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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Amputee Collation Association (ACA) where I fell in Love

It has been awhile since I posted anything in here. I'm still trying to get a full time teaching job and I am still working at the hotel. But life is actually pretty good right now..actually better than good. :)

Back in January I received an email from some guy who said he read my blog and was also an amputee. I was shocked that he read my blog...I didn't think anyone did. At first I was kind of leery of him, not knowing what to expect from the horrors of the Internet social world. He turned out to be pretty genuine though. I emailed him back and so far we have sent almost 400 emails to each other over the course of five months.

He invited me to the ACA which I had never heard of. I have been an amputee for 18 years now, so I was pretty embarrassed not to know about the Amputee Collation Association and that I wasn't a member. The conference was in June so we though it would be a nice safe place to meet. We continued to write back and forth and eventually started calling each other. Now we talk every night. I was so worried that when we finally met in person he wouldn't like me. (He had similar feelings about me) I was driving up to Kansas City where the conference was being held and he was flying in. I met him at the airport and as soon as he saw me, he gave me a great big hug. We were inseparable after that.

The conference itself was okay. I did learn a lot about different types of prosthetics, feet, and liners. I am seriously having a talk with my prosethist about getting some new liners that are ten times better than the ones I've had. But the main attraction was meeting Chris and learning what a wonderful, caring, generous person he is. We have so many things in common it seems like something you would read out of a fairytale. We both have LBKA and the same alignment for our prosthesis. We both like the same TV shows and movies and have very similar sense of humor. Both of us are very shy and quiet too. I don't think either one of us said more than a handful of words to other amputees the entire three days we were there at the conference. We were just lost in our own world. :)

Now that we are both back home, (him in PA and me in AR) we are back to our routine of emails and phone calls, but now he tells me he loves me before we hang up. He is going to come to my home in September to attend a friend's wedding with me and meet my family. I was thinking of going to see him and his family in December. I may even move out there. The way things are going, I can see that it is a good possibility.

So thank you ACA for existing and having your convention somewhat close to my home. This made it possible to meet a wonderful man and perhaps the person I will spend the rest of my life with...having one-legged races.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What happens when your knee decides to go in a new direction...

Last Thursday I was enjoying a nice quiet evening at the hotel. I only had six arrivals and they were taking for ever to come in. I decided I could watch a little TV while I waited for my guests to arrive. While I began to sit down my foot on my fake leg was pointing to the far left, yet my knee decided to stay pointing to the right..or front I guess you could say, and it popped out of socket. Instantly I fell into the chair and gripped my leg screaming, "Oh my God!" over and over again. The pain was immense. I felt like someone was simotaneuosly compressing my knee and twisting as far to the side as it would go. It felt like a giant's hand was just crushing my knee. My knee has gone out before, but it always went right back in. This was staying out. So I wasnt sure if I tore something or what. I called our sister hotel next door and told the girl to call our manager and tell her that I hurt myself really bad. By this time I was sobbing and could barely breathe to make any coherent remarks at all. Then I called my mom to come get me. While this was happenning the phone was ringing on the other line. It was guests or travel agents wanting to change or make a reservation. Instantly they could tell something was wrong yet...they needed their reservation right away...couldnt call back in 30 mins or so. I understand..they have to make their reservation but come on! I'm crying in their ear! So I tell them to call the sister property and she can take care of their reservation for now. Thankfully I just had the two calls. During this time a guest who was already checked in saw that I was in distress. He asked what he could do to help. I told him I would be ok and that my mom was on her way to take me to the hospital. Then my Genereal manager calls and asks if I have numbers to the other employees that work here. I said I wasnt at the front desk and she said well I would have to get ahold of them. I was so upset. What if I couldnt get ahold of anyone? Would she have not came in?? I said I would have the girl next door call people for me. Finally the asst manager calls and says she will be on her way. Apparently she wasnt answering her phone...but finally someone got thru to her. Meanwhile, Im trying not to move even though I know I need to pop it back in place. Another guest comes by and for some reason the giant hand that is crushing my leg decides to add a little more pressure so I start screaming at the top of my lungs for it to stop. The guests decide to call 911. I had already been sitting there for almost 20 mins with my knee cap still out of place. My mom arrives and she is telling me that I need to take my leg off but I won't let her touch me. It hurts too much. Then my manager arrives and she takes care of the front desk so thankfully guests don't have to hear me cry anymore. And the two guests that were helping me somehow vanished when my mom asked if she could take off my leg. Then the paramedics showed up. They said the only thing they could do was take me to the hospital and once I was there the doctor could pop it into place. I allowed them to take off my leg and they lowered the stretcher so I could scoot from the chair to it without much movement. As soon as I got my bottom on the cot my knee popped back into place. Instant Relief!! So I did not go to the hospital. The paramedics said that happens all the time. I used crutches to get to my mom's car and my step-dad drove my vehicle home. I iced down my knee and kept it elevated. The next day, it only hurt when I would bend it. It didnt hurt to put weight on it at all, but I have been using a crutch for four days now, just in case something happens. I have kept my leg off as much as possible and it feels almost normal except my knee is popping now when I bend it...like it would if you pop your knuckles...so that cant be good. Im going to the doctor tomorrow (Tuesday) to see what they have to say about it. I pray I do not have to get surgery. I dread that so very much. That will really put a kink in my getting a teaching job plans. Here's hoping they can just put a big band-aid on it and call it good. =/

