About Me

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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Nervous Energy

With the exception of continuing to battle frustrating ear issues, yesterday went beautifully. My presentations were well received and I feel a weight off of my shoulders with their success. I hate that I become so nervous before presenting, but at this point I'm not sure it is ever going to change. Instead of being frustrated with my reaction I'm going to start to embrace the nervous energy as a catalyst to do my best. I'm never going to stop being nervous before presenting, but I can at least try to put a positive spin on an otherwise negative emotion!

Today should be more relaxed in the office.  We are decorating for a holiday fundraiser which we are hosting tonight. I am going to channel my inner elf as we transform the manufacturing hub into a holiday wonderland.  


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Smooth Travel

Greetings from San Francisco.  

With the exception of the horrible traffic we encountered when Scott was trying to drop me off at the airport, my trip was both smooth and non-eventful. I breezed through security and arrived at the gate without issue. I thoroughly enjoy traveling when everything goes as planned!

Feeling festive I packed a few extra boxes of Christmas sugar cookies in my carry-on bag.  (I figured that I could keep Robby's Kindness Chain going by planting some seeds across the country.)  The airline attendant seemed frazzled when I checked in for my flight, so I offered her a smile and a bag of sparkly cookies. She graciously returned my kindness by bumping me up to first class. My intent was not to grease the wheels to get something in return but her kindness was greatly appreciated as I was able to relax during the long flight.

Today will be busy with meetings and party prep. Hopefully the good travel trend will continue throughout the rest of the trip. Wish me luck, it's going to be a long day!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Travel Day

Today will be both long and chaotic. Last night going to bed I tried mentally preparing for the activities of today. Unfortunately I think I jinxed myself because my leg was sore and uncomfortable most of the night, keeping me from sleeping well. I tossed and turned much of the night, frustrated with the discomfort and fretting about the lack of sleep. It's a good thing I brewed a whole pot of coffee this morning, I have a feeling I'm going to need the boost.

After l drop off Robby at school Timmy and I will start driving north. We are meeting my Mom at our halfway point to exchange cars. She will be taking Hamlet to her house while I travel to San Francisco for meetings. It is going to be hard to say goodbye to him, but knowing that he will have fun with her and his cousins makes it a little easier. He will be both entertained and happy during his mini-Nana vacation. I have no doubt that his moments of missing me will be fleeting.

Robby and Scott will take me to the airport when school is over. Ready to go into bachelor mode, they are already planning their gas station dinners and fast food breakfasts. Years ago I would frantically cook meals for the pair in anticipation of my absence. Coming home to find greasy paper bags overflowing from the trash and my homemade meals still carefully labeled and tucked away in the refrigerator have cured my prepping compulsions. They are on their own for meals, and they will be fine.  They have no illusions of them eating any vegetables, but I am hopeful that the increased saturated fats will compensate for the lack of fiber intake.

I am looking forward to a non-eventful flight to California. Although flying isn't my favorite activity, I'm looking forward to a few hours of solitude on the plane. After taking care of sick kids for the past week, sitting still and binge watching movies for a few hours sounds like a vacation.  

Monday, December 11, 2017

Tranquil Snow

At the risk of jinxing our family, I am delighted to report that this morning everybody appears to be healthy. Robby's fever (finally) broke over the weekend, and he is begrudgingly returning to school today. Timmy is full of energy and has returned to his normal level of mischief. He no longer has a fever, and his appetite is returning. After an extremely long and frustrating week, I think our family has finally eradicated the pesky infections.  

The weather forecasters did not lead us astray because on Saturday we enjoyed the first snowfall of the season. Our neighborhood was blanketed in a few inches of beautiful fluffy snow. It was the perfect setting to hibernate inside and prepare for Christmas. Timmy and I spent the afternoon baking cookies and watching Christmas movies (The Polar Express again) while the snow steadily fell outside. The snowfall was breathtakingly beautiful, laying on the ground and all of the branches in our woods but not sticking to the roads. 

Our prelude to winter quickly melted away on Sunday, but we are all hoping that more will fall soon. There is something magical about snow before Christmas, probably because it is a rare occurrence in this region. Hopefully the boys will be feeling healthy and strong the next time we have the opportunity to sled because they were both disappointed that I wouldn't let them play outside on Saturday. (Robby failed to see the logic of my refusing his requests to play in the snow after being home sick from school all week.)

Although I'm hoping for snow before Christmas, I don't want any to fall during the next few days. Tomorrow I leave for California and I'm glad that the weather seems to be clear. It is a short trip, with my returning on Friday, and I would appreciate no weather complications. After I land and return home, Old Man Winter can return with a vengeance. Until then, I'm going to hope for clear skies to help with my travel anxiety.

Friday, December 08, 2017

First Snowfall

After a difficult few days for the boys everybody seems to be feeling better today.  Robby and Timmy both woke up full of energy and smiles, sights and sounds I have not seen or heard for almost a week. Now the battle begins to keep them both from overdoing it as they bask in their good health and rediscovered energy. (Reminding my kids that they need to take it easy is akin to talking to a brick wall about the weather, but I feel a maternal obligation to do it anyway.)

Even though Robby is feeling better he continues to have a low grade fever.  Scott and I have decided to keep him home again today with the hopes that a few solid days rest and some more antibiotics will help to kick this virus for good. I don't think it is fair to Robby or to his classmates and teacher to send him to school when he still has a fever.  I'm going to visit his school this afternoon and pick up some work for us to trudge through this weekend. Hopefully the homework drama keeps to a minimum. 

This has been a difficult week. Between work stress and sick kids, all of my holiday spirit has been zapped. I'm looking forward to the weekend so I can try to resurrect some cheer. The fact that we are supposed to get snow tonight will certainly help! It is so much easier to feel festive when we have our own winter wonderland falling outside.  (Assuming that we don't have to drive of course.) 

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Sick Koopa

I took one look at Robby yesterday and knew that we were destined to visit the doctor.  He has been battling a fever for nearly a week and has not been showing signs of improvement. Although he has only complained about his head hurting, I decided it was time to become a little more aggressive by seeking medical input. 

Packing him up for the doctor I was preparing myself for the condescending look I always sense from the doctor as a common cold is diagnosed. I hate that look! I always leave those appointments feeling oddly ashamed for bringing my child to the doctor for a simple ailment. I am not a mother who overreacts and is prone to panic, but I feel that the doctor judges me as doing both after those sick visits.

Willing to risk the condescension, I trusted my gut that something deeper was plaguing Robby. It turns out that my instincts were correct. Although he hasn't complained about his ear hurting, my poor little Koopa has suffered a ruptured ear drum in his bad ear. 

