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Fiona Call

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Everything posted by Fiona Call

  1. Fiona Call

    Are you happy

    I agree with you oneblueleg. Since I have had a comfortable socket I have been completely over the moon with my leg. All the bits attached to the socket make not one iota of difference if that is uncomfortable.
  2. Fiona Call

    More prosthetic etiquette

    Tee hee hee Shane, That is an image that makes me laugh - you, your beard (which is lovely by the way) and your leg! But on a serious note, I ride my bike every day with shorts on and an uncovered leg and don't give it a second thought. And until yesterday I honestly thought that I was over the worrying about everyone staring stage because I was able to do that without a problem. But yesterday I had to go down to the supermarket and thought I would cycle there as it would make my journey there and back loads quicker than walking. I had just picked my bike up from work where I left it on Friday night and so was in shorts anyway, but started to feel a bit funny about leaving them on to go to the shops with. So I asked my boyfriend whether he thought I should bother getting changed into some trousers. His reaction was that if it was him he would because he just couldn't be bothered to try to deal with all the stares he would inevitably get with his bare leg. I was tired from the weekend and really couldn't be bothered to deal with the whole staring thing, and so did get changed into my trousers. So maybe I am more conscious about it than I thought I was. I don't think that it is me having a problem with the leg being seen, yesterday it was definitely just more of an "can I be bothered noticing people looking and then trying to ignore it" problem. I suppose that will always be there. As time has gone by I have definitely been looking for the stares less and less and so do notice them less, but they do still happen and it is a bit of a mental hurdle to get over every time I go out with my leg on show. I don't know, I suppose what I am trying to say is that it is not so much the etiquette of not offending other people I worry about while my leg is out there for all to see, but really it is the mentally draining process that I still haven't got over of looking for and noticing the stares and then trying to ignore them that I worry about, and why, ultimately, I think I would go for the trousers option instead of the shorts if they are not necessary. Fiona
  3. Fiona Call

    Does anyone here class themselves as Disabled?

    I am with Cat. I don't class myself as being disabled. There is nothing I cannot do (with leg on) that somebody with two full legs can do therefore how am I any different? The only time I take my leg off is when I am in bed and you don't need two legs to sleep or to do anything else that happens there....... I think it is a very individual thing though, and so I can appreciate how others on here might think of themselves as disabled. Fiona
  4. Fiona Call


    Chris, Thank you I will call my council today to see what the score is. Wow free public transport would be great. I take your point about DLA. I reckon the real reason I haven't applied for it is actually that I (a) haven't got to the mental stage where I can admit to myself that I am disabled (B) in any case don't feel disabled and © - and probably the real reason... I am just too lazy to fill in the forms - much to my boyfriend's perpetual exasperation.....! Hopefully there will be a way I can sweet talk the council round into giving me a freedom pass though - am getting very excited about this. Why didn't I know about it before.... Fiona x
  5. Fiona Call


    Hi Rachel, This reply is probably a bit late but I reckon it is probably fine to get it as wet as any normal (ish) activity dictates. When I was doing my bike ride the other weekend it was absolutely pouring with rain and I was wearing shorts. Didn't really think anything of it until every time I pedalled I heard a squelching sound. Looked down and basically so much water was in the leg that every time I pushed it down the water level would rise, and when I pulled it up it would fall. Had to stop in the middle of some village right by the church, take the leg (and liner which lost suction completely) off, empty it, and carry on. Did it a fair few times over the weekend as the rain was pretty relentless. It made very strange noises for a couple of days after that but has stopped now and I don't think the lock has rusted much if at all. Will let you know if I get locked into it at some point in the future though. F x
  6. Fiona Call


    Chris, How do you get the Freedom Pass thingy? Does it mean that you get all your tube/ bus travel free? I live in London too and have a feeling that I should apply for one, but I don't get any disability living allowance or anything like that because I just don't think I need it. I am RBK. Do you get zones 1-6? Fiona
  7. Fiona Call

    I did it....

