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, July 12, 2013

Vacation Bound!

Seemingly every Sunday morning for the past year, Robby's routine has been unchanged. Coming to the kitchen to retrieve a fresh cup of milk and an Eggo Waffle, he always ends up climbing into bed next to Scott. The pair prop themselves on pillows, pull up the covers and turn on the Travel Channel to watch an hour long infomercial featuring the Atlantis Resort.

I don't know when or how this Sunday morning tradition began, but it was certainly not intentional. I'm suspect that the infomercial was discovered while flipping through the channels to find a cartoon. I have come to enjoy the quiet hour while the two are oohing and ahhing over the pools, slides, food and marine activities of the resort. (He is especially interested in feeding the sea koopas.) The show always ends with Robby asking the same question, "Can we go to Atlantis someday?"  Our answer, someday we'll go, has been the accepted and anticipated response.

A few weeks ago we threw Robby for loop. When he asked if we could go to Atlantis, Scott and I smiled at each other and responded in unison. Sure! Let's go to Atlantis on July 15th. Robby was so flabbergasted he couldn't speak!  Spending time at an aquarium themed water resort is about as perfect vacation destination as it can get for our family!

Scott and I have been planning for this vacation for over a year.  Judging by Robby's year-long interest in the infomercial, we are going to have a great time. Every night he has been curling up on my lap and reviewing the resort's website, diligently planning his days. He has been making charts and lists of activities that he wants to do, slides that he wants to try, and pools that he wants to play since we told him that we are going. He has practiced holding his breath underwater and gently petting any hard surface in preparation for his turtle encounter. To say that he is excited does not do his mood justice.

This next week is sure to be amazing. Robby is at the perfect age to enjoy the activities and the scenery, and as an added bonus he still wants to spend time with us! I will write the blog from Atlantis, so stay tuned for pictures and updates!  Until then, I have a lot of packing to do. Who would have thought that three people would need so much stuff!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Laser Tag

Each morning after not-so-patiently waiting for my coffee pot to heat, I typically sit in my rocking chair and begin my mourning routine. After briefly checking Facebook and my work emails, I log onto my personal inbox. Virtually overflowing each morning with daily deal offers and special "invitation only" sales, it usually takes me a few minutes to delete all of these "important" messages.  It would certainly be quicker if I took the time to remove my email from the various mailing lists, but I have come to enjoy seeing all of the daily deal offers. Every once in awhile I find one that piques my interest, solidifying my spot on the mailing list because I would hate to miss out on a bargain.

A few weeks ago I opened an offer for a laser tag experience. Neither Robby nor Scott have ever played laser tag, and I suspected that they would like it. Regardless of how many times I try to redirect his energy, Robby always returns to playing with his water and Nerf guns. The deal was fantastic, offering 50% off a 3-game punch card, and I felt like I was being beckoned to make the purchase. I bought two cards and quietly slipped the vouchers in the rainy day file. 

Tuesday morning was cool and dreary, thwarting out plans of spending the afternoon poolside. With none of his friends home, it seemed that we were destined for a day of playing inside and watching television. After lunch I decided to surprise the boys with the laser tag vouchers. Both were elated with the prospect of teaming up and, according to Robby, "opening up a can of whoop bum on the enemy." I am fairly certain that they both got dressed and found their missing shoes in record time!

Since I possess zero interest in playing, I stayed in the lobby with the other moms while Scott and Robby went into the playing arena. It turns out that the arena is equipped with a series of CCTV's so I was able to watch the battle ensue. Seeing Robby and Scott run around with their laser guns made me chuckle, and I was sure that they were having a great time.

Scott emerged from the arena first after the game ended. The smile on his face was absolutely radiant. He was drenched in sweat, winded and gloating that he found the "sniper's den." I don't think that the group of 10 year old girls, nor their mother, appreciated my husband's victory dance in the lobby.  Robby followed in tow, smiling and high fiving his Daddy for leading him to the snipers.