Robby is now on strong antibiotics and today I'll be working the phone to get him an appointment with his ear specialist. With his hearing issues I am not going to take any chances. While I'm saddened that my instincts were correct, I'm glad that I trusted my gut and took him to the doctor. I wish I had taken him earlier!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Elusive Dress

Next week I'm heading back to San Francisco for a few days of meetings and to attend the company holiday party. Since I work remote, it has been a long time since I've attended a company party and I'm feeling a bit out of my element. Wanting to cloak myself in confidence, I headed to Kohl's with a wallet full of Kohl's cash (from our Black Friday extravaganza) with the mission of finding a holiday dress that would make me feel attractive, confident and young.  

It didn't take long before I became underwhelmed by the options before me on the racks. Apparently holiday dresses have been replaced by long sparkly sweaters and leggings. I'm a 43 year old pudgy one-legged woman who has birthed two children. Trust me, there would be nothing festive about seeing this bum squeeze into leggings!

Skirts were non-existent in the store and the only dresses I could find were pencil cut, an incredibly unflattering design against my curves. It was becoming clear that my simple black dress was elusive. Unless I wanted to wear something covered with elves or snowmen, I was coming up empty. 

I shopped for more than an hour and went through every rack several times before waving the white flag. I admitted defeat and begrudgingly accepted the fact that my attractive, confident and young transformative holiday dress was going to remain an enigma. Instead of finding a garment to help me reconnect with my youth I accepted my fate as a middle aged mom and spent my Kohl's cash on a new mixer.  

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Cookie Fun

I am so happy to again have a little baker in the house. Every afternoon Timmy runs into the kitchen, grabs the mixing bowl and asks to bake cookies. With such enthusiasm and a smile that brightens my heart, I just can't say no!  Scott's students are lucky this year as they are the recipients of most of our creations. 

Robby was home sick yesterday as he continued to battle a nagging cold. He had a fever and a headache, both of which were quickly eliminated with Tylenol. Unfortunately as soon as the Tylenol wore off both returned, knocking him down until the next dose took effect. I don't think it is fair to him or to his teacher to send him to school when he is sick, even when the fever is eradicated by the medicine.

In between doses he felt fine and even ventured into the kitchen to help with our baking. (I only let him crack eggs because I didn't want the goodies contaminated.) I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed having both boys helping me in the kitchen! If Robby hadn't been fighting a cold, the moment would have been perfect.


Monday, December 04, 2017

Low Key Weekend

This weekend was relatively laid back. Neither Robby nor Timmy were feeling fantastic, so we avoided grandiose adventures and opted instead to play at home. They weren't outright sick but were battling the sniffles and feeling blah. 

Instead of going to local community events we worked to turn our home into a winter wonderland.  Robby decorated the house and watched Christmas movies on the couch. Timmy and I baked cookies (one of his new favorite activities) and watched the Polar Express (numerous times). When the boys were busy playing I managed to cut and bake the pieces for our gingerbread train (minus cinnamon). 

It was nice to just relax and hang out with the kids. I wish that they were feeling a little stronger, but I am thankful that they weren't sick enough to have to stay in bed. Sometimes we all just need a low key weekend to rejuvenate, which is especially true when our lives are so hectic. 

Today the work week chaos resumes. 

Friday, December 01, 2017

Toilet Troubles

My day took an unexpected turn as I found myself both infuriated with and distracted by a broken toilet. I discovered that the toilet in the bedroom wasn't flushing properly and quickly found myself obsessed with fixing it. Instead of finishing some reports and laundry I scoured the internet for YouTube plumbing videos.  By mid afternoon Timmy and I were walking through the aisles of Lowe's in search of a toilet auger.

I have experience snaking showers and sinks, but I have never tried my skills on a toilet. With a brand new (and pricey) toilet auger in hand, I turned Polar Express on the television for Timmy and set out on my mission.  After a few minutes of splashing in the cold toilet water I realized that the task was easier on YouTube.  

It took me considerably longer than I anticipated, but my persistence paid off.  By the time Timmy was watching the young lad return from his North Pole adventure (at the end of the movie) I had finally positioned the snake correctly within the bowl.  I was soaking wet and my hands and wrists hurt (neither of which should happen if you snake correctly), but I had finally dislodged the obstruction.  While I didn't dare examine the clog culprit, I glanced what appeared to be part of a diaper twisted into the snake coils.  

Snaking a toilet is a disgusting job, but I felt a surge of satisfaction when the first flush was strong and complete. I saved a lot of money by doing it myself, and I learned a new skill.  It definitely isn't my favorite activity, but I am happy to know that I was able to do it.  Hopefully it won't take me two hours next time.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Not a Good Mom

I usually do not experience phantom pain during the day.  While many of my friends suffer constantly, it has always been an issue that occasionally plagued me at night. Apparently my phantom foot failed to recognize that the sun was shining, because yesterday I was hurting all day long. By the time mid afternoon arrived I was miserable and frustrated dealing with the issues from arising from a foot that is no longer there. Talk about infuriating!

I have huge respect and empathy from those who battle phantom pain daily. I honestly don't know how people function and live a normal life under those circumstances. Because I was frustrated and in pain, I know that I wasn't the best Mom to my boys. I found myself both irritated and annoyed at little things. Normally I would have just rolled with the punches, but yesterday every little thing felt like it was pushing me to the limits. My little Timmy just wanted to play and bake cookies where I just wanted to curl up on the couch and be left alone. 

I have no idea what caused this flare-up, which is one of the aggravations of being an amputee. I never really know when I am going to wake up in pain, whether it be phantom or from physical limb issues. The uncertainty is one of the difficult things for me to accept about being an amputee. 

I felt horrible for my grumpy affect because I know that the kids did nothing to deserve my demeanor. By the time the sun set the pain slowly started to fade. I slept well through the night, and I'm hoping that today I am a better Mom. My boys certainly deserve better from me!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Phantom Pain

I am frequently asked about phantom pain. I am incredibly lucky because I don't suffer nearly as intensely as many of my friends, but when it occurs I am miserable. The past few days the not-so-phantom pain has made an unwelcome visit in my life. When it happens I am left with little recourse but to try to ride it out while keeping my own misery in check. It isn't always an easy task!

What does it feel like? Phantom pain is an individual experience and people feel and decipher the sensations differently. For me it feels as if somebody is pulling my toenail out with pliers while twisting counterclockwise. At the same time my ankle feels like it is being hit with a hammer while electricity is zapping the bottom of my foot. The pain intensifies at night, making sleep elusive. Of course, being sleep deprived only exacerbates the cycle.

Massage and a heating pad sometimes provides relief. I have also found that lying on my stomach with my short leg bent and tucked up against me as high as possible helps to alleviate the electric shocks. Other than those two hacks, I am forced to simply wait until the pain begins to wane.  

