Category Archives: Amputee Humor

Crutchprints in the Sand’s New Leg

Hello dear friends and followers! It may seem as if I have simply dropped off the face of the earth (or internet) as of late. In reality my new leg has been quite a journey for me and one full of ups and downs!


Back in July I received my newest leg which costs over $53,000 causing my husband and I to no longer look at my wedding band as “bling”. Yes, in my opinion this leg should be sparkling from a mile away! But while it doesn’t blind any with its light it certainly does possess the latest technology for hip-disarticulate amputees including a Helix Hip Joint and Pile (pronounce Pill-A) microprocessor knee. The foot is altogether another beast that is apparently the most lightweight available. So if you haven’t seen me sprint by you yet at lightning speed all I can say is “Get ready.”

Re-adjusting to different materials and three new joints (hip, knee, ankle) has not been an easy process. The first week I could walk but not even sit down with my new toy because of the pain it caused sitting. The first time I put the leg on in the doctor’s office my prosthetist told me to “have a seat”. Not knowing how to operate the new joints I tried to explain that if I sat the leg wouldn’t work properly. He kept repeating and assuring me that I was thinking too much and that if I just sat my leg would follow. At this point I “just sat” and with him standing directly in front of me my new leg flew straight up missing his groin by a centimeter (and by the terrified look on his face that measurement is an exaggeration). From that point forward we both agreed to more adjustments and a little more space between us during practice times.

The second week I could do a little sitting but mostly only walk and stand. It was then that we headed to a picnic with some friends. As I walked around the party with my beautiful dress I headed over to the picture table and realized something had just fell out of the bottom of my dress. As I looked down to find a white pad about 2×5 on the ground, I quietly cursed whichever leg mechanic forgot to secure that in there because in front of me were the two repulsed faces of young men labeling me as gross! I mean let’s be real, what conclusion would you have come to? (Yes, even being a Christian I have my moments of foulness when I can thank God for His righteousness because I sure am not holy!) Of course all I could do was pick up my “pad”, smile, and dash for my husband’s side in embarrassment knowing that any explanation at that point would simply bury me but if they just saw me by my husband’s side they would somehow know I wasn’t totally repulsive to everyone!

Meanwhile the warranty is still covering the leg and I have made sure to test every last thing possible. When taking a walk downhill at my parents their new puppy barreled up behind me and knocked both feet out from under me causing me to land hard on my new $24,000 Pile knee. (Pile is pronounced Pill-A – though when I spell it out I can only see Pile as in a huge pile of money being spent on a very little piece of equipment!) Since then my doctor is wondering why I walk funny and have a hard time trusting my leg when going downhill and I’m not so sure yet how to explain that a trauma inducing two month old adorable black ball of fur is to blame. I’ve gardened, fell down, abandoned the leg, covered it in sand, gotten it wet, dug in the dirt, jumped off of the porch, and sat in the rain just to be sure that it truly can handle the wear and tear of the gorilla I imagine it advertises for.

The last few weeks have been a slow process of removing more and more of the “bucket” that attaches the leg to me in order to make the leg more lightweight, cooler, and comfortable. This has also been a trying process as every week that I bring the leg home I then have to figure out how to “do life” with this new piece of equipment all over again. As of today, I am far from finished. There is a motion analysis in my future, more tests, and more adjustments yet to come. And I wonder why I have been so tired lately at the end of each day?

One thing is for sure, technology doesn’t stop for adjustment periods. I just was informed last week that there is a new socket (the part that attaches to my body) available for hip disarticulates that looks like a bikini. It has been nicknamed the “bikini leg” since it attaches as such. The prospect of the weightless attachment is so exciting I eagerly asked for a bikini fitting from my doctor only to receive a raised eyebrow and an awkward moment of silence. Ah, the realities of leg life!

According to “Edge” magazine only 1-2% of amputees are hip disarticulate and of that only 25% choose to wear their prosthesis at all. So as I continue pioneering with my doctor (John Horne) what it looks like to make a hip-disarticulate leg comfortable and durable to wear as many hours as I choose and for all sorts of activities I expect to be tired and fatigued and frustrated as I have been this past month.

