Dealing with Holiday anxiety when you are traveling.

I don’t know about you, but I am not a huge fan of the hassles that accompany traveling. I am always concerned about whether my hosts’ or my hotel’s showers are safe for me, or how I will step over the bathtub without a grab bar. Is the bathroom door wide enough in case I need a wheelchair to get through? What about when I walk on my knees – is it too weird for my hosts? What about what to pack or what to expect in airports?

Have you had a similar situation? If so, below are some suggestions and possible solutions that may help reduce your anxiety when you are invited to stay with family and friends during the upcoming holidays or just anytime.

First of all, don’t be afraid to speak to your relatives and friends openly about your concerns. You might be surprised at the solutions they may come up with. After all, you received the invitation because they care about you and want you to visit. Perhaps, they will offer you a room on the first floor or their master bath, which has a more accessible stall shower or bathtub.

Ask if they can pick up a shower chair for you at the local pharmacy or hardware store. These have become common items. The same goes for a toilet seat riser, if that will make your stay more comfortable.

Sit down and make a list of everything you’ll need to bring with you – from extra liners and Knit-Rite socks, to alcohol and skin creams and any tools for minor repairs.

Bring a folding wheelchair with you for shopping trips or sightseeing. If you don’t have one, think about renting one at your destination so you don’t get overly tired out.

The same goes for navigating airports. Airports are extremely busy at holiday times. So, take advantage of the help available and use wheelchair assistance to get through security lines and to your gate when you need to make connections. You might want to arrive ahead of the recommended time in case of any extra hurdles or “traffic jams.”

Most importantly, pack a smile and a good attitude. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance; most people are very eager to help! Enjoy your family and friends and have a wonderful holiday.

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Service dogs!

Have you heard or seen a dog that wears a vest and you are not allowed to touch the animal because the dog is working?

They are called Service animals. Service animals are trained to help people with disabilities return to everyday activities, gain independence, and increase the ability to participate in exciting and challenging adventures. Service animals are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as any animal “trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.”

From monkeys to miniature horses, service animals of all types fulfill multiple roles, depending on the person with whom they are matched. However, dogs are the most common type – probably because of their domestication, status as pets, and familiarity.

Types of service. Guide dogs help people with a visual impairment navigate their environment safely. Hearing dogs alert their deaf or hearing-impaired humans to sounds such as doorbells, telephones, smoke alarms or crying children. Seizure alert dogs detect physiological changes and alert their human partners to an oncoming seizure. Psychological service dogs calm or ground their human partners during episodes of illness.

What about dogs for limb loss patients? Service dogs for people with limb loss or limb differences are trained to retrieve dropped items, turn light switches on and off, help with dressing, and more. They can also increase mobility independence by opening doors, pulling a wheelchair, or by acting as a balance or brace for transfers.

Dogs for emotional support.There are many ways dogs can assist people with disabilities in a physical capacity, but the emotional benefits of service dogs are also tremendous. People with service dogs often remark upon the emotional impact the dog has had on their lives. Dogs, unlike traditional adaptive equipment, are extremely sociable animals who love people and work. Dogs provide companionship and unconditional love, and can reduce loneliness.

Service dogs are not for everyone! Before applying for a service dog, consider your lifestyle and whether you and your family will be able to house, fund and care for a service dog. The dog is often provided free or for a reasonable price to the recipient. However, that person is responsible for all costs associated with the dog’s care once the dog is home.

Just an FYI. If you see animals wearing vests, now you know that they are working and helping their humans. These dedicated and loyal animals need to focus on their humans instead of the cuddles and attention you want to give them. Just be aware and considerate that these animals are more than just pets, but they are doing a very important job.

Rest assured, they get lots of love and attention from their humans during rest time.

 

Why Amputees Have A Love-Hate Relationship With Pants!

It’s that time of year where wearing warm clothes like sweaters and pants is a necessity! But when it comes to amputees and pants, well, we have a love/hate relationship with pants.  

Partially, we love pants! You know why? It isn’t necessarily to stay warm. But it is our way to hide our legs and protect from all the starring! So often when I wear pants in public, people don’t even realize that I wear a prosthesis, especially when I tell them I have 2 prosthetic legs.

But we also hate them very very very much! I am sure you are wondering why we would hate pants if they are protecting us from the public eye. Excellent question!!! Well…Have you ever tried putting pants on a doll? OMG!!! It takes forever, and if your leg doesn’t bend, or maybe your leg hurts to bend that way and so and so on! And now that I am pregnant and still an amputee, putting pants on prosthesis takes even more time and energy – thankfully my husband is there for me! Finally, wearing pants with prosthesis can be really hot and extremely uncomfortable.

My point is – if we amputees are wearing shorts in winter or pants in summer, don’t assume something and immediately tell us what to do! Let us do our own thing 😉

Thankful for Thankfulness!

Thanksgiving can be an inspiring holiday. There’s something about this particular holiday that causes us to reflect on what’s really important and brings a fresh perspective into our lives.

But as we all know, that warm and fuzzy feeling unfortunately doesn’t last forever. And too often, we treat gratitude as a holiday ornament that we pull from the attic when we’re ready to decorate. After the holidays are over, we pack it away and get back to daily life. But, when we do this, we miss out on all the amazing benefits of gratefulness. So, here are my top 5 reasons why I’m thankful for thankfulness.