Last night my phantom pain was miserable.  I was tossing and turning much of the night, desperate to break the cycle. I keep reminding myself that I'm lucky, which is a difficult sell when you are dealing with a bout of pain.  Hopefully tonight will be different, and my leg will return to normal. In the meantime, I'm hoping Timmy is happy with a lot of Polar Express on the television today because Momom is really tired.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Reality Stinks

I'm not going to lie or sugar coat anything. Yesterday was difficult trying to get back into a school/work routine.  Robby complained incessantly about being roused from bed and lamented having to go to school. In all fairness I did glean a tinge of satisfaction pulling off his covers and flipping on the lights when I remembered all of the mornings he woke me up early as a young tyke. Apparently my singing the "Good Morning" song both loudly and enthusiastically was annoying instead of motivating.  Oh well, I tried.

Timmy was upset that both Scott and his brother were gone. He had no qualms about voicing his dissatisfaction with being left with only me for a companion. Unfortunately all of the toddler play areas are closed on Mondays (bad planning if you ask me) so he had no choice but to spend his time with me. I tried not to take his disappointment personally.

Between work and entertaining Timmy, I was constantly busy juggling between tasks and projects. This back to reality thing is the pits! I want to go back on Thanksgiving vacation.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Back to Reality

After a fantastic week of family fun and relaxation, this morning I am readying to face real life again. I was sad to leave my Mom's house on Saturday. I always have a wonderful time visiting with her, and I adore watching the special bond that she has with each of my boys.  It is always hard saying goodbye and leaving, but it is also nice to be home.

We were in Pennsylvania for six days, but we managed to squeeze a lot of adventures into our time. Robby was able to spend a lot of time with his cousins, filling the house with squeals of laughter and excited chatter. Timmy tried to join the Cousin Crew whenever possible, but he was just as content playing with his trains and my Mom. Thursday we enjoyed a full house as extended family converged at my Mom's for an energetic afternoon of eating and talking. While I don't get to see my cousins often, it is always wonderful when we are reunited.

Thursday night Scott, Robby, my niece Tiffany and I braved the crowds and went shopping. Robby and Tiffany were particularly excited by the energy of the store and the overwhelming deals in every aisle. Scott assumed his traditional role as line and merchandise holder. After so many years he doesn't even ask; he simply walks to the back of the meandering check out line as soon as we arrive and holds our place. We drop off our goodies and he moves them through the line until we reached check out. This year he was standing in the line for almost 90 minutes, allowing us ample time to scour the store for everything on our list.  We planned, we shopped and we conquered!

Friday afternoon Scott and Robby packed up and headed out on a father/ son adventure. Robby was thrilled to be attending his first rock concert and Scott was as proud as a peacock to be the one taking him. They had third row tickets to see Night Ranger in a town about two hours from my Mom's house. (Because we didn't want Scott driving late at night on unfamiliar roads we booked a hotel room for the pair.) 

At about 10:30 on Friday night my cell phone rang. I was startled by the late night call but immediately picked up when I realized it was Scott's number. As soon as I said "hello" Robby started talking. He was obviously excited and it took me a few moments to understand what he was trying to convey. The guitar player for Night Ranger (Brad Gillis) pointed to Robby during the concert and motioned for him to approach the stage where he was given the guitar pick that was being used. My little rock and roller was absolutely over the moon with this honor.

I'm honestly not sure who was more excited about receiving the guitar pick, Scott or Robby. Scott is still beaming when he talks about the concert and becomes just as giddy when recounting the adventure. I know that the two of them shared an experience that they will both remember fondly for a lifetime, and Robby is now definitely a lifelong Night Ranger fan. Thinking about the memories that were created makes my heart happy. After the concert goers arrived at my Mom's on Saturday we packed up to head back to Virginia, stopping first to cut down a Christmas tree. I was excited to revisit the farm that I used to go to as a child and the experience was just as I remembered. We selected a beautiful tree and Robby insisted on helping to cut it down despite his broken knuckle.
Copying his big brother, Timmy dove under a tree next to him and stayed in that position until the tree was cut and his brother stood up.

I spent Saturday night putting the lights on the tree and setting up the train. Sunday was spent doing laundry, finishing some paperwork and getting caught up around the house.  Timmy was low maintenance because he was enthralled and fully entertained by the train under the fully illuminated Christmas tree.  

After the fun adventures of the past few days, returning to reality is a bit of a jolt.  





Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

I absolutely adore Thanksgiving. Our entire family converges at my Mom's house, which has been a tradition for nearly 25 years. Helping my Mom prep and cook is another tradition, as is the last minute scurrying to stash and hide everything before the "company" arrives.

I love my cousins and although I don't get to see them often, it is always wonderful when we are together.  Soon her house will be filled with both laughter of adults and adults, the air will smell like a mixture of turkey and potatoes and her floor will be strewn with ad circulars as well all work on our plan of attack for Black Friday shopping. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Plan B Adventure

Well, our pre-Thanksgiving adventure, which I had been meticulously planning for months, was sidelined. Yesterday morning Robby woke up complaining of a sore throat. As soon as he vomited I decided to it was time to call time of death on our hotel adventure.  I am grateful that the Gaylord took mercy on me and refunded my nonrefundable deposit. Thank you Gaylord of National Harbor!

By mid morning Robby began to feel better. Although he wasn't recovered enough to resume my planned adventure, I decided to switch into plan B. I found an ice house, bought ten pounds of dry ice and let the kids freeze and smash stuff all afternoon.

From grapes and tomatoes to paper towels and eggs, the Cousin Crew froze everything and anything in sight. They were entertained with the dry ice all day and into the evening. My Mom's back porch looks like a grocery store imploded with defrosted food remnants splattered everywhere. 

In the evening we decided to pack up the Cousin Crew (Timmy included) to see Santa. With the support of his big cousins, Timmy tolerated sitting close to the big guy. He refused to speak to him and buried his head into my niece's shoulder whenever Santa looked in his direction, but we managed to snap a great picture of all the cousins together. 

After visiting Santa the big kids went to paint pottery (a favorite activity at the mall) while I took Timmy to Build-A-Bear. We finished the kids changed into their matching pajamas and played  a rousing game of Truth or Dare for Kids. While my original adventure was put on the back burner, the kids still had a fantastic day together. 




Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Adventure Time

Thanksgiving week ranks among one of my favorites. Per tradition, the kids and I arrived at my Mom's yesterday for a week of preparation and fun. The "Cousin Crew" were ecstatic to be reunited. I love watching them all play and laugh together!

Today I am taking the Cousins on a pre-holiday adventure. None of them know it, but as soon as they eat breakfast I'm piling them into the car and we are going to National Harbor. My niece has been wanting to see ICE, an interactive ice sculpture exhibit, and today seems like the perfect day to check it off her list. 

There is more to the surprise, but out of fear that my little technology enabled niece and nephews read the blog this morning for clues, I'll withhold the information.  Stay tuned!

