Feb 13

All In The Day Of An Amputee

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Statements that only a leg amputee would say.

I was discussing the process of learning to walk with my prosthetic leg and talking about how I would not be able to wear it all day at first. I say:

“I will have to take my leg off and carry it home.”

One day while sitting on the examining table, waiting for my prosthesis to come back with my leg, there was a knock on the door. A man opened the door and asked if my prosthesis was there. I respond:

“No, he is fixing my leg somewhere.”

This was a text response to my wife. She had text me to see what my afternoon plan was. I was currently at my prosthesis picking up my first leg and then heading to the gym for my training secession. I was leaving the prosthetist office with my leg on for the first time and there was no way I was training with it on at that point. My responding text read:

“I will need to stop home for gym clothes. And to take off my leg, I guess.”

This statement came from a discussion on how I was going to air travel, as an amputee, for the first time. I didn’t want to wear my leg on the plane and I didn’t want to risk it getting lost checking as luggage.

“I need a carry-on bag that my leg will fit in.”

This statement was said to me during a conversation while I was struggling to get accustomed to the prosthetic.

“Just keep working on being an awesome one-legged guy.”

We were having hot water tank problems, so while on the phone with the heating and cooling company, they asked me a question that required looking at the hot water tank. Without giving it a thought, I say:

“I don’t have my leg on, so it will take me a few minutes.”

By the confused response he gave, I realized he had no idea I was an amputee.


As I skied by two small kids, one says to the other:

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“Look, that man only has one leg.”
The friend responds:

“That’s because he lost the other one.” (Do you think it is lying on the hill somewhere?)

I was standing in front of the ski lodge on my one ski and outriggers when a man says to me:

“Looks like you are having fun, I love to do that.” (What, cut your leg off and ski?)

I pass two little girls on the stairs. One girl says to the other:

“Look at that man.”
The other girl responds:
“He lost his foot.” (I hope I find it some day!)

Amputee skiing benefit: You don’t have to worry about crossing your ski tips and you never end up with your skis tangled during a wipeout.


My 4-year-old niece is messing around with me when she stops with a confused look on her face and says:

“Uncle Darryl, why do you have two feet?”

I was wearing my prosthesis.

She also has referred to it as my “toy leg.”

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Taking a spinning class and learning to ride my bike.

This text came after having my leg fall off during my first spinning class I took. The dilemma: How do I keep my leg from falling off?

Me: “Please sign me into spin for Friday. In the meantime I will purchase a roll of duct tape!”

My Trainer: “Remind me tomorrow, I think it’s 24 hours in advance.
The gorilla tape actually seems even stronger, lol.”

This text was after I fell off my bike and rotated my foot.

“Wait until you hear my biking story – luckily you can fix a fake leg with an Allen wrench!”

“The good news is that I can pedal a bike, I just have to figure out how to keep the leg on.”

At the gym

A random guy at the gym stops and says:

“Wow, I didn’t know you had a bionic leg! That’s great! Can you run?”
(He was trying to say that just by watching me walk you would never know I had a prosthetic leg, but he made it sound like a prosthetic leg was better than a real one.)

Anther guy stops me to say:

“My son calls you Iron Man. I thought you might like to tell your friends that.”

As a personal trainer I am currently a team captain of a transformation challenge team. The slogan on the back of my team’s tee shirt:

“We have a leg up on the competition!”

PicMonkey Collage.jpgbbb

I will leave you with more of a funny story.

While sitting at PF Changs having dinner, the waitress comes by to fill our water glasses. Suddenly she realizes that she was pouring water onto my (fake) foot instead of in my glass. She panics and start apologizing profusely. I say:

“Not a problem, it isn’t real, I can’t feel a thing,” while pulling up my pant leg.

I’m not certain, but I think she might have given up waitressing after that.

