|VOLUME 1 # 7||OCTOBER 2, 1995|
IN THIS ISSUE
1.) NOTES FROM John & Joyce
Following are some THOUGHTS and OPINIONS I have regarding "interactional" relationships between amputees and non-amputees. This is by no means a complete list. These are merely ideas and observations that have been present on my mind and I would like to share them with you for your response, comments, to spark conversation and exchange.
(Also, please read this week's Letters To The Editor.)
DO remember that "assuming" (see "assume" below) 51% of the population is the "norm," meaning the remaining 49% are not "norm" places a high percentage of us in the later "category." This means that 51% are going to be curious about the 49% and vice versa. Curiosity is an aspect of the intelligent mind, though, rudeness is not...and it is all in how you turn a phrase.
DO try to prepare a brief "one liner" explanation of your amputation to respond to people, only as you feel necessary.
DO ALWAYS KEEP your sense of humor. It is
sooo valuable! There have been studies indicating that people with a sense of humor live
longer, healthier lives. This includes being able to laugh at yourself, but not
necessarily in public [grin.]
See Vol. 2 # 12 for more about humor.
Every non-amputee that I have talked to has always wondered what it would be like to be an amputee and use a prosthesis; "How does that work?". It doesn't mean that they want to be an amputee (though there are some of those) but I feel that it expresses a desire to "understand." This is not an excuse to invade your privacy, but DO keep in mind that it may not be their intent to be rude. Just because I am very open about being an amputee doesn't mean that you have to be or that other amputees are.
DO consider that as people with common interests, such as golfers, like to talk to each other, we, as amputees, generally like to talk to one and other. This doesn't mean that we consider ourselves "separate."
DO BE YOU OWN BOSS. Make your own decisions (based on reliable and confirmed information, of course.) A doctor or a prosthetist is your "employee;" he/she works for you, you pay their salary. If you are not satisfied with their services, "fire'em." It's your life, your decision, and you have to live with it. Don't surrender your control.
DON'T get hung up on what is the politically correct term for amputees. Ex: "physically challenge," "____ing impaired," "disadvantaged/disabled," "special," "handicapped," "alternately-abled," etc. We are people, that happened to be amputees. Other labelings are categories for mental organization processing and have little or nothing to do with judgments or pre-judgments unless someone is judgmental or prejudice to begin with.
DON'T lash out at someone who is offering assistance out of compassion, courtesy, and concern. For example: I have always opened doors for women or men when they are carrying packages regardless of any perceived need.
DON'T "assume" (assume makes an a__ out of U and Me) that when someone initiates a conversation with you, that their underlying goal is to pry into you medical history. It may be, but don't automatically assume it.
DON'T presume that every medical professional, amputee or non-amputee, has the right answers for you. We are all individuals. (Also consider this in other areas as well, for example, not EVERY surgeon/doctor graduated Med school with straight "A's.")
DON'T expect the world to change because of your needs. Changing the world begins with changing yourself.
There is so much to discuss, a newsletter alone isn't adequate. There are all the "'ations" and "'athies" (motivation, expectation, sympathies, empathies, apathies) that one can't even begin to address.
There IS a "book" in everybody.
2.) "LETTERS TO THE EDITOR"
Dear John and Joyce: (9/26/95)
I would like to see, some how...the "caretaker/spouse" (S.ignificant O.ther) covered. My husband and I recently were out for breakfast and saw a BK, like me. The gentleman was diabetic. We couldn't wait to get out of there to shake our heads, his wife was SOOOOOO angry at life for "sticking her" with this handicap that he had...and so on... that nearly all her comments were "spit out." (She was) a very angry woman and he was in dire need of a word in edgewise and a friendly face...and more.
The most positive thing was that I was able to take a good look at what life could be like with a relationship like that one. Oh boy! And too, I felt for her; so unhappy and unable or unwilling to help herself or him.
We only listened. What can one do, really? Is there any input on this sort of emotional situation in life? Do you have experience. with this?
I do have it on my mind, but I think, perhaps, I can't help the whole world and do well to help myself. :::shrug:::
Of course, I do think it involves all of us at one point or another and all the time. I know that medical problems complicate and destroy a lot of relationships, and we can all use a nugget of information; perhaps to apply to our own lives. Even knowing you are surviving something like this and hearing it...makes an "uplift spot" in ones life. It's like (a) death...the stages like anger and denial, etc. I would like to hear how others cope or what they have seen or...?
As you noted, there are many facets to this; we could go on with it for a long time. =)
((Editors Note: C., we made a few editorial changes in the letter, but maintain the content.))
Dear John and Joyce: (8/16/95)
I don't know if any bilateral BK would be interested but I walk on my knees using a simple device which protects my knees from any scrapes, cuts or bruises.
I should explain the reason I walk on my knees is because my home does not permit the use of a wheel chair and because I do not like a wheelchair. Walking on my knees makes me feel almost normal and it is good exercise. On my prosthesis I walk as good as anyone.
The only time I have a problem walking is when I get stump sores, which at times can become painful. If there is any interest I will be glad to explain all the details to anyone, anytime this is not a commercial and you may be sure this is something only I do and it certainly may not be good for others.
Discard this idea entirely if it sounds crazy but it works for me. In the last 12 years I've learned one thing, if you try to help yourself you get a lot of satisfaction and if you believe it will help, it usually does...
((Editors Note: Dear S. and others, I often use this method of mobility for quick trips from bedside to bathroom. It's a lot faster that "building" myself. Please check with your doctor. Probably this is not a problem, for getting around occasionally, but you should make sure that this will not aggravate any other joint conditions such as arthritis or bursitis.))
Thanks you both, C. and S., for your mail and contributions.))
THE ADVICE (DISCLAIMER)
Please be sure to read the information at this link at least once.
4.) HINTS AND TIPS
On my most recent visit to my prosthetist, comments we made by many of the employees. Please try to remember to bring with you: shorts, socks (regular) and the type of shoe you most often use. Approximately 10% of patients forget these items only to require an additional or rescheduled visit.
Female amputees should remember to schedule their visit to prosthetists at "non-peek swelling times."
Body powered-- If you don't live near your prosthetist, a handy spool of heavy duty "weed whacker" line makes an excellent emergency replacement for a broken inner cable. Remember, this is ONLY a TEMPORARY repair!
(myo) electric-- By running your batteries *completely* down and then recharging, you will extend the battery life as well as the useable time of each charge. (This is a characteristic of Ni-Cad batteries--the type most frequently used.)
Have a hint, tip, or suggestion? Please email us and we will consider it for use in the newsletter.
5.) QUOTE/THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
"While other people can make you unhappy, only
you can make yourself truly happy."
© Copyright October 2, 1995 J. Meyer. All rights reserved.
It is you responsibility to read the DISCLAIMER.
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Joyce K. Meyer. All rights reserved.
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