Monday, March 10, 2014

A Day In The Life: Update #4

Haven't updated in a while.....seems I've had a case of good old-fashion writer's block.  There's probably a good reason behind that.   I've been doing a lot of hanging out and waiting, which honestly has been pretty boring.   Admittedly, life has been quite different being Madame Gimpsalot...sans leg until hopefully later this week....

...Hence, I thought I'd write about a typical "day in the life."  

As I am awakened at 7:00, I am lucky to have my Prince Charming bring a cup of coffee to my bedside.   Interestingly, I still dream that I've got all limbs intact and am running around like a kid, so the first brief moments after awakening can be somewhat of a reality-check.   It takes a good fifteen minutes for my coffee to kick-in which is pretty necessary as my morning jump-start.   Unfortunately I can't hop around with my hot coffee in-hand, so after I slurp it down, I ask one of my little hoodlums to bring my cup down to the kitchen...where I get on my knee scooter to ready the kids for school while gulping down cup #2.

While the knee scooter is better than crutches, it is still a pain.  I've run over my cats' tails more than once, as well as my kids' backpacks, jackets and mittens as they lay scattered across the kitchen floor.   And forget about doing anything quickly.....something as easy as last-minute homework folder retrieval from the living room couch can be quite an ordeal.  

Initially I used crutches up and down the stairs, but now I four-wheel it.  Much quicker, although I've earned a seemingly permanent rug burn on my right knee as a result.   Getting around in this way is strangely akin to climbing, believe it or not, as I continuously scan my environment for "holds" to grab on to to transition from standing to kneeling or sitting, and vice-versa. 

Maybe no one will notice???
I need to admit it is very tempting to avoid going out in public sans-leg.    The attention is weird and I prefer to avoid it.  However, those who know me well know how much I abhor being inactive.   I've needed to swallow my pride, suck-it-up and get my gimpy butt to the gym...regardless of how much I hate the gawking.  Without fail, I always feel so much more alive after pushing myself and getting in a good swim (...and I'm slowly figuring out how not to swim in circles!  :) ).       

Of course, people are very curious and full of questions. The hardest ones to answer are probably the questions where folks don't know my history but are really curious.   Those obviously take a longer time to answer and I need to do a fair amount of educating.   Heck, I never knew that some fractured bones don't heal well, so how would other people know?   Most of us believe that bones heal by simply slapping on a cast for a while....and suddenly voila, all better, right? 

....And while I'm okay with this amputation thing ( is so much easier than hauling around a painful, useless ankle), I find a lot of people are sad and perplexed about it.  Oddly, I need to do a fair amount of consoling to those who don't understand how a person would "choose" amputation.....and usually this is done by raving about the advances in the prosthetic industry.  Pointing to examples of accomplished amputee athletes usually does the trick.   

Speaking of prosthetics, my fingers are crossed that this Wednesday will be my "walking day."  I was casted last Friday for the fabrication of my check-socket (a temporary socket which can be modified as my limb changes shape and / or atrophies).  I have a fair amount of volume in my residual limb (the PC version of "stump," although most amputees are quite comfortable w/ the word.   I find "stump" to be a tad masculine sounding, and prefer to use stumpette.  Lol...  :) ).   The remaining musculature in the distal end tends to be larger than is typical, making"doffing" (taking off of) the prosthesis a potential challenge.  We will know on Wednesday if this is an issue or not.  If it is, my prosthetist has an idea or two.....but that might delay things a bit. 
I've known from the advice of other amputees to expect lots of frustrations and challenges, so this is not surprising.   Of course, we always hope to be surprised that things go more smoothly than planned, don't we?    
I continue keep in mind that this experience beats additional trial-and-error surgeries, and that I am still much closer to being able to run around with my kids than I would have been, had I continued to keep trying to fix the dang thing.   With the weather steadily improving, I am still hopeful that I'll be up and walking by the end of the month.  (I'll need to put running off for a bit....just trying to be realistic.)
About a year ago I read the book Daring Greatly, by Brene' Brown, which is based on the following quote from Theodore Roosevelt's speech:
THE MAN IN THE ARENA Exerpt from "Citizenship In A Republic" delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on April 23, 1910. 
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,  
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;  
who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
In truth, it has felt like nearly 2 1/2 years of daring greatly, with a rollercoaster of surgeries and recoveries behind me.   It has been so tempting to look for excuses (It's too cold, I don't want people to stare,  I'm too tired, etc.), but I have tried to keep my head held high and continue forging on...sometimes, while gritting my teeth or ending the day in a lump of exhaustion. 

At present, I'm feeling oddly like a penned-up horse waiting for the gates to open.   It has been a very, very long time since I have walked or run without significant pain and effort.   I am excited to move into this next chapter, as the snow melts away and we begin to embrace growth and new life......   I'm more than ready.



  1. One step at a time... you are bringing it on, my friend!
    You're description of feeling like a "penned-up horse waiting for the gates to open" sound familiar... and those times can be so frustrating... but those times aren't the rest of your life, they are simply "these times"... and you will not stay here forever.

    Also side note here: horses are lovely and have value whether they are resting or running... it's all good.

    1. Thank you, Janet. We've got a lot of properties w/ horses around where we live, and I do notice them every time we drive by. You're right, they are lovely and graceful even at rest!

      Looking forward to seeing you soon down in FL! :)