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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
kate

Able-bodied ignorance....

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As it's quiet I thought it would be fun to post our experiences of able-bodied ignorance and rate them out of 10.

So here is mine...

My husband and I were discussing my need for a new shower to cope with my lack of legs. When I tried to explain to him what I needed he said he would have to hear it from an Occupational Therapist before agreeing to anything - apparently having bilateral amputations does not qualify me to know what I need to manage in a shower....

Top that anyone?

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Not for frustration, but I think I can top you for "humor." I wore a standard cosmesis on my leg for the first several years after my amp. The first time I was being fitted for a "naked" leg, I visited a friend who knew I was an amputee and who had seen my previous covered legs. She looked at the new socket, the pylon, and the foot with a sock and a shoe on it, and she said......

"So just what DID they do when you had your surgery? Did they only take off the MIDDLE of your leg?"

Yeah. Right. They left the foot and just jabbed the pylon into it. Sure.............. :tongue:

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LOL Kate, perhaps he just doesn't want a new shower!!

I have just been 'project managing' my first ever adaptations to our home to make part of it more wheelchair accessible, its been quite interesting working with different builders and firms trying to get what i wanted and more or less have succeeded in getting it how I needed and wanted it. It never ceases to amaze me what other people 'think' I need and don't realize that what might be helpful to some people with certain disabilities isn't always what is helpful to amputees.

I did get in touch with an OT to start off with, because I thought we might be able to get a grant to help with costs (we couldn't), who insisted on checking out the rest of the home too, but I think they did realize I was quite clear on what I wanted done, but found really was only there as sort of admin to give advice on the process of possible grants not to really help on the building side of things, might be different with showers though.

Cheryl ..... I too have been using a 'naked leg' this year and get stuff like that all the time, some interesting comments have come from other amps, like 'why is one socket longer than the other' and recently from someone else 'oh you haven't got a proper leg on'.

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I have a similar one to your's, Ann. At a 4th of July celebration a 10 year old that I did not know came

racing up to me and skidded to a stop on his knees with an awe-struck expresion on his face looking

at the C-Leg and exclaimed: "WOW, COOL! So then, your foot.........?" Cracked me up.

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Hi Everyone,

My story is not so much about ignorance but youthful curiosity. I had just finished swimming and ran into a pack of little people getting ready for their swim lessons. There were at least 10 kids, probably about 4 or 5, and at their age my legs (leg and a 1/2) were at their eye level. When they asked what happened to my leg I so wanted to it was the shark in the "big people's pool" that got it. Of course if I hadn't thought twice about saying it I would have had a large batch of furious parents after me. Traumatizing their kids about going into the water wasn't quite what they signed for when the enrolled in the summer swim program.

I do need to come up with some more creative explanations for were did my leg go. I like some one's answer "land shark". Saying a local docs screw up of a "simple arthroscopic knee surgery" or a "bad choice of a doc" leads to dredging up the whole mess. And then telling folks I opted to have the amputation (I have just passed my three year anniversary) really leave them open mouthed. Friends who have known me through the last 9 years get it. They saw where I was then and how I'm now living again.

Any input for responses that have worked for you would be great. In the meantime keep up the good stuff! Life is good!

Jane

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As you say Jane, it's quite difficult with kids as if you aren't careful they can get rather freaked out - but I love the whole 'shark' idea!

If adults get too curious I can really confuse them by merely saying "Antarctica - don't like talking about it" - as a woman who looks NOTHING like the sort of person who would be anywhere near the polar ice caps, that is quite a good one (as am 53 but looking much older it adds to the confusion). That shuts them up. Similarly useful one word put downs are "crocodile" and "tiger". All work better if you can put on a very british accent as then you sound like some old colonial fool. Needless to say these only work with strangers....

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Actually, when it comes to little kids, I try to tell an age-appropriate "true" story. I figure that they're already confused about it because they're staring and asking me, so why mess with their little minds? It's usually something along the lines of, "My foot was broken very badly. The doctor tried and tried to fix it, but he couldn't, so he took off my leg and gave me this nice artificial leg, so I can walk again." Normally, that's more than enough for them, but if they have more questions, I just keep answering them.

Now with adults.....usually just a big sigh and "it's a long and boring story...wann'a hear it?" That usually discourages them! :tongue:

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I probably do the same as Cheryl with an 'age appropriate true story', though because my prostheses have usually been covered I don't generally get asked that much, though with my own children I told them the whole story long before they were probably able to understand, but since it was a road traffic accident, used it regularly to reinforce road safety measures, but by the time my eldest was about three years old, she was telling everyone the story wherever or whoever!

With adults I pick and choose, its usually when the prosthetics are not fitting too well and I am obviously not walking that good and will quite often get asked if I have had some hip or knee surgery, or perhaps 'what I have been up to' sometimes I tell them, sometimes I don't, depending on how they approach it and how I feel at the time, usually though they are just interested and now and again its quite coincidental that some people seem 'really' interested and it often turns out that they either might have to have amp surgery themselves or have someone close who has, its strange how some things work out.

Its odd though, when I am not wearing the prosthetics and using a wheelchair I do find people smile at me more, also if I am using crutches, people are usually quite nice and considerate, they do smile and will hold doors open for you, etc which they don't usually, does make me chuckle a bit and I do find people interesting. Recently I went into a mobility store to buy a new grab rail, my previous couple of buys have snapped on me and mentioned this to the guy in the shop, on the day I was with my hubby and walking with trousers on, so he turned to him and asked why we were buying it and who for! so hubby indicated towards me, so with that I could see the guy looking me up and down and asked me what I needed it for, so I explained and said I was an amputee, he replied that 'I didn't look like one', I thought it was really patronising as I wondered what he expected and was one of those times I wish I could have thought of good response a bit quicker, as he really annoyed me, anyway he didn't get a sale as he didn't have anything different to what I already had.

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Hi , I'm new to the forum but I've been a left BKA since Feb '08 ( funnily enough on Leap Year's Day!! ). Whenever I get asked "The Question" I simply look them straight in the eye and tell them that I was trimming my toe nails and didn't know when to stop - and then watch their faces as it gradually dawns on them what I've said.

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I like that one!

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I get that it is tiresome to be stared at and asked over and over about your leg but most of us were able bodied at one time. Unless someone makes an unkind comment or is flat out rude I just smile and say hello to the ones staring and give a short but honest answer to the ones with questions. Most people mean well.

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i always find this funny with Kids i wear shorts and have my limb naked too

KIds will just stop and look in amazement saying Mummy why has he got that and the parents just dont know what to say and say to the kid dont look its rude to staire

but i rather they do look and ask questions to me so i always make a joke out of it saying to the kid i was a naughty boy and didnt listen to my mum and this what happend to me while the parents go in shock the kid is thinking i better be good from now on and me laughing to my self as i walk off

naughyty Stephen he!he!

i do love Kids thay are right to the point!! shame not all adults are not the same as them :)

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