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Polar Express!!

We had an amazing family weekend adventure. Both boys were well behaved, healthy and happy enjoying the time together.  I made a special effort to ensure that we were participating in at least one activity tailored to each kid in the hopes of making everybody happy. I think I succeeded!

Saturday we spent the afternoon at the Baltimore Aquarium. Robby loves the aquarium and is particularly fond of Calypso, the amputee sea turtle. The only time Timmy has been to the aquarium was during infancy, so this was his first true exposure to Robby's wonderland. He was absolutely mesmerized. I suspect that we will be putting our Family Membership to heavy use throughout the coming year. 

Saturday night we stayed in the city. Staying in a hotel is always a treat, especially when you are a kid. Both boys were excited about our big city sleepover and were well behaved in the hotel room. (I'm sure our neighbors appreciated their efforts.) 

Sunday morning we ate breakfast and returned to the Aquarium for a few hours before heading to the Polar Express. We spent the morning visiting all of the turtles and fish in the Australia exhibit. Timmy seemed particularly intrigued by the dragon lizards flanking the aquarium tanks. I was quick to remind everybody that we were not welcoming a reptile into our family!

Soon it was time for us to head to the train station. Although we had been talking about riding the Polar Express, I don't think Timmy comprehended the activity until he saw the trains. As soon as he approached the impressive steam engines his excitement became palpable and contagious. 

Timmy was engrossed throughout the Polar Express adventure. He was particularly delighted with receiving his own "golden ticket" and having it punched by the Conductor. He smiled from ear-to-ear throughout the "Hot Chocolate" dance and giggled when the Hobo ran through the train car. From his perspective, the entire train experience was simply magical.

Except for Santa. While he embraced every part of the experience, he melted down when he spotted Santa at the train station. He threw himself on the ground, turning his back to the Jolly Red Elf, and began to scream.

Unfortunately train stations are not particularly clean and his clean and specially ordered Polar Express shirt was covered with grease and dirt for the duration.  Sigh. Oh well. He was clean in the morning, and that should count for something.

Despite the intrusion of Santa on our train, we had a fantastic time on the Polar Express. Robby even embraced the spirit of the story and happily played along with the fun. What a great way for us to kick off the holiday season!









Friday, November 17, 2017

Pre-Thanksgiving Weekend Adventure

I have been looking forward to this weekend for months. I'm so excited that the weekend circled in red is finally here! I feel like a little kid on Christmas eve, just giddy with anticipation and excitement. Only this time I am not expecting toys; instead I'm looking forward to an epic family adventure with all my boys.

It has been a long time since our family went on an adventure. With our Pumpkinville outing sidelined by a car accident a few weeks ago, we are long overdue for some family fun time.  Thankfully Momom did some research and planning in the summer, and we have an awesome adventure planned for this weekend.  

Tomorrow we are packing up and heading to Baltimore.  Robby is excited about going to the aquarium (and The Cheesecake Factory.)  I know that Timmy will be amazed by the beautiful and unusual fish swimming all around him. He is at an age where everything is magical and I can't wait to see his reactions as he experiences the aquarium for the first time.  

While at the aquarium we are going to see the 4-D version of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  Robby and I experienced a 4-D movie a few years ago, and I have to admit it was the coolest movie experience of my life. I'm looking forward to everybody's reaction to being fully immersed in the show. Hopefully Timmy will be enthralled and not terrified.

We're staying overnight in Baltimore because Sunday morning we have tickets to the North Pole (Well, as Robby points out we aren't really going to the North Pole but we are pretending because it is more fun.) While the destination may be pretend, the fact that we are going on the Polar Express is an experience that is sure to impress.  With Timmy's enthusiasm for the movie (it is streaming non-stop in our living room) I can't wait to see his face when we board the train and the movie comes to life before his eyes.  

Stay tuned for photos of our pre-Thanksgiving Family Adventure!


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Removing the Individual Mandate

I have reached the point of political saturation, but when an issue arises that would be detrimental to the limb loss community, taking a break is not an option.  The Senate has slipped a change to healthcare into the tax bill. If passed, the individual mandate would be eliminated from the Affordable Care Act.

The CBO has already rated the implications of removing the individual mandate.  Individuals, usually those who are healthy and young, will forgo health coverage to save money. Removing the low risk individuals from the insurance pools causes a drastic shift and increases the insurance risk. The CBO estimates that premiums will rise another 10% over the next 10 years if the individual mandate is removed. An estimated 13 million people will join the ranks of the uninsured.

I am among the first to agree that the Affordable Care Act is flawed. The premiums are outrageously expensive, and people are struggling to pay for purely mediocre coverage. But I also feel that it not appropriate to slip a change into a tax bill.  The public deserves fair and transparent debates on all issues related to our health. Our healthcare and access to insurance is simply too important to shield transparency.

Late last night Dave and I recorded a podcast dissecting the implications of removing the individual mandate on the limb loss community.  Please listen, and act if you are so inclined.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Broken Knuckle

Robby has been proud of the fact that he has never broken a bone.  While his cousins and friends have all sported casts, his bones have remained intact. Unfortunately his eleven year no broken bone streak has come to a screeching halt. Monday night he broke his knuckle.

What my little Koopa lacks in athletic prowess he makes up for with wit and enthusiasm. Sports has never been his forte. Even as a toddler he was studious instead of adventurous. He isn't out of shape, but he just doesn't particularly enjoy sports. In an effort to encourage socialization and out of a desire to broaden his horizons, I signed him up for an after school class at a local gym. The class is geared for tweens who "spend more time gaming than they do playing outside." 

The non-competitive gym class transforms the video games that the kids love into physical activities and Robby loves every moment. He looks forward to going to the gym twice a week to reenact games and to play with his new friends. He comes out of the gym covered with sweat and grinning from ear-to-ear. I have to admit, I'm surprised (and delighted) that he has taken to it so strongly. 

When he came out of the gym on Monday I immediately knew that something was wrong. He was grimacing instead of smiling and holding his hand in an awkward position. He was passing a medicine ball to a teammate when intercepted and thrown back to him. Instead of hitting his hands the weighted ball slammed into his finger tips on his right hand. His fingers were swollen and starting to turn purple.

Assuming that his fingers were just stubbed, we iced his hand and gave him some Tylenol. He complained about the pain, but in all honesty we didn't heavily weight his lamenting. He doesn't have a lot of experience with injuries, so Scott and I just figured that he was unfamiliar with the pain severity scale. 

Dismissing his complaints has definitely removed us from contention for parents of the year! Yesterday morning his hand was purple and his knuckle was deformed. I packed him up and took him to Urgent Care for an x-ray. It turns out that his Mom diagnosed "stubbed finger" was actually a completely broken knuckle. He is in a splint for at least four weeks and today we have an appointment with a hand specialist.  

