Artwork by Millie Saunders (ma wee sister)
Over a year and a half ago I shared a post on my Facebook account asking my friends if there were any questions, serious, weird or even potentially offensive, that they had been dying to ask me about my amputation.
I got a number of responses and promised that I would be back to them soon with the answers to (most) of their questions.
I guess soon is a relative term…
Please understand that these are all my own personal opinions and experiences, I cannot speak for every single amputee out there.
If you could have a leg transplant, which would be fully functioning, would you choose a man or a woman’s leg, and why?
I find the idea of being transplanted with somebody else’s leg a very difficult one to get my head around. The fact that I would be waking up every day and seeing what was once somebody else’s leg attached to me could, I imagine, be something I would struggle with. I know such operations have been performed and I wonder how the recipient of a new, very visible body part deals with that.
However this question wasn’t asking for an explanation of the possible psychological effects such a surgery may have on me.
So, man’s leg, or woman’s leg? I can imagine there are advantages to both options. The obvious answer would be a mans simply for the symmetry but then, imagine the strut I could pull off with a woman’s leg.
The real answer to the question of which leg I would prefer is of course some kind of rocket powered, robotic, Swiss Army leg.
Ever use the prosthetic as a beer bong?
One year, a group of us from school were gathered at a friends house to watch The Eurovision Song Contest, an event that had become an annual tradition.
At some point during the evening, we played a game that required a glass, containing a mix of several beverages, be placed in the middle of the players.
We were struggling to find a glass to use so my friend piped up saying, “Hey, why don’t we use Davids leg”.
Enjoying the evening as I was, this sounded a reasonable suggestion so I slipped off my leg and into the socket went the drink.
The friend who had suggested this thought it was a fantastic idea right up until the point he lost the game and ended up having to be the one to drink out of it. To be fair to him, he took it all down in one.
And that is the story of how I found out how long the smell of drink lingers on a prosthetic leg.
Does it effect how much you can eat, if you eat the same amount now will you get fat?
It may come as a surprise but I actually started eating more after the big chop.
Using a prosthetic leg can take up to 80% more effort than moving a natural limb which means when walking I burn more fuel than ordinary people.
I also exercise a lot more than I ever did before the amputation so for the most part I haven’t had an issue with gaining a lot of weight, (current lockdown aside that is).
This is not to say it isn’t a problem that can occur, I understand that maintaining previous levels of fitness can be difficult following an amputation.
I was lucky to have people around me that kept me working, even when I didn’t really want to.
How should someone approach you about it?
This is a great question and the one to which a lot of people want to know the answer.
It’s also one to which I’m afraid I cannot give a blanket answer. It is completely dependent on the person who has lost the limb.
Personally, I have absolutely no issue with being approached with “What happened”? I’m constantly making jokes about it and never have any problem discussing it with people.
I understand some might feel awkward asking but I find it far more uncomfortable when people are staring at me and then try desperately to hide it when I notice them.
Quite often I’ll be out in shorts which should tell people I’m not worried about it being seen.
Like I said though, I can only speak for myself, my advice generally would be, if you want to ask then ask, chances are people won’t take offence, a very few might but hey, fortune favours the bold.
Have you ever told anyone that a wild animal bit your leg off?
Well a wild animal did get the best of me, I was competing at the 2012 Shark Wrestling Championships in the Caribbean when I mistimed a drop kick from my jet ski and the beast took it right off.
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..