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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
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Leg Removal Etiquette

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It's not quite eight years since my LBK amputation, and I consider myself to be quite fortunate in having had a relatively smooth adaptation to the "amp lifestyle." I don't mind other people seeing (or staring at ) my prosthesis--I am who I am, as someone else said in an earlier recent post. But just the other day, I ran into an issue that I hadn't really thought about before. Most people in my workplace know I have a prosthesis, how I adapt to it, and have no problems with it. But the other day I was sitting in a meeting and, as often happens when I sit too long, my knee began to ache. Without thinking, I leaned back in my chair, pushed the button, and popped off my leg as I have done countless times in the past. The person sitting next to me, who I do not know well, reacted with absolute horror and actually screamed. I was startled, too! My question is, when is it inappropriate to publicly adjust or remove a prosthetic? I'm not self-conscious about it, but I get the impression that some people liken it to removing critical items of clothing in public. I don't want to be overly sensitive, but I certainly don't want to embarass others. Any thoughts? I mean about removing the artificial leg, not clothing!

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:lol: :lol: :lol:

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I am still new to this game and am looking forward to receiving my first leg sometime this week. However, I understand from a 'friend' that it is a bit like breast feeding in public, some people cope and others dont. The so called friend will not visit any more as she finds it offensive when I take my shrinker off to moisturise.

While it can be embarassing at the time its how you deal with their reaction not how they deal with yours. If you were fine about it before then why should one person upset you.

Good luck we only get one chance in this life time so do what makes you feel right and ignore the odd prude.

Love Rachel

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Well I say if your leg is bothering you just remove it fix it put it back on and go on with life. I've had to remove my leg several times at work and have done it at my desk without anyone saying anything to me. Everyone knows I'm an amputee and it's not been an issue. After my revision surgery I went back to work 2 weeks post op in the wheelchair, shrinker sock coverying my leg and that was it nobody said anything to me about it. While at the beach yesterday I wore my leg in the water but a couple of times I felt like my leg had lost vacuum and needed to go out and fix it, I sat down on the blanket right there and took my leg off fixed it and went back in the water. Several people saw me on the occasions that I did check the leg and I didn't care if they had a problem it was there problem not mine. I've even had to take my leg off on some of my training runs and actually races and again I did it right there and didn't care if people saw. I figure this is who I am like it or not take it or not.

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I don't remember anyone objecting last year when my real leg was removed so why should they object to me removing my prosthesis now. Having said that, I wouldn't remove my liner if people were eating just as I wouldn't remove my socks in the same situation.

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Umm, I'm a guy, Marcus. But, you're right, I did leave the liner and sock on--I don't remove those in public, although I sometimes do when sitting at my desk. It did occur to me that the rules might be a little different for a woman wearing a skirt.

Tim (last reported to be male! :D )

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I don't remember anyone objecting last year when my real leg was removed so why should they object to me removing my prosthesis now.

What a perfect way to equate the circumstance Muz. I LOVE IT! :D

Linda

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Another thing that has just occurred to me is this. If you're sat in a seaside pub or restaurant in the summer the chances are that there will be loads of people who are dressed in shorts and sandals. Even if you remove your liner you will be showing less flesh than they are so how can they object. At least my stump doesn't suffer from carbuncles, ingrowing toenails, verrucae and numerous fungal infections ..... <Gulp!> somebody pass the bucket, I think I'm about to hurl :lol: :lol: :lol:

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If my leg needs to come off then off it comes, anytime, anywhere.

I try to be kind about it and not scare anyone but there are times when it needs to come off, especially if I have been sitting too long.

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Hate to tell you this Muz, but stumps suffer from verrucae and fungal infections more than you'd like to think :huh:

Doh! :P

... but hopefully not ingrowing toenails (Unless my fiancee has left her clippings in the bed :lol: :lol: )

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some people liken it to removing critical items of clothing in public.

Muz your aweful!

My leg sometimes slides down on a hot day when I'm driving, I got out of the car and knocked off my one valve off a few months back the leg just shot off!!

I managed to hop to an wall to prop myself up, my step daughter was with me so she acted as a shield no choice I dropped my trousers!!

As she is 20 and I am 46 we did get some strange looks!! All this in the Borough Council car park, What a polava

PJ :D

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Hi Tim

Ideally, I think that we should be able to take our prostheses off, when & where ever we wish to. Other people slip their shoes/socks off to feel more comfortable, so why shouldn't we take our prostheses when we feel uncomfortable?

However, this isn't an ideal world. :huh: People get upset about all sorts of things. Mostly it is their problem, but unfortunately that doesn't stop it becoming our problem too. It's a case of striking a balance between our comfort & their 'problem'.

My prostheses cover both my legs & so I find casually slipping my 'leg' off, without people noticing, very difficult. So, if I'm in company & I want to take a leg off, I usually tell the people I'm with. Usually with a little joke or a small warning - nothing much. The majority of people are more worried about my comfort & they have no problem.

However, if you're by yourself in public, I think you should ignore the stares & just take the thing off. :)

Lizzie

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Hi All:

I don't give a rat's ass if anybody is offended by the sight of me!!! When I need to tkae them off........I take them off!!!!

If anybody is offended by my actions.......let them live in my shoes for a while!!!!!

ED

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WELL PUT, EDDIE!

