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 07, 2014

The Big "O" Talk-- Courtesy of Good Morning America

Robby is at that age where he is highly influenced by what he sees on television. Because he is a little sponge, I try to keep a close eye on what he watches. Unfortunately, sometimes I slip up and he sees something that is entirely inappropriate.  Yesterday I experienced one of those parental fails.

Like me, my little guy loves a bargain. He is particularly fond of the Steals and Deals segment on Good Morning America. Every Thursday he hovers around the television as the shiny boxes are lifted to reveal "amazing bargains." He often begs for us to take advantage of the deal, mimicking the hosts by spouting all of the product's attributes and the money saving opportunity. On rare occasions I agree and hop on the computer to snag the deal. 

Yesterday morning I was getting ready to drive the neighbor up to the bus stop when I remembered that Steals and Deals was about to air. I turned the channel from SpongeBob to Good Morning America, and told Robby to keep his eye out for a good bargain. I grabbed my keys and drove Rowan to meet the school bus. Robby remained on the couch with his eyes glued to the TV anticipating the deal of a lifetime

I came back a few minutes later and Robby had not moved. I glanced at the television and realized that I had not missed the deals. I sat next to him and immediately felt uncomfortable when I realized the topic of the segment which I had instructed Robby to watch.

Instead of Steals and Deals, Robby watched an entire segment detailing a new medical breakthrough to promote female orgasms. Almost reading my mind, he looked at me and asked, "Momom, do you have trouble with organisms in the bedroom. Organisms are between your sheets somewhere. If you do, you can get this new shot. It might make you really really REALLY scream."

I was horrified by his innocent inquiry and possible solution. Not quite knowing how to react, I did the only thing I could think to do. I told him that I was fine and assured him that I do not need a shot. I could tell that he was impressed by the segment.  Before he could continue his plea for me to try to remarkable new organism shot, I did the only thing I could think of to change the topic.  I offered him a cupcake.  Thankfully he became distracted by the treat and, by the time he had crammed it into his mouth, Deals and Steals began to reveal the amazing bargains. I can only hope that he was impressed enough by the bargains and the unexpected treat to pursue the "organism" discussion.

From now on, I will no longer trust Good Morning America as a child-friendly program. Saving money on some products is not worth the adult themed discussions which may ensue from watching the show. Thankfully Robby is still at an age where he is distracted by pastries!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

A Bleh Day

Between dealing with a grumpy soon-to-be dental patient and the dreary winter weather, yesterday was not my best day. I woke up early (no surprises) and, unable to go back to sleep, finally surrendered to the insomnia and ventured out to the living room. I had a roaring fire going by the time he early news started streaming school cancellations and delays.

Despite the icy conditions, I was surprised that neither Scott nor Robby had a delayed opening.  Fully expecting a cancellation or delay, Scott was less than personable when he ventured out for work. I felt a twinge of guilt when I realized that part of me was happy to have him out of the house for the day. He has been solemn, depressed and difficult to converse with since realizing that a dental procedure is imminent. I was at my wits end with his phobia and was glad to be free of the issue and drama for a few hours. 

Looking out the window before taking Robby to school, I made a calculated decision and declared a Momom imposed school delay. The driveway and stairs were icy and slick.  I don't feel save walking on ice with my prosthesis, and I feel even more vulnerable trying to traverse the slippery conditions while pregnant. Robby, of course, was overjoyed with the decision. After jumping on the couch while singing a tune of celebration, he scampered away to play games on the computer while the ice melted.

90 minutes later the ice was melting and we headed to school. Apparently I was not the only parent to have made the delayed opening decision because his class was sparse. (There were only four students in his class.) I saw a line of students and parents driving into the parking lot as I was leaving. I felt slightly vindicated that I was not the only ice-fearing parent.

The dreary and steady cold rain combined with the constant flow of foreboding text messages lamenting the dental appointment made it difficult for me to remain upbeat. After spending two hours researching dental phobias searching for a way to help him cope, I came to the realization that there is nothing that I can do to fix the situation. Accepting that I cannot fix something is difficult for me, but I recognize that I out of my element. I can offer no other solutions other than support. For my own sanity, avoidance is probably the best option.

Hopefully the rain will stop and the sun will peak out and say hello today. I could use a little sunshine right now! If the sun doesn't come out, I suppose I'll have to settle for a cupcake.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Teaching Flop

Yesterday was busy. Between work meetings, writing an appeal and running to the grocery store in preparation for the predicted ice storm, I had to carve out time for the most important appointment of the day.  This wasn't an ordinary appointment, and my attendance was my top priority. I was invited to talk with Robby's class about Braille.

Robby peppered me with reminders and questions all morning about the presentation. Before we left for school he gave me a huge bear hug and smothered me with kisses. "Momom, thank you for coming to talk with my class. I feel really proud when you come and teach us. It would be super duper fun if you brought a treat too. Maybe cupcakes?"  Let there be no doubt that he is my son!