    Dear all, This weekend I cycled from the Irish Sea at Whitehaven in Cumbria to the North Sea at Sunderland in Northumberland in three days - I am well chuffed with myself! The bike ride is known as the Coast to Coast, and is a very popular thing for people to do over a long weekend or a week in England. The route goes through the Lake District and the Pennines, finally descending into Sunderland or Newcastle. Link to the website is: http://www.c2c-guide.co.uk/ We left Whitehaven on Friday morning, in the rain, with all the locals telling us that we had picked the very worst day of the summer to do the C2C as lightening had just hit York station not very far away from us and thunderstorms were predicted for later on that day. Well, the first 15 miles or so were fine - gradual uphill riding along an old railway track. Then it started to go up, and up, and up, and I started struggling. I had known that the second day was going to be very mountainous and so was mentally prepared for that, but for some reason I had thought that the first day was just going to be a nice gentle uphill ride which wouldn't test us at all. How wrong I was. Once we (for "we" read "I" - the two people I did it with were complete slavedrivers and would shout at me every time I even whispered that I wanted to get off) had made it to the top of the first hill, we started going down, and down, and down, and I was feeling quite chuffed with myself that the worst was over. How wrong I was again. So, down we went until the next absolutely massive hill loomed up in the distance and the heavens literally opened. The climbing started again, this time with rain and mud flying into our faces. I fell into a nettle bush and cried. My so called friends forced me up and back onto my bike, and again, wouldn't let me get off even though I had now resorted to a strange sort of whimpering noise in the hope that they would take pity. After about an hour of whimpering and climbing very slowly (but over taking quite a few people on the way and feeling very smug to be doing it with only one leg) we reached the top. And went down, and down, and down again. At this point I was beginning to realise that going down was NOT good, because it meant that there would only be another uphill later on which would invariably be worse than the one we had just done. Also, the fact that it was freezing cold and raining meant that going down was absolutely freezing and all feeling in my hands left me, with almost disastrous consequences for brake control. Finally, at about three o clock, we reached the place we had arranged to stop for lunch (admittedly, quite a late lunch by that time), Keswick. We basically spent the next hour in a cafe attempting to feel our hands again, and just as feeling was regained had to head out again for the last, painful, 20 miles to the place we were staying on the first night, Penrith. Well we made it to Penrith, just, at 7.30pm, and I was really beginning to worry about what the hell I had put myself in for doing the ride. I had always thought I was quite a determined person and I was pretty shocked and disappointed at myself on the first day and my reaction to the toughness of the ride. Needless to day I did not take pride in the whimpering sounds (actually on reflection they were very similar to sounds I remember making down the phone to my boyfriend when I first found out that my leg had been amputated - actually thinking again I think the first day of the C2C was worse than my amputation so I suppose the whimpering sounds are my particular way of saying I don't like this...) Felt a bit better after a couple of pints and some tapas and went to bed at a reasonable time to prepare for the next days climb. Started out early on Saturday, full of trepidation that this was going to be the most difficult day and in the knowledge that I had found the day before amost impossible. Well, amazingly, it was nothing like as bad as I thought it was going to be. There were some really horrible mountains to climb. And I did have to get off and walk quite a few times, and it did rain, and it was cold, but I just got into a rhythm, and it went fine. My two friends I think also realised that their army boot camp style attempts to motivate me on the first day hadn't really worked, and so developed a strategy of just leaving me to it, which was much more pleasant. I would cycle as far as I could, then if it got too steep (I still can't stand up on the pedals), I would get off and just enjoy the scenery. There were lots of other groups of people doing the same thing as us as well and so often I would find myself walking along with the same people, which was nice because it helped you to realise that everyone was finding it hard. We made it to our destination at about 5pm on Saturday, and, knowing that the worst of it was behind us spent a very pleasant and rather tipsy evening in the wierdest local pub I have ever been in in my entire life. The whole experience was very entertaining I must admit. The final day consisted of one big climb (which I just walked up) and then was downhill all the way back, and it was great. It is a fantastic feeling to have done it, and I think that all of us are totally elated to have finished. Anyway, sorry to have rambled on for so long. I just wanted to let you all know that I had done it. I will try to post some pictures if I can find out how. Fiona
  8. Fiona Call