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Jan 22

Change Your Life By Setting Goals

happy2016Forget New Year’s resolutions – set SMART goals for yourself instead. Ever since I can remember, December 31st through the first weeks of January all you hear about is New Year’s resolutions. My New Year’s resolution is … What’s yours? New Year’s resolutions most often are just statements made on New Year’s Eve. We make New Year’s resolutions while we are caught up in the excitement of the new year. Rarely have I observed a commitment to actually putting in the work and effort needed to make a positive change from a simple New Year’s resolution. Indeed, somewhere throughout the month of January the aggressive statement made in the excitement of the new year is forgotten.

In the gym, January seems to be the month to work out. The gym is flooded with people who made their New Year’s resolution to get their bodies in shape. There’s nothing wrong with that, and maybe a small percent will actually achieve it. As a trainer I hope to convert some of these resolutions into lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, the majority of these people will show up, play around on the exercise equipment for a few weeks, see no results and give up by March.

Why will the majority of the New Year’s Resolution gym-goers give up?
They made it a New Year’s resolution, not a lifestyle commitment.
1. A New Year’s resolution to get in better physical shape is too broad, and therefore not attainable.
2. After a few weeks, no results were felt or seen.
3. No time; couldn’t fit it into their schedule.

Living a healthier lifestyle needs to be a habit, not a New Year’s resolution. To commit to living a healthier lifestyle you need to break it down into attainable goals. You need to set goals and then meet each goal so you can reap the rewards of feeling and seeing results. It is then that exercise becomes a healthy life habit, not just a resolution.

How to Set Fitness Goals

While you want to set your goals high, it is important to be realistic when setting them. In other words, your long-term goal might be high, however you should start by breaking that goal down into smaller goals that will eventually get you to the long-term goal. You want to challenge yourself, but if the goals are unrealistic they will lead to failure or injury. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART Goals).

Specific: Goals need to be clear and direct. Fifteen push-ups with proper form is a clear goal.
Measurable: Fifteen push-ups is measurable. You will know when the goal has been accomplished.
Attainable: Fifteen push-ups is most likely attainable. 275 lb deadlifts would not be attainable for that same person.
Realistic: Completing a 5K is realistic, while running a marathon is much more difficult. While running the marathon might be your long-term goal, the 5k will be attainable in a shorter amount of time. So focus on the 5K, not the marathon.
Timely: While 275 deadlifts and running a marathon might be long-term goals, they need to be broken down into small steps. Accomplishing goals in a short period of time will make you feel successful.

When goals are reached in a short period of time you will feel accomplished and empowered to continue to reach for higher goals.

The following are my top picks of goals that will change your life.

Focus on the psychological benefits of exercise, not what you see
We all know that exercise is associated with weight loss and better physical health. The problem is that just knowing that isn’t necessarily going to get us to the gym. The best motivator comes from the psychological benefits physical activity has. These psychological benefits will ultimately make exercise a habit.

Exercises builds muscle strength, boosts endurance and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. By adding regular physical activity into your daily routine you will make your daily living much easier.

Our bodies have something called endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that reduce pain and affect our mood. Physical activity stimulates these chemicals and can make you feel happier and more relaxed.

Exercise is an antidepressant. Research has shown that exercise can stimulate the growth of neurons in the brain that depression damages. Doing sustained vigorous exercises three times a week can actually work as effectively as taking antidepressants.

You need to feel the high. High-intensity exercise can leave you on a natural high better than any drug you could ever take. If you are willing to push yourself in a high-intensity workout or push your limits to accomplish higher physical goals, you will leave the gym feeling amazing. It is then that you start to feel euphoric and exercise becomes addictive.

The primary goal needs to be to adopt a new lifestyle that includes regular exercise. In order to do this you must feel the psychological results of exercise. It is then that you can start to sculpt your body by changing body composition.

