Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Utilizing All of Your "Tools"

When I was at the prosthetist's office a couple of weeks ago, Jason, my prosthetist, and I were having a discussion and we wound up talking about how amputees sometimes end up using all of their various walking aids to help them accomplish whatever is needed at that time to get the job done.

For example, I use my long legs when I drive, I walk with my walker and long legs from my wheelchair to my car and get in. When I climb stairs, I use my short legs because climbing stairs in my long legs is not possible for me at this time.

If I have to cover a long distance or if time and  or fatigue enter the picture, I resort to using my wheelchair.

For a long time I felt as if I needed to use only one "tool," namely my short legs, and as a consequence of that feeling, I began to have guilt about not utilizing them as much as perhaps I should.

The fact of the matter is, as it turns out, that it is the combination of the canes, the walker, the shortlegs, the long legs and the wheelchair that seem to enable me to do the most various of tasks, choosing the appropriate tools suited to the appropriate job at hand.

As stated previously, this whole life as an amputee is an ever-evolving event. As time goes by, we as amputees, figure out what works best for each of us as individuals and also what means of ambulation we will use.

I feel blessed to have at my disposal all of the tools I need to accomplish most things I set out to do. I think this realization, which has taken a long time to arrive, has taught me that there is no right or wrong way to accomplishment, which then allows me to continue down my path to autonomy.

Last week I stained the balcony deck of the condo unit above mine. I knew I would not be able to do it in my long, and sometimes cumbersome, legs, nor would I be able to use my wheelchair, except as a means to get upstairs.

I donned my short legs and sat on the balcony deck and did my work. That seemingly simple job, staining a small deck, gave me a real feeling of accomplishment, in addition to earning a little money.

Sometimes what should have been a simple realization can take a long time to manifest itself. My ephipheny of sorts, was that using all of the tools available to me to accomplish various things is the simplest and most efficient way to live my life.

Let me make just one qualifying statement regarding my new realization, that is: just because I choose to use my short legs or wheelchair or whaever to accomplish a certain task, does not preclude me from continuing to try to improve my usage of the long legs and never give up on my goal of walking proficiently on them.

If you are new to this whole "life as an amputee" world it would behoove you to broaden your horizons and realize there is no right or wrong way to accomplishment.

Whatever means you use to reach a particular goal is perfectly fine. Don't get caught up in the method you used to complete a task, as I did, but rather, rejoice in the fact you dared to do something and you got it done.

It is certainly better to utilize whatever means that are necessary to perpetuate self-sufficiency than it is to do nothing at all and become dependant on others for everything. At least, that is the way I see it.

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