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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.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

3 AM Thoughts and Lost Adventures

Is it "living with a disability" when you are born with it and have never known anything different? Wouldn't that just be living? I don't know why that thought came to me but it could be from the pain I have suffered this weekend. I couldn't hardly walk last night after cleaning my house.

My leg was hurting really bad. When my leg does this,it always hurts at the bend of the knee, where my leg meets the prosthesis. I was cleaning my house and I guess that is too much activity for me to handle. Granted, my house did resemble a landfill for teachers, but I still should have been able to clean it without being in pain.

I was invited to a party that evening and I had to walk around stiff legged because it hurt to bend my knee. I really wanted to go swimming, but I think it would have made things worse, at least that night.

I hate being limited because of my leg. I have decided that I should NOT go to Korea at this time. Oh yeah, I didn't mention Korea on here. I applied to teach English overseas in Asia. I was accepted and I am in the middle of filling out the remaining paperwork in order to go teach at a private school in South Korea for a year. After this weekend though, I have to admit to myself that I can not go with the state my leg is in at this time. And it is very possible that something like this or worse could happen while I am over there.

This was a hard decision to make/accept. I've been thinking about teaching in general and I don't think I should teach the younger grades because of my leg either. In Kindergarten you need to get down on the floor or constantly crouch to be on the kids level. There are some things I can do to help make using my leg easier. I just have to do it. I think finally I have the motivation to do what needs to be done. Otherwise, I won't be living, I will be existing....with a disability.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Philosophy 101: It breaks therefore, it is my leg.

This happenend a few years ago when I was taking classes at the main UofA campus. I was at the Walton College of Buisness headed toward my Econ for Elem Teachers class, when my leg broke....again. I thought it was the bolt to my foot like last time, but no. This was much worse. The type of foot I had at the time, didn't have a bolt. It was attached to the TITANIUM rod by a series of screws and socket things. The TITANIUM rod (or aluminum can't remember which) broke above the foot. It looked like a hollow spear was sticking out of my pant leg. I sat down in the middle of the hallway and a coulple of my classmates happened to be walking by. They asked if I needed help and I told them to just to get me a chair. As they did that, I called my grandparents to bring me crutches. I now keep crutches in my vehicle at all times. I was thankful that I was in a building that was somewhat easy to access from the street. My grandma showed up and I gave her directions to where I was at. I felt so bad because it was hard for her to walk down the stairs. The only elevator I knew of was way down at the other end of the building. The crutches she brought were too short and very old. I think they were the crutches I had when I was 13 and first lost my leg. But, they were better than nothing. I had to go up the stairs using those things. I hate stairs. I wasn't worried about what I looked like; been there done that. What I was worried about was the Philosophy paper that was due. I'm not sure why I was so determined to get that paper in that day. I think it was because; 1. it was already late, or 2. I did not turn in the previous paper that had been due. Maybe it was the final paper.

I had to go to Old Main and drop it off at my professor's office. There is no easy way to get to Old Main. My grandparents took me to my car and I drove to the parking lot that was the closest to where I needed to go. I still had about three million miles to crutch-walk because nothing is close on that campus! I started using my leg spear to help propel me faster toward my goal. Sweat was pouring off me but I made it to the building and rode the elevator to the floor the office was located on. I went to his door and knocked, praying he would be there. He opened the door and I thrust my paper at him panting that my leg broke and that I wouldn't be in class. He took in my sweat streaked face and too short crutches and I could tell he was concerned more for my sanity. He asked about my leg and I said it was fake and stuff like this happens all the time blah, blah, blah. He said that I didn't have to turn it in under the circumstances, he would have understood. I could hear the exasperation in his voice. I find a lot of people sound that way around me... I lamely replied that I wanted to make sure he got it. I wish I could remember why it was so important. Maybe it was the last class before the final. Maybe I'm masochistic.

I got back to my car with a hole in the leg of my pants where the spear pierced the cuff. I think I sat in my car for thirty minuets just resting before I finally drove home. I wish I could say I had some ironic philisophical break through but all that came to mind was, "Shit happens."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

It wasn't me...it was my leg!!

