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.
Has anyone ever hidden your leg?
Yes they have. In fact, it happened not too long ago.
I went to the theatre with a group of friends and in those narrow isles I tend to find it more comfortable to take my leg off and put it under my seat. It is bulky enough that nobody behind could slide it out (if they wanted to for some reason).
During the intermission, I was chatting with some people in the row behind me and reached below to check on my leg. It wasn’t there…
Panic ensued and there were a few seconds of me wondering how on earth it could be missing. It wasn’t like I could have left it somewhere and not realised.
The jig was up when I saw one of my friends trying to hold back tears of laughter.
He had somehow managed to sneak my entire prosthetic leg out from under the seat I was sitting on without me noticing.
I couldn’t even be mad, it was amazing.
Do people who have them still wear knee or elbow pads?
That really depends on the type of prosthesis. When I got my leg I was given the option of having a protective cover to help prevent damage so I don’t really need to put anything else over it.
My previous leg was very sturdy and didn’t really have too many parts that could be damaged by a fall, so I never had use for knee pads.
I would imagine though, that with certain legs that have more complicated workings it is recommended to use protective pads. Especially when there are electronics involved.
I personally have no experience with elbows but I would hazard a guess that the situation is similar. If anyone with such a prosthesis is reading this, feel free to comment below to confirm my guess or correct me if I’m wrong.
Has the whole experience left you with a stronger “mind over matter” attitude?
In the first few years after the amputation I had to put in a lot more effort just to continue doing things that had come easily before. In time, the extra effort became normal and eventually I would go on to undertake more difficult tasks that I may never have attempted prior losing my leg.
So to answer the question, I would say “yes” but that was almost accidental. It wasn’t like there was much of a choice for me. I could push through my physical problems, or sit at home being miserable for the rest of my life.
Do you ever find that your socket is basically a knife edge and has managed to carve a chunk out of the old gluteus maximus?
Well, I haven’t had this problem in that particular area. The back of my socket flattens out near the top so as to prevent something like this happening. It is almost like I am sitting on a very narrow perch.
I have had chunks taken out of the side of my stump though. One of my sockets was very sharp around the edges and I was only able to wear it for a couple of days before taking it back to the hospital to have extra padding installed.
Have you ever managed to successfully disguise yourself as a lamp?
In fact, how sure are you that that lamp in your corner is really a lamp?
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…