Although his request for cupcakes made me smile, his sentiments made my heart melt. I love that he enjoys and looks forward to my involvement with his class. In a few years, I'm sure he won't be nearly as excited to see my smiling face walk through his classroom door.  For now, I am thoroughly enjoying the smiles that I receive even though I know that they will soon turn into eye rolls. 

With the suggested cupcakes in hand, I walked into Robby's class at the requested time. His eyes, along with those of his classmates, lit up when they saw me enter. I would like to think that they were happy to see me, but I'm fairly certain that their reaction could be traced directly to the cupcakes I was holding.

Sitting in a circle on the floor, I began to talk to the class about Braille. I was a bit taken aback by their lack of exposure to this form of reading. I have known Braille for almost 20 years and for me, it is second nature. Robby grew up with a variety of print-to-braille books. Although he can't read Braille, he understands its purpose and use. His classmates couldn't identify any places where they have ever seen Braille, much less comprehend that people can read with their fingertips. 

More than the lack of exposure, I suppose I was more disturbed the fact that none of them seemed to have any interest in what I was teaching. With the exception of Robby, the students consistently voiced their boredom with the topic. After a few minutes of floundering, I was able to regain my bearings and retooled my approach. While I didn't accomplish everything that I had planned, at least his classmates understood that Braille existed and had a basic understanding as to its purpose. They seemed to enjoy seeing their names in Braille but consistently complained (some would say whined) that the dots did not resemble the print alphabet.

When I was Robby's age, a speaker came into my class and taught us about Braille.  I credit this early exposure to my pursuing the teaching of blind and visually impaired children as a career.  I was hoping to have made a similar impression on a younger generation today. This was not the case. Although the lesson did not go as well as I had planned,  I'll settle for broadening the horizons of the students. Thankfully I was able to redeem myself with the cupcakes and, by the time I left the class, all of the Braille aggravations seemed to have been forgotten. 

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Medical Phobia

It is immensely difficult to help somebody whom you care about navigate through their phobias. Recognizing that their reaction is extreme does nothing to allay their fears. Trying to employ logic is futile. I wish I knew the proper approach, but regardless of the tactic I employed, the result was the same.

Scott and I have been together for nearly 14 years. During that time we have overcome numerous obstacles including my cancer diagnosis and amputation. Although both were difficult tests, there was a common denominator which I have overlooked.  The health crises were mine; Scott's role was that of companion and cheerleader. He has never been the patient. It turns out that he is a great cheerleader but an abysmal patient.

Scott suffers from what I can only describe as a medical phobia. Avoidance has worked for him until this past weekend when he cracked a tooth. Shaking, sweating and pale, he could barely vocalize his need to go to the dentist without breaking down. The remainder of the weekend was spent trying to calm down a scared patient whose fears were real yet irrational.

Looking at him, I knew that his emotions were legitimate. There was no doubt that he was petrified, almost paralyzed by his fears of visiting the dentist. To no avail I tried to rationalize with him, pointing out that in the scheme of life visiting the dentist ranked low on the trauma scale. I think he heard what I was saying, but he was not accepting the truth. In his mind, visiting the dentist was akin to walking the Green Mile before execution. 

My emotions vacillated between compassion, frustration, anger, irritability and confusion as I watched him become increasingly anxious and terrified before his appointment. Robby, recognizing the fears, tried to console his Daddy by reminding him that he was scared before his ear surgery but that he had to "man up" and just do it. Despite our efforts, we made no headway. He simply dissolved as the appointment approached.

Scott was clammy, pale, shaking and sweating when he walked into the dentist office (which he consistently referred to as his torture chamber.) The dentist and her receptionist could not have been kinder, but I think that they were even taken aback by his extreme reaction. Despite his fears, he finally assumed his position in the examination chair. The look on his face when I walked out of the room reminded me of Robby's demeanor on his first day of Kindergarten. Both personified fear and confusion.

Two hours later Scott finally emerged from the little room and, although his shaking had calmed down, he remained visibly upset. I'm hoping that exposure will help to minimize his very real phobia because he will be returning to the office numerous times in the coming months. I'm fairly confident I can't help or handle his phobia.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Ominous Click

I have been an amputee for more than a decade, yet I am surprised by how much I am still learning. Last week I wrote about a clicking sound from my prosthesis. What began as a slight annoyance at the beginning of the week turned into a source of embarrassment and frustration by Friday. The sound grew louder as the week progressed, and I realized that unlike many prosthetic noises, it wasn't going to go away. 

Friday morning I went to visit Elliot, my prosthetist, for a diagnosis and tune up. I sure am glad I didn't wait through the weekend to get rid of the clicking! Almost as soon as I walked into his office and he heard the sound I was directed to immediately sit down. He took my leg and, without hesitation or much effort, pulled the foot completely off the socket.

Apparently the clicking sound was the result of the bolts loosening. As I continued to walk through the week, the bolts were progressively losing their grip to the socket. If I had planted my foot and twisted, the entire prosthesis would have disassembled. I had no idea that I was flirting with a prosthetic catastrophe!

Thankfully injury was averted and my leg was quickly fixed. From now on I am going to heed the sounds being communicated through my prosthesis. If I ever hear the clicking sound again, I won't put it off for a week and hope it goes away.