In case you don't know, my leg goes inside a socket. My prosthesis stays on by a combination of socks, gravity, and suction. Since I have the silicone sock with the pin that locks into the socket, my leg does not move up and down as much as it used to. However, sometimes air still gets trapped between my leg and the socket causing a very unfortunate sound. I do not like using the "f" word but it is the same sound created when you cup your hand under your armpit and vigorously flap your arm up and down. This used to happen A LOT when I first got my prosthesis. What is left of my real leg swells and shrinks during the day, which is why my leg will move up and down inside the socket. One time in high school, we were getting ready to march over to the football field. I was in line behind Derek and my leg made that unforgivable noise when I stepped forward. He turned around and looked at me. Quickly, I shouted it was my leg and attempted to recreate the sound to prove my story. It failed to deliver. I tell myself he was laughing because I was so embarrassed about it and not because he thinks I was trying to cover something up. Finally, my leg did it again. This made him laugh harder but at least this time, I could laugh/cry with him.

This unfortunate incident happened again when I was taking a college course in Wellness or something like that which no longer is needed for my degree. We were in a small gym area learning about yoga. I was on my back and when I was told to put my left foot on my right knee, my leg made a sound that reverberated throughout the gym. I sat up like I had been electrocuted and clutched my leg like I was in pain. I turned to the closest person to me and started babbling about my leg coming off and how it makes that sound when air is trapped. This girl...I never looked at her face, said she understood and went back to doing her flying dog pose or whatever it's called. I remember laying back down and staying down on the mat not moving until it was time to leave. I never looked up from my feet as I followed my classmates out the door. Why, why, why, did that have to happen? Ugh! I get embarrassed just thinking about it....I should have stood up and stopped class and showed them that my leg has pseudo flatulence issues!

I think I am okay now. I haven't had an incident in a long time. Hopefully, I will prepare my students in case a situation arises. In which case, I will demand a time out for the class to cup their hands under their armpits and flap vigorously for at least five minuets.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ocean = Bad for Fake Leg

In my previous blog, I wrote about how I would go swimming with my prosthetic leg and it really wasn't good for it. I now have a spare leg I can use just for swimming. I sometimes have used my "good" leg, but only if it's an unplanned water event and these are rare. About seven years ago, I went on a trip to Cozumel. I quickly learned a new lesson in water/fake leg relations.

SIDE BAR:
I love going to the airport. I love setting off the metal detector and being asked to step through again, just to assure them the detector is working. I love to be told to move aside so I can be patted down by a female attendant. I love when they get out the wand that detects explosive substances and swab it up and down my prosthetic leg. I really love when DFW asks me to remove my leg to swab the inside of the socket. And I love doing this... every... single... time... I go to an airport.

I went with a friend to the lovely island of Cozumel. We stayed at a hotel called the Casa Del Mar. It was right next to the ocean and had a really cool bar attached to their pool so you could just swim up to it and order a drink. The first thing we did after we checked in was take a walk on the beach. I wanted so badly to be able to stand in the ocean again. The last time I was in the ocean was when my family took a trip to Corpus Cristi Texas when I was twelve. The waves would knock your feet out from under you at times, but usually they would just give a gentle pull, encouraging you to go farther out and frolic in the sea.

I was kinda having a bad day, (that is a different blog), and I suddenly was mad at the limits I have by having a disability. I didn't care what happened. I wanted to experience walking from the beach into the water. I knew water wasn't great for my leg, but one time wouldn't hurt, right? When we got back to the hotel, I took off my leg so I could take a shower. It was pretty late so we took a nap before exploring the rest of the island. When I woke up, I moved to put on my leg. I wear a silicone sock that has a round tipped screw/pin on the end. The pin goes inside the socket where it will move down and click into place. To take it off again, I press a button on the side that releases the pin. For some reason, the pin was not locking in place. I had to stand and balance myself as I lifted my knee up and down trying to get it to lock. Finally it did and I was good to go. That night, I couldn't get the button to press in and release the pin. I had to bang on it with the heel of my hand before it finally came off. I didn't want to think about why it was sticking. I was too tired.

The next morning I had to repeat my balancing act, but it seemed to click faster than it did last night. My friend and I spent the whole day walking around the village square and sight seeing. It was great. That evening I tried to take my leg off to go to bed and I couldn't. Desperate, I grabbed a rocks glass and used this to bang on the button. It chipped the glass. By this point I had sweated enough that I could slip my leg out of the silicone sock. Gross, but it worked! Now I was confined to my room. There was only one day left of our trip. I convinced my friend to go out without me. (We had made some friends from the night before and they had invited us to hang out with them.) My friend left me at the hotel, and I tried to fix my leg. I finally got the sock out but now the button was staying stuck in. It still hadn't dawned on me that getting it wet had anything to do with this. This problem had never happened before when I got it wet.

