Unbeknownst to me, my leg had been taking jujitsu classes without me in 2016… Nice pin though.
Another new year has come and gone and my leg has yet to grow back. Although I remain hopeful of some great new technology just over the horizon, I plan on 2017 being much like 2016, still shorter on one side. Interesting enough, even after being an AK amputee for 11 years, I was graced with a few rounds of mild depression that forced me to kick myself in the rear to keep moving forward. And even then, who knows if it wouldn’t have happened anyway with 2 legs? Other than that, I didn’t much think about being one-legged and still don’t consider myself disabled or handicapped. As a good friend once described me during a news interview, “The man still has 2 good legs, the only difference is he can take one off and put it on a shelf at night!”
So as we go in to the new year as amputees, remember to keep plowing forward and continue to set the example for others unfortunately who will become amputees this year. Make your experiences available to them and finally remember how no one will ever understand our plight unless they too are an amputee. Make 2017 great and stay safe!
For now, Ampcop is 10-7
1. No prosthesis will EVER be the same as your original body part. Find what works for you and move on with life.
2. There will ALWAYS be “new and approved”. If what you have works, then don’t change things up thinking you’ll find something even better. We call that Chasing the rainbow. When its time to refit, then try it then. But remember, changing what has worked well for you in the past can delay your life and honestly makes little sense.
3. Your leg will VERY likely change in volume during the first 1 to 3 years. You will have fit issues as your leg adapts. It is NORMAL! Bear this in mind when your frustration sets in.
4. Recovery from losing a leg will be 95% mental and 5% physical. You can’t undue what has happened so until you can accept that fact, you’ll struggle. Rule of thumb… Don’t worry about the things you can’t change. Life is short so don’t piss it away.
5. Core. Core. Core. All successful leg amputees maintain good hip and core strength. Don’t expect to be pain free if you sit on your butt and let those muscles atrophy.
6. Losing a leg did not change who you are as a person. Unless you suffered a cranial amputation, you’re not much different than before…just a little shorter on one side.
7. Pity parties are only fun for a short while. But after the festivities are over, you can’t expect people to hang around forever while you party alone. In other words, even your closest supporters will grow tired of your moaning…even if they never say a word.
8. People will look. Not nearly as much today as when I became an amputee 11 years ago, but neverthless they will. But on that note, we look at people who are different too, so what’s the difference.
9. Make your Prosthesis yours. With all the cool covers and patterns that can be built into a socket, have fun with it and customized to you. After all, it ain’t going away anytime soon so learn to like it.
10. When you do fall on dark moments because a particular day seems harder than another, go back and read tips 1 through 9 and then reset!
You’ll be fine. People will still love you. Move on with life…
Later Amp Peeps. 10-7 for now.
Well obviously it’s gonna be another one of those nights where, after staying up on a Saturday night watching television in bed, I have yet to be visited by the sandman. Oh where art though in my time of need? Anyway… At least it’s not a weekday and I have to go to work in a few hours! So awake I lay in bed at 4:30AM doing what I do best when all is quiet and I’m admittedly somewhat bored, I reflect on my life’s travels and worry about the future. Yes, yes I know. Worrying is fruitless and a waste of time, but that’s the German in me and it probably won’t change anytime soon! But wow, I must say, the last 9 years have been anything but boring. Alot of crappy days yes, but absolutely not uneventful. Not here! Who would have thought on the day of my amputation so many years ago that I’d be feeling content with life again to the degree that I do? Sheeew, certainly not me. According to me in those days, my life was over! Finish! Done! Anyone else feel that way that fateful day? But for what it’s worth, and it’s probably good to remind myself and others, the pain and anquish that accompanied the death of our body parts did slowly fade with the passage of time. Now don’t get me wrong, I said it faded and not disappeared. I am a realist you know! It still stinks being a one-legged feller. Nevertheless, as I lay here in bed with only the glow of my X3 charger and my phone illuminating the darkness, I find myself at peace with my loss, my journey and my life. I understand the future might hold more difficult times, even if in short spurts, but for now I rest in my comfy bed, thankful for my additional time on earth and thankful that my amputation couldn’t steal my soul. Afterall, its gonna take a whole lot more than a missing leg to do that! How about you? Do you still have your old one? Your soul, I mean! Not your bodypart! As for mine, rest in peace my beloved right leg. Now let me see if I can do the same! Ugh. 10-7 Amp Cop
An amputation sucks… And in my own world, mine sucks worse than yours! Yep I said it!!!! If you personally havent declared it today but feel the need, let it go, let it all out, fall on the floor in the middle of the mall RIGHT NOW and flail around! Throw your arms to the air and cry out, “Why oh farder, why must it suck so?” In a very english accent. That’s it! Let it out! Dont kick the old lady! Ok, now breath… Now you feel much better! And its ok, even two or three of the thousand people staring at you might even understand. Now, hop or run from the cops and security as fast as you can and lock yourself in your car so you can continue reading.
