job Offer

After much begging, I finally agreed to take Robby to the "big boy" Halloween store. I was hesitant to take him because although he has apparently forgotten about the week of nightmares that manifested after walking into the store last year,  I remember his terror filled nights very well. Before going into the store we had a long discussion about how everything was fake. The zombies were moving because they were robots and the snakes were not real. Only after I was confident that he understood the prop value of everything he was going to see did I agree to walk inside with him.

Clutching my fingers so tightly that they became numb, Robby tentatively took his first steps into the store. He looked at every gore-inspired display and apprehensively declared, "I know that this is just a fake robot, right Momom?"  After looking through several aisles, Robby finally gathered up the courage to release my hand. (Just in the nick of time because the circulation was being cut from my fingers by his tight grasp.)

We began walking towards the more mellow section of the store, looking at the various kids' costumes. Robby has already decided upon his costume for the year, but we were searching for accessories to make it "totally epic and awesome."  Robby grabbed a make-up kit and moved towards me when he unknowingly stepped on a floor switch. A spider leaped towards us from out of nowhere. I'm not ashamed to admit that I shrieked louder than he!

Our spider theatrics caused a lot of fellow shoppers to look in our direction. At that moment I didn't really care who was looking at me. That fake spider scared the bejeebers out of me! Robby and I both looked at each other and agreed it was time to go back to Nana's house.

Trying to regain my composure, we paid for the make-up and walked towards the door. A young man (anybody under 35 is now classified as young) approached me and began to chat. He heard me scream and wanted to make sure that we were okay. I thought that was nice, considering that I had just made a fool out of myself.

Without much introduction, he offered me a job. If I accepted, I would be paid $200 under the table, so I don't lose any benefits (wink wink) with the promise of having fun. All I would have to do is "ditch the leg, bloody up the stump with some make-up and hop around screaming while trying to get away from a man wielding a chain saw." I've received a lot of offers since becoming an amputee, but acting in a haunted house certainly ranks among the strangest.

I'm not offended by the job offer. After all, I'm sure that my screaming at the top of my lungs in the middle of a store qualified as some sort of audition. However, I did have to turn the position down. I simply don't hop gracefully, and with my luck I'd land on a prop weapon which would inflict a very real injury!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Good News (and a few frustrtions)

This weekend has been a mixture of both good news and a few frustrations. The best news, of course, was delivered by Robby's pediatrician. I am so happy to report that Robby's blood results came back declaring him healthy and strong!  Although I hate that he has to be on antibiotics for a UTI, I am delighted to be able to remove diabetes from the scope of possibilities.  I know that both Scooter and I have been able to sleep better since receiving the news from his pediatrician.

After attending my first Back to School Night as a parent Friday evening, Robby and I headed up to PA to visit my Mom. I haven't seen her in a few weeks and was eager to witness the progress that she has made in her recovery.  Because we were getting a later than usual start because of the school function, I was hoping that we had avoided rush hour traffic.

It is 125 miles from my home to my Mom's driveway. Typically, with normal traffic, it takes a little over 2 hours. On Friday, leaving after rush hour had been declared over, it took me a whopping four hours to get to her house. Robby was a trooper and kept his complaining to a minimum until he finally fell asleep for the final hour. Needless to say, we didn't visit much Friday evening. I carried Robby from the car and put him into his bed. I took Tylenol to treat the traffic headache I had developed and followed him to the bedroom within minutes.

Despite the traffic and the extraordinary long drive, it was great spending time with my Mom. I marvel at her recovery especially since it is only two months since the bilateral knee replacements. She's walking without a cane now and, other than her slowed pace when walking, there are no visible signs that she is recovering from a major surgery. She is in pain, but the degree is lessening now and is dependent upon her activity level. I am so proud of her for working so hard despite the discomfort and pain!

Sunday morning Robby and I woke up and headed home. Thankfully our trip home was non-eventful and we arrived on schedule. We unpacked the car, Robby and Scooter began to play a Wii game, and I settled in to work on a report.

To my frustration my computer would not start. I plugged it in, and the charge light does not illuminate. After holding to speak with somebody in the customer care department for an hour, the representative (in her infinite wisdom) diagnosed the problem as "unknown" and recommended I send it to California for repair. When asked how long the computer would be out of my possession, I was informed that I should anticipate being without my device for 6-8 weeks.

When I scoffed at the time frame quoted, I was encouraged to take my computer to a local repair shop. Of course the warranty would not cover the repairs, but the work would be done quickly and I would have my computer back by the end of the week. Begrudgingly, I feel like I have little choice but to pay to have the work done locally. I rely upon my computer too heavily to be without it for two months!

In the meantime, I've repossessed Robby's computer which is nothing more than our antiquated laptop. Many of the keys stick because of the crumbs that have become embedded by my little guy happily chomping on chips and crackers while watching YouTube videos. The quotation key is missing because my niece inexplicably pulled it off a few months ago.  The screen is covered with smears, and the touch pad is sticky. Despite all of these issues, this old computer has one glaring benefit right now: it works!

Sometimes I really hate technology.