    Hello all

    Hi Marko, I lost my leg in the tsunami in 2004 when I was 27. Like you, at that time, nothing bad had ever happened to me in my life, and everything was generally going really well. I had just spent the past few months living and working in Bangkok, my job was going great, my boyfriend had come out to see me, and we were getting on really well after not having seen each other for a while, and all was good really. My life was completely turned around by the wave. I had my leg amputated on 30th December 2004 and spent New Years Eve completely drugged up in some hospital I didn't even remember getting to in Bangkok. For the first few months I don't really think that the reality of my situation hit me. I had visitors coming and going from my various hospitals and telling me how great I was, and my philosophy I think was just to try to ignore what had happened to me. It was all subconscious and I just didn't feel the need to cry or get upset, but I remember thinking at the time that I was coping with it all strangely well and wondering if I would ever get upset about it. Well, I did. The low point for me was definitely about three months after the amputation when my boyfriend and I went to stay with a friend in Windsor. I had been crutching around the whole time at that point because I just couldn't cope with getting into a wheelchair, but on this particular trip my friend said that it would be quite a good idea to bring the wheelchair because it was a long way from Windsor centre to her house and I probably wouldn't be able to crutch it. So, off we went to the pub. Had lunch and lots of wine, and then it was time to go back to her house. Into the wheelchair I got, feeling worse and worse about it the whole time. We still had just under a bottle of wine left in the pub, and decided to take that with us. So, there I was, in the middle of the afternoon, being pushed very resentfully down Windsor high street in a wheelchair and swigging from a bottle of wine (none of which looked particularly good in any case), when I noticed a little boy of about 5 staring at me. Well, that was it, I had had enough. I started screaming at him to **** off etc etc. My friends pushed me home as fast as they physically could, and, completely shocked at myself, I burst into tears. I woke up the next day so ashamed of myself I can't even describe, and recounting the event now I can't believe that I did that. That was the point at which I realised that I was grieving for my leg, and the strange high I had been on up until then most definitely had gone away. I think in the end that I probably grieved for my leg for about a year after my amputation, the period leading up to the anniversary of the tsnuami being the worst. But since then things have looked up. I have got used to the leg. First I started swimming, then in April I started cycling, and finally a couple of months ago I started running again. There is nothing I have tried to do yet that I have been unable to, and life really is back to normal. In short, what I am trying to say to you is that it is totally normal to feel the way you do. I remember being at physio too and everyone being loads and loads older than me and being really jealous of them because they had kept their legs for so much longer than me, and also because they had "brought it on themselves" and I was just unfortunate. the worst thing was that I had to watch them all being discharged loads before me because all my muscles had wasted away so much in the period between my amputation and getting a leg that I found it really really difficult to learn to walk again. But what you have to think is that although they are diffierent from you, they are also going through exactly the same thing as you, and it will be even more difficult for them than it is for you to get back to a normal life. And you WILL get back to a normal life. This time next year you just read back what you have written today and you will be amazed that you even thought to feel this way. I promise. Anyway, I will let you go. Good luck, Fiona
  9. Fiona Call

    I did it....

    Thanks everyone. Gil, I don't think I can divulge any information about where the pub was for fear that the inhabitants of the particular village it is in might come and get me...... Shane, thank you! It is a real comfort to me to hear that you had the same reaction on your first ride back. I think that half the time I was crying because it was hard and raining and windy but to be honest the other half I was crying because I was just so happy I was dong it. Funny how we react in these situations, isn't it. Rachel, it's beautiful around there, isn't it? I think that my favourite bit was going across the moors out of Rookhope if you know where that is? Just so peaceful and colourful. x x
  10. Fiona Call

    Right Around the Corner, Roz!