Robby is still hurting and is upset that he has to wear a splint. He is worried about not being able to work on his art and is fretting over how he is going to wipe his bum. (Apparently the fact that he also writes with the hand is completely inconsequential and irrelevant.) Please send him good thoughts for a quick recovery!




Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Nighttime Stirrings

Despite the occasional uninvited slithering intruder and the destructive falling nuts, we love our little house in the woods. After stressful days of dealing with people and traffic, we enjoy hibernating from the world. Although we have experienced frustrations with some neighbors, we have always felt safe in our home.  Yesterday my false sense of security was shattered.

Sunday night the home behind us was burglarized. Two individuals broke a window and ransacked the living quarters while the family was sleeping upstairs. The brazen action of robbing a home while occupied is difficult to fathom. The family, which includes small children, were incredibly lucky that they were not physically harmed by the intruders. I cannot even imagine the horror they experienced when they woke to discover the violation that occurred overnight. 

The police came to our house last night to inform us about the break in and to see if we had seen anything unusual. We were encouraged to keep our doors locked and our window shades drawn until the burglars are apprehended. Sitting in the living room last night I felt incredibly vulnerable and scared. Suddenly the tranquility and quiet that we had previously enjoyed feels like a lure for danger. I resent feeling scared in my own home!

While trying to sleep last night I was astounded by all of the suspicious sounding noises that naturally occur in and around our house. Between the nocturnal parties hosted by our wildlife friends and the wind, our leaves were constantly rattling outside. The cats apparently transform our hallway into a feline sized track when we turn out the lights for the night. They took turns running laps, vaulting over toys like Olympians clearing hurdles.

Scott's snoring sounds like somebody trying to turn a doorknob.  Timmy's nightlight aquarium sounds like somebody tapping on glass. Robby whispers in his sleep.

Apparently the saying "not a creature was stirring" does not apply to our family.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Slowing Down

This weekend was quiet and calm, which was precisely what I needed to fully recover from the persistent ear infections. I am starting this week feeling better and stronger than I have in over a month. My ear is healed and my body is recovering from the strong antibiotics that were needed to knock out the infections. For the first time in a long time, I feel like myself again.

With the exception of running a few errands, we spent the weekend at home. The wood stove was going nonstop, keeping the living room toasty warm. We streamed Polar Express (seemingly nonstop) while Timmy happily played with his trains and army men. Robby worked on assorted art projects and played computer games. Scott watched movies and football games while I was able to get some work done, relax and take a few much needed naps.  

Even though I have a mountain of housework I only made a minimal effort to maintain. Typically my relaxation efforts are thwarted by my worrying and fretting about everything that I should be doing. For some reason, this weekend my self-imposed guilt was not an issue. I was able to relax with the boys and never gave a thought to using my time for more productive purposes. 

It isn't easy for me to slow down, but I'm glad that I spent the weekend just lounging and relaxing. The next few weeks are going to be busy and this was probably my last opportunity to completely unwind. Soon we will be completely in holiday mode, and our schedule will become seasonally chaotic. At least now I'm starting the chaos season feeling up to par and ready for the challenge.  

Friday, November 10, 2017

Walking Day Celebration

Scott and I are not big on anniversary celebrations. Typically our wedding anniversary is acknowledged with a hug and nice dinner at home, but never with presents or grandiose displays. It has just never been important to either of us to make a big deal out of the day we exchanged vows. It isn't that our wedding isn't a special memory, but setting yearly expectations for remembering the occasion has never been our style.

While we may downplay our wedding anniversary, there is one occasion that we both opt to celebrate each year because this date changed both of our lives in a more profound way than simply our exchanging vows. On November 11, 2013, I took my first steps as an amputee. It was an event that redefined our lives and marked the beginning of a new and wonderful chapter of our lives.

It is hard to believe that it has been 14 years since I took those first tentative steps. I remember the day with such clarity that it feels like it could have happened last week. I felt an overwhelming pressure that the prosthetic fitting had to be successful. I had fought so hard, and endured so much, that the possibility of another obstacle felt insurmountable. Slipping into the socket I remember hoping and wishing that the leg would fit and that I would be able to walk.

The first steps felt foreign, but I was encouraged by both Scott and Elliot (my prosthetist) to continue.  Within minutes I was tooling around the office without crutches. It was liberating to have my arms untethered from the metal poles that had been my mobility for the past five years. Looking at the video it is obvious that my gait was awkward, but at the time I felt like I was strutting on a runway.

Tomorrow Scott and I will celebrate my Walking Day. We will watch the video and reminisce about our journey. I may even break my diet and indulge in a celebratory cupcake.  After all, it is my Walking Day!


Thursday, November 09, 2017

Icky again

I really should know better than to make family plans. Yesterday we intended to carry on our tradition by celebrating my Dad's birthday with dinner at Chili's.  Timmy woke up coughing and with a fever, sidelining our dinner plans. So much for tradition!

Instead of going out to eat we opted for leftovers at home. It turns out that I was okay staying home and forgoing a celebration. I don't know, but I'm beginning to feel that maybe it is time for some new traditions. Perhaps enough time has passed and I no longer need to plan to honor my Dad on special occasions. Changing our plans did not bother me as much as I anticipated, but maybe that is because I was extraordinarily busy taking care of a sick and persnickety toddler.

Timmy felt icky all day. He wasn't sick enough to stay still, but was uncomfortable enough to be irritable and miserable. He tried to play but quickly became frustrated. I spent the majority of my day consoling and distracting. I'm hoping that he is feeling better today; I hate seeing him feeling bad.

I always worry when I hear the all-too-familiar cough coming from Timmy's bedroom. He was so sick last winter and I worry that his autoimmune issues are kicking up. I just want him to be as healthy as he is mischievous. Unfortunately he just isn't as physically strong as he projects and is quickly knocked down by relatively mundane viruses. Hopefully this time he is strong enough to kick this cold out of his system for good!  

In the meantime I'll be making more chicken soup and battening down the hatches for another difficult day. I am in "prepare for the worst and hope for the best" mode. His beloved trains are arranged, Polar Express is geared up and all of his comfort toys are within reach. I'm hoping that he is feeling better and won't be struggling today, but if he is, I'll be ready to cuddle and love on him until he is stronger. I'll do my best to not take his grumpy demeanor personally. 

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Wave of Grief

Today is my Dad's birthday. The day feels uncomfortable because I'm still not sure how I am supposed to act or think. If my Dad were still living, he would be probably be in Texas with his wife. I would call and text him to wish him a Happy Birthday but that is typically as far as the celebration extended. Logically I don't think I should miss my Dad any more or any less today because I wouldn't traditionally be spending a lot of time with him to celebrate his birthday. Yet the fact that I can't call him on his special day, even if it was usually only a short conversation, reminds me of his absence.  

