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Gizmo

Have your friends changed?

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I have heard from a couple of people who became disabled in their adult life, that some of their friends found it hard to cope with (even if they had been close in "former life"), found it embarrassing and were retreating more and more. Have you made a similar experience? That you find it easier to get along with people who did not know you before and who just take your disability for granted in contrast to people who used to know you when you were still "complete"?

Am really curious..

xxx

Uschi

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I just became an amputee in January, but had a big AFO brace for years before that, so looked somewhat "disabled" even then...have found all of my friends have been very supportive and fascinated with my new leg and the process. I think it might help that I am "old", 37, and surrounded by good solid, MATURE adult friends. Dont know how it would have been as a teen....I respect all our younger members who are hanging with more fickle crowds.

judy

utah

lbk

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I cannot relate to loosing my leg in my adult life but I can tell you that I grew up and amputee with great friends (many of which I still am close to), dated the quarterback of the football team and didn't have one bad experience ever concerning my leg. I think it's all about who you are inside....and who your friends are inside too. If your friend react negatively you shuld consider yourself lucky to have found out now what kind of a person they really are.....otherwise you might've never known. Just my opinion.... :D

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In High school I had a good bunch of friends...all of them basically grew up with me so it was no big deal, had boyfriends and all that good stuff B) !!! But in elementary and middle school (jr. high) I was picked on a lot. I also had a problem (still do a little) with my bladder. It is overactive and I can have accidents...So kids were mean. In high school, they had grown up enough to leave me be...and I got better at keeping accidents a secret.

In my adult life...most peeps are fine, whether they were old friends or new friends. I have met a couple of peeps (new "friends") that just couldn't handle it. Like I put in one other post...I met this guy told him all about me and we went on 2 dates. Then he told me..."You are beautiful from the waist up, but I can't handle the fact that you can't walk normal".

So basically, I have seen both ends. Those who can't handle it can just go on. I don't need them anyway.

:ph34r:

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I don't honestly think the reason that a so-called friend 'retreats' by the fact someone has lost a limb/become disabled. ...('Oh no, run for the hills ') I think people fear change, whatever change that is. Unfortunately many people have not been exposed to all facettes of life and anything 'different' (or extraordinary, i like to use) creates this kind of fear and 'embarrassment ', as you put it, when suddenly confronted with it.

As to your usage of the word ''complete''. What does it mean to you, Giz? Defining it based on the physical aspect only, seems a little shallow, don't you think?

For me, being complete means taking all experiences that life has offered, good and bad. Being able to implement and use them to their full potential. To be open for new adventures and ideas. To be happy with who you are. The physical aspect plays a role, sure, but is only a part of the bigger picture.

I don't suffer fools...you had a question, thats my answer ! :P :D

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Having been an amputee since I was 5 I can't really relate to losing friends or people distancing themselves....I can however relate to making friends. Real friends accept you for who you are not what you look like. Which is probably a good thing in my case.........LOL :D :P

Cat

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Hi Giz, not much difference here, maybe b/c my attitude is that, I'm just as "complete" now, as I was before, being it doesn't take a missing body part, to make a person "complete", even tho there are those who may feel that way. IMPO it takes a heart and soul. :D I totally agree with Kaz, the physical aspect is only a part of the bigger picture. I'm not saying some didn't feel a little timid at first, but as I became more comfortable, so to did they. Of course, if I were a lot younger, then perhaps friends (some) may look at things differently, as they seem to have a harder time coping with issues such as this, then say, someone older may have, I think any ways. I feel, that a TRUE friend will always be there for you, I know I would be. :rolleyes: If I had other friends that couldn't handle it, then that's okay, it would have to be there choise, b/c I can't change from being an amputee, and if they can't change, then it's probably best they move on and let me do the same. :D

Sheila lbk

Maine USA

Keep Smiling :)

Live for today and let tomorrow be, for the future is not ours to see.

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Thanks for your answers. Kaz, I deliberately used the word "complete" and meant it in a narrow, physical way only (of course!)- and do not agree at all with you if you refer to it as "shallow". When I had this interview at the Austrian Associated of Disabled Sportsmen, the committee interviewing me (about 5 persons) all shared the opinion that non-disabled people feel a lot more embarassed when a person is missing a part of his/her body than when "only" walking with a limp, or crutches or something like that. I conclude, that missing a part of the body appears so "final" to the ignorant person and thus a lot more frightening than other disabilities.

Any thoughts on this??

Regards,

Uschi/Gizmo

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Hi Giz,

ofcourse losing a limb is final. It can’t be grown back, can it ? Have I missed something ?? :rolleyes:

And as for what 5 people define what I should feel and not feel being an amputee is ridiculous. Are they themselves amputees? Can they speak from hand-on experience? Are they non-amputees and therefore feel they are are superior to me?

