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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
cherylm

A Philosophical Question...

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It's official...I'm going to be retiring this June, after nearly 30 years with my employer. I'm also planning on moving north to be closer to what's left of my family. To that purpose, I've been spending my winter break "up north" with my sis and bro-in-law, doing some apartment hunting. I've ruled out a number of places, but there are two that I'm interested in...for very different reasons. Thus, my philosophical question: Do I do the "practical" thing for an amp, or do I be "impractical" for the sake of an interesting neighborhood?

The "interesting" place is located in the older downtown section of a fairly large city. There are lots of offbeat little restaurants, quaint shops, public gardens, multiple movie theaters, and a couple of bookstores. It's a very active place...a city that I've loved for quite a long time. The "problem" is with the apartment complex. It does have a few "amp friendly" things about it: elevator service to the upper floors, a more or less "open" floorplan, more square footage in the living/dining area. However, the kitchen is even tinier than the one I have now, and the bathroom is DINKY. In both cases, I would probably be able to get a wheelchair into the doorway, but I would not be able to maneuver once I got the chair in there. Since I continue to be hopeless on crutches, there's a definite possibility that I'll need to use the wheelchair at some point in the future while recovering from new and wonderful adventure with my legs.

The second apartment option is in a smaller, more modern, "planned" community about 15 miles from the large city I love. This apartment is DEFINITELY amp-friendly: elevators, ramps, railings on all staircases, multiple public places to sit and take a breather if necessary....and the apartment, while slightly smaller than apartment #1, is entirely wheelchair-accessible. The kitchen and bath are both larger and more modern than in #1 as well. The neighborhood is pretty much like where I'm currently living...there's a lot of chain stores and "big box" outlets around, many franchised "fast food" type restaurants, and a multiplex theatre nearby. It's not a bad neighborhood at all...it's just not the big city I've always wanted to live in. The living and dining area in this apartment is smaller than in apt #1, but the bedroom is much larger.

In an ideal world, apartment #2 would be located in city #1, but that's not going to happen. I'm kind of leaning toward the second place, but part of me really wants to try for the "big city" neighborhood. My family is highly in favor of apartment #2, being the more practical, the more secure, and the one closer to them. I'm feeling confused!

Sooooo...if you were in my shoes, how would you go about making a decision here? I guess I'm looking for some sort of "active amp" perspective here.......thanks for any opinions you may have to share! :blush:

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Cheryl,

First, big disclaimer, I'm not an amputee myself, I am here as the mother of a beautiful AMAZING 5 1/2 year old daughter, RAK :smile: My father was also in a wheelchair full-time for the last 10 years of his life, and his house was nothing but an obstacle for him. From reading this, it sounds like this is where you want to retire, where you would like to be long term. Although we have always made an effort to not treat our daughter differently, etc etc, when we built our current home three years ago, we did try to go ahead and make a few simple adjustments (wider doorways, one accessible bathroom, her bedroom on the main floor, etc.) so that if there are any times that she does need to use a chair, she is comfortable in her own home. At the same time, watching what my father went through, we want our own home to be accessible to US no matter what is in store down the road.... I guess all that to say, wouldn't it be easier up front to make sure you are comfortable in your own home for as wide a range of possibilities so that you can remain independent?

Just my 2 cents. YMMV

Kelley

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That's a good question there Cheryl.

For me it would be all about the big city and the more character, but I am younger and still don't mind the headaches of obstacles (I have 10 large dogs in the house that I get to jump around quite often). If we happen to stay in this house for a long time when a wheelchair would be useful and a good thing to have there would be no way I could do it. When we had the chair for me after the accident before I was up and walking, mobility was none, so I could see the point of having the room if you need the chair or will soon.

Doesn't answer much, I know but it comes down to how you want to adapt. More comfortable at home and travel to the city, or have everything there but not as comfortable at home.

When one retires, do they not spend much time at home? My in laws are always gone so I could see them choosing apartment 1.

