April is Limb Loss Awareness Month. No, I didn’t know that either and while I appreciate the idea behind every awareness month out there I could perpetually live going from awareness of one condition to awareness of the next while loudly banging my gong screaming, “Pay attention to me!” But the thing is, a banging gong is easily ignored unless it is in your house.
For example, yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of being canned because my boss decided he was better equipped to make decisions about my health than I was and condescended to gift me the time to recover from my illnesses that have no cures ~ yes, completely ableistic and illegal, but don’t get caught up there. I posted an “on this day” kind of post on my personal Facebook page by way of marking the time and not an hour later I received an invitation from a “friend” who spends her days traveling and working with people with disabilities *cough cough* in the military community *clears throat* whose injuries, visible and invisible, have been the direct or indirect result of war. *ahem* If I’ve been candid here about my wellness and recovery, imagine how candid I’ve been inside my circle. Despite what she does daily, this woman hasn’t reached out once during the last 12 months since I was hospitalized while trying to not completely clot to death and since my amputation. She hasn’t shared the GoFundMe set up to help cover expenses not covered by insurance or contributed to it. Each and every one of my 145 blog posts has been shared to a space she has had access to for 5 years and I don’t think she’s even liked one. “But you know Facebook doesn’t always show everyone in the newsfeed!” Her husband was informed by me directly so I would think she has no excuse to be completely unaware of what is happening in my world. So this person who spends her days traveling and helping people like me completely obtusely invited me to buy unnecessary stuff from her so I can help fund for her a trip to paradise because despite the fact that my gong has been ringing loudly all year she somehow has not heard a single peal.
Not her house, not her gong, not gonna make it her business to check in.
While I can somewhat appreciate the fact that some people may have magically come across a post about some limbless soul or other that was shared during this Limb Loss Awareness Month (LLAM), like the Seattle Seahawks drafting a dude, a linebacker if I’m not mistaken, with one hand who also has a twin on the team, and been inspired, I rather feel like limb loss awareness is my everyday and I don’t need a designated period of time to be and advocate and ambassador of myself and others with limb loss. Nevertheless here I am posting about it because yesterday was apparently Show Your Mettle Day for LLAM where we are supposed to show off pictures of our mobility devices as amputees. I’m gonna be honest: I couldn’t decide if that’s more owning of vulnerabilities and therefore seriously sexy and badass or more of choosing to be a sideshow spectacle, which left me wondering at the difference.
Leave it to me to find the conundrum in a topic I just covered.
Leave it to me to discover a facet of the ownership of my own vulnerabilities that I’m still struggling with despite myself.
Obviously there’s a challenge to my own brokenness here somewhere if it’s bothering me that there’s a day set aside on the calendar to show off mobility devices. After all, if I don’t have a problem with National Muscato Day why should I have a problem showing my mettle?
So here goes!
These are my red hotwheels.
I am not gonna lie: I love this chair. I see the chairs other people have and I have to fight the poor-you-pity-face because this thing is pretty badass as far as use is concerned. I’ve mastered the art of throwing my weight in Stimpy around as a rudder when moving at speed. I know how to use the big back wheels to keep the front from getting caught even when at high speeds going downhill. If this were a car it would be German built, handling like a dream with Porsche breaks, a turbo, and paddle shifters ~ not that I’ve got enough experience to know what that’s like *cough cough grins* ~ while all other wheelchairs would be like driving a Geo Metro badly in need of an alignment at any speed above 35 MPH. This chair is easily maneuvered and controlled at any speed, especially with gloves on.
Did you notice the gloves on the seat? Yeah. These gloves:
I like having soft and feminine hands. The only way to keep them that way when I have to use a wheelchair or crutches is to wear gloves. Now, if you think of most of the people you’ve ever seen in a manual wheelchair you probably think of them wearing the kind of gloves one would wear to work out in. I get it. They’re easily gotten and therefore easy to replace when they’re worn out, and they can take a bit of abuse. My last pair lasted for 10 months but they were never what anyone could call pretty. *sigh* So what choice was I left with but to search high and low for some quality Italian leather motorcycle and driving gloves? I see no reason why the functional cannot be beautiful. Which reminds me…
Did you know that amputees all have to wear different types of sleeves on their residual limbs ~ their stumps ~ to either help with swelling and shaping the stump nicely or to help with keeping a prosthetic on? The problem I knew I would run across was that the tops tend to roll down… a lot… all the time. While this can be annoying to the average patient it can be downright dangerous for a patient with vascular concerns like mine because it can act as a tourniquet, so long before I got to the point where it was an issue for me I thought of a solution:
Don’t hate me because I found a way to make mid-thigh lacy garters a completely functional everyday fashion statement. I don’t know of anyone else who could get away with it, so obviously it was the perfect addition to my wardrobe.
After all, I lost my leg, not my sense of fashion.
I sometimes find it amazing that I can be both enlightened enough to share some deep and profound thought while still missing the mark myself.
It’s good to remember that none of us have it all put together.