    Hi Roz, Firstly can I say that I am really really impressed with the way you are dealing with all this. I couldn't even look at, never mind touch, my stump for at least 6 weeks after my operation. They used to have to put me under general anaesthetic for all my dressing changes because I just couldn't cope with having it done while I was awake. I still have problems touching my stump even now. In fact, I don't. Ever. The fact that you can massage it etc is really a great indication of how well you are coping. Anyway, now to the phantom pain. I don't know about phantom pain because I was never really able to separate this from proper pain in my leg, but from what I can remember it was really really bad for about three weeks or a month. After that the worst was over but I continued having pain for about four months. It did all go away eventually though, and I don't get any now which I know is a complete godsend. I also, like you, have one spot on my stump that is completely hypersensitive and I think because of this feeling that there are a lot of nerves around that point that maybe my doctors didn't recede as they meant to. I can't remember whether it hurt immediately after my operation or not, but it certainly doesn't now. I can't touch it because it literally makes me jump out of my chair if I do, but it is not aggravated at all by my prosthetic leg and so I don't find it is anything to worry about. So, in short, my advice to you Roz is that it is very early days for you, you are doing tremendously well, in fact I am in awe of how well you have taken it all. The pain you are having will probably last a bit longer but don't worry about it - I am sure it wil go away in its own time, and you will be walking pain free again before you know it. Take care, Fiona
  11. Dear all, Next weekend I will be cycling from the West Coast to the East Coast of England (the thinnest bit at the top). The ride goes through the Lake District and over the Pennines to Newcastle and so is going to be quite hilly. I have been on a few practice rides up hills and can get up most of them using my gears but if they are really really steep I have problems. I think it would be much easier to do this if I could stand up on my pedals to give myself more power but I have tried this a few times and just can't seem to do it. What happens is that my right foot (prosthetic foot) will get to the top of a rotation of the pedals but I just don't seem to have enough power in my muscles or leverage in my stump (which is short) to push the pedal down and round again. Is it possible to do standing up cycling if you are a BK? If so does anyone have any tips on how to do it? Fiona
  12. Rikk, Yes I know it is taking a bit of a risk. I did however speak to my physio yesterday (the one I do the running with) and she thinks I should be fine as long as I put ice on it at the end of every day. So I suppose it really is just a case of crossing everything! Bear, I think you are right about the fact that it is probably easier to stand up if you have a longer stump. Mine is very short and when I was doing it it just felt like I needed that little bit more leverage to be able to do it properly. I think having a slightly longer stump would give me that. Fiona
  13. Rikk, Thanks a million for all your tips. It's a shame that moving the crank forward slightly didn't work. I luckily don't have any problem with my grip or with the leg digging in at the back of my knee so think that I might be OK without the other gadgets. My main problem at the moment is that I think I have done something to my knee - I went to physio on Thursday and ran for my longest time yet. When I finished my knee felt a bit funny but I didn't really think anything of it. To make a long story short it hasn't really got any better and does not ease up while cycling. I really really don't want it to stop me from doing the Coast to Coast and so I think I am just going to give myself a cycling break until Friday when we are due to set out and hope that it repairs itself in the meantime. Fingers crossed! Fiona
  14. Fiona Call

    My first "anniversary"

    Hi Shane, You put it very well. I had exactly the same experience on my first anniversary. To the point that I think I wound myself up much more in the days and weeks leading up to it about what it would be like than I needed to. Was slightly amazed when it turned out to be just another normal day. One thing I really have found since then though is that for some reason getting over the "year" barrier really helped me to put the whole thing behind me and just get on with my life. Up until then I think I had tortured myself somewhat with the "what was I doing this time last year?" question, and getting down when I realised how much I now couldn't do. With the year over with and getting better on the leg every day I stopped asking myself that question, and was able to get my life back properly. It looks like you have managed that already anyhow, but it is pretty good to know that it is only going to get better from now on, isn't it? Fiona x
  15. Rikk, Anything that gets the fake foot over the top position easily sounds really good to me. I am not clear at all what you mean by moving the pedal crank forward. Could you explain? Also, just thinking about actually doing that - wouldn't it mean that your feet are at different stages of each revolution at different times? I think that would make me feel really lopsided, although it sounds like it would definitely help with the standing up problem.
  16. Lynne and everyone thanks a million, I actually went to physio yesterday and had a proper try at it on an exercise bike and managed it - yipeee! Am very worried about doing it in real life though as I can totally see how falling off would be very easy to do. I am going to go to a park next week before my ride to practice I think. I did that too when was a kid Dave - it hurts.... x x
  17. Fiona Call