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I worry about taking my leg off when I'm sleeping on planes, in case there's turbulence and I get hit on the head with it :o :lol: . Perhaps I need to ask for an extra seat so I can have a seatbelt for it? Last night I just wedged it under the seat in front (Tokyo -> Sydney, 8.5 hours). You see far worse...

I used to scare babysitters with it when I was about 10. The first time was an accident - I popped my leg under the bed with the foot sticking out, shoe and sock on :o

Generally I only take my leg off at work if I'm at a desk, but if my leg is sore, I definitely slip it off. Of course now I'm working from home a lot of the time, so I can wear whatever I like as long as I sound professional.

-K

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I used to scare babysitters with it when I was about 10.

It's funny you should say that K, as I did the same - I was a bit older than 10 tho'. :ph34r:

In the UK in the 1980's we didn't have toes on our prostheses, instead we were given funny little slipper things with toes on the outside, that you could slip onto your prosthetic feet. I used to wear them with sandals - they were more trouble than they were worth as they always seemed to slip around the foot or they came off.

One day, when we were staying with my in-laws, I took my sandals off (along with the toes) & tucked them under the sofa and I forgot about them. My father-in-law discovered them some while later... he found what he thought was someone who had been flattened by a sofa in his living room. :D

He was very shocked...hasn't been the same since! It probably accounts for the fact that I now tend to warn people if I'm about to remove my limb(s). :)

Lizzie

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Just today I was shopping for some new shoes when one of my daughters came running up to me with a pair of flip flops suggesting I should buy them.

I said that I wouldn't be able to get my foot into them whereby she replied I could always cut a hole between the toes!! I got some very curious looks as my partner and I cracked up laughing.

Hang on a minute should this be in the flip flops thread? :ph34r:

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When I was still doing band work a few years ago, I used to rip my leg off after a gig - which was 4 hours of standing on stage with a couple of breaks. Couldn't wait to be rid of it. Took it off outside in the carpark where relatively few people could see, and if they did, they were probably a bit piddled at that time of the night anyway.

The other day I saw one of the girls I used to gig with, and she reminded me of what I used to do. Never thought she minded, but apparantly it left quite an impact on her.....and a few other individuals. She thought it was hilarious though!

Guess it can be quite a shocker for able bodied people..... :lol: We all need to get over ourselves. I've kind of come around to thinking that if they don't want to see, then they don't have to look.

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Hi guys,

I take mine off wherever and whenever, I need to - leg that is! :D :P

I usually click it off in work - if I'm sat with students at a table, half the time they don't notice! The other staff are used to me, so it's ok. When I go to the Job Centre for conferences etc - again with work - then I sometimes pop it off under the desk - especially if I'm going to be sat for a while - but they are all used to me - so they don't care ..I just have to make sure I remember to put it back on BEFORE I get up! :P

I went shoe shopping today..which I normally hate, but I went into a shop here in Cardiff, and I have to say that the assistant was fab, really helpful, and went around all the stock on display trying to match me up with the right heel height - so refreshing after about the 9th shop of trying to find shoes. :D When I took the leg off to try and get shoes on, no one batted an eyelid, which was cool.

Sue :blink:

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I agree, we should be able to take it off (the leg ;) whenever, the heck with those who can't handle it, like Brenda said, that's their problem. They way I see it is, there's some out there that scare me too!!!! :o :blink: :lol: Only, if their looks bother me that much, I'll just turn my head and they can do the same!!! :D

Sheila lbk

Maine USA

Keep Smiling :)

Kindness goes a long ways, so let there be enough for eveyone.

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I usually click it off in work - if I'm sat with students at a table, half the time they don't notice! 

"Click it off"?? Wish I could do that. I am an AKA and I almost only ever wear jeans, so when the leg comes off - so do the pants :P In one foul swoop..... :lol:

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"Click it off"?? Wish I could do that.

That's just the point I was originally trying to make Ally, as my BK goes up as high as my AK. It's fine if you can just 'click it off', but if taking it off requires removal off half your clothing, that's another matter! :blink:

Also, when the weather's very hot I go without my prostheses & use my chair AND I swim regularly in the local pool without covering up my legs. But, I still think that you have to be aware of other people. :)

Lizzie

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I guess I'm quite fortunate (??) as I'm BK also I don't usually have much need to remove my leg except to add socks. I went through my last night shift the other night and to normalise my sleep pattern I stayed up until the following evening, so that was over 24 hours and only removing the leg once. I'll probably get told off by Marcus now for having kept my leg on for so long... Is there a maximum time that a leg should be worn??

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I'll probably get told off by Marcus now for having kept my leg on for so long... Is there a maximum time that a leg should be worn??

When my son was two, he was hospitalized for a week. Nothing too serious, repiratory infection complicating asthma. I spent the first three nights there, sleeping or should I say trying to, in a reclining chair with both legs on. Only time off was if my family came so I'd go home & shower. I could have showered there, but who wants to kneel in a strange publicly used shower? :( Going home gave me a bit more down time to. Toward the end of the week, he was in his own room & my husband spent the night shift. It was hard to leave him, but ultimately that time off made me more able to withstand the long day shift.

So..........I don't really think there is a set amount of wearable time. If you are lucky enough to be able to wear it as much as needed then that's the ultimate goal achieved.

Linda

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Ummmmm , i havvving a quesstioon ...... sinnce whhenn shoulld we needing to expaliing to eveveryoone that wee neddnesssinng to takiing off sometthiing for anny reasssonningnness ? I soundds too m elike alommosst nedding persmissiooning too beiing comfoprttabble .

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