Moving forward and staying out of the “box”

Well, it has been a bit since I posted a new blog that I actually wrote, instead of throwing up some new videos. I thought it was time for a real update for all of you!

Just as the title suggests, life goes on, even after triple amputations.

every day I get a little stronger, a little more stable on my legs, and a little more of the feeling that I might be moving on from this disaster that happened to me.

I have had my legs since February, but due to Behcet’s issues, i have only really been on the prosthesis and walking for about two and a half months. I have gone in that short period of time from forearm crutches to cane. Now, in the house, I am forgoing the cane.

When I walk in the door the cane goes in the corner, to be left until I go outside again. Why, you may ask? Why not use it because I might need it? Simple. If I use it, I will rely on it. If I have to rely on myself, and not the cane, I will be forced to walk without aid. Pretty simple, eh?

And so far it is going well. I of course, use the cane outside, as I have some stability issues on uneven ground, but inside is all nice and level.

I also limit my use of the wheelchair to shower time. I used to use it first thing in the morning for that first up of the day bathroom run, but not anymore. The wheelchair is just another version of a cane, if I let myself use it, I always will. So, I don’t. I will always need a chair close by at night, in the event of emergency. I can get my legs on and be walking in about seven minutes now, but, seven minutes is a lifetime if there is a fire or tornado.

So, until I get to the point that I can have “quick on” legs, I will need the chair. In time, I will have a set of legs that i can “pop” on in a few seconds each, but until then, I will keep the chair around. The legs I have now are the best that can be had… But the technology involved also involves prep time before they can be put on.

I am now back to working, part time, at my old fire department. I am a dispatcher. That has helped my head immensely. Feeling like I am doing something productive is nice. And, the people I worked with before at the department are still the same people. And they treat me just the same as they always have. They might might make a nice comment now and again about my walking abilities, but otherwise, they still give me hell like they always have.

I need that. I need to be treated like I am the normal guy I was, the normal guy I am.

I went yesterday and signed up for classes at college. Starting in January, I will be taking 13 credit hours towards a degree in Physical Therapy Assistant. I want to be able to help other amputees, and this is the starting point.

I am also going to be guest speaking to an OTA class soon. One of the kids from the old neighborhood I grew up in, and went to school with, grew up to be a fine OT in her own right, and is teaching at the college. She has asked me if she might use my videos, and blogs in her class, and asked if I might be willing to be a guest speaker to her students.

I really feel honored to help out. My hope is that by helping out the class, I might be helping out an amputee down the road!

See, I have found that both OT and PT have a few set in stone ideas about how things are done. Mostly, they are spot on, but some things are not. As an amputee, you are taught to do things just like a person who is paralyzed from the waist down. Someone who has legs, but cant use them.

Here is the problem. I may not have all my legs anymore, but I sure as hell can use and move what I have!

You also tend to get crammed into the “no movement box” for things such as wheelchair transfers, bathroom usage, and baths/showers.

Here is a good example.. I posted long ago about sitting in the floor of a shower to bath, and not in a handicap shower chair. My OT in Louisville was not pleased with this. Her basic attitude was, “That’s just not how your supposed to do it.”

Well, screw that. why force me to sit in a chair when I am safer, and more comfortable, sitting in the floor?

Oh, right.. You put me in the “box” again.

My shower at home is now set up just the way I want it, and was done all by me. the only handicap aids I use now is a small shower “seat” on legs about an inch tall. I dont use a shower chair, I don’t use any toilet seat helper chairs… Nothing. Just my little seat. Why the seat? well, able bodied people might occasionally stand in that shower to bath.

I don’t want to sit my hind in in someones funky feet fungus… 🙂 I don,t need the seat, but I use it as a precaution. That is now the extent of my “handicap” tools. I’m not handicapped, so why should I use handicap accessories?

Wait! Yes! I did just say that! I~am~not~handicapped! When I have my legs on, and my fingers or glove on, I can do all the things I need to do.

Hell, I don’t even park in handicap parking, or have a tag for my car. Why? Because every time I take the easy way out like that, I miss out on an opportunity to be the normal guy I am. Also, I would hate to take the last handicap parking spot when someone who is wheelchair bound might need the extra space to get their chair out.

thats why those spots are extra wide, people. So, every time YOU use a tag you don’t really need and park there, your taking away from someone who really needs it!

I refuse to be that kind of asshole. Really.

Some may argue that I am being silly, but I am who I am.

Wow, I got a bit off track, but hey, that happens. Maybe I didn’t.. All of this really falls under what happens when life goes on, Doesn’t it?

Life does go on, and I am living it.

Maybe I will see some of y’all around campus!