After working on it, I got the button to stick out again but now it wouldn't lock. I was going to have to walk very carefully. My leg was now only staying on with some suction and me using what muscles I had left, to push out against the socket so my leg would stay on. The pin would move up and down making clicking noises. It was still like this the next day when we left for the airport. It dawned on me I was going to have a very long awkward walk through the terminals. After much internal cursing over my lot in life, we finally made it home. My mom, who is a master at everything mechanical, took my leg apart and there was rust all over the button area and pretty much any place there was metal. It was then I remembered seeing rusted out pay phones on the island. I was told the salt from the ocean makes the metal booths rust. This is what happened to my leg. I rusted it shut. It only took one day. Fortunately, I had a spare leg I could wear until I could get a new one.

So thus, I have learned the lesson of swimming in the ocean with a fake, metal covered leg. Do not. When I went on my trip to the Dominican Republic, I took my leg off on the beach and kept it far from the treacherous waters. Unfortunately, I had to put it on to walk back to my room. I tried to get all the sand off before, but come on...you can never get all the sand off of you until you get in the shower. I had to spend another day alone in the hotel room because my leg looked like I rubbed it with sandpaper.

I've decided that my next vacation will be Aspen; where the only thing I will have to worry about is the possible attack of an Abominable snowman.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When your foot breaks off...it's Tuba players to the rescue!!

It has come clear to me that the prosthetics I am wearing/have worn, are designed for people who live a more sedentary lifestyle. I happen to be one of those people who likes to jump off cliffs into freezing cold water, go on a three hour shopping spree at the local mall, and climb vertically across rocks 20 feet above ground. Is it to much to ask for a dependable fake leg?

I was fifteen and had a fake leg for two years. High school band practice had started for the summer. I had to wear a knee brace for awhile because the way my real leg had been, the ligaments in my knee were stretched to the right. After getting my prosthetic, my knee was forced in to the "normal" straight position, so now my ligaments were loose making my knee wobbly. It's a little more complicated than that but that's the best way I can explain it. The brace was actually attached to my prosthetic with two metal bars on each side of my knee. Apparently, all the extra activity caused the metal to break. I was walking to the band practice field one afternoon, and the metal just snapped. I remember thinking, how can metal just break like that. Am I really that fat?? My mom explained that the metal must have been brittle when it was formed, thus poorly made. (Mom knows a lot about metal)This made me feel a little better.

After I had a new leg brace made, I continued to test the endurance of my prosthesis. I learned why it is not a good idea to swim with a fake leg. I had swam that summer with it on. I thought everything was fine. I didn't understand why other amputees took off their leg when they went swimming. I had no problems at all...

The band practice field was located on the south side of the campus, across the street from the public library. The directors could be heard all over town with their headset microphones. We were practicing formations for our halftime show and we had all just sat down with our instruments to listen to the instructor rant about something we did wrong. The band was scattered from one end of the field to the other. I was with the rest of the saxophone players, creating a curve on the upper east side of the field. The band director bellowed for us to stand up. As I moved to stand, my foot broke. Horrified, I looked down to see it connected to my leg only by the white sock I was wearing. I sat back down and pushed down the sock to see that the bolt that connected the foot to the leg had crystallized and snapped cleanly in half. Chris, a senior who was behind me asked if I was okay. I said "No, my foot broke off." Part of me thought this was hilarious, the other part wanted to sink through the ground and disappear. I heard Ms. E. scream through her mic for everyone to sit down. Everyone started looking around. I could feel my face burning. Mr. R., the assistant band director, reached me first and asked if I was okay. I told him yeah, I just needed to get up. He told me not to move and called for the tuba players to rush over and carry me off the field. There is nothing like seeing a wall of six teenage males carrying the largest of brass instruments wrapped around their middles like silver metal boas, come charging to your rescue. I started repeating in an increasingly shrill voice that I was fine. I didn't want their help. Somehow having them attempt to carry me would have been more humiliating. Would it really take all 6 to get me off the field? (These were the things that were running through my crazy mind) I stood and put my foot under my arm. I was able to limp off the field. It was like walking with one four inch heel on my right leg and no shoe on my left. Chris held my other hand,(I didn't want him to do that either) and escorted me off the field. The tuba players followed. While I slowly hobbled off, Ms. E. must have had an aneurysm and yelled for everyone to sit down again making it very noticeable that something happened to me and I was moving off the field. I made it to a tree close to the sidelines and slumped to the ground underneath it. I had them call my grandma to come get me. I can't remember if they continued to practice after that or not. My brain was in protective mode, shutting down what it thought was the worst of my embarrassing spectacle.