    New restrictions in place

    Oops I have just realised that you wrote your post yesterday and so you are probably flying today. Well if I missed you I hope it all went OK anyway.
  18. Fiona Call

    New restrictions in place

    HI Ali, I live in London and my friend flew back from Dubai to Heathrow yesterday amid all the chaos for a wedding we are going to tomorrow. In the morning when we heard what was happening my housemate texted him to check that all was OK (he hadn't taken off at that point), and he hadn't even heard that anything at all was going on. In the end his flight was on time, he got home in time for last orders at the pub (always important), and he said that had we not told him what was going on he would never even have realised - all was as normal at Heathrow for his flight anyway. As you are flying into Heathrow too I wouldn't worry too much about it. Enjoy London! Fiona
  19. Thanks Cat and Rikk, Right, I am no danger lover. Walking up those hills it will have to be if needs be. I have a lovely image of you flying through the air Cat....... Will let you know how it goes.
  20. Fiona Call

    The journey has now begun

    Hi Anne, I have been keeping quiet but following Vicky's progress. I wish you and her all the best. About the eating - I really wouldn't get too worried about it - I couldn't eat a thing after my amputation and lost a lot of weight - about a stone - which is a lot for me because I only weighed about 8.5 stone before my operation. I just didn't want to eat anything and the more people tried to make me the less I wanted to. Once I got home though and had to start using more energy to do things and got away from all that awful hospital food I got my apeite back fine. I am sure it will be the same for Vicky. You just have to give her lots of chocolate (I think that was just about all I WAS eating by the time I left hospital) and wait for her appetite to come back, because it will. I really hope it all goes well for her with her leg. Fiona
  21. Fiona Call


    Mike, Can I just say congratulations on what you have achieved this past year. You have been an inspiration to me with your great attitude and jokes and good advice. And sponsorship money! About 7/7. My heart goes out to all those who lost someone or something (in the limb department) in 7/7. But I am finding it really difficult to come to terms with all the media coverage there is of 7/7 at the moment. I woke up this morning to John Humphries asking one of the bomb victims to describe his experiences, and had to listen to the story of the whole thing all over again. I know what happened. I just don't see what the nation can possibly gain from going over it. It just feels wrong to me. Also, I know I am probably biased because of what happened to me, but every time I read yet another newspaper or magazine story about 7/7 I am reminded that altough the events of that day were terrible, and we will never be able to bring back the dead, there are many other terrible things going on in other parts of the world all the time, and there always have been. The only difference between these things and 7/7 is that most people affected by the war in Iraq or Afganistan or the tsunami will never have their stories told, they will never get compensation from the governments of their countries for what happened to them, and the events that affected them will never have the newsworthiness of 7/7. Because they are not rich westerners. They are generally poor people trying their hardest to live the best life they can. The question that really keeps coming back to me is why does it seem to be the case that a western life is worth more than an Iraqi or Indonesian life? I have been taught all my life that everybody is and should be treated as my equal, but when I see the media having the circus they are having with an event like 7/7, giving up reams and reams of column inches to some lecturer who lives in one of the most developed countries in the world, probably owns his own house, is richer than most people in the world could ever hope to be, and survived UNINJURED, and is STILL getting compensation from the government, and ignoring completely all the people who really deserve those column inches and the exposure that they would give them to the outside world, I feel rather sick really. The one image that I have of the hospital I was taken to after the tsunami is of the Thai man who was lying in the bed next to me. I could tell that he had been really badly injured in the tsunami as all his family spent all their time around his bedside, but I was a bit out of it on morphine myself and so couldn't tell exactly what was wrong with him. I was flown out of there to my extortionately expensive private hospital paid forby my medical insurance two days later but I remember asking my Dad what was wrong with the man before they took me away. He told me that the man had obviously been hurled onto some cliffs by the wave and had a very bed head injury. I don't know whether he survived but I just keep on thinking that if he had had access to the same medical care as I had had, then his chances would surely have been a lot higher. Why am I worth more than him? Obviously then the logic gets difficult because if I really were to have equated myself with him at the time of the tsunami, then I certainly would not be here today. And so I then start to feel a bit hypocritical for even coming out with any of this in the first place - I have demonstrated that I am not practicing what I preach and would have no hesitation in jumping back into the best private hospital money could buy if the same thing happened to me again. It is all just so difficult. Anyway, sorry for highjacking your thread Mike, and congratulations again for the year thing.
  22. Fiona Call