Again…I don’t feel incomplete or embarrassed. I am proud of where I am in my life, the people I know, the job I do AND the legs i walk with. :)

Is that allowed? ;)

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Kaz, perhaps you could answer a little less aggressively.. You do not seem to understand that it is not about YOUR perception or about the perception of people with a disability, but about the perception of a non-disabled person who is, out of a sudden, confronted with the issue of amputation (be it as a friend of the person in question, or as a spectator of the paralympics..)

It has got nothing to do with the fact that you do not feel embarrassed or incomplete! If you had read my first posting carefully, you would have seen that I am NOT talking about the potential retreating and embarassement of the disabled person, BUT of her/his friends (or at least this was the way it was supposed to mean!)

Nobody is taking the liberty here to conclude what a disabled person thinks or does,but I do take the liberty to speak from my point of view, from the experience I have gathered. These five people were not amputees as far as I could tell -(but all had some sort of disability!) but do not forget, that being exposed to disabled athletes of all kinds, they definitely see differences in people´s reactions to different disabilities - and according to their experience, non-disabled people find it hardest to "bear" the idea of something missing (which is, by the way, also a thoroughly researched psychological effect in the framework of gestaltpsychology - people have the tendency to complete things and something missing - no matter what - irritates them)

And Kaz, I can even tell you from my own experience in my circle of friends, that an amputation scares people a lot more than any other potential disability (again, this has got nothing to do with how the amputees perceive themselves!!). I have two friends with a disability among my friends; one amputee and one woman who had polio as a kid. The one with polio walks with crutches and looks a lot more "disabled" than the other one. Still, when people learn, that one is an amputee and has an artificial leg, they are just shell-shocked...

Regards,

Gizmo

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Aggressive ? Because i am just answering your questions from my perspective ?

Maybe YOU need to reread your first post again ..... i thought you were asking from the perspective of an amputee. Or maybe i need new glasses... :rolleyes:

Naturally, i can only speak from MY experience. What is this forum all about if not a sharing and communicating of experiences? Sorry, if you don't like my experience with dealing well with it and the people around me not having any probs with it. ...and with these words, i depart this thread. Adios :P

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This is of course a very mature reaction (to threaten not to write anything in this thread any more; that is the right way to discuss!!), Kaz, I am really impressed! Of course, I am interested in your perception, but that was not the question and I was talking about people to whom the amputation happened in their adult lives, when close friendships have been formed and how these friends deal with this completely different situation. I am glad, that both you and your friends deal so well with it, but you were not really the target group of my question, since, as far as I can remember, you were 13 (or even younger) I am not trying to deny that you had close friends at this age, but it is probably different when it happens at 30, right?

Uschi

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I am so way confused at the moment <_< :blink::rolleyes: .......what happened? :huh:

What are we arguing about? <_<

Cat

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I think I tend to agree with you Gizmo...If I understand correctly :rolleyes: How is this:

When I was in high school I was paralyzed, walked with braces and crutches...I had friends and I had non-friends. There was a mom who was an amputee. She was not embarrassed by it, wore shorts or short skirts to functions showing off her prosthesis...Even though I am disabled I always looked at her leg and wondered how she could handle that. I thought even though I am disabled at least I have both legs. I thought the same thing when I spent the night at her son's house (large group of peeps did..party) and she came to check on us, without her leg on. I couldn't help but stare.

Thinking back on it...I should have been more consciencous of what I was doing. Luckily she said nothing and just went on with her talking and "checking" in on us.

I think that when you see someone without a limb you do think of it as more disabled than someone who is walking with a limp or crutches or something. I guess it is just human nature.

:blink:

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Hiyya Giz gurl . You worted :" ... That you find it easier to get along with people who did not know you before and who just take your disability for granted in contrast to people who used to know you when you were still "complete"? ..... "

Sorry for being ina wayyy bitchy mood but i have a question please . Please tell me , what is complete / normal and who is the one who gets to decide for the rest of us who is or is not co,mpleteete and is thier desisison to be takenen as the final one ?

You see , being complete is NOT all about what you see or don't but what is INSIDE too , mind and soul . I wonder , am i less complete than say kaz who is taller than me or ammi less complete than some oen who is olde rthan me or does all of that make me morererr cpompletete . Giz , i FEEl complete so i AM complete . I think i am well rounded in variouss things like art and music and stuffs and don't realy care about who thinks what of me . Alos , if a person is BORN missing a part are they then considered complete by birth or are they still considered incomplete by some stupid standard that some other person has decided on ?

I know in y heart and minsd i am ALL there and j8ust because there ios some thing missing thatdosent mean i or anyone else is less of a person . Actually Giz , to be very honest about this topic , i feel rather offended having to defend my / our completenes just because someone else either can', dosenet or wont accept the fact that there is more to complettness than just what we see from the out side . GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

" ... I think , therefore i am ... "

I'm off befor mom and dad get here and kick me off . I have to be a good gurrl for the next few days .

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MJ, I am sorry if you or anybody else felt offended by the word "complete". As I explained in one of the postings, I just referred to it from a completely objective point of view, with no evaluation whatsoever in mind, just as a comparison in before or after. Unfortunately this attempt to misinterpret some words I used have happened before, and to tell the truth, I am tired of it.