Get out of your comfort zone
If you enter the gym and head off to the treadmill for a half hour and then spend the next half hour on a few weight machines, exercise will become mundane. Not only that, but you will most likely not see or feel the results you are looking for. So you give up. Instead, make your workouts fun and interesting. Get out of your comfort zone, try new classes, leave the machines and learn new ways to workout. TRX, bodyweight exercise, boxing, battle ropes, box jumps, tire flips or circuit training are all good ways to mix it up and get the most out of your workouts. Your body will also respond better to adding different things to your workout regime.

Set yourself a goal of stepping out of your comfort zone and learning a new workout.

Master one skill at a time
Depending on where you are physically, the goal can start out small. It could be mastering a sit-up, running a quarter mile on the treadmill, holding a plank for 20 seconds or a small box jump. What is important is that you work to meet the goal and then challenge yourself to a new, more difficult goal.

Make fitness a part of your routine
The number one reason people give for not exercising is “no time”.

We all have busy lives, however we find time to have our cars maintained, our homes maintained and yards maintained, yet we don’t find the time to maintain our most important asset: our bodies. Turn your workout into the time you carve out of your day for yourself. That hour of the day will pay off in spades for you, your friends and your family. Turn your stress, anger and frustrations into fuel you burn at the gym. The results will be a happier, healthier, more productive and well-maintained you. If I am having a crappy day or feeling down, I head for the gym and put myself through a strenuous workout. I leave the gym with sweat pouring off me, my heart rate elevated and exhausted, but at the same time I feel exhilarated and like a new man.

Train for an event
One of the best ways I have found to set goals and achieve them is to sign up for an event. If I sign up for a challenging event I become determined to do whatever it takes to successfully complete it.
I signed up for the Tour-de-Cure, a bike ride event that benefits the American Diabetes Association, even though I had not yet given biking with the prosthetic leg a try. The two months leading up to the ride I spent pushing myself and training to complete a 30-mile bike ride. I did the same after signing up for the TRX certification course and the Warrior Dash.

Find a 5K and sign up a few months in advance, then spend those six weeks training for the race. After you experience the exhilaration of finishing the event you worked so hard training for, it might just become a fitness habit.

challengeMake 2016 the year you throw out the New Year’s resolutions and change your life. Make living a healthy lifestyle a habit by setting SMART fitness goals. The best way to start is to join a gym and work with a personal trainer. A personal trainer will help you set your fitness goals, ensure you are exercising properly and motivate you to continue.

Set goals for yourself all year long, not just in January.

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Nov 30

One-Legged Personal Trainer

I am super excited to begin a new chapter of my life. Tomorrow, I will start my new job as a personal trainer.

The gym that I belong to, which has been a huge part of my life for the past year, uses the phrase “reinVENT yourself” as its motto. The VENT comes from the name of the gym being VENT Fitness. The phrase refers to making positive changes in your life through exercise. I never really gave the phrase much thought until recently, mainly because I have spent the past ten weeks participating in the reinVENT challenge. In thinking about the past ten weeks, it occurred to me how fitting the idea of “reinVENT yourself” has been for the past year of my life.

IMG_1610I am 50 years old, have a balding head and one foot in the grave (literally). Yet I feel as if I am getting younger, not older. Physically and mentally I feel healthy, young and ready to take on the many challenges of life. This is not how I felt a year ago and it didn’t happen by chance. It took a true commitment to exercise, diet and grueling workouts that challenged my whole body. It also took determination, putting the work in and never cheating myself.

What kept me going back? The harder I worked out in the gym, the better I felt leaving the gym. Soon my body craved the workouts. My mind craved the challenge and my life outside the gym became easier. The gym became the hour of the day I carved out for me. The place I released the problems of the day and unleashed any negativity of the day. If something or someone had upset me that day, I jumped higher, slammed the medicine ball harder, perfected a new trick and left the gym feeling like a new man.

Life brings about so many challenges. They come in many different forms, and I don’t believe anyone is truly spared from life’s challenges. My challenge was learning to live with an amputation, my lower left leg. I had two choices: to feel sorry for myself or to get off the couch and live. I chose to live, to not let the loss of my leg stop me from accomplishing anything I wanted to do. So I went to work setting physical goals and putting the determination and work necessary into meeting each of them.