I fully expected to spend another 30 minutes watching the grainy TV coverage of another battle, but to my surprise Robby said he was ready to go. I assumed that the lure of the now blue skies and bright sun was beckoning him to the pool. Scott seemed disappointed, but I tucked the punch cards into my wallet for another day and we headed home to change into our swimsuits before heading back to the pool.

Scott chattered about the laser tag battle throughout the afternoon. Every once in awhile Robby chimed in, but his lack of enthusiasm was obvious. I didn't say anything, but I suspected that it wasn't as fun for my 7 year old as it was for my 47 year old boy!

It turns out that my hunch was correct. Robby quietly approached me late in the evening and told me that he didn't want to do laser tag again until he was older, like "maybe 10 or 35 years old." I assured him that he didn't have to do it again, and a look of relief washed across his worried little face. We had a long talk and I learned that laser tag is not a lot of fun when you have a hearing issue. The dark room, coupled with the noises being piped in, was disorienting and scary.

I had never considered the impact his hearing issue would have during a laser tag battle, but apparently it was significant. I felt horrible for putting him into an activity that would cause him to become scared and to struggle, but at the same time I am glad that he was able to come to me with his problems. I'm sure that the passes will still be used; I'm fairly confident that I won't be able to keep Scott away from the Battle Arena!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pool Side

Since Robby started summer vacation, my days have been exceptionally busy. I have shifted my hours, forcing myself to get up at 5 to conquer the never ending mountain of paperwork thus freeing up my afternoon for the pool. Between working early (and long) hours and spending every afternoon splashing in the sun, I have fallen into bed each night exhausted. Needless to say, I have a happy, and tanned, Koopa boy!

We have been swimming everyday (that we have been home) since I bought the pool memberships back in June. I am always skeptical when investing in a season pass because, with the exception of the Animal Park, I rarely recoup the investment. Last summer I bought a family membership to the Baltimore Aquarium, certain that we would make the 90 minute drive on a quasi-regular basis.  We've only been once, and each time I see the membership cards in my wallet I kick myself.  Scooter has been keeping track, and on Monday we visited the pool enough to pay for the pool passes for the season. For some reason going to the pool now seems more enticing since each visit is "free" and we are, according to Robby and Scooter, "Sticking it to the man."

Robby's swimming skills have improved more by his just having fun than they did when we were paying obscene amounts of money for swim lessons. Although I'm always with him (I have an affinity for the water as well), I am finally at a point where I feel safe for him to be by himself. He is thoroughly enjoying his new found pool freedom, happily paddling to the other side of the pool and going on underwater exploration with his new goggles.  On a side note, we are actively discouraging him from "rescuing" the band-aids that he spies on the pool floor!

Other than the fatigue, the only downside to our new summer schedule lies in our grocery bill. Robby comes home from the pool famished. Something about the water causes his stomach to morph into a never ending pit, and it is becoming expensive to keep him satiated!

Although I detest mornings, it is becoming easier to wake up with the sun. Other than drinking copious amounts of coffee to jump start my day, I am adjusting to the summer schedule. I am sure that I will be running on fumes by the end of the summer, but maybe that isn't a bad thing. Maybe I'll be so exhausted on Robby's first day of school that instead of spending the morning crying, I come home and fall asleep!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013


After Robby was born, I stepped out of the classroom and began my tenure as stay-at-home Mom. While I loved being home with him and watching him grow, I missed the career that I left behind. I struggled for a long time to try to find a professional venture that would satisfy my need to give back while allowing me the opportunity to continue to stay home with Robby. Needless to say, the journey was not easy!

I am in a wonderful place, both professionally and personally. I have finally found a career that I love. It feels wonderful to be able to help my community while contributing financially to the household. I'm able to do the majority of my work at home which affords me a flexibility that I do not take for granted! Every day is different and provides me with new adventures and opportunities to meet some amazing people.