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Second Grade Comic Relief

Well, It has been a long time since I have posted anything new. Not much has happenend in the last few months. I have been subbing a lot which I am very thankful for because I learn how to deal with extenuating circumstances almost everyday. And it was on one of these learning days that I decided the best way to deal with the situation that arose, was to freak the kids out (just a little bit).

It was a second grade class I was subbing for. First time I had this age group. I was curious to see how they differ from first and third graders. It was a relaxed kind of day. Christmas was coming up so there were lots of fun activities for the class to do. It was still kinda hard keeping up with their energy level. I could feel my leg starting to sweat off...but it was almost the end of the day. Most of the kids were gone on the early transfer bus so the rest of the class was just going to watch a video on holidays around the world. I couldnt get the projector to come on with the remote, so while the kids were sitting on the carpet I came up between them and stood on my tip toes to turn on the projector. My leg came up out of my silicone liner almost completely. When I went back down on my feet...my leg went back inside the liner taking all the surrounding air with it that had escaped into the pocket I made when the liner came out. Guess what happened. Yeah, that's right. My leg farted. Not just a little fart. But the very loud machiene gun kind. At first the kids were stunned, then they were like "Did she just fart??!!" then they were holding their noses and moaning with exaggerated agony like I let off the world's biggest stink bomb. And they were laughing so hard I didn't think they would ever stop. I think I went through about 7 emotions in about three seconds: Embarrassment, panic, denial, anger at their overreaction, anger at my thought of anger over their overreaction, hysterical laughter at my perdicament, acceptance. I knew what I had to do. I got the kids to quiet down..kinda, and told them I was gonna tell them a story about what just happened. I sat down and told them I had a fake leg, and I pulled up my pant leg to show them. Everyone was quiet and not laughing. I told a short story about how my real leg was hurt and they had to make me a new one and now I had a robot leg that sometimes made noises. All eyes were on me and my leg. I could tell they believed me and that my leg left them flabbergasted. Then one little girl, the one sitting closest to me, who was poking at my fake leg blurted out, "Can you make it fart again?"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

FYI Silicone is almost resistant to fire.

It has been awhile since I posted anything in here. Honestly, I really don't know what to post most of the time. So I just wait till I have a story or discovery to tell. I may post an opinion about something at one point but until then, here is something for all you pyros out there.

I bought two new silicon liners for my leg last week. These liners have a pin at the end that locks inside my prosthesis. This is how my leg stays on. They cost $660 dollars a piece. That's just the liner. The pin is extra. Can't remember how much extra, since I have had the same one for years now.

Well I got two so I could alternate them each day and hopefully make them last longer. One of them had some excess silicone in the threading where the pin screws on. I tried to screw the pin over it. But that didn't work. Silicone is thick rubbery stuff. So I had a great idea. I would burn it out. It should melt away like plastic, right?