Now, the real amp talk… Having a beloved arm or a leg cut off after years of getting used to them…and then dealing with all the crazy stuff that goes along with getting a limb whacked off afterward, sucks… So if you can admit it sucks, stop putting pressure on yourself to try and be strong all the time by acting like it doesnt. The scientific fact is, and its been proven, it does! Besides, you would only be confirming your insanity if you say it aint nothing but a thing. Admit it sucks, just like a root canal or rush hour traffic or a younger incompetent boss who got his job because he’s the owner’s idiot nephew. All those things suck too and we’re not afraid to admit that. Sometimes things in life suck… But look at it like this. An amputation only involves bones, skin, muscles and tendons, that’s it. Its not the end of us and its certainly not a decapitation although I would argue that it could be necessary for some amongst us! And like every other challenge we’ll face that will suck as we get older, be it heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, hearing loss, cataracts, going nuts, fighting the nursing home staff, or peeing in a diaper which I actually think would suck worse than wearing a prosthetic leg, it won’t change us or who we are. That being the case, why do YOU let it change who you are? YOU are the only one who can determine how much of a role it will play in your life. It is something in your life that sucks. That’s it. Yes if we had to live with a prosthesis for 500 more years it would suck a little more, but given the fact I have 50 years left in me (do you feel my optimism?) in which time I’ll probably be so nutty that I won’t care how bad it sucks, I’m not about to piss away my life thinking about my days BEFORE my accident. Get on with life and the hell with it. Having an amputation can suck, but it’s better than being a bitter person who sucks!
I’ve only been an amputee for 8 1/2 year, but in that time I’ve altered or changed or had redone my socket dozens of times. And every time has been because I tell my prosthetics guy, Matt Hayden of Kentucky Prosthetics that something is not fitting right. Not only that though, I ask a lot of questions about fit and educate myself about the process; so well that I can adjust my own leg when need be. So why can’t those dang guys get it right the first time? Especially when they have made so many legs in the past? That’s because, just like each of us, no two amputations are the same. Some have scar tissue while others develop boney outcroppings, you get the point. That part, your body is going to do what it wants to do and there’s little control over that. BUT, what we do have control over is who we choose to take care our amp needs from here on out. If you have been an amp for over a year and your prosthetic people still don’t make you feel like family, that’s like being forced to sit next to your crazy uncle at Thanksgiving every year – you hate going but you got to be there! So why not find a place that actually cares about you, after all you’re going to be seeing them the rest if your days, that is of course unless your missing body part is growing back. Yes we trust the medical community and yes we hope most of the medical profession is in it to help others, however the truth is, there are a boat load of prosthetic companies that have no genuine interest in your life or what you have, other than the money you and your insurance or the government has to pay. Prosthetic companies should listen, they should be responsive in a timely fashion and they should strive to get you the best end product they can so you may function to as close to normal as before. If you CANNOT see or feel all three of those qualities, YOU need to fire them and find
Someone else. I bold the YOU, because it is solely up to you! Make this your year, you deserve it.
Check my amp brothers and sister later, Kevin Trees
I know as hard as it is to believe, with all the time I spend posting pictures of the life of my prosthetic, occasionally I must work a little here and there as a serious police sergeant because that is what you, the citizens of America pay me to do! Besides, its job security getting to chase criminals that the court system repeatedly lets out…
And for my fine friends in Europe who has kept up with my blog faithfully, I will continue to demonstrate to you why the western world is looked upon with curious eyes. Yes, it is true that most of us across that big swimming pool are crazy. Come see for yourself!
For my neighbors to the south, I want to thank you for also following everything I post on all those Spanish speaking sites on Facebook even though I’m not sure what the site is even for half the time. However, I do appreciate viewing the numerous pictures of your beautiful Spanish amputee women dressed in bikinis. Is that something they all wear down there?
A special shout out to my German relatives who my family left behind in the early 1700’s. I just wanted to let all of you know our name was changed by the bloody English colonist and now our last name is Trees, not Dries. Seems they couldn’t pronounce it very well. Anyway, we are doing well and, although we were broke as hell for the first few hundred years, we are enjoying America!
Peace to everyone,