It was in November of 2014, six weeks after becoming a below-knee amputee, when I tookIMG_0862 on the challenge of becoming a strong, fit and capable one-legged guy. I signed on with Holly as my personal trainer. I had no idea what I would accomplish, but Holly joined me, guided me and pushed me in an incredible adventure. An adventure with an outcome I don’t think anyone could have ever predicted. The more Holly pushed, the more I challenged myself, the easier my daily life as an amputee became. Holly and I were a perfect team. I would say, “I want to do a box jump someday” and Holly immediately provided the box and said, “What are you waiting for?” Before I knew it I was leaping on 30” boxes, flipping tires, planking on two medicine balls and signing up for physical challenges outside the gym that I had no idea how to achieve. With each one of them I grew into the person who could accomplish them and reaped the rewards of victory.

Just as life seemed to have leveled off, a new challenge was thrown on me. Two years ago I took my first desk job. I trained and focused on a desk job due to my leg and the need for crutches to walk. The job served its propose. It got me back into the work force, gave me confidence and provided income. However, in the past year I had outgrown the job. My life went back to being physical and active, and no longer required being strapped to a desk eight hours a day. However, it was safe and an area of my life I didn’t want to disrupt. Unfortunately, the position was grant funded, the grant money ran out and no new grants could be secured. This meant I was once again out of a job.

The phone call was devastating. How could this be? How could I possible find the strength to start over and find a job yet again? Fifty-year-old men should be long invested in their careers, have job security and be saving for retirement, not picking up the pieces from lost jobs every few years and starting over. Unfortunately, my circumstances haven’t allowed for that, and as my supervisor stated, “I am not worried about you. You are a survivor, you will figure this out, push forward and be okay. That is who you are.” So that is what I will do.

While I immediately went to work applying to every job I could find and went to several interviews, the jobs were all low-paying dead-end positions. Jobs I knew I would once again outgrow and which had no growth potential. The answer to what I should do seemed crystal clear. So I decided to view this as a positive opportunity to follow my heart and once again do a job I could be passionate about and help others in. It all fell together as if it were meant to be. I will be joining VENT Fitness as a personal trainer.

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 5.13.53 PMThe most rewarding part of my fitness journey has been having the ability to inspire people to get out and make improvements in their own lives. With the loss of my leg I have gained an incredible gift – the awesome ability to teach people that it doesn’t matter what challenges life has thrown at you, you can accomplish anything you want with determination and hard work.

Now it will be my turn to guide and push others through their journeys to overcome their life challenges and improve their lives. It doesn’t matter if it they are a sixty-year-old person who has spent the past decade sedentary and now needs to improve their health, an overweight person looking to lose weight, or another amputee searching for their independence. The research is clear that regular physical exercise can improve their health and wellbeing. I am the living example that you can overcome your challenges and of how physical exercise can improve our lives.

Though physical fitness my life has truly been transformed. A little over a year ago I was living a life of pain, surgeries and disability. I became an amputee looking for normalcy and physically independence. I am now a healthy, strong, confident man, living a highly active life and starting a new career as a one-legged personal trainer. I’m living it and it still blows my mind! My journey will continue by helping others to overcome their challenges and meet their goals. Using VENT Fitness’s phrase, I will be guiding others to “reinVENT” themselves.

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Nov 07

The Jury Is In On My Foot!

“Left foot, Left foot, Left foot, Right…
In the house,
and on the street
how many, many
feet you meet.
Up in the air feet,
Over a chair feet.
More and more feet
Twenty-four feet
Here come
more and more…………..
……….and more feet!
Left foot. Right foot.
Feet. Feet. Feet.
Oh, how many
feet you meet!” Dr. Seuss

IMG_0776Right foot, Right foot, Ossur foot? That’s right – in my house, on my street and in my town, my Ossur foot is the interesting foot that you might meet. People are always quite impressed with it and I get a kick out of showing it off. They are intrigued with its techy, gadget look that is unlike any other prosthetic leg they have seen. And it’s when I do my little dance to show the range of motion my Re-Flex Shock has that they get impressed. If they are lucky I do a few squat jumps just to show off a bit.