I've tried to fight the emotions, but it is probably healthier if I just surrender to the fact that I miss my Dad today. I wish that I could call him and sing Happy Birthday. I wish that I could text him photos of the boys so that he could see their adventures as they grow and learn. I wish that I could talk to him about my professional crossroads and seek his guidance. I wish I could hear him laugh one more time. Today my wishes are hurting more than normal, and I blame it on the date on the calendar.  

I'm going to do my best to stay busy. I really don't want to break down in front of Timmy, and I don't know that crying will help me feel better. Grief wafts and wanes, and today hurts a little more than normal. I have learned that today I just need to hold on and ride the wave of emotions. 

It has become a tradition for our little family to eat at Chili's on my Dad's birthday. He frequently took Robby there when he lived in the area, and he developed a strong association between Candy Papaw and the restaurant. When Scott comes home from work we will go out to eat, share stories about my Dad and toast to a life well lived and deeply missed. 

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Rolling the Dice

Scott and I rolled the dice by not adding rental coverage to our car insurance policy. We figured that we hadn't been in an accident in years, and that if we needed a rental car we would simply pay out of pocket. We figured it out and we are still financially ahead by refusing the coverage, but that fact is doing little to take the sting out of the bill for the rental car. At this point I just want our SUV to be repaired so I can put the accident completely behind us. Driving a rental is a daily reminder that everything has not yet returned to normal.

Yesterday morning I dropped Robby at school, and Timmy and I headed to Fairfax for an appointment. Everything was going well and despite missing the HOV plates from the SUV, I was making great time. All of a sudden the dash started to light up and alarms started to ding. Having an auto malfunction in a car in which you are familiar is upsetting at best. When it happens in a vehicle which still feels foreign, it is nothing short of frightening.  After determining that I was being alerted to a low pressure in a back tire, I slowed my speed and opted to monitor the situation. 

Apparently that was a mistake. The tire pressure began to lower quicker than I anticipated. Within minutes nearly all of the air had been leaked and I was forced to pull over on the side of RT 66, a congested thoroughfare in the metro DC area.  I am proud of my calm demeanor as I quickly called AAA to request roadside assistance. After I called for help, my panic began to set.

I can easily count the number of friends whose journey to limb loss started by being stranded on the side of an interstate. I knew enough to stay in the car until help arrived, but the wait felt like it took an eternity. The cars were whizzing by, shaking the car as they passed. Timmy, frightened by the sounds and upset by the fact that we were no longer moving, began to fret and cry. I did my best to soothe him by passing back lollipops and singing songs.  

Even though it felt like much longer, AAA arrived fairly quickly. The tire was changed and I was escorted back to the rental agency. It was at the counter that I my roadside malfunction turned into a double whammy of insults. I was informed that I am obligated to pay for a new tire for the rental car. Apparently it was spelled out in the minuscule print of the contract that I  signed when I secured the rental.

I'm frustrated, but I don't think I have any recourse. We will have to pay for a new tire and chalk this up to another lesson learned.  This minor accident is quickly becoming a major expense. 

Monday, November 06, 2017

No Pant Weekend

Another week is starting with news of a mass shooting. Each time I hear of another incident, my heart breaks. I am so fearful about the future that lies ahead for my boys. Our society has to get a handle on all of this raw emotion and the all too commonplace action of violence. When does it stop?

After each shooting I console myself with the affirmation that now things will finally begin to change. I declare that this will be the last time so many people needlessly die simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am coming to accept that I am only placating myself, and that change is not imminent. Because I don't know what to do to spark a societal change, I'm just going to continue hugging my boys a little tighter and trying to make the world a little better each day.  

This weekend was relaxing and calm. The weather was dreary so we weren't able to play outside. Instead Timmy entertained himself playing with his trains with The Polar Express playing on a loop on our living room television. Robby played video games with friends (via internet) and Scott watched sports. As I predicted, neither Scott or Robby felt compelled to put on pants until last night when they went out for a "Bro dinner." 

My ear still hurts but the pain is lessening. I'm worried because my current course of antibiotics will be over soon, and I'm worried the infection has not been eradicated. I suspect that I am in for a recurrence and another round of medicine, and I'm not thrilled about either! 

At this point I just want to be healthy. This ear infection has been going on for over a month now, and I'm done with it! Hopefully I'm wrong and the final few days of antibiotics will work magic, completely annihilating this pesky infection. Fingers crossed!

Friday, November 03, 2017

Weekend

Slowly but surely my ear is beginning to heal. The pain is nagging but the intensity has definitely diminished over the past few days. I'm tired of feeling ill and run down and I'm antsy to feel energetic and happy again. Hopefully this weekend will bring continued healing and I'll be better by the beginning of the week. After nearly a month, I am completely over this ear infection!

Other than Trunk or Treat on Sunday (rescheduled from last weekend due to the weather) we don't have a lot of plans for the weekend. I'm sure that I'll fill the time, but right now a few days with nothing on the schedule and no obligations feels like a vacation. If only I could convince the boys that it would be fun to stay home and watch cartoons all day.  Robby could probably be convinced to stay home (if we allowed him to play on the computer) but Timmy would be a much harder sell.  He is Mr. Activity and full of energy. I'm sure I'll find something to keep him occupied and to thwart his destructive boredom.

Robby's schedule keeps us so busy that he is happy to lounge and relax all weekend. If we didn't insist he would probably forgo wearing pants from Friday evening until Monday morning. He has gone from not being involved in many extracurricular activities to having a full calendar. We have talked about cutting back but he thoroughly enjoys everything so much I hate to force him to choose. So for now I'll just resign to being a chauffeur in the evenings. I suppose one benefit of being forced to drive a rental this week lies in the miles that were not logged on my car.  

I am not looking for any great adventures. Instead I'm hoping for a weekend without an accident, and with improved health. The absence of drama and the lack of pain would be wonderful!

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Ear Frustrations

This ear infection is really starting to wear me down. I am not feeling as bad as I did on Monday, but the nagging pain and infection is starting to take a toll on my energy and mood. I am trying to be patient with myself, to allow myself an opportunity to fully heal and recover.  Patience with myself has never been a strength. 

Yesterday I struggled to keep up with Timmy, who was a bundle of energy. I am frustrated that I am not completely able to enjoy our playtime. I keep waiting for my ear to feel better, but the improvement is so incremental that it is infuriating.  Instead of happily playing with my little guy I found myself looking at the clock, waiting for Scott to come home so I could take a break. 

Today will be another day of taking it easy, taking my medication and drinking a lot of fluids. Hopefully another day of rest will help knock this infection out of my ear for good.  I'm tired of feeling sick!

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Halloween Fun!