I was a little concerned about what the lighter would do to the rest of the sock, and I spared half a thought that I was about to set this 600 dollar sock on fire but I quickly squelched that. I just didn't want to go back and return it because I am that lazy! So, I grabbed my lighter. It's one of those long barrel kind that you use to start a barbecue or a candle you have to turn upside down to light. And it was the flame torch kind, not the wimpy flickering kind. So I held my breath and aimed the flame at the silicone. It smoldered and turned black, with the edge rimmed in red like the end of a cigarette. I stopped the fire and tried to brush the now burned silicone away. But it wasn't burned away. It was still there, just a little charred. I remember now that silicone has a very high heat tolerance. You can use it to cook food on or in up to 400 degrees I think. This new revelation did not deter me however. I again torched the little lip of flame retardant material and it may have shrunk slightly.

Terribly disappointed that I could not completely burn my adversary away, I grabbed the nearest utensil and started scraping out the remains of the silicone. This utensil happened to be a metal skewer used to dip stuff in a fondue pot. There was two metal prongs on the end and they were flat enough to go between the threads of the metal, hmm..don't know what that thing is called that the screw goes into...reverse screw?

Anyways, I picked the pieces out and was able to remove enough of the silicone to insert the pin with no problem. Problem solved. I just hope now the area around where the pin goes doesn't fall apart from the heat that was inflicted. The black charredness is okay...I mean who's gonna see it?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

BLINDSIDED

I just asked a guy I chat with online if he would ever date someone with a prosthetic limb. He said "no, it would be too weird". (((My heart just wrenched)) He then added.."maybe, it depends how they made me feel, if they could make me laugh and stuff". He then asked if some guy with a fake limb asked me out. I said, "No". He said, "Well I was gonna say you need to tell him no and date me.....that was a weird question to ask though." I said, "Not really..." And then I told him I was 13 when I had my leg amputated below the knee. He apologized instantly and told me he felt like a complete asshole. I guess he thought he was answering from my perspective..and was going to make it funny...but it backfired on him completely....I felt a little bad blindsiding him that way, but I had a very bad experience earlier today, and I am an emotional cutter, or masochist..whichever..and I wanted to see what he would say. Normally..I will just tell people I talk to online after we have chatted for awhile. I don't set them up or "test" them.

But this little insight has given me something more to think about. How many more people feel this way?

Ok, I just talked to someone else on messenger and he instantly said " of course" to my question of if he would date someone with a fake limb.. So maybe other guy really was thinking something different...hmmmmmmmm

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sweating to the iPhone

So I joined a gym recently. I went two days last week and three this week so far. I think I will try to get up and go early tomorrow. I'm getting really tired of being up all night and sleeping all day. Each time I go, I try to increase the amount of time I use the Elliptical machine. I am up to 20 min. After that, I use the weight machines to tone up my arms. I think my prosthetic leg is shorter because my back seems to hurt on one side if I walk for to long around the track. I really need to get it looked at and adjusted...my leg that is, not my back. I hurt my right arm though...not sure what I did. I guess I strained the muscle. I really should warm up more before I start.

I really want to lose this weight. I need to. I am not getting any younger. I cant expect to be a good teacher if I cant physically handle walking around the school. I have to be able to keep up with the kids. Everyday I am reminded why I need to lose this weight and become healthy. It has never been like this before. I really do want to change. I hope this time I can.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Freaking EYE!!!

Well it has been one week exactly since I graduated from college. It feels weird. I don't think it has sunk in yet. Now I have to get a real job. Oh yeah, the teaching in Asia thing. I spoke to my contact person and he said take all the time you need to get your leg better. The school is open all year round and they are very interested in having me teach. Which made me feel a lot better about my situation. Now if I could just get my eye fixed.

Last Friday, I got all dressed up to go out and celebrate my graduation. My cousin drove all the way down from Cali for it, and we always have a blast on Dickson or whereever we go. I was putting on eyeliner for the first time in years, and an eyelash got stuck in my eye. I got it out...I think...but my eye would not stop watering after that. I think it was a combo of the lash and the liner. It was still watering on the day of graduation. My grandma thought I was crying when they handed me my diploma because she saw me wipe a tear from my eye. I wasn't crying. I'm not that sappy. It was boring sitting down there. I played tic tac toe with a girl sitting next to me as we waited for the next 400 students to get their diplomas.

It's been a week and my eye is still watering. I'm going to the doctor on Monday. Hopefully it is something that can be eaisly fixed. I'm getting to the point where I want it removed, becoming one step closer to being a pirate.