Good luck and send pictures!!

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Try to visit the city often and pick Apt. #2 to be comfortable in. Happy New Year and congratulations on retirement, well deserved !!!

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I'm with Dave. A 15 mile drive to the city won't be nearly as annoying as a bathroom you can't function in with a wheelchair. I don't use crutches so when the leg is off I'm in the chair. It might be less than an hour a day but I don't want any obstacles. Plus, if something should happen, God forbid, and you really need the chair then, as they say, you're "SOL" One of the bathrooms in my house is quite small. I can get in it with the wheelchair and that's it! Fortunately, it's not the bathroom I use. Be comfortable in your home.

Congratulations on your retirement. You're going to love it, no matter which apartment you choose :smile:

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Wow, congrats on the retirement Cheryl......Can't say as I blame you...

Now for the wet blanket part of your question.. Myself...... having had to go back into the wheelchair for a time or two since my accident, I would opt for apt. #2...for now..... there is nothing saying that if an apartment came up, at a later date in the bigger town, that you can't move.. but, for now, and for all practical purposes, you would be in an apartment that you know that you could function in and be safe. 15 miles isn't that bad to drive to to see the stores, libraries, theaters etc.. It's about 25 minutes from where I live now for anything..even a gallon of milk. To be in a place that you can't function comfortably in sucks.. I've had hotel room once or twice in the last 7 years, and those just plain sucked..enough to know that I wouldn't want to be in a home where I'm not comfortable..

And as I said, who says that you are locked into this place for the rest of your life? You could always move again, if you are renting, at a later date if something that would work does become available.....

Be well, be happy, and enjoy the upcoming times.... you will be busier than you know.. be warned! :laugh:

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I have to agree that apt 2 is the only thing that makes sense.

Congratulations on retirement. I'm jealous.

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Hi Cheryl

I was sitting here reading your posting with hubby this morning, and his view was, not to take any of them yet as neither of them are absolutely what you are looking for.

But, myself, looking at it from the active amp perspectyive, would definitely go for somewhere where the accommodation was amp-friendly. Like Higgy, I have had a few spells of being entirely dependent on my wheelchair, and know what my priorities now are from that perspective. I have lived in my current home for nearly 30 yrs, as an amputee, but to be honest when we moved in didn't have a chair and didn't give accessability a thought, but have had to do that more over the last few years. For me, the actual living accommodation needs to be spacious enough to get a chair around, the bedroom is less of a priority, accessibility to and in the bathroom is a 'must', with the kitchen a close second.

If it was me, I would get the 'right' accommodation now, so that you don't have to move somewhere more accessible in years to come, I think there is an age we get to where we just don't want to move, or are not able to cope with it, so someone else ends up making the decisions, and I have had that situation recently with my own dear mum, whose home isn't going to be that practical in a few years time, but just doesn't want to move. For myself, I think one of the advantages of my situation is that I have had to think about this earlier, and had time to get my head around it, for me its just about practicalities really.

Ann

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Thanks for all the thoughtful responses, gang...I knew I could rely on you to think of this in "amp terms."

One of the things I'd been trying hard to ignore was what it was like attempting to get around my current place in the days just after my amp. My current apartment is "semi amp-friendly"... ramps from parking lot to complex, a ground-level apartment, and MOST areas friendly to someone using a wheelchair. The one area that WASN'T good for my chair was my bathroom...it was soooo inaccessible that I had to use the kitchen sink for "sponge baths" and keep a commode just outside the bathroom door, as I absolutely could not wheel my way in to the bathroom proper. That is not a situation I'd like to be in again!

I'm still looking at six months down the line until I can move...so I think I'm going to put in an application on apartment #2, call apartment #1 and ask for a few detailed measurements, then see how my furniture will fit in both of the places....

It's an adventure...wish me luck!

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It's not a bad neighborhood at all...it's just not the big city I've always wanted to live in.