Despite his aversion to costumes, Timmy threw himself into the Halloween spirit. He initially resisted putting on his puppy dog costume, but as soon as he saw his brother and daddy changing, he quickly followed suit.  Sometimes peer pressure works to a parent's advantage!  He will do just about anything if he thinks his brother is participating. Robby still doesn't realize the influence he holds over his little brother. Heaven help us when he figures it out.

Since Scott and Robby always traverse the neighborhood on the scooter to cover more ground, they decided to continue the tradition of dressing in coordinating costumes. The pair dressed as Plague Doctors (Robby's choice.) Bundled up with a long cloak and gloves, they were prepared for the cool air as they scooted through the streets. Timmy and I went as a puppy dog and the dog walker. (Last night was the one occasion where I didn't catch scowls for walking my toddler on a leash.) I must admit that he was perhaps the cutest little puppy I've ever seen.

Timmy had a unique spin on Trick-or-Treating. It started with choosing the pumpkin basket. He was insistent that he take the pumpkin filled with play-do, which was supposed to be put outside in case we received trick-or-treaters. Eager to get moving, we decided to let him take the play-do pumpkin and swapped out lollipops for our giveaway. After posing for pictures, Scott and Robby hopped onto the scooter and took off in search of a big candy score.  Timmy sat in his wagon and was content to be pulled through the neighborhood.

With a pumpkin full of treat sized play-do containers, he happily rang each door bell and patiently waited for it to be answered. When somebody opened the door he would smile and say "more treat please." At which point the neighbor would inevitably respond by asking him if he was a puppy dog. Timmy then lifted up his hood to show his face and said, "me, Timmy." He then put his dog hat back onto his head and pointed out that the moon was shining brightly in the night sky. (It turns out that the moon was quite a novelty, probably because he is usually fast asleep by the time it gets dark.)  Before carefully selecting a piece of candy he handed the neighbor a jar of play-do. As much as I tried to convince him otherwise, he seemed confident that he needed to trade play-do for a treat. 

All of the neighbors tried to return the play-do, but my cute little puppy was insistent that they keep it. With the trade completed, he would wave bye bye, bark and we left for the next house.

We managed to avoid a struggle and he put on his costume willingly. Today the next struggle begins, although this one will be a more difficult hurdle to overcome. I am going to do my best to resist the mounds of chocolatey gooey goodness covering my kitchen counter. I'd like to hold onto the Halloween memories, but I don't need them attached to my bum!








Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Typically I love Halloween, but this year I'm not feeling the spooky spirit. My ear infection has returned with a vengeance, forcing me to return to my doctor. I have now begin my third round of antibiotics and I'm still feeling lousy. 

Alas, Moms don't get sick days, and the celebration must go on. Tonight I will have two trick-or-treaters hitting the neighborhood in their annual trek for candy. Robby has been counting down since September and is perfectly giddy about his costume. Timmy has been far more when it comes to costume selection. So far he has refused every option while continually proclaiming that he will go as "me, Timmy." Hopefully he'll acquiesce and agree to wear the positively adorable costume I selected. Maybe seeing his brother in costume will help spur him into the holiday spirit.

Check back tomorrow for this year's costumes!














Monday, October 30, 2017

Accident

We were looking forward to spending Friday at Pumpkinville, playing and enjoying the beautiful fall weather.  With cool weather and a bright yellow sun shining, along with Robby and Scott both off school, it felt like the stars had aligned for us to have a wonderful day.  This school year has not been easy for Scott, making it difficult for me as well by proxy, and we were looking forward to a day of family fun.  It felt like a day of disconnecting from technology was exactly what we needed to reconnect and reboot. 

Our plans completely blew up during our drive to breakfast. In the IHOP parking lot we were in an accident. Everybody is fine although we were all quite shaken by the experience. After the accident we all decided to just go home. Nobody felt like having fun anymore.

Our SUV has seen better days and will be going into the auto body shop today. With over 200,000 miles logged already, I'm hoping that the insurance company doesn't decide to just total our vehicle. I am expecting a phone call today or tomorrow with the verdict, so fingers crossed!

Even though nobody was hurt, the accident continues to haunt me. I keep replaying the scenario, reliving the collision each time I remember. I know that cars can be replaced and that I need to focus on the positive, but my anxiety has been thrown into overdrive by the event. When I focus on the positive that nobody was injured, I immediately become panicked as I consider what could have happened. We were so incredibly lucky, and that realization also completely terrorizes me.  

The next few days I know that I will continue to be reminded by the accident. Even as the soreness in my back continues to lessen I'll be forced to recount the incident through conversations with insurance adjusters. I'm sure that my muscles will spasm again every time I retell the incident, and I have no doubt that it will spark more panic attacks when I am driving.  I'll be glad when the car is out of the shop, the insurance situation is settled and I can begin to compartmentalize the incident as something that happened in the past.  

Friday, October 27, 2017

Off to Pumpkinville (again)

Oh my goodness this has been a long week. The trip to New York certainly through me off schedule, and I've been playing catch up ever since I returned. I'm looking forward to a few days of a more relaxed schedule so I can try to get back on track. I feel like I've been spinning my wheels just to stay afloat.

Today will not be resting but instead we will be playing. Scott and Robby are enjoying their first official vacation day of the school year. On one hand it is hard to believe that the school year is 25% over, but at the same time it feels like an eternity since the first day of school.  We are desperately overdue for a family fun day and we plan on making the most of today. I think we are all in need of a day untethered from technology and the stresses of life.

After an IHOP breakfast we will be headed to Pumpkinville. Robby has been eager to go for weeks, and Timmy will be excited by proxy.  Because we have a yearly pass Timmy and I have already been to Pumpkinville this year. Even though it won't be new to him, I'm sure Timmy will relish the opportunity to play with his brother and Daddy at the autumnal extravaganza. After all, there is nothing better than playing outside with his big brother.

Tonight Robby has a costume Halloween party, another event he has been looking forward to for weeks. After spending the afternoon playing outside and going to a party tonight I expect he will sleep well. If only his brother would follow his lead!


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Squeaky Procrastination

After weeks of hearing incessant squeaking, I finally made the trip to Elliot. I had wanted to go earlier but the kids' schedules became out of control and I just couldn't fit the visit in between my chauffeur duties. (Side note: I love that Robby is becoming involved in activities but my goodness the management and execution of the schedules is exhausting!) The squeaking finally broke me down and forced me to rearrange my morning so that I could get it fixed.

Unfortunately the squeaky source was not the spectra sock. It turns out that the sound seems to be coming from the carbon fiber footplate. Elliot couldn't fix the issue so my foot is en route to the manufacturer. I am wearing a loaner and should have a replacement in a few days. The inconveniences of appointments and the vulnerability of device breakdown are both frustrations that I hate about being an amputee. When I'm forced to ferry to and from the prosthetist office for adjustments, repairs and replacements I begin to envy those who do not have to live with these issues. 