I have now had my Ossur foot for about two months and it has changed how I walk with my prosthesis dramatically. I roll through my steps effortlessly. It’s an amazing feeling that I am so grateful for and will never take for granted.

Prosthetic legs are expensive, and insurance only pays for one at a time. So I wanted a foot that would give me good function for all my activities. Or the best possible you could get in one foot. I needed it to offer the best vertical shock absorption for high-impact activities and still function for basic walking. Therefore, I did my research and found the foot that I felt was best for my highly active life.

Here are the magic words that convinced me that this was the right foot: “Re-Flex Shock with EVO offers the best vertical shock absorption of all the Össur mechanical feet. With dynamic energy return and all around responsiveness the foot is a great choice for active users. The composite spring in front provides optimal shock absorption that reduces impact subjected to the body. Enhancing both control and comfort during walking and other activities. This is a real heavy-duty foot for all sorts of activities and high-impact sports” (taken from Ossur website).

I had read the specifications on many prosthetic feet, and the Re-Flex Shock was the one that kept standing out in my mind. I also watched videos of different people discussing their feet and demonstrating what they could do. While all very impressive, the video that struck me the most was one that featured a Re-Flex Shock user called Jim Bonney. Jim heads up a unique rehab organization for amputees called Adventure Rehab (www.adventurerehab.co.uk). By the way, someday I would love start a similar organization. He was living without limits and doing it all on his Re-Flex Shock foot. The vision that kept playing in my head was watching him running through the woods, leaping on and off logs, rocks, and any obstacle that was in his way. As I watched the video over and over, I could see and feel myself running through that woods. It reminded me of how I once navigated the wilderness and I yearned to do again.

With my research in my pocket, I arrived in my prosthetist’s office for my new leg fitting appointment and pulled out my document where I had compared three high-end prosthetic feet; my prosthetist’s go-to foot, the Re-Flex Shock and another comparable foot. He couldn’t argue with what it said about the Re-Flex Shock and agreed that I would not be able run through the woods jumping over logs with the foot he was recommending. A few weeks later I was the first patient to ever walk out of his office with the Re-Flex Shock.

IMG_1467Two months in, I absolutely love my Re-Flex Shock foot. It has made walking so much more natural and comfortable. Walking was something I never thought I would enjoy again. Now with my Re-Flex Shock foot I walk a mile or two each day during my afternoon break and very much enjoy it. I roll through my steps effortlessly and am able to maintain a natural gait. With pants on, people have no idea that I don’t have two natural feet. How it looks is good, but it is the function that is important and that is what I love.

A negative of prosthetic legs is that the foot and ankle are ridged, heavy and have no energy. When you step you get no response or shock resistance, which puts stress on the residual leg. It also makes a natural gait difficult to achieve, putting stress on the sound leg. My foot is energized by EVO (Energy Vector Optimization). EVO controls how the ground reaction force is transferred to the prosthetic foot. It’s sort of like the mechanics of your natural foot helping reduce stress on your leg, knee and hip as you step, absorbing the impact of the ground. This enables an amputee to develop a natural gait, which reduces future problems with the sound leg. When they say it has “dynamic energy return and all-around responsiveness”, they are not kidding. It really does. In fact there are times when I feel like it is alive. One of my favorite experiences with it is when I’m doing something that requires standing for a while, like everyone else I transfer weight from one foot to the other. As I transfer weight over on to my prosthetic, the foot/ankle shifts and adjust. It is an amazing feeling that always makes me smile.

