Friday, October 21, 2005


Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, has been telling me that swimming would be the best exercise I could be doing for myself.

What does the physical therapist say will help strengthen the correct muscles groups ?:
What does the physiatrist say will help with swelling and circulation ?:
What does the acupuncturist say will keep my "Chi flowing" ?:
What will keep my hip socket open, avoiding contractures ?:
What’s the best aerobic workout I could create for myself ?:
What will help me develop core stability ?:

All roads lead to swimming. Alright people, I get it.
And I've finally made it to the pool.

I’ve been hemming & hawing about it for a long time, mainly because I know for a fact that I can talk myself out of a regular swim routine verrrrrry easily. Way too many excuses readily available.

“I don’t want to swim laps today because (insert) ….”
* Ewww, I don’t want to smell like chlorine.
* it’s cold outside and my head will be wet when I leave. I don’t want to get sick.
* I don’t have my things packed up.
* it's too far to drive. Too much traffic. Parking sucks.
* the sky is falling.

Add to this list the fact that I started checking out pool options just for kicks and giggles, and I could only find pools that were about 20 minutes away in morning traffic with no parking, and the rest were private clubs that were well out of my price range.

But guess what. I happened to be cruising around the other day and noticed a public pool in my neighborhood that I didn’t even know was there before. It’s actually on the campus of a high school, but it’s serving as the public pool while the old public pool building is being retrofitted (it’s been closed 4 years, and they just gained funding for construction…and guess what...there was a fire in part of the building two days ago). In other words, I've got awhile here at this pool to get a routine established.

Anyhow, this place is affordable at only $2.20 a swim (while the next closest pool is $5.50—yikes). It’s about 5 minutes away on city streets, there’s a huge parking lot, and the hours of the lap swim pretty much work for me. And it’s a really nice pool! I scoped the place out on Wednesday, then I went back today to buy a 30 visit pass and take my first swim.

Now, I used to swim competitively as a kid. But it’s been a looooong time. Like about 30 years, a long time (daaang, I'm gettin' old). Since I lost my leg, I have been in water and have paddled around, but this was my first real crack at actual laps. Aside from being out of shape and needing to catch my breath between passes, I did pretty darn good! I only did about 1/3 of a mile, but I think that’s a good start for a first day out. I found I drift out of my lane a little bit because having one leg makes me steer funny, but after awhile, I figured out how to use my arms or the cupping of my hands to compensate. I also used a fin on my sound leg.

One lady came over and asked me how long I’d been swimming, and when I told her it was my first day in years, she was impressed. As it turns out, she’s a retired swim teacher, and she used to teach a class for amputees and people with spinal cord injuries. She had some neat ideas about finding my center while floating and sculling in different positions. Then later on another lady came up to me and told me that I had a really strong backstroke, and that I must have been developing it for a long time…HA!

Anyhow. I guess swimming is like riding a bike.
Or in my case, like learning to ride a unicycle ;-)

Friday, October 07, 2005


This could have been me.

Monday, October 03, 2005

pc for prosthetists

Well, I have to tell that I have a disability, I have been exposed to a whole new sub-set of PC Lingo.

In fact, there is a fine example!
I'm not disabled, you see.....oh no, no, no....I have a disability.
Glad they cleared that up for me.

Well, at some point I'll do a longer post of some of the terms and labels people have shared with me lately....cuz it's a riot. I'm just dreading the hate mail I'm bound to get. I'm really not entitled to comment on what it's like to be disabled, you know. Being that I still have one leg that functions and it's assumed I will walk with a prosthesis someday, I'm not really disabled like a real disabled person. Oh, and I've only "had this condition" for a year and a half, so what do I know. Right? Riiiiiiiight.'s the PC term my new medical team has been throwing around:

"soft tissue"

What they are referring to is my "big fat ass". But they just can't come out and say that, now can they?!

See, what happens (in my very layman's terms) when you are an Above the Knee Amputee (AKA) , is that there is suddenly this huge need to locate your "ischeal tuberosity" (looove that word--we use it in my dance class), more commonly known as your "sit bone". When you are fit for the socket portion of your posthesis (the part that goes over your remaining thigh), your sit bone will end up resting on this little shelf that is built into the upper lip of the socket. This is important, because it is onto this little shelf that the bulk of your weight should be going, rather than your weight dropping straight down into your remaning femur and into the bottom of the socket. It's also important that your sit bone make a nice solid contact with this little shelf, because it will make it easier to control the leg when you walk. SO. The prosthetist really needs to know exactly where your sit bone is. Which means they poke at your bumm. Which means that f you have a big fat ass (Oh! *ahem* pardon me!!!), I mean, if you have a lot of "soft tissue," then they realllllly have to poke at your bumm to find it.

So what I get is, "So, you's a bit more of a challenge to contain the sit bone in a person with soft tissue..."
Aye aye aye.
So what you mean is it's hard to get me fitted because my butt is big.
Don't crack me up!!
It's BIG because I've been SITTING ON IT for 18 months now waiting to get PROPERLY FITTED. Argh.

I keep thinking about that stupid little phrase you see in those catalogs full of know, the little needle-point wall hangings with the sheep that says "Ewes not fat! Ewes fluffy!!".
Makes me want to knit up something that says:
My butt's not not big! It's soft tissue! t-shirt??

Ooooo. Maybe a toilet paper commercial!!:
Soft tissue for your soft tissue!

I know.
Don't quit my day job.

Oh yeah.
I don't even have one right now.