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 22, 2013

Wal-Mart Chat

In the years since my amputation I have been fortunate enough to participate in several mobility clinics where I picked up tricks and received suggestions from gait experts. I have worked diligently to implement the modifications and, barring socket complications, I have finally achieved a refined and normal gait pattern. When I am wearing pants, the only evidence of my prosthetic is the crease line that always occurs where the socket ends.

My gait was significantly compromised when I fell in November. After the healing process (which seemed to take forever), I have been concentrating on resuming my normal gait pattern. When I was in pain, I naturally modified the way that I walked in an effort to minimize the discomfort I was feeling. Although I'm no longer hurting, I find myself returning to the poor techniques I was relying upon. It's amazing how quickly bad habits can develop!

Yesterday, walking through the aisles of Wal-Mart I concentrated on my walking pattern. I tried to remember and apply every tip I have ever received during my work at the mobility clinics. Needless to say, it took me a long time to make it to the check-out.

The clerk working my line was chatty and, although I typically don't mind talking, I just wanted to check out and leave. He had other ideas and began talking about the weather and the price of oranges. (Incidentally I thought that the orange conversation was an odd choice because I had no orange products in my order.) I smiled and answered his questions, silently hoping he would hurry up so I could leave.

As we were finishing the transaction, he complimented me on my @amputeemommy necklace. I smiled and said thank you. He asked me why I was wearing it, at which point I explained that it was the name of my website. Without missing a beat he said, "I am guessing that you know an amputee then if you have a whole website and necklace." I was a little surprised by his remark, but I kept smiling as I told him that I am an amputee.

The teller and I proceeded to have a lengthy conversation about my being an amputee. He refused to believe that I was using a prosthetic, his rationale being that he saw me walking to his line and I wasn't "gimpin' or nothing." Our conversation turned into a mixture of comedy and annoyance as I tried to convince this stranger that I was missing part of my leg. It wasn't until I pulled up the pants on my jeans to reveal my carbon fiber prosthesis did this young lad accept that I am an amputee.

I have been so self-critical during the past few weeks about my gait. Apparently my limp is not as noticeable as I feared. I walked away from Wal-Mart with a bag full of groceries and a smile on my face! Perhaps I am almost back to my pre-injury self.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I try to keep my work appointments scheduled during the time that Robby is in school. I love the afternoon time that we have together, after I pick him up from school and before the evening becomes hectic with dinner, homework and bath time. These few hours have become "our time" where we play games, read books, sing songs or just talk. Although I try to avoid it, twice a week I have a late afternoon appointment so Robby spends the afternoon entertaining his Daddy.

Typically the boys play XBox, build with Legos or watch videos while I'm working. Yesterday I came home from work and, to my chagrin, the two were cuddled on the couch watching Ghost Hunters. I watched for a few minutes but switched the channel as soon as I saw Robby begin to cower, explaining that the show was too scary. I stood firm against the protests of both which promptly ended their paranormal seeking adventure.

Scott followed me to the kitchen, accusing me of overreacting. I reminded him that Robby is only six and prone to nightmares. The last thing we need is for him to be up all night because of a television show about ghosts! He finally acquiesced that Robby might be too young for the show and I agreed that, despite his young age, he did seem to be enjoying it.

We spent the rest of the evening trying to divert Robby's attentions from ghosts and Big Foot (evidently the pair had watched "Finding Big Foot" before I walked in on Ghost Hunters).  Tucking him into his race car bed, I was optimistic that we had put all thoughts of the paranormal out of his mind and was hopeful that he would sleep without a nightmare. As soon as I turned off the light he whispered, "You know Momom, there are no ghosts but I know that Big Foot is the real deal."  So much for having him forget the television shows!

To my delight Robby did not have any nightmares. Unfortunately, I woke up at 4 AM because I heard something move. I opened my eyes and I swear I saw an opaque form, the size of a child, wearing a Yoda mask staring at me. I screamed so loud that Scott probably jumped three feet straight up in bed. By the time he got his glasses on the scary little Yoda was gone. I was so startled that I couldn't go back to sleep. 

Apparently, I overreacted and Ghost Hunters does not cause Robby to have nightmares. However, simply referencing the show will cause me to wake up terrorized in the middle of the night by a Star Wars themed apparition.  Either way, the show and all talk of the paranormal is banned in this house! I'm too old for that kind of a startle!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Help Wanted

My increasing work schedule and responsibilities have forced Scott and me to reevaluate the division of labor within our household. I suppose this is a nice way of saying that I have refused to keep all of my responsibilities as a stay-at-home Mom since I'm working full time. For the first few weeks I tried to do everything but quickly realized that I was rendered exhausted and resentful by the end of the day. It became clear that things were going to have to change.

In order to lighten my load, it was agreed that we would hire somebody to clean our home twice a month. I was excited about this decision because I hate to clean. The thought of a crew of people coming into my home to scrub and polish the grime and dirt away felt like a wonderful luxury!