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 4.38.08 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-07 at 4.37.32 PMWhile outside walking I can go from smooth surfaces to rough irregular surfaces without giving it a thought. Concrete to grass to gravel, and the foot makes all the adjustments. I can go from flat surface to incline without missing a step. I can walk slow, fast, climb stairs and break into a run. At the gym, I can do jumping jacks, squat jumps, and throw boxing punches and kicks with no ill effects from the impact. I have even run up to three miles with my Re-Flex Shock. I am happy to say that it really does meet all my needs, and best of all it makes walking so much more pleasurable. For serious running I will still need a running blade, but I believe my Ossur Re-Flex Shock foot is as close to a natural foot and ankle I can get.

My prosthesist has even stated while watching me walk, “Wow, that foot really does do everything Ossur says it does.” The Re-Flex Shock has been the final piece to restoring my active life.

Having the ability to walk on two feet is an incredible thing. Every day I am grateful that I have been given the gift of walking again. Thank you Ossur!

Disclaimer – The Re-Flex Shock foot is wonderful and everything I said is true. However, please don’t misunderstand, it is still only part of the prosthesis. It is not a natural leg and no matter how advanced the foot is, there will still be stump discomfort after wearing it all day. I am comparing prosthetics to prosthetics, not to a natural leg and foot. The Re-Flex Shock has given me the ability to be more active, work the leg harder and walk for longer periods of time with a whole lot less discomfort.

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Oct 18

“Don’t Leave Home Without It”

Two tubes of cream, a couple extra socks and several sheets of paper towels. “Don’t leave home without it.” The messy side of wearing a prosthesis.

IMG_0840No complaints, the prosthetic has certainly improved my life. I can’t deny that being able to walk around with it is an incredible thing. It all looks good to the onlookers and most people react like all my problems are over when seeing me walk. And with my pant leg down, others have quickly forgotten I am an amputee. Yet what they don’t realize is what goes on behind the scenes just for a leg amputee to walk.

The leg itself is easy to slip on – it’s the liner that requires the messy work.

My liner is a custom state-of-the-art liner made by Ottobock. It was made just for me using a cast of my stump. Once on, it fits like a second skin and is quite comfortable for what it is. However, problems can creep up, and if you don’t follow the necessary protocol, things can go downhill very quickly.

Donning the liner involves the following steps:

Apply cream on stump

Apply cream on stump



Turn liner inside out

Turn liner inside out






Step 1. Apply cream to stump liberally. Without the cream the skin will get abrasions.
Step 2. Turn the liner inside out.

Add cream

Add cream

Step 3. Squirt cream down into the liner while still inside out (outside is the inside at this point). Then manipulate the liner so the entire outside is covered. Liner against liner creates too much friction to allow the liner to roll on without using the cream as lubricant.
Step 4. Position the end of the liner on the end of the stump, with the blue dots lined up with the tibia on the front of stump.

Step 5. Roll the liner onto stump.

Roll liner on

Roll liner on

Step 6. Then use a towel to clean off the cream on the outsideof the liner.
Step 7. Add sock/socks and always carry an extra sock with you. The stump volume can shrink as you go through the day.

By the time the leg is on I have used two different creams. The quality one that Ottobock recommends goes between skin and liner, so I don’t want to mess around with a cheaper substitute. For the cream that is used as a lubricant on the outside of the liner, I find the most inexpensive cream I can, so I don’t waste the good stuff. I have used three or four sheets of paper towels to clean up the cream and ultimately end up with cream on my clothing or the surrounding furniture. Yes, my wife has learned where to stock up on the cheapest paper towels. They don’t need to absorb, as they are only used to wipe off the cream from the outside of the liner. I’ve successfully used toilet paper in the men’s room.

The following stories are two examples of my behind-the-scenes liner troubles.

Flatulence sounds during the meeting

My leg adjustment station!

My leg adjustment station!