    ALPs lotion

    Hello, I have decided to try some ALPs lotion for my never ending sore patches. Can anyone tell me where I get it from?
  23. Fiona Call

    New friend (I hope)!

    Hi Keith, At the beginning I found that the best thing WAS just to trust my physio and prosthetist. I mean, I didn't have a clue what the leg was meant to feel like, whether it felt good or bad, or what. I think it is totally normal that you do just trust in your leg person to know what is right for you. Of course, if I could point to a point on my leg where there was definite pain then I knew that the socket wasn't right, but really I just didn;t know what it was meant to feel like apart from that. Now, however, I think I do have a good idea about what I need out of my leg and how it should feel, and I am far better at voicing this to my prosthetist. This has literally come from experience, and from working together with my prosthetist for a year. I now know the sore bits of my leg and so does she and together we try to sort them out when they arise. But really it has only been very recently that we have got to this stage. So what I am basically trying to say is not to worry too much at first. It took me a good six months even to feel like I was remotely gaining back the level of activity I wanted to. And the leg really felt wierd for a long long time. It is all just a matter of time. Chill out and see where it takes you!! Fiona
  24. Fiona Call

    New friend (I hope)!

    Hi Keith, I lost my right leg below the knee 18 months ago and have had my prosthetic leg for just over a year now. I that time I have started swimming, cycling and running again. Swimming was the first thing I tried, pretty much as soon as I could get myself to a pool because obviously no legis needed for that. Then I tried cycling again - started that about 6 months ago. I now cycle to work every day and in November will be cycling 500km from Saigon in Vietnam to Ang Kor Wat in Cambodia - not quite the same as cycling to work I know - I really must start getting some practice in. I have also started running again recently.and am aiming to do a 5K run in September. I am 29 now and was 27 when I lost my leg. I was pretty fit before - used to go to the gym about three times a week and I also did a lot of hiking. Swimming is fine - it is literally just a case of taking your leg off when you get to the side of the pool and then getting in and swimming as normal. You can get water legs, but I find that mine is really only useful for getting into showers that are awkward on crutches and getting into the swimming pool on holiday when you really need to cool off. Cycling again I actually find a lot easier than walking. I haven't had to make any alterations to my bike at all - I have just attached a toe clip to my prosthetic foot side so that it stays on the pedal. The only downside of that is that you obviously can't get the foot off, but it is quite easy to train yourself just to make sure that if you stop you put your good foot down instead of the bad one. Running I have really only just started, but was really surprised when I did it and again found it fine. I suppose the one different thing about running though is that you really need to make sure that you have an absolutely completely comfortable socket on your leg before you do it and that you are very confident putting all your weight through your prosthetic leg because apparently with each step you put double your body weight through it. I don't know what level of amputation you have and I think that your activity level will probably depend a lot on that, but I can honestly say that if you are fairly fit and have the determination to do it then you will be able to get back to where you were before. About the golf - can't help you there I am afraid, but I'm sure someone here will. Anyway, I have rambled on for long enough but if you have any more questions then please do not hesitate to ask. Fiona
  25. Fiona Call

    This "Reaching Out" is NOT so serious...

    It's good to see you back Joe x