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 23, 2015

Splitting and Stacking

Happy Friday!

The weather is supposed to be beautiful, and I'm gearing up for a relaxing albeit busy weekend.  It will be spent working on the wood strewn through our front yard. In just a few short hours after work, Scott has made an impressive dent on the project. I am hopeful that we might actually have everything cleared and chopped by the time we need to return the splitter. Of course, my husband's weekends are typically reserved for football watching, so I'm not entirely convinced that Scott will attack the splitting with the same gusto.

I haven't been able to help with the heavy work, not because I'm not physically able but because I am running around the yard after Timmy. He loves to be in the middle of the action, but splitting logs is not exactly safe for a toddler. He is easily distracted but requires constant attention so that he doesn't wander or eat an acorn.  (I am beginning to think that he is part squirrel when I think of his affinity for popping acorns and hickory nuts in his cheeks.) While Robby, Scott, and Mr. Bill are busy chopping and splitting, I am on the move after the youngest helper. 

Hopefully by the time we go to Trunk-or-Treat on Sunday evening the yard will be cleared of all the wood, and our firewood pile will be stacked and ready for winter. I'm looking forward to being able to walk through our front yard without having to navigate the minefield of limbs, tree sections and divots. It will be nice to look out the front window without feeling overwhelmed by the woody mess!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lackluster Response

Last Friday the White House finally responded to our We the People petition. The response was lacking in content and, considering that it was released after hours on a Friday night, had the air of being intentionally buried. The administration really didn't need to bury their response; It certainly didn't say anything that could be construed as controversial. In fact, it didn't say anything of consequence!

I was simultaneously heartbroken and angry when I read the response. Reading the non-committal recap of the issues instead of the response to the proposal that was requested, I wanted to cry. I felt like I had wasted my entire August working to secure signatures on a futile petition.

After a few days and multiple conversations with those whom I respect in the field, I have been able to gain perspective.  The statement released by the White House was labeled as the "initial response," and it was indicated that more information would be forthcoming. Those who are working the political side of this issue believe that there are a lot of backroom discussions concerning the proposal and that the fight has not been in vain. The White House felt obligated to provide a response but was not yet prepared to address the specifics.

I took the lack of content as a failure, but it could be a victory. While it is frustrating to continue to wait, the fact that more information was promised is an encouraging sign. It means that access to quality prosthetic care is being examined by the highest levels of our government. My optimism about our success is starting to return.

While I'm feeling more hopeful about the Medicare proposal being rescinded or modified, our battle is not yet over.  Private insurers are already beginning to adopt the detrimental aspects into their policies. As of October 1, UnitedHealth Care has stopped covering prosthetic vacuum systems. They cite the lack of medical evidence as the reason, but privately they attribute the decision to the Medicare proposal. I fear that this is just the beginning of the cascading impact of this proposal.

Dave and I recorded a podcast about the issue and are encouraging everybody to tweet @AskUHC, which is the official customer service handle for United Healthcare.  Please ask them why they are limiting prosthetic care for customers. Don't forget to use the #NotALuxury hashtag so that we can trace and retweet these queries. We need to flood United Healthcare with polite inquiries and concerns so that we can increase public awareness.  Let's continue to make a difference on this issue!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015


We never made it to the farm yesterday. The stars finally aligned, and Timmy ended up taking a substantial nap. I decided that it would be more beneficial (for both of us) to allow him to sleep rather than wake him up and schlep him outside to play. I am amazed by the amount of work that I can accomplish during a few hours of quiet!

Of course, every action has a consequence.  Timmy had a lengthy nap in the afternoon, resulting in his sleeping poorly last night. He woke up at 3 AM. Although I was able to get him back to bed around 4, he was restless and awake (hence keeping me awake)  until I finally surrendered and released him from his crib at 5. The benefits I reaped yesterday were wiped out by one long night.

Somehow I have to tap into my energy reserves by the time Scott gets home from work. We rented a long splitter and need to clean up the yard. We have the machine for a week, but the amount of wood is overwhelming, and I'm beginning to worry that 7 days won't be long enough. I know that I have to stay  motivated and moving because if I relax, the project will never be completed. I don't want to be a nag, but I also don't want to be out the money for the rental and a yard still cluttered with wood. 