Unfortunately hiring a cleaning crew has morphed from a luxury into a headache. We have been trying to hire a professional service since October. I never thought it would be this hard to hire somebody but it seems that either they can't be trusted or they don't really want the job. This "time saving move" has turned into a logistical nightmare requiring more of my attention than I anticipated.

Our first cleaning service, highly recommended on Yelp, left both Scott and me surprised by the number of trash bags piled up outside. We knew that he had acquired our share of ad circulars and old magazines, but we were embarrassed by the mountain of trash that we had apparently been harboring. As the afternoon wore on I began to notice that I couldn't find certain items, particularly Robby's favorite cups, my travel coffee mugs and most upsetting--Black Bear.

Robby has slept with Black Bear since he was an infant, and although the stuffed animal looks dirty and dingy to others, we see him as well-loved and experienced. We began looking for Black Bear after dinner. When we weren't able to locate him, something told me to venture outside to the looming trash mountain that had been collected by the cleaners. 

My angst about digging in the trash quickly turned into the exhilaration of a treasure hunt. The cleaners didn't throw away old newspapers and magazines. They had simply collected everything that they didn't want to clean and anything that they considered clutter into trash bags to be thrown away. Inside the bags I found my travel mugs, all of Robby's CARS cups, a flash drive, two sweaters, a pair of Robby's pajamas, numerous cat toys and Black Bear.

Obviously, we needed to keep looking for a different cleaning service. The next company that I called failed to clean half of my house but charged me full price. Another simply didn't show up after scheduling two separate appointments. A highly rated company stayed for 90 minutes yet charged me for a full 2 hours. Although they did a great job cleaning, the discrepancy in time made me question their honesty.

I never imagined it would be this difficult to hire a cleaning service. I'm shocked by the lack of communication, work ethic and honesty that has been demonstrated by so many! Although I'm frustrated, I haven't given up hope. We still need somebody to help with the housework.  Today I have a new company coming to clean. Hopefully they will work out because, to be honest, I'm tired of looking!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


In the past, a prosthetist would evaluate the patient and determine which device was appropriate. The prosthesis would be built and the patient would be fitted without the opportunity to make key decisions.  In essence, the amputee had little or no involvement in the choosing of their own prosthetic components. Thanks largely to the internet, this trend is changing and patients are demanding information to become key players in their own prosthetic care.

The ability to research options and to seek the input and experience from other amputees is revolutionizing prosthetic care. Unfortunately, research into prosthetic options is not as simple as a quick Google search. Prosthetic manufacturers have been slow to recognize the power that amputees are beginning with wield when it comes to leading their prosthetic team. The majority of the manufacturer websites have been designed for the practitioner with the research needs of the patient an afterthought. The sites are often littered with jargon and specifications that makes deciphering and breaking down the options an arduous and frustrating task.

More than any time in history, amputees are embracing the prosthetic process and demanding devices that will work with them in achieving their goals instead of settling for a limiting device simply because it was "offered."  For new amputees, the process can be daunting and intimidating.  As amputees are becoming more proactive and empowered about their choice in components, I have long wished that a resource existed that provides user-friendly descriptions while allowing the opportunity to provide real life feedback from the user.

I was utterly delighted when I was introduced to limb-loss.org, an emerging website in our community. This is the only place I am aware of which allows amputees to openly review and rate their components. The site is constantly being improved with new features, but it looks like a promising resource! Take a look at the site and let me know your thoughts.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lazy Weekend...

The marrow donation on Friday left me feeling physically drained. The procedure only took about five hours and although I can't describe it as comfortable, it wasn't nearly as painful as I feared. The sound of the machine and the pulsing sensation of my blood being returned to my body was the most disconcerting, but even those feelings were tolerable. In a stroke of irony, I was listening to the St. Jude's Hospital radio-thon throughout the donation. Hearing the stories of families with children who are battling for their lives certainly helped to keep my minor side effects in perspective!

After a week of preparation and a few hours, the entire process was over. I came home exhausted, depleted and strangely exhilarated. It was a wonderful feeling knowing that I was able to help somebody. Scott came home from work and was ready to assume his duties as primary caretaker for the weekend.

My weekend was spent alternating between napping in bed and falling asleep in my rocker by the fireplace. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't stay awake for more than a few hours at a time. I finally decided to give up and surrendered to the fatigue. As unnatural as it felt to lounge and do nothing, staying quiet was the best thing for my body to rebuild itself.

Thankfully Scott was adequately prepared for my weekend of lazing around. The fridge was stocked and all of the laundry was clean. I tried to make my anticipated weakness as unobtrusive as possible.

Knowing that I wasn't going to be able to play as much, I surprised Robby with a new XBox game. While I'm not a proponent of video games for babysitting purposes, the dreary weather coupled with my limitations while recovering created a perfect environment for gaming. Everybody was happy because I was able to rest and Robby was allowed to play for several hours a day. He proudly told anybody who would listen that he was playing the full version of Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, not the demo version!

I am still tired, but I can feel my strength beginning to return. I suspect that within a few days the entire experience will be nothing more than a memory. Despite the inconveniences, I have no regrets about my decision to donate bone marrow. If asked I would gladly do it again!