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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
cherylm

Living in "Amp Land"....

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Although I used to live in a good-size city in the L.A. area, I rarely found myself encountering other amputees. We were "around," I knew, but I most often ran into "us" in logical places like my CPO's office. I was the only amp working for my employer for my first few years, although they did hire another amputee a couple of years ago. At any rate, I was at least a little bit "unusual" in my environment, and meeting another amp was always an unexpected --and usually pleasant-- surprise.

Fast forward to my recent move to northern California. I'm in a small town in the north bay area, in a county that's much more "agricultural" than L.A. has been in many, many decades. And suddenly, I feel like part of the mainstream!

There are a good many amputees living up here...a number of them in my apartment building. (Evidently, I'm hardly the first amp to determine that this decidedly amp-friendly building could be a good place to live!) I still get the "what's wrong with your knee" questions from some folks and have to explain that my knee is fine but the rest of the leg is a prosthesis...but I also get remarks from folks who actually recognize that "it's a prosthesis," either from personal experience or from knowing another amp.

And perhaps just because "we" ARE pretty common up here, there's a new level of comfort for me. I thought I was pretty darn comfortable down in L.A., but there's a level of, well, a sort of "everyday acceptance" up here. I'm not sure if it's just because there are more of us out and about, or if it's that folks up here only know me as an amp, or what...but I'm really liking it!

Has anyone else made a major move post-amp and had it make a difference in how folks look at you or how you think about yourself? I'm curious!

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No I haven't but I'm so glad you are so happy after the big move....makes it all worth while doesn't it. :smile:

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I haven't either...still the only one I know in my town of 100,000 and the only one I know about in my big corporate place of business. :biggrin: I am so happy that you are getting along so well. It really is something when you happen to be around others who understand. I get the same thing when I am at my leg guys for a few days. Very, very comfortable feeling...good for you!!!! Happy for you!! :biggrin:

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I haven't either...still the only one I know in my town of 100,000 and the only one I know about in my big corporate place of business. :biggrin: I am so happy that you are getting along so well. It really is something when you happen to be around others who understand. I get the same thing when I am at my leg guys for a few days. Very, very comfortable feeling...good for you!!!! Happy for you!! :biggrin:

No I haven't made a major move anywhere else either, but I think many more people are having amputations these days so there are more amputees around generally. In my locality, when I first became an amp I didn't really know or see any other amputee, and of course no internet forums such as this, so everything was completely new to me and my family and we learned things as we went along. Nowadays, things are very different, we have forums such as this and locally we have a very active Amputee User Group, so I get to meet quite a few amputees.

When I first became an amputee, just over 40 years ago people with disabilities were treated very differently, and although I really didn't think myself as 'disabled' that's how you were treated.. and some (mainly older) people would quite openly refer to you as a cripple. Would you believe my mother had to fight to get me taken back at my mainstream school ... and apart from one ramp, nothing else was put in place...I very quickly learned to negoitate stairs so I could get back to all my classes ... but when you think of how things are today, sounds horrific, but it was the norm then.

Rehab empahasis was not just getting back to normal but, fitting in with society etc. etc., showing your stump in public was perceived as a bit offensive, so the flip side was that if you couldn't fit in ... you didn't. In those days if I couldn't wear my legs for any reason, I didn't go out ... it just wasn't possible.

So many people with disabilities just weren't visible in society. Things have improved for the better, still some way to go on access here and there, but for the main I think the general public are more educated and less ignorant which has to be good. Sometimes, these days, I find I am quite overwhelmed with how much some organizations and people go out of their way to help when they realize you have a disability. This is, in the main, I know down to legislation, but I find a lot of people are generally interested and want to learn about it, which is good because who knows it could one day, affect them or someone they are close to. I have recently enrolled at a new College and they have gone out of their way to help, particularly with parking and access ... when I think back to college days in my teens, there was nothing.

However, given all that, yes, realize I have got a bit away from the subject, but even though I am comfortable in both worlds, I too get that same feeling that others have mentioned when I am around other amputees especially, for me, bilaterals ... I suppose its because you share similar experiences.. it is a comfortable feeling.

Ann

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I see an occasional amp at Walmart, but mostly at our support group meeting.

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Hi Cheryl,

Pleased that your moved worked out well for you, and if you find a higher level of comfort being where you are ………..Great, good for you.

I can’t say that I have any plans to move , and if I did the last thing that would cross my mind is:- is there an higher level of amps in the community . It just isn’t even worth thinking about. I am me just missing one leg, if anyone has a problem accepting that, it is there problem not mine. (That sounds a bit hard) but like I said I hadn’t given it any thought at all, but I am really pleased that it worked out for you.

Take care ………………Mick

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We haven't moved but my hubby is new and told me he can't help but think everyone is looking at him. I told him maybe they are but it could be cause they are curious. He doesn't let it get to him at all. We live in a town that is ok in size as it is a college town but never had I run across an amputee. At least I never noticed one before, then one day after my hubby was released from rehab we decided to go to the grocery store where I have shopped a lot over the last year. (I tend to go and get things I need for the day weird I know) Any way I have very bad knees and due to my hubby's injuries I decided to use my handicap sticker (I only use it when my knees are really bothering me or he is in the car he had a collapsed lung as well) Any way we look over and I noticed a man loading groceries in his car and pointed him out. It was another arm amputee same arm as my husband. My hubby being the way he is went over and started to just talk to the man. He was an amputee for 25 years and seems to have adjusted very very well. I think this acutally helped my hubby see that yes he will be able to drive and do other things again. I just think its weird that now that he and I are dealing with this change we notice more.

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Meeting another amputee -- especially someone with the same type of amputation as you -- can be a really wonderful experience for a new amputee. I know that, for me, I kept listening to various folks telling me how well I'd be able to do after I lost my leg...and I really was determined to try my best...but there was this little voice that kept saying "well, yeah, that sounds good, but you guys all have two legs." I really wanted to talk to someone one-legged!

I got my chance at my first fitting for my prosthesis. The technician who was working on my leg was a very active, nimble fellow who was scooting around, up and down off the floor, in and out of the office...and as he took off to make another adjustment to my socket, he called back to me, "...and as an amputee myself, I'd suggest that you........" It was the most reassuring thing that could possibly have happened for me!

Most of the amputees I've met since joining this little "club" have been very nice, sociable, helpful folks...we all know that it's a major life-adjustment, and sharing our experience and "tips" with someone who's new to this life is a way of paying back the good advice we received in our own "newbie" days.

And hey, Mick, I didn't set out to find a major concentration of amps in my new town...although I DID notice that the physical layout of my new apartment complex was oddly "amp-friendly." I've been quite pleasantly surprised at being, if not exactly in the majority, at least part of a noticeable minority!

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