IMHO, don't ignore your dreams. The apartment you're looking at in the city isn't the only one there, perhaps something more appropriate will come along. We all wind up managing to function in our living spaces (even if they aren't ideal) with a little creativity and accommodation. Perhaps this might be the time to try out that city lifestyle to see if it's as good as you imagine. You can always move again if the inconvenience of your apartment outweighs that.

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Cherylm.

First congrats on your retirement & moving closer to your sister & brother-in-law....its nice to be closer to family. {most of the time} :laugh::laugh:

Now me, I have never been one to venture out of my comfort zone....I definately would take an application for the 2nd. apartment...leaving open an option for a neat downtown apt. if it becomes available. Have a Happy New Year & let us know if you find another apt. downtown that will be better for you. :smile:

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Hi Cheryl:

Babbled a bit with you in the past on thisite and met you in Atlanta a couple of years ago. I was going to answer your post the other day but didn't since I was a bit irritated, so i didn't post. Tonight..........I'll bite the bullet..............ok.......I'll conceed.......do #2 .....................but ONLY if you use it as a home base for now.

Man to retire and NOT do all of those quaint things etc that seem to appeal to you would be a sin!!! All that cripple / wheelchair stuff can wait till we all are a whole lot older and buggered.

Now , here's where I'm no doubt about to stir some sh-t!!..............

Man, I can not believe that so many people with good human knees seem to be so stuck in a wheelchair and can't seem to see themselves living without it. I have a hard time trying to understand this.

Me, I am buggered but the only time iI use a chair is to do long distances that I cannot do because of what I am. Otherwise, I function, live, exist all of my life, and its requirements , either in legs, on the floor or I slep, drag, lift or crawl.

Man, if I had even one knee, I'd be in heaven!!!!!

(really, I do not mean to hurt or piss anyone off)

ED

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No offense taken, Ed... I've just had a number of occasions, over the years, when some doctor or another has informed me that I am to be non-weight-bearing for a period of time and, since I have problems with my eyes that are exacerbated by putting too much strain on my upper body (read: no crutches or walker-hopping), that means putting in wheelchair time. So I've gotten used to keeping the possibility of being chair-bound in the back of my mind... :rolleyes:

I know that, as a single BK, I am relatively blessed! I've mentioned before that my eyes are actually more of an inconvenience than my leg, and that continues to be true. However, a recent round of laser treatments has greatly improved the vision in my right eye... so it looks like I'll be able to keep driving for a while, which will make commuting from Apartment #2 to City #1 no big deal. Hooray!

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I am glad that I did not offend you. That aside, I see so many people with good human knees living in the chair...........and that is ok if that is what they decide.................and there are those who insist or allow someone else to push them around............well that is another situation I do not agree with.

My prot guy is always saying to me "if you live in a chair....you'[ll look like a chair". I am very concerned about my hip flexors and fight with this everyday.

I believe if I live in a chair.......I will die in a chair........and I am not ready for that stage of my life yet..............it will come in its own time.

In the meantime, I have a saying that I use for a lot of people...................GO WHILE YOU CAN STILL GO!!!!!..........and this is what I will do.

ED

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I use a chair about 30/60 min a day. After I take my leg off at night and sometimes, when I'm lazy, before I put it on the morning. I wasn't able to use crutches in the beginning due to problems with my other foot so the chair is my crutch. I would want every room in my house to be accessible if possible. We never know what tomorrow will bring. In the meantime, I'm VERY thankful to have 2 knees and able to live what I consider to be a normal life. I find it difficult to understand why someone would opt to LIVE in the chair, especially with a good knee or two. But everyone's situation is different and we all have different issues.

Whatever floats your boat :smile: You, Eddie, are a FORCE!

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And I wholeheartedly agree, GO WHILE YOU CAN GO!

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We never know what tomorrow will bring.

Hi Marcia:.......long time since..............

Unforunately I know exactly what my tomorrow will bring and it is not pretty as far as I am am concerned.