One morning while in a meeting, I could feel air bubbles creeping up my stump between my skin and the prosthetic liner. I didn’t think much about it as this is a common thing. It was when I got up and took a couple steps to help my boss with the computer that things got awkward. Each time I put weight down air was dispersed from the liner, making a loud flatulence sound. To avoid further humiliation I sort of hopped back to my seat, not bearing weight down on the prosthetic. As soon as the meeting ended and the room cleared, I made my way to my desk, grabbed my tubes of cream and an extra sock, then made a beeline towards the men’s room. Each step of the way I could feel the air bubbling in the liner as it was being expelled, transmitting farting sounds. Entering the men’s room I grabbed three or four paper towels and headed for the nearest stall. I was now sitting on the toilet with my pants down around my ankles, as I can’t access the leg with pants on, removing my leg. After ascertaining that the liner was no longer on properly, I roll it off the stump while the warm milky liquid (sweat/cream mixture) pours out onto the paper towel I have placed on the floor to catch the mess. I now need to get this slimy, sticky, grossly-warm liner back onto the stump. Honestly, the warm combination of sweat and cream is repulsive even for me to touch. I pull the tube of cream from my pocket and squirt some down in the liner. Next I place the liner in position and attempt to roll it onto my stump. This is like trying to catch a greased pig. My hands are slimy and the part of the liner I have to touch is gloopy, so this is no easy task. Finally, when the liner is correctly placed, I take a few more paper towels to wipe the cream off the outside of the liner. I then don the prosthetic sock and place my stump down into the socket of the leg. After the sleeve is pulled up, I pull my pants up, buckle up my belt and exit the stall. As I emerge from the stall any other man in the men’s room assumes I was just doing my business. They hadn’t a clue I’d just spent ten minutes perched on a toilet making leg adjustments just so I could walk.

Sloshing through the gym

I feel her pain!

I feel her pain!

Now that I have my definitive leg and it is comfortable for activity beyond walking, I have branched out by taking some new classes at the gym. The two classes I have taken up are Boxing Boot Camp and Strike. Both of these classes combine boxing with bodyweight exercises. The classes are pretty intense and the sweat that comes off my body could solve the California drought. Strike involves going through a series of stations. Each station lasts for thirty seconds and alternates boxing moves and bodyweight exercises on the floor. So for a half hour I am up and down, up and down, up and down with a 20-second rest here and there. When the class is over I look as if I have been standing in the rain. As I leave the room dripping in sweat, I feel my stump slipping in the liner. With each step it feels as if I have a rubber boot on that is filled with a couple inches of water. All the way to the locker room I am gingerly walking, sloshing in the liner with every step. Panicked that the slipping will cause blisters, I didn’t want to wait until I got home to fix the problem. I am also without my tubes of cream, causing me fear that if I took the liner off, I would not get it back on. I would then be hopping on one leg all the way to my car. So I sat on a bench in the locker room, took off the leg, and saw that the liner had slipped down about two inches. Without cream or paper towels available (hand blowers), I did the best I could to remedy the situation. I took my hands and pressed against the liner, moving from the bottom to the top. This acted as a squeegee, pushing the moisture up out of the liner while moving it back into place. I managed to get it fixed enough to don the leg again and get home. We won’t talk about the puddles left on the locker room carpet. I departed the locker room and no one in the gym had any idea of the dilemma I’d spent ten fifteen minutes creatively resolving just to walk.

I have no complaints; in fact, when I tell these stories I punch them up and use expression to make them entertaining. I also understand that when people see me walking, what looks to be natural and with the prosthetic covered by my pant leg, it is easy to forget. What never ceases to amuse me are the comments and reactions I’ve received from people that make it seem like a “miracle” has occurred and the leg has grown back.

The advancements in prosthetics have certainly changed my life, but having a prosthetic leg is not a luxury. It is a necessary tool we use so we can walk just like everyone else. The prosthetic doesn’t create the “miracle” – your attitude does.

It’s all good as long as I don’t leave home without my two tubes of cream, a couple of extra socks and several sheets of paper towels.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to find the humor in your life dilemmas!

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