Later that evening, my mom was looking at my prosthetic and she could tell that the bolt had been moving back and forth inside the wood. Apparently, water that I had accumulated from my swimming and cliff diving adventures had soaked through and caused the material the prosthetic is made of to break down. The motion of my foot moving back and forth caused the bolt to hollow out the inside of the leg. This friction caused the bolt to break. I guess the manufactures of these bolts and other prosthetic parts, believed they were creating a device that was to be worn by people who generally sit in front of their TV for 12 hours, moving only to feed their 20+ cats, or to yell at the paper boy for missing the front step.

I will admit, my newest leg has been working beautifully. Of course, I haven't been jumping off cliffs or canoeing in rivers that are quick to overturn me into the raging waters. I guess I need to give my fake leg the ultimate test and go sky diving with my friend in Siloam Springs, who has been hounding me to go with him. I will let you know if my leg survives. (If it doesn't..chances are...neither did I)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rubber foot does NOT equal Bending it like Beckham

Before I lost my leg, I was horrible at playing kick ball. The other kids would all move in closer. The only way I could ever get a chance to run for the base, was to delicately bunt the ball and gallop like a mad animal towards first base. A realization struck me after I got my fake leg. FINALLY, I would be able to kick the ball hard and into the air, sailing way over the fence. I was giddy with excitement. I kept thinking of the six million dollar man and how he could do all those cool things with his "enhancements". This was my chance to show all the kids who teased me that I could play just as good as someone with two good legs. I would be like Babe Ruth, and point to some far out spot in left field and get the ball right there, having plenty of time to lazily stroll and take my base.

I remember wearing sweats that day. I wasn't brave enough to wear shorts yet. I was burning up, but we were going to play kickball at last! I could picture it in my mind how it would happen as I waited for my turn. They would all crowd closer as I came up to the plate. Thomas would roll the ball toward me. I had my fake leg positioned a little behind me so my momentum would be greater. My foot would make contact and the ball would fly hard and fast, right over their heads into the outfield. They would all OOOHH and AHHHH. Their mouths would be hanging open in disbelief. I giggled as I thought of it. My turn had come and I already had a smug look on my face, like I knew this would be a sure thing. This was going to be so awesome! The ball came rolling toward me. I stepped forward with my right foot as I brought back my left to swing it forward. I kicked the ball straight up into the air. My leg followed not far behind it. That's right, I kicked my leg off. Since I was wearing sweats, it didn't fly completely off but I fell to the ground with it somehow to the side of me in a way no natural leg could ever be. The coach kept asking if I was ok and everyone was crowding around me. I was mortified. I said I was fine and I wouldn't let anyone help me. I was able to get the leg back on as I sat in the dirt. I really don't remember much after that. I must have blocked it from my memory. Needless to say that was the end of my aspiring hopes to go down in history as 8th grade's best kick ball player ever.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

And now...The Reveal

It's funny to me how people apologize when they ask about my limp and I tell them I have a fake leg. I try to show them I am comfortable with it and I don't mind talking about it. I kinda have to be since I'm stuck with it until they make bionic legs or full limb transplants. I read about how doctors are using salamander DNA to grow back fingers (on humans), since salamanders can regenerate their own lost body parts. I wish I could do that, but since my loss of limb is due to a genetic disorder, I would just grow back another defective leg. (sigh)

Ok, enough about lizard limbs and damaged DNA, I wanted to share my experience of telling people about my leg and their reactions. Adults usually show little reaction. The braver ones ask how I lost it and will assume it was due to some accident. When I was younger,I told a person a shark had bitten it off. He didn't believe me. I guess this proves I'm a very bad liar. My best friend has two children. As they grew from infant to toddler, they would stare at my leg and reach out to touch the prosthesis then touch my other leg. Then they would touch both at the same time, then touch their own leg. I would knock on the top where the hard plastic is not covered by foam rubber and they would knock on their own knee. Since it didn't make the same sound, they would knock on mine and we would spend several minuets doing this. When they got old enough to ask about it. I told them it was my barbie doll leg. Jamie, the girl, thought this was funny. Noah insisted it was not a barbie doll leg. So I said it was a robot leg. He accepted that.

