Like everyone, amputees face challenges – most are different from the typical “have all of my limbs,” kind’a guy, but challenges nonetheless. So, here is a list of challenges that amputees (and people who utilize a wheelchair) face.
Wheelchair access ramps: But really, why is there zero ramps at a store specifically for the sale of wheelchairs, yes that’s right, keyword, wheelchair. I’m actually a little surprised that these types of questions are still asked.
Balance: To balance as an amputee is a great feat that takes some serious core strength and skills. I utilize one prosthetic at the moment, meaning I have one below the knee prosthetic and one above the knee nub. I hope everywhere I go, using my crutches. I’ve always been incredibly clumsy and show the world this fact about myself nearly every time I go out. Once, my sister and I were at an office building, and the crazy people we are decided that we were going to race to the front entrance. As soon as the words, “Don’t you trip me!” Came out of my one-legged being, I immediately face planted onto the lobby floor. I can hear, “OHHH LAWD!” In the distance, from a mortified onlooker and then the air is filled with hellacious snorting and cackling by me and my sister. Thankfully, I was up quicker than I fell and scurried off into my car where I then nearly peed myself laughing so hard.
Questions: Ohhh the questions. Questions like, “Were you in the military?” or “What happened?” I get it, it’s a “human” reaction to be curious about things. But as my Mama always said, when you see a wreck on the side of the road, you don’t stop and stare. They, like us, are people in those vehicles just as we are people on the sidewalk or in a grocery store. Some curiosity is best left in the unknown. It’s also somewhat of a cliché, society has concocted that a person is an amputee because they were in the military. But, contrary to popular belief there is a very low percentage of military personnel in the USA who have lost their limbs, and thankfully, the percentage has continuously gone down since 2010. A fun fact: 2016 marked the first year since the Afghanistan wars began, that zero deployed troops suffered an amputation. THAT is something to be celebrated.
The “One Upper”: You know what I’m talking about… There comes a time when a person tends to try and “one-up” you or “click” with you on a level they know nothing about. For instance, pre-amputation I was out with a “friend”, this friend had cut the tip-top of their finger off working with a table saw. I mean, you really wouldn’t be able to even tell that this had happened if it weren’t for them telling the same story over and over again. So, we were out one evening and came across a man who was really enjoying conversing with us, when out of the blue he lifted his hand up and there is was or wasn’t. He had his thumb amputated all the way to the joint. My “friend,” said in an almost too-excited tone, “Look! We are one in the same, I know exactly how it feels!” The look of “are you kidding me?!” splashed on our faces as the sliver of skin missing from said friend’s finger was thrust into our faces. It’s hard to even explain the look of sheer disbelief.
A word from the wise, we as friends, like to know about you and what you’ve been through. But what we (me, personally) don’t like is being compared to your knee surgery Janice because at least you’ve still got one, aye.