I'm still dealing with the sores on my leg. They continue to be painful but are not worsening, so I'm slightly optimistic that I am on the mend. I'm going to the doctor this afternoon to have him check it, and I wouldn't be surprised if I end up with antibiotics. I hate taking pills when they aren't necessary, but the sores have been oozing puss for a few days, and I think it is time to be aggressive. I've been dealing with this issue for a few weeks and I have exhausted all non-medicinal methods. 

Because of the sores, I have to be careful with how much I physically help with the log splitter. Rotating in my socket tends to aggravate the area, which is exactly what I don't want to do. A few years ago we would have been stuck, but now Scott has an eager and capable assistant in Robby. (Before the lectures start, we don't allow Robby to move or handle the logs. His job is limited to lever control and to moving the small pieces to the pile after they have been cut.) 

With my older boys splitting wood, I will be on Timmy duty. I'm sure he is going to want to be outside and part of the action, which is going to clash with my keeping him a safe distance away from the workers. I'm hoping that he becomes bored watching the splitting and I will be able to occupy him with his favorite outdoor activities--picking up nuts and throwing sticks into the woods. Who knows, maybe all of the excitement will tire him out and he'll sleep well past dawn. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Better Day

Much to screaming Timmy's chagrin, yesterday I took an extra long time getting out of bed. I tried to block out the wailing of his discontent as I slowly stretched and enjoyed being prone for a few brief moments. I knew that it was going to be a long day, and I wanted to enjoy the solitude as long as possible.  Of course, solitude and a screaming toddler don't mix well, so my efforts were short lived. I begrudgingly put on my leg and prepared for the ensuing chaos of another Monday morning.

Just as I predicted, it was constant movement from the moment I picked him up in the morning until I fell into bed at night. Between a near constant stream of work calls, projects with converging due dates, and Timmy tantrums, I barely had time to grab a quick snack for lunch. I hate those frantic mommy days when I feel like I'm barely treading water. I always feel like I'm doing enough to stay afloat but never enough to be really good at anything.

While yesterday I was a good employee, I feel like I was a lousy Mom. I was snappy and impatient with both boys. I know that everybody would have been better off if I had just unplugged, put down the phone and played for awhile. Unfortunately my schedule was demanding and my timelines were pressing.  Perhaps it was fatigue induced, but I went to bed feeling like an utter failure. I tried my best to push the negative thoughts out of my mind, but I definitely had a difficult time decompressing and falling asleep.

Today my schedule is less compact allowing me some much needed playtime. The weather is supposed to be crisp and beautiful, so I think I may take Timmy for a special mommy and me farm adventure. I think we could both use the break from our normal routine.  (Thankfully he is not yet verbal, so I don't have to worry about him telling his big brother that we went to the farm without him.) Today will be a better day!

Monday, October 19, 2015

IHOP Meltdown

Although still restricted to soft foods, Scott is slowly starting to expand his post-surgical diet. He is beginning to slowly reintroduce foods that can be easily eaten with minimal jaw movement. In essence, he and Timmy are now on a similar diet. (Personally, I don't know how he could tire of his milkshake and ice cream diet that has been his main source of sustenance during the past week.)  Yesterday, in an effort to spice up his diet, he spontaneously invited us to join him for pancakes at IHOP for dinner.

I knew that going to IHOP was a bad idea, not because I worried about Scott's ability to chew but because Hamlet was exhausted. He didn't take much of a nap (no surprise) and it was nearing his bedtime. Even though the restaurant was nearly empty, I was on edge fearing an appearance by Timmy the Terrible. 

Timmy the Terrible made his entrance in grand style, shrieking at the top of his lungs as we were trying to put him into the high chair. The poor waiter didn't even pass out the menus and my little guy was screaming and trying to throw everything in his reach. He found playing with ice fleetingly amusing, but quickly tired of the game and returned to voicing his displeasure with blood curdling screams. 

Within minutes of entering the restaurant I was leaving, wrestling to keep an irate toddler in my grasp. I strapped him into his car seat, turned up the radio and let him wail. When Scott emerged with his arms overflowing with to-go boxes, we agreed that we made a mistake.  We will try to take him out to eat again- in about three or four years.