I am student teaching right now and I debated on telling my students about my leg or not. I had this small fear that it would scare them or make them reject me. I was silly. It didn't bother them at all! I explained how my old leg was broken and the doctors had to make me a new one. I showed them one of my old prosthesis. There was some EWWS and OOHHS and WEIRDS but they all wanted to hold it. I think its amazing how children can be so accepting of what is different when you explain it in a way that they can relate to. As long as you have a positive attitude about it, so will they.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Starting Over

I still do not know what I really want to write about but... I guess I will continue my egocentric story about my life as a person with a fake leg. I don't like to say "a person with disabilities"...because I am not disabled. I may be limited to what I can do, but

What's in a title anyway?

I know that my title is "To be Happy", but so far I haven't wrote anything that would contribute to it. I would like to change my title to something like, "The Misadventures of an Amputee", or something, but I don't know how to change it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In the beginning...

Hello to all my fellow blog readers. This is my official first blog because I don't think the ones I posted on MySpace count. They don't count because, 1. MySpace has gone the way of slap-on bracelets and pet rocks, and 2. Those entries will not be graded by my Adv. Comp. instructor. I don't really know what I should blog about but I guess I can start with the telling of my existence. I read somewhere that if you wanted to be a good writer one of the fist things you should do is write stories about yourself. This sounded somewhat coincided but, after I gave it some thought, it does make sense. Childhood stories would be easy to write about and it's a great warm up exercise for the real novel you will be writing. So, I will begin with my leg story.

I was born with a bone disorder called pseudoarthrosis (false joint). The doctors told my parents my leg would eventually break and the best option would be for me to have my leg amputated. Sure enough, on September 11, 1980 my leg broke. I was nine months old. My father had sat me down on the ground (it was also his birthday) and he thought he heard a twig snap. I whimpered a little but wasn't too fussy. My dad told my mom that he thought my leg broke. He was right. My parents did not want the doctors to amputate my foot, (the break was right above my ankle), which is understandable. They wanted to try any other options first. After four years and five operations, my leg finally healed. I had to wear a brace for awhile. My left leg was shorter by almost two inches and my foot was half a size smaller, but it was straight. The doctors said it would bow and break again eventually. I was pain often, and I grew tired of walking after short distances but I kept going. I was used to it, so I didn't realize I developed a terrible limp. I just played like any other kid. I remember getting emerald stud earrings when I was five. Acting very coy, I brushed my hair behind my ear and turned so a boy could see my earrings. Yes, I was flirting at five years old. No, the boy did not notice. Typical. Anyways, I digress. To make this long story somewhat shorter, I will skip ahead to where I am 13. My leg has bowed and the rod the doctors had put in my leg to help keep it straight has been removed because metal rods don't bend. It was quite painful. Two weeks after the rod removal, my leg broke. It was third period. I was in band. I had stood up to buy a reed and I was going to hobble to my purse to get money. I hated using crutches. The band director said not to worry about it. I went to sit back down and I remember my weight being on my good leg. That didn't seem to matter. My first thought was I had somehow wedged my left foot between the slats of my crutch and the wood had twisted and bent up my leg causing it to break. I was momentarily paralyzed. I was afraid to fall back into my chair because I thought I would hurt my leg more. I finally collapsed back and started screaming, "My leg, my leg!"

I'm not making this shorter am I? Okay, it was broke. The next day,they amputated it seven inches below the knee. I had to wear a horrible cast to help "shape" it. Eventually, I was fitted for a prosthesis. Remember when I said I hated using crutches? Well, crutches were like Christmas after trying to wear a fake leg. Eventually I got used to it. Marching band is the best physical therapy you can get. My leg doesn't hurt me any more and I no longer walk like Quasimodo (I'm sure that's spelled wrong). I have phantom pains once in awhile. Right now I can make my toes wiggle. It looks like my leg is breathing when I do that....pretty weird. I do have some problems once in awhile but overall, it is better than my real leg. No one knows its fake unless I tell them, and then sometimes they forget...which I guess is a good compliment.

So that is the story of my leg, more or less. I guess it could be compared to a Greek tragedy...not a butterfly and rainbow ending...but I still came out better in the end. At least for now.