I remember the first time I walked into Cheetah Gym after losing my right leg. I went to the gym before my prosthetic leg had even been constructed, using a walker and my one natural leg.
Another gym patron, named Whitley, saw me and said, presumably as a joke, "it looks like you lost something." If looks could kill, he would be dead now, I shot him a look of anger, disbelief and disgust. I then proceeded to tell him I did not think this whole thing was a joking matter. I continued to say in a very hostile manner, even if I wanted to hear jokes about my loss it would not be from the likes of someone like him, practically a stranger to me and obviously not a friend.
Well that occurred over four years ago and I am now able to see some of the humor in my situation. Finding humor and laughing about your predicament can really help to alleviate some of the stress you may feel and some of the uneasiness people feel when confronted with the disabled.
Just recently, I was talking to my sister, Rhonda, and she was about to tell me something really exciting so she said, "Are you sitting down?" We both laughed because a great deal of the time I am seated in my wheelchair.
In another conversation she and I were having, I was telling her about a friend of mine who is about to undergo a second knee replacement. Rhonda said, "I sure hope that doesn't happen to me." I responded that I knew it would never ever have to worry about knee replacements, again we both laughed about the irony of the situation.
My friend Ruthie and I have also had some humorous moments regarding my leg losses. One time she was here visiting, shortly after the loss of my first leg, when she overheard a phone conversation I was having, when for whatever reason, I said to the person I was talking to, "but I don't have a leg to stand on." Ruthie started laughing and I asked why are you laughing? She said think about what you just said.
Just the other day I was telling Ruthie about the loss of yet another friend of mine to cancer. I was explaining that I have a photograph of three people, two of whom have died of cancer, leaving only me. She said," I don't mean to be disrespectful and excuse the pun but are you the last man standing?" Forgive me if it sounds a little sick to find humor is such a scenario but the way she phrased it was funny, and we both laughed.
Lets face it when I am standing on those short legs which are completely disproportionate to my long torso and arms, it is funny looking, no two ways about it.
What has changed for me has been my ability to go with the flow, not get caught up in the seriousness of my condition, but rather see the humor in some of the things that are said or happen.
One of my closest friends, Steve, has said to me on numerous occasions, regarding someone who I had been having a rocky romantic relationship, "How hard is it to walk on eggshells without any legs?"
It goes on and on but you get my drift. I am now able to see humor, where there once was self-consciousness and embarrassment, I can laugh about it most of the time.
If I had to choose between laughing and crying about my unfortunate leg losses, I am glad I chose laughter.
After all they say, "Laughter is the best medicine." and besides I have saved a fortune on shoes and socks.
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