Of course, biological body parts also encounter issues so I am trying to count my blessings that my fix is more of an inconvenience than an obstacle. At least my foot issue is easy to remedy and is pain free. I will be forced to change schedules again so that I can pick up my new foot when it arrives, but looking at the bright side at least I am receiving a replacement without a battle.  

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

"The Bar"

Robby has developed a strong interest in and appreciation for art. Over the summer he happily explored all of the art galleries on the boardwalk, carefully critiquing and choosing just the right pieces as souvenirs.  When given the option he has been reading biographies of artists and spends his free time drawing and painting.

In an effort to encourage and to develop his interests, we have signed him up for an after school art program. One day a week we drive from his school to the art studio where he receives both individual and small group instruction from a talented (and ultra patient) art teacher. The teacher guides the small class through creating a new piece while focusing on a new medium and art form each week. He is learning about different types of art, art history and practicing methods. Art days have quickly risen to his favorite and he anticipates going each week. 

Yesterday during art they were focusing on refining basic drawing techniques. Robby practiced shading and learned how to draw various shapes using three dimension illusions. When he was done with his projects, the teacher instructed each student to create an illustration showing an activity that they enjoy with friends.

When I went to pick him up from class Robby he proudly showed me all of the class illustrations that were pinned to the wall. One student drew a soccer field. Another drew a few kids riding bicycles. A tween girl drew a baking scene. My kid drew a bar. 

Ugh! Of everything that he could have depicted! I tried to explain the drawing to his teacher, who was quasi wide-eyed and tentatively nodding as I rambled a justification. I knew that his illustration was not exactly what was interpreted, but I felt like I was just digging a hole as I tried to explain the backstory.

Robby and his cousins spent a lot of time together over the summer. One of their favorite activities became staying up all night long playing poker. My Mom bought them poker visors and chips. I suppose it is important to point out that no real money was ever exchanged and, in reality, they are playing Black Jack and not poker.

The cousins transformed my Mom's sun room into the nighttime Kid's Bar, where they spent hours each night playing cards and giggling. They drank milk out of shot glasses and assorted stemware, laughing and pretending to be metropolitan. They all loved hanging out in "their bar" and often shunned adults because we were overage. 

Robby's bar illustration was exactly what the teacher requested: his favorite activity to share with friends. Unfortunately many of the nuances were not conveyed through his drawing and to the unknowing eye it looks like he enjoys hanging out at the bar and drinking with buddies. Even though I tried to offer the explanation, it is a difficult bell to unring.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Quick Trip

Whew!  Yesterday was a whirlwind. I woke up before dawn and left for the train station.  By the time the sun was rising I was well on my way to New York with hoards of other commuters. With my computer in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, I was ready to tackle the city.

I don't know why I failed to anticipate the train being crowded when I envisioned the trip. For some reason I imagined spreading out, using quick wifi and relaxing during the three hours of solitude. My reality was far less glamorous as I was crammed against a window after abandoning all attempts at doing anything productive on the weak and intermittent wifi signal.  I didn't get as much work done as I had hoped, but I did enjoy delving into a good book which is a luxury I haven't enjoyed in a long time.

My meeting in New York was productive and well worth the time and monetary investment to attend. After two quick hours I was packing up my computer and heading back to the train station. The train ride home was not nearly as crowded. I probably could have logged onto the internet signal but my mind was frazzled and I just wanted to relax and regroup.

I may not have finished my work projects, but I did become lost in a wonderful novel so my travel time was put to good use.  Today I'll head home and the next few days will be playing catch up but it is all worth it!

Monday, October 23, 2017

New York Bound

Another week is beginning, and my schedule is already feeling overwhelming. Today I'm waking up in Pennsylvania, where I am catching a predawn train for New York City. After an important lunch meeting (wish me luck) I'll hop on the afternoon train back to my Mom's. I'm investing six hours on a train and five hours of driving time into today's meeting. Hopefully it will be worth it!

Even though the day will be exhausting, I'm looking forward to the time on the train. It isn't often that I have several dedicated hours of quiet time, with nobody to entertain. I'm planning on using the time to finish some looming projects and to (dare I wish) get ahead.  Hopefully the internet on the train cooperates with my plans. 

While I'm in New York, my Mom will be playing with Timmy. I am so thankful that she is willing and able to help me when I need backup. I am sure that the pair will have a wonderful day at the park, and I have no doubt that they will both be tuckered out by the time my train pulls back into the station tonight. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

DC wrap-up

Yesterday was important, but it did not start out on a positive note. I had completely underestimated rush hour traffic to the metro station. What normally should have taken twenty minutes ended up taking ninety.  By the time I arrived at the train station I was flustered and running late. I abhor being late!

I used the quick metro ride to recenter myself. Using some newly mastered meditation breathing techniques I was able to calm my nerves and release the "I'm late" frustrations. When we rolled into the metro station I was feeling strong and ready for the event.

The purpose of the press event was to unveil and discuss the importance of a new study focused on access to prosthetic care. The researchers were able to quantify the benefits of patients receiving prosthetic devices. Although it feels like common sense logic, the study will certainly help to bolster the legislative and insurance initiatives focused on providing prosthetic devices to the community.

After the researchers presented their findings, I was invited to the podium to share my prosthetic story. In a way my purpose for speaking was to humanize prosthetic benefits for the audience. Unscripted (I was initially told I was only needed to answer questions) I spoke from the heart and relayed my story.

Here is a video of the entire event.  I encourage you to watch the entire presentation, but I start at minute 33.  Enjoy, and let me know what you think!


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Headed to DC!

Last week I was contacted about attending a press event to help increase awareness about the access to prosthetics. I immediately accepted the invitation without thinking about who was going to watch Timmy in my absence. It wasn't until I hung up the phone that I began to panic about daycare. I knew that it was important for me to attend, and I didn't want to risk losing the invitation while I secured Timmy care so I took a leap of faith that I would figure it out. 

Thankfully Scott, who supports all of my advocacy efforts, was able to take the day off of work without difficulty.  He hasn't missed any days this year and was in need of a mental health day, so my needing back up turned out to be the perfect excuse to take personal leave. He and Timmy are going to play outside, go to lunch and probably visit the train section of the toy store while I'm in DC. I'm sure that they will both have a great day. 

Despite Robby's pleas, his schedule will remain unchanged today. He tried to convince us that he needed to stay home to "help" his Daddy take care of Timmy. While I applaud his efforts, he was vetoed. He's going to school regardless of who is home with his brother.  

While Scott and Timmy are busy playing and Robby is in school, I'll be in DC trying to bring a voice to the issues impacting so many in the limb loss community. I'm both nervous and excited about this opportunity. Hopefully I will represent well!  Please wish me luck, and I'll report back tomorrow.