  1. Thankfulness increases likability.

Let’s be honest, no one wants to be around ungrateful, entitled individuals. Yet we all enjoy spending time with grateful, down-to-earth people. When you are grateful, people see you in a positive light, and they naturally like you and want to be around you.

2. Thankfulness is contagious.

Crazy, huh? Just as fear and worry are contagious, so is the spread of kindness and gratitude. When we’re encouraged by others’ gratefulness, it stimulates our own grateful thoughts and actions as well. We can be the activators that spread gratitude in our homes, offices and communities.

3. Thankfulness promotes generosity.

It can be tough to be a giver when our eyes are always focused on our own needs. When we are thankful for what we have, we can hold our blessings with an open hand and freely give to others. And when we realize how richly we are blessed, we can confidently and joyfully become a blessing to others.

4. Thankfulness encourages humility.

Overconfidence and ungratefulness go hand in hand. But the opposite is also true. When we choose to be thankful for the big and small blessings in our lives, we foster a heart of humility and a spirit of graciousness.

5. Thankfulness feels good.

You know how happy we feel around Thanksgiving because we have delicious food, family and cool weather? We can continue to feel that way long after the turkey and dressing are gone. How? All we have to do is count our blessings and turn our hearts and thoughts toward gratitude. The warm and fuzzy feelings will follow.

…and not to point out the obvious, but isn’t that what the holiday is all about? It is in the name! LOL!

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for reading my blog!

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Driving After Amputation

Today’s society is fast-paced, so having a sure way to get to and from meetings, errands, and the occasional fast-food run is absolutely necessary. However, one of the most common issues after amputation is maintaining the ability and freedom to drive a car. The good news is that driving with a prosthesis is very possible, and most states have policies regarding drivers with prosthetic limbs. And honestly, life doesn’t need to slow down for any amputees, as long as they are up to the challenge.

Aside from dealing with common inconveniences associated with forever-waiting at the DMV, there are a couple of steps that must also be taken in order for an amputee to gain permission to drive. At a minimum, every prosthetic patient is required to let their driver’s license organization know about the change to their medical condition. In most cases, patients will then be asked to visit an assessment center to find out if their vehicle must undergo any modifications to guarantee the safety of the driver and everyone else on the road. This will usually be followed by a re-taking of the amputee’s driving test to further verify the previous point.

Unfortunately, in some cases, some amputees will not be able to drive cars that have come standard from the manufacturer. However, this shouldn’t be a worry because there are several simple modifications that can be made to all automatic cars that will enable safe driving. Various hand controls can be added, such as hand brakes, steering knobs, and accelerators. Depending on which limb is affected, the gas and brake can be switched to the left side of the floor board, or the shifter can be moved from the middle of the front seat. Other upgrades can be made to the power steering, turn signals, and windshield wipers if needed, as well.

State-by-state regulations and policies of driving with a prosthetic limb can be found on each state’s extension of the DMV website.

The point of this blog is to remind you that your freedom can’t be taken away just because you are an amputee. Everything is possible, even driving. It just takes a little more patience, time, unfortunately money and a good spirit!

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2018!

 

It is the most exciting time of the year, because we get to dress up, have fun and don’t forget, we get to have sugar highs from ALL the candy our kids will collect. 😉 Or to be honest, maybe the candy we collect! (no shame!)

…And since I am pregnant this fall season, I get to take advantage of my belly! I did a little research and boom, we have four fun easy Halloween Costumes! Watch the video below to reveal all the costumes and step-by-step instructions on how to make them.

 

 Let us know what you think? What your fun costumes look like? Are they funny, scary, weird or cute? And… HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2018! Mhuahahaha!

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People Stare At My Prostheses – What To Do?

I am going to tell you a secret – I’ve been an amputee my whole life, and I still can’t stand when people stare at me or my prosthetic legs. And, it doesn’t help when my prosthetic legs draw the stares of complete strangers. So, here are some of my tips on how to deal with that sort of attention from strangers.

1. Don’t take all this staring personally.

Most people probably aren’t staring because they think you’re some kind of freakishly deformed monster. Rather, it’s a human nature to stare at something that is unusual or out of the ordinary from what they normally see. I mean, I am sure you stare at someone who has a funky hair color 😉

2. Have a response ready – preferably a nice one. 

If the staring is obvious or aggressive enough, you can stop it by having a ready response. For example, you could acknowledge the stare with a “Yeah, 2010 was a rough year.” This lets them know that you know they’re staring, and can help shut down an unwanted gaze. Another strategy is to use humor. “I’m still waiting for it to grow back. I suspect that I may not be part gecko after all!”

3. You are in control of yourself – I know, right?

LOL. We’re all familiar with this statement of wisdom about learning to change what we can, and accept what we cannot. The same goes when it comes to other peoples’ behavior. You cannot control their staring, but you can control your reaction to it, as well as whether or not you allow it to bother you.

4. My favorite reaction is to stare back.

If engaging someone in conversation is too uncomfortable, you can always give them a smaller acknowledgment by locking eyes and giving them a friendly smile. They may not realize they’re being rude, and drawing attention to their behavior could be enough for them to break the stare.

5. Finally, just do nothing.

You’re not obligated to cater to someone’s curiosity or lack of manners. It’s perfectly acceptable to pretend that you don’t see their stares and continue about your business.

Getting used to your prosthesis is going to take some time, and coping with attention from strangers is a part of that. Fortunately, you are not alone. All amputees deal with this. J Find your best solution and enjoy life!

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