Artwork by Millie Saunders
All the questions below have been put to me during my years as an amputee, either in person, via a comment on my social media or by direct message.
Don’t worry about me being upset if a question seems offensive or in bad taste, I’m pretty thick skinned and have already consented that they can be as weird or (potentially) offensive as you like.
Please understand that these are all my own personal opinions and experiences, I cannot speak for every single amputee out there.
Do you enjoy being an amputee?
That is a heavy one. I think the basic answer would be no, I do not enjoy it particularly. There may be a few tricks I can play on friends and family members because of it but that doesn’t really make up for what I’ve lost.
Saying that, it doesn’t mean I actively don’t like being an amputee either. I won’t mope around all day thinking about how upset I am that I’m missing a leg. I’ve gotten to a point now that, while of course there are times it still upsets me, it doesn’t overshadow my general day to day life. It is what it is and unless there is a Spider Man villain out there performing experiments to re-grow limbs, it’s how I’m gonna stay.
If someone told you that you could go back to before you lost your leg and keep it this time, would you?
If I hadn’t lost my leg then I probably wouldn’t have ended up joining the theatre. Which would mean that I would never have been involved in all the great shows that I’ve been a part of or met all the incredible friends I’ve made there.
If I hadn’t done these shows, and therefore never met these people, then I probably wouldn’t have got to know the friend who introduced me to a lovely young lady one day during a rehearsal.
If I hadn’t met that young lady I couldn`t have asked her to join me for dinner one day.
If we hadn`t had dinner that day then it’s possible that we wouldn’t have gotten married at the beginning of this year.
So no, for all the things I’ve done, the friends I’ve made but most importantly for my wife, I wouldn’t go back.
Does the remainder of your amputated leg have any uses?
The remainder of my leg, called the residual limb or “stump” does have a use. My prosthetic leg is attached to a socket which fits onto my stump. There are a few ways this can work.
I have a silicon liner which I roll on to it every morning (not fun in the colder months) and then I pull on a rubber seal. Next I slip the socket on to my stump and it uses a vacuum held by the seal and a one way valve to keep my prosthesis from falling off.
For my more sporty activities, I use an alternative set up which requires a liner that has a metal pin attached, this pin clips into a device at the base of my socket and is then tightened, usually using a spare 2 pence piece.
Just like pulling on a sock, eh?
This one is more solid and but the vacuum socket is more comfortable for every day stuff.
Is there a difference in wearing shorts and longer trousers?
As regards my walking, there is no difference. People have asked if my trousers ever get caught in the knee and while I see how that is certainly possible, it’s not a problem I’ve ever encountered.
I mostly wear shorts simply for ease of access. Sometimes, my stump will become painful, get really itchy, or just start to overheat. If I’m wearing trousers then getting at my leg means dropping them but with shorts, especially baggy ones, I can just slip it off, deal with the problem, and then slip it on again.
Are you allowed to enter a three legged race?
I am indeed. In fact what I do is find someone with their left leg missing and we make the perfect team. Just a smooth, natural running pattern but one of us must sling our prosthesis over our shoulder to satisfy the rule.
If you have any burning questions of your own, drop them down in the comments and keep an eye out for the answers in future posts…