I am asking questions out of interest and just the persons who should know me best are trying their utmost to misunderstand me, are attacking me, challenging me for deciding what is complete (which I never did!)or not and other issues. I honestly do not have the time to keep defending myself all the time for things I am accused of saying and meaning.

As a result, I really think that this is the perfect time to say goodbye to the forum. I enjoyed being part of it for a while.

Regards,

Gizmo

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Hiyya Giz gurl , it was not my intention to like make you mad and stuff but it seems that like justr because we are now didffeeneweently ablew in some way , wwe seem to have to try and explain or prove to the masses that that we are still the smna eas we were before . Perwsonaly , it hate this " oh poor you " thing that many will say ot stuffs like that .

Giz , i unde3rstand that there is a lanauange difference thingie herer too and our words may be ibnterpretewd differently so , perhaps i too cam,e across a bit harsh for which i do appologise . And i must also admit that the past few days have been waaaay stresssfull too and i am venting a bit and this is not what i wantntned to do . I guess that we all herre just want to be seen as just like everyone else and at least fdor me when i hear woirds like different or not complete or sxome other thing that sounds sort of like that , it upsets me because it has nothing to do with the person i or anyone is still inside and i think it that which onbly metters aanyway . I hope you change your mind and NOT leave because you are a wonderful person and stuff .

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OK, one last thing to say afterall …..:

There is more involved here than discussing the word ‘complete’.

Positive thinking has been a heaven sent for me, and I’m sure for many people who deal with adversities in life.

If this radiance is spread out to the non-disabled people around me then what happens is - they DO NOT SEE the physical part that isn’t there but see WHAT IS VERY much there and see me for ME.

Now why can’t you accept that I think non-disabled people who fear or are embarrassed by the presence of an amputee are people who have big problems or fear something within themselves or can’t accept difference or diversity in the first place.??

No wonder this world is in such a mess!!!

Ofcourse, if I would hop around on one leg with my stump for all to see then everyone, including me, would feel a little uneasy. This has to do with sharing my most private/intimate sphere with all to see. Running around naked would make anyone feel uneasy too. Well, for some maybe not .... :lol:

It would be a shame if you leave this forum.

Myself and others have just expressed that they are quite alright in dealing with it.

Having to defend my point gets tiring too !!

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Don't go ya silly.......Where else can you get conversations like this? :rolleyes:

Cat

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Gizmo, you can't leave, you start off all the best threads. We've had some great laughs with the topics you have started e.g. what do you all look like. That one will probably run forever, so don't go, we need you.

Love from

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Gizmo,

In answer to your original question; I haven't lost any friends following my amputation but I have noticed one of them found it hard to look me in the eye initially. He seems more comfortable now and I'm still good friends with him. I also re-discovered some of my old friends that I hadn't spoken to for years.

As for the rest of this thread, let's not get bogged down in political correctness or get too offended by labels. If somebody calls me a cripple I don't get upset unless it's meant in a threatening or offensive manner. This can really only be determined if the person is talking directly to me and I can see the look on their face. If they've just bought me a beer and we're having a laugh and a joke I wouldn't be offended at all. If it was a stranger who'd just elbowed me out of a bus queue that said it, I'd probably deck him/her and stand on their head with my prosthesis. Get the idea?

Lets get back to what we do best and thats providing support and advice for each other.

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Hi Giz

I lost my leg earlier this year and got the impression that people other than my closest friends and relatives were uncomfortable with it. It seemed that this being uncomfortable was as a result of people being concerned about offending me, following reasurance that they do not need to 'pussyfoot' around me and that i am happy to talk and even joke about it, everyone seems to feel at ease and the relationship between myself and my friends is unchanged.

I hope that you do not take the comments on your topic to heart, a little conflict is inevitable considering the nature of the forum

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The people that know me - my friends and family treat me now the same as they always have.

There are however, people that i went to school with for example that treat me differently if they see me now.

There are people that heard about my accident and the result of it and couldn't imagine a worse thing happening and assume that i am depressed and that they have to tiptoe round me. Because they think like this they avoid talking to me.

This happend a few days ago, i saw a girl from school who i hadn't seen for a long time, she was sitting on the train, she saw me but didn't speak to me, the next day the same girl saw my sister and asked how i was coping and explained she didn't want to talk to me as she didn't know what to say.

My point is, the people who know me well and see me a lot know that i can do everything i have always done, and that i am still me.

People who knew me before but do not see me or talk to me anymore for whatever reason - they think that something terrible happend to me and that I would never be the same happy-go-lucky person and so do not approach me anymore.

I hope that makes some sense - I always end up babling on whenever I write anything, and I always try and be short and to the point.

Kate

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Giz..?....Giz, take something to heart? You've got to be kidding ...haha! :lol:

Me and Giz go back since March or April...and we tend to get in a few heated discussions, eh Giz? Extremely important issues that shouldn't and can't be brushed under the table light-heartedly.

So, Giz ..... ceasefire on this one ???? :D :P :D

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