Sunday, June 29, 2014
Bum Leg One
Sometime having an artificial leg can be a real pain. Summer seems to be the worse time because it's hard to keep you stump cool and dry when the whether is hot and if you don't you can end up with sore spots that only get worse if you don't take the leg off. The hard part of that is when you take it off you have to spend time riding them crutches around till it heals up and I don't know about other folks but I'd rather put up with a sore leg than ride them crutches!
I have always figured that since you have one there are two ways to live with it. You set around and feel sorry for yourself for all the things you don't think you can ever do again and end up using it as an excuse for not doing things, or you can except it and concentrate on all the things you can do! I'm only talking about a below the knee amputation here. I have no idea what a person has to live with if you lose a leg above the knee. I know it must be a lot harder and takes a lot more work just from knowing people that have done it. Also I know that amputations effect different folks in different ways. To me having a below the knee amputation is not a handicap just a minor inconvenience. There is very little that I can't do because of having one. I might have to learn how to do them a little different or a little slower by I can still do them. One thing I think sets me apart for some other folks is the fact that mine was not a "Traumatic" amputation. I knew I was going to end up with it some day and had time to get used to the idea to the point that when it happened I was prepared. I made the choice to have the leg removed when I did and have never regretted it. With the shape my real leg was in I can do more with the fake than I could with the real with much less pain! It has to be so much harder for someone to wake up with something gone from an accident with no warning no warning. Anyway, enough preaching.
One of the first things I found out was how helpful it was to have such a loving, caring and supportive wife, especially during the first few months when you're getting used to things. I found this out just a few days after I got out of the hospital. I had motorcycles before I got the amputation and since I had my left leg removed I didn't think I would be able to shift gears I would sell them (I did find out that once you got going you could always reach down and shift with your hand, not very safe, but fun). I had one of them parked in the front yard with a for sale sign on it. It had been sitting there without being started for awhile and I asked the wife if she'd go out and fire it up and let it run for a few minutes. She was willing but she had a few things to do so it would be a while. I was sitting on the porch with my stump propped up (the cast was still on) soaking up sun and the longer I sat there staring at that bike the more I figured that I could just go there and start it up myself.
I told the wife not to worry I'd do it myself and the first thing out of her mouth was not to because I couldn't and would end up hurting myself! Well, I let her know right away that I could do anything I wanted (being half mule I tend to get a little stubborn). We had a little discussion about whether I should or shouldn't (heated at times) but she came around and agreed that I could and wouldn't have any problem. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the Way she said it instead of just hearing the words. She also said that since I was positive I could handle it not to expect any help from her. I do remember her saying that but I think I kind over looked that part.
The first thing I had to do was get out of the chair, up on my crutches and off the porch. Almost fell off the porch on the way down and when I looked back she was just standing there in the door, smiling. Seeing that "I told ya so" smile just made me that more determined and out across the yard I went. You know, it's hard to go across a yard on crutches. The ends of the things keep sinking into the ground. Anyway, I made it out to the bike! Downright proud of myself! By Golly I'd show her that I didn't need any help!
I got myself on the bike and leaned my crutches up against the right side. It was just sitting there on the kick stand so I had to be careful not to lean to far over. Thank got it was easy to start, all it took was a couple of kicks (no electric starter) and it fired right up! Now I was really proud of myself and leaned back to bask in my accomplishment.
Things happened kind of quick then. Remember the soft ground I was having a little trouble with on the crutches? Well the kick stand for the bike was sitting on that same ground and since it leans a little to the left when it's on that stand when I leaned back on the seat the stand sunk into the ground. As soon as it started sinking the bike started leaning farther to the left. No problem, right? I just stuck my left leg out to keep from falling over. It's hard to describe the odd feeling you get in the second when you realize that you just screwed up. I had just enough time to think "what the hell?" before me and the bike were both laying on the ground.
Luckily I had rolled away from the bike and didn't end up with my stump stuck under it, unluckily, I had rolled away from it and since it was laying on it's side still running I couldn't get to the key to stop it. Dorris was still standing in the door watching so I called her to come out and help me. She just kept standing there. I hollered again (louder) that I need some help. Believe it or not, she just smiled and said "nope, you said you could do it". Pissed me off! I had to crawl over and turn the key off. Then I ask her to help me sit it back on the kick stand. I got another NO and a reminder that I had told her I could do everything by myself and a further reminded that she had said I would get no help from her. You know, it's a real pain to be on your knees trying to stand a bike back up? Oh yeah, small brained as I am I was pushing it up from the left side and was proud of myself when I got it up, of course I didn't even think about the fact that my crutches were laying on the ground on the other side of it. I knew there was no way she was going to come out and hand them to me so I had to crawl around and get them
I finally got up and made it back to the porch, tripped on the top step, fell down and ended up crawling over to the chair. Once i managed to get my butt back into the chair she patted me on the shoulder and said "Well done" I don't think she really meant it. She smiled and went back in the house.
After that I learned to pay a little more attention not only to what she had to say but HOW she said it..