February 18, 2014

Chapter Fourteen: The Funny Things People Say and Do...

My entire life I've walked funny and have had funny looking legs due to a birth defect.  I'm no stranger to being made fun of, called names, or just being stared at.  Once on a date, the "gentleman" I was with suggested I get calf implants so my legs wouldn't look so funny.  Since losing my leg I've found people still say the funniest things to me, but they're less mean about my handicap and more curious, I mean having a leg made out of carbon fiber is pretty cool.  

About four months after my amputation I was visiting Yellowstone park with a friend, and a young boy ran up to me and yelled, "where is your skin?" referring to my prosthetic leg.   I didn't really know how to explain to a young child that my leg had been cut off.  Lucky for me his mother came along and whisked him away frantically.

I was sent home from the hospital only three days after losing my leg; I was shocked that I was going home that soon, but the recovery process is a freaking long one, so my therapists came to my home, and after about six months I went to them.  I'll never forget the first time my mom and I had to drive back to the University of Utah for a check up.  After visiting my surgeon, who really just admired how beautiful he stitched my leg, my mom and I went to Trolley Square for lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory, 'cause that's what you do when you're near Trolley Square, duh.  I was in a wheelchair at that time and the flooring in Trolley Square is cobble stone, need I say more?  Let's just say the bumpy ride, with a freshly cut off leg and crazed nerves was less than enjoyable.  But the funniest part of our visit wasn't the bumpy ride, it was our experience using the restroom!  I always have a fun time in public restrooms; I could write a whole book about public restrooms, and the things people say. . .  Anyway, the doorway to the restroom had a step, and we were novice wheelchair users, so my wheelchair kept getting stuck on this stupid step, not to mention the door was really heavy!  My mom and I were having the hardest time holding the heavy door open, and getting my wheelchair through the door into this rather small restroom, (my wheelchair wouldn't even fit in the stall, I can't even talk about it!).  I'm pretty sure this was the moment I decided I was going to get of that wheelchair as fast as I could, bring on the prosthetic leg!  Two older women saw us struggling and came up to us to offer help.  One of the ladies grabbed my chair, hoisted me backward and pushed me over the step like a champ, she then proceeded to teach us the proper way to maneuver a wheelchair over bumps and sharp turns.  This story sounds a little sad and pathetic, but honestly, my mom and I were laughing so hard, and we were very grateful to the two ladies willing to help us out. 

Several stranger children have referred to my leg as a "robot" leg.

My sweet niece Sharill asked me when my leg was going to grow back.

About two months after receiving my prosthetic leg I was in a grocery store picking up treats to take with a group of friends up the canyon; we were on our way to the gun range.  At the time I was using forearm crutches along with my prosthetic, all part of the learning how to walk again process. I was training my brain that while when taking a step my left foot hits the ground, my right foot - the prosthetic foot - hits the ground at my knee 'cause that's where the feeling begins.  So until my brain learned what was going on, I used crutches.  I turned the corner to head down an isle and a women stopped me, her eyes wide open, and her jaw literally dropped.  By the way she was looking at me, I thought maybe this woman knew me, but I didn't recognize her.  She started to tear up, I said, "I'm sorry do I know you"?  She asked, "How long ago did you lose your leg"?  I said, "about four months ago".  She then grabbed me with both arms and gave me the hugest hug, and said, "You're doing so well, I thought you needed to hear that, you're doing so well".  Before losing my leg, my sarcastic rude self would have thought, this lady is kind of crazy, but at that moment, she was right, I needed to hear that I was doing well, and the hug was nice too.

I've found when dealing with noticeable and even awkward looking life changes, it's best to have fun, and even tease people a bit....
Halloween 2008

Halloween 2008 was so much fun!  After scaring the kids going to my sisters house for candy, my friend Eric took me to meet his friend and his friend's wife, I forget their names now.  The man was a gentleman and came to my side of the truck to open the door for me.  I quickly turned towards him and gently kicked my plastic fake leg so it would fall out of the truck on the ground (see bloody fake leg in the picture above), and my stump was just hanging there, the man screamed and jumped back out of fright!  Poor guy, he was so confused and then he felt bad for reacting how he did, all I could do was laugh.  

People may say and do funny things about my leg, but once in a while I say and do funny things about my leg too, so we're even I guess. 

I hope everyone is having a good week so far!

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