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.
Are there any unexpected benefits to having a prosthetic leg?
It is a pretty good icebreaker when meeting new people. You know what it’s like in those awkward first few moments when you’re trying to suss out each other. I drop in a quick quip about my prosthesis and that opens the floor for a conversation.
Physically though, there are no benefits over having my own leg. Everything I do requires not just more effort but careful planning. If I need to perform on stage over four days of shows then I must wear my leg less frequently as first night approaches to avoid last minute chafing or other damage and make sure I can afford to stay off it for the following week or two.
Do you ever get tired from all the questions or do you prefer questions over awkward situations where people avoid talking about it at all costs?
I always prefer people being upfront and asking questions, though it is amusing whenever I see someone slyly trying to look at my leg while thinking I won’t notice.
Most people are not as subtle as they might think.
The only time I ever get frustrated is when when kids ask what happened and their parents tell them off for being rude, despite the fact that they themselves have been quietly staring at my prosthesis.
I don’t actually mind people looking, if I did then I wouldn’t wear shorts all the time but it is always nicer to just be asked, rather than wondering what story someone has created in their own head about me.
It’s my job to make up the crazy tales…
When asked how you lost your leg, do you tell the truth or come up with some wild story?
Honestly, I’ve told so many stories that I can’t remember what actually happened anymore.
I will usually embark upon some wild and completely implausible story, because no matter how much someone doubts what I’m saying is true, I have yet to be taken to task over it.
Then, after letting them brood on my ridiculous tale for a few moments, I’ll (usually) tell them the truth.
How many prosthesis’ do you have?
I currently have three prosthetic legs but I only use two of them regularly. One is my everyday, more comfortable, walking around leg and the second (the one known as Kevin) is a more sporty, waterproof prosthesis.
I need “Kevin” for most of my outdoor activities as well as dancing in shows.
The third leg is the very first one I was given which I have outgrown, in both size and lifestyle. I have every intention of donating this to a suitable cause when it presents itself.
Have you ever smuggled anything in it?
I wouldn’t be a very good smuggler if I admitted to that, would I?
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…