My job responsibilities are varied, but the one that I enjoy the most is my role as guinea pig. Whenever Elliot (my prosthetist) has a new idea, I am often asked to try it out. Whether it be a new component that just came onto the market, a new suspension configuration or a new socket design, I am able to wear it and provide my feedback and suggestions for improvement. Not only is it fun trying out the newest technology, but I am excited to be a small part of the process of making these advancements available to the community.

Last week I was asked to try a new socket design which will hopefully negate the need for socks to control volume fluctuations. I was immediately excited about the possibilities. Imagine eliminating the need for socks to control volume fluctuations! This new design, if it works, has the possibility of improving the prosthetic lives of so many amputees. I couldn't wait to try it out.

The socket is as visually interesting as it is functional. Cutting out and trimming down panels to create movement and threading a Boa closure system through the socket walls to provide a mechanism for self-adjustment was brilliant. With the click of a dial I am now able to reduce or increase the size of my socket, allowing me to accommodate for volume fluctuations while eliminating the need for socks. 

The new design is still in its infancy, and I'm sure numerous tweaks and improvements will be implemented as it evolves. The socket itself is more labor intensive to fabricate, but the results are amazing. My new leg is comfortable, and I love that an adjustment is just a click away! I am amazed at the developments that have occurred in prosthetics during the past decade. I'm hoping that the research continues, and I'm eager to see what will unfold during the next ten years.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Blurry Eyed

We were in constant action on Friday and Saturday. On both days we spent the afternoon at the pool, playing in the water and cooling off. Robby was delighted to spend hours splashing and cannon balling into the water. As an added bonus, the pool water proved to be therapeutic in making my stings more comfortable. I love that multitasking falls so easily into place! After swimming we went to the hockey rink where Robby skated for at least an hour. Needless to say, I had one tuckered out little Koopa by the end of the day!

I wasn't surprised when Scott and Robby were both still sound asleep on Sunday morning. I tiptoed to the kitchen and quickly turned on my coffee pot. Waiting for my caffeine jolt, I had the feeling that something wasn't right. I didn't feel ill, but something felt out of sorts. I was hoping that come caffeine might help sort things out, so I filled my largest mug and turned on the news.

Sipping my coffee I began to self-diagnose my issue. The peripheral field of my right eye was blurry, and I was seeing halos and bright waves. I blinked hard a few times but it only temporarily fixed the problem. I assumed that I had gotten lotion in my eye, but washing my face did not alleviate the issue. By the time Scott rolled out of bed, I was concerned.

While I am by no means an eye doctor, I do know a fair bit about the anatomy of the eye. Much of my college program focused on eye diseases and ocular issues (I studied to be a teacher for the blind.) I am not a proponent of self-diagnosis, but I did have a hunch about the issue with my eye.

After reading several articles online, my suspicions were confirmed. The emergency room physician had prescribed several days of Prednisone following my encounter with the tracker jackers. One of the side effects of Prednisone is blurriness or halos, especially in the peripheral vision. I applied a warm compress to my eye and decided to delay taking the next dose until I talked with my doctor. I'm glad I didn't take the medication.

At 11:00 I received an unexpected phone call from my pharmacy. I was dumbfounded when the friendly automated voice informed me that "an error had been made to the labeling of my recent prescription. Please press 1 to speak with a pharmacist." Seriously?  Mislabeling a prescription didn't even warrant a personal phone call?

After pressing 1 and waiting for about a minute, the pharmacist finally picked up the receiver. A few clicks on the keyboard later and she informed me that the Prednisone was prescribed for one pill daily. My bottle reads "take three tablet(s) daily." No wonder I developed a reaction; I was taking 3x the prescribed amount!

I hung up the phone, livid that such a mistake occurred. I realize that the system isn't perfect, and while I am thankful that no permanent damage was done, this situation could have been avoided. I can't help but think that this oversight must be a relatively frequent occurrence for my now-previous pharmacy. After all, they had an automatic call set up for the occasion! From now on I am going to be more vigilant about making sure that I receive exactly what was prescribed by my doctor, and I am going to find a different pharmacy.