Monday, September 14, 2015

We face new challenges every day

Survival kit
Last Friday was my 6 month Ampu-versery; the celebration of my life saving and life changing decision to go ahead and amputate my left leg.  A lot of things have changed in the way I do things now. I have learned to consider my activity and how to address getting something done. I am sure that most amputees have implemented similar changes in their lives, but some of my readers may not be aware of the simple things that change when you lose a limb. I have a few things that I do differently that most of us will have to deal with. I am sure there are lots of other things, too.

Some basic things that I have to remember.

  • When taking a shower, making sure that I have everything I need prior to taking my leg off. Towels, clean clothes, a good floor mat (to keep me from slipping on the tile floor) my Hibiclens to clean my liner, a liner keeper, along with all of the important grooming tools I might need. Now for most of you that are reading this, this sounds super simple. We all have done it for most of our lives. The difference is the amount of frustration that missing one little step causes. Most of the time I catch myself before it becomes an issue. 
  • When getting ready for bed, making sure I have my crutches nearby, in case I have to go to the restroom. Turning out the light before I get all comfortable in the bed. I  don't like to wander around on my crutches, so sometimes I use a wheel-chair, However using it is not as easy as it appears since it is too wide to go into the bathroom. There are other methods of mobility, such as crawling or hopping, too. 
  • Making sure that I have my whole supply of socks and tools with me at all times. I am a relatively new amputee, my volume changes on a regular basis. I usually start my day somewhere around 15 ply of socking and wind up by the end of the day at or around 20. I am scheduled to get a new socket next week so that number will come down considerably. Going anywhere without an Allen wrench is probably not a good idea. One of my favorite YouTube videos is The Amputee Survival Kit by the AmputeeOT
  • Keeping good records.
    Since the beginning I read this helpful article from the Amputee Coalition I keep a basic log of how my residual leg feels, what I do to try to fix the issue and the result of what I have done. Since I have not had very much actual peer support since becoming an amputee, I have to keep records and learn as I go along. I also read several blogs and websites dealing with amputees. I have found that message boards are usually less than helpful. Most of the important questions I have are usually answered by people that are unable to understand or articulate in a helpful manner. The solutions that are given are usually less than helpful.
  • When walking on uneven ground: Especially at night or in twilight, to take careful, smaller steps. Nothing is worse than stepping down into a depression when you expect the ground to be there. This happens to me in parks and areas where the lawn is mown evenly over uneven ground. Taking steps more carefully prevents jamming my leg down into my socket. It also keeps me from stumbling. I also take extreme care on stairs. I still have some issues with fear when it comes to stairways. Especially when they do not have a solid banister. 
  • Stay Active!!! I honestly believe this is the most important thing. A body that is in motion tends to stay in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. Another way of looking at it is that there are two basic organisms out there. The organism that flourishes and grows, and the organism that perishes. Choose the path that leads to getting stronger. If you have the choice between vegging out on the couch or doing something, choose to turn off the television and DO something. It is too easy to sit and feel sorry for yourself, don't add fuel to that fire. You will be amazed at what you can do!
I think that as I progress in my ability to walk, I will probably learn a lot more over the next few years. When I get my next socket, and can reduce the number of socks that I have to wear, there will be differences in how it feels. When I decide on a different foot, there will be new things to learn on how it functions. I believe that every bit of knowledge that I glean from my experiences has a home on this blog, and what has worked for me may not always work for others. I do know that what little I did find about certain subjects will defiantly be added as soon as I can find proper context to introduce them.

Anyone that has ideas on subjects you would like me to address can connect with my twitter address @Zenshai anytime. I am on there constantly. I tend to follow most everyone that follows me, with the notable exceptions of those that just use twitter to sell stuff. Feel free to contact me. I will help in any way I can.

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