How come you people do not crawl on your hands and knees to get from point a to b (short stuff items)? I do this on two sawed off femurs. Surley it is as lot easier and "normal" if one's knee are intact......................We all did this when we were kids and whole.

ED

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Actually the knee on my amp side is so boney it hurts like heck to crawl on a hard surface. My floors are all wood and tile. I've done it but I really don't like it much! :tongue:

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Actually the knee on my amp side is so boney it hurts like heck to crawl on a hard surface. My floors are all wood and tile. I've done it but I really don't like it much! :tongue:

I quite often used my knees for about 30 odd years, but it really does your knees in, and in latter years have been advised not to do it ... you reach a point where you have to preserve what you have.

Eddie, I know where you are coming from and agree to some extent with what you say. But remember we all speak from different perspectives. For myself, having the house semi accessible allows me to use the chair and carry on most of my usual household tasks, on bad days when over- useage would be suicidal on grafted skin .... instead of just sitting in one place, or crawling ... which I used to do, before I got the chair, a few years back. Believe me, its not about giving up, its just being practical.

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Hi Ann......long time:

I guess I must apologize for some of my rantings. I get going too much once in a while. As an after thought..........yep I don't use a chair inside a my home BUT I now use my floor board to save wear and tear on my knuckles as you say. So methinks I am not any different from everybody afterall. TX

It still irks me though when I see many people not doing on their own and relying on others to do what they should and could be doing themselves.

Time will get us all to that state.................but not NOW!!

ED

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This really has turned into quite an interesting thread..

For me, over the last 7 plus years, there have been a couple of times that I have kicking and growling, had to go back into my wheelchair..

Like Marcia, if I do crawl, it clobbers the knee that was operated on.. if I fanny scoot, it REALLY bothers all the broken tail bones and the sacral/illiac fractures that I had. So... out came the manual ride..

I think that most of us, spend the minimal amount of time in a chair that is necessary...and I'm sure that we all have had our reasons.

I guess the old adage that you can't judge someone until you walk in their shoes is appropriate.

Eddie...... your forgiven, Sweetie.... :smile: ..

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It still irks me though when I see many people not doing on their own and relying on others to do what they should and could be doing themselves.

Time will get us all to that state.................but not NOW!!

ED

It irks me too, Ed. I still don't understand what makes one person work so hard to get on with it and another sit back and give up. I'm nowhere near ready for that. As you said, it will come one day.....but NOT NOW!

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Hi Ann......long time:

I guess I must apologize for some of my rantings. I get going too much once in a while. As an after thought..........yep I don't use a chair inside a my home BUT I now use my floor board to save wear and tear on my knuckles as you say. So methinks I am not any different from everybody afterall. TX

It still irks me though when I see many people not doing on their own and relying on others to do what they should and could be doing themselves.

Time will get us all to that state.................but not NOW!!

ED

No worries Ed ... years ago I wouldn't have seen things the way I do now either ... probably wouldn't have had a chair if I'd been offerred but ..... time catches up with you ... (not that I consider myself that ancient) ... but walking on prosthetics long term has caused a bit of wear and tear. So nowadays, doing a bit of 'mix & match' as I call it act, works for me, and currently 'keeps' me mobile (if that makes sense).

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It still irks me though when I see many people not doing on their own and relying on others to do what they should and could be doing themselves.

Time will get us all to that state.................but not NOW!!

ED

It irks me too, Ed. I still don't understand what makes one person work so hard to get on with it and another sit back and give up. I'm nowhere near ready for that. As you said, it will come one day.....but NOT NOW!

Couldn't of said it any better than either one of you.. I don't get them either...

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Hope you don't mind me butting in here?

Things are quite a bit different for a bilateral compared to a single amp, as just the smallest thing can turn into a major expedition! :unsure: I'm not saying it's any worse, as everything is relative, but there are generally a lot more things to think about with two (e.g. for starters, where to store two of them?). Also, some people are made of sterner stuff, Ed - crawling on your legs makes you the exception rather than the rule. :cool:

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