In my exhaustion I have been forced to isolate myself from people and activities that I have simply not had the capacity beyond my own struggles to partake in. It has been during the past lonely month that I have learned to pray scripture into my life when words have not been present and my soul groans under the stress and pressure I am facing. Psalm 71 has been one chapter that I have prayed over and again during this time.

August 2014 012

“For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.
I have become a sign to many;
you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.
Do not cast me away when I am old;
do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” Psalm 71:5-9

Sometimes when I walk my leg starts to feel very heavy and I feel like I am dragging it behind me. I notice when this happens I try to visualize myself walking free and fast. When visualizing still doesn’t give me the boost I need I have learned to get out my little hand pump and check the PSI (like a tire) that is in my knee because anything less than 85 PSI in my knee makes me feel like I am being sluggish. (Here’s another great visual of me traumatizing folks by flipping my foot around in public at a 180 Degree angle and pumping air into it!)

Visualizing the answer to my prayers for peace, patience, and wisdom from heaven is biblical. Unlike in my physical situation where using my own strength to visualize a leg that isn’t there doesn’t work; when we visualize and believe to receive help from the Holy Spirit our Father promises to grant that to us.

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24

Because of the price tag on this leg I try not to “cast it” to Jesus, But I do cast my cares to Him and celebrate each day and each humorous moment because who knows what tomorrow will bring? Each day has had enough for me to face.

Blessings to each of you and thank you for being followers of this blog and of my journey!

As a Hip Amputee I can’t run but I can Hide!

Am I the only amputee that finds myself afraid of things I can’t run from? No, I am not talking about things like bears, cheetahs, and wolves because no one can outrun them and I don’t really feel that I am on a different playing field where they are concerned. I’m talking the REALLY dangerous animals, like mice.

A few weeks ago I was up very early and headed to the hospital to see a family member. I had just sold a set of bowls online and went to grab them to meet up with the buyer so my parking fees at the hospital would be covered in cash. Singing “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” (not an exaggeration I really do sing this song) I bounced down to the basement, grabbed my bowls, turned around and there it was. A cute, fuzzy, brown, fat, and healthy – ZOMBIE mouse!

My bowls I sold

My bowls I sold

My first reaction was to scream and drop the bowls. I started screaming and clutching the bowls with my death clutch (there was no way I was going to lose the money for my parking meter). It took about three real seconds to come to the conclusion that I was in the house alone and no one could hear me. That’s when flashbacks set in as I knew this mouse was going to run right up my fake leg and I wouldn’t even feel it, it would kill and eat me alive in my very own basement and it would be an entire day before anyone found me there victimized and tragically obliterated.

Apparently the mouse had gotten into some poison because it was nodding off as it sat there, would stumble towards me a little, then stop and nod off some more. I didn’t know what to do! I had my fake leg on and that limits my running ability…and jumping ability. I was completely trapped in the corner between the mouse, my basement cabinets, and the pool table. I debated taking my leg off and throwing it at him, but it didn’t take me long to know that I could never again wear my $100,000 chunk of metal after it crushed a live mouse to death. I mean, what if the blood germs carried disease? It took about ten more seconds for my “flight” reaction to kick in as I scrambled on top of the pool table with my bowls, crutches and all to crawl to safety.

But was it really over? How could I rest in peace knowing there was a zombie mouse apocalypse happening right below my very dining room? How was I to function? How could I leave my precious Chihuahuas home when at any given moment this mouse could morph into my living room and latch onto them as a vampire would?

My precious chihuahuas Coco and Bebo

My precious chihuahuas Coco and Bebo

From the top of the steps with a broom and two crutches, I kept my eyes locked on the target. I was seriously going to deal with this. So I called my father. Now, any father that has ever had any doubt about being replaced by a husband and thus no longer important please rest assured. There WILL be that one day at 6 AM when you least expect the phone to ring that your daughter will be huddled in the stairwell fighting for her very life and need rescued while her husband is at work. Oh yes, it is true, my father had to come rescue me and “handle it”. To this day, as I am leery as I walk around outside knowing not where my father exactly “handled it”…

All that to say; I don’t know if it is the fact that I wouldn’t feel a mouse on my fake leg or that I couldn’t run from a mouse with my fake leg that has me petrified. Perhaps I’m just afraid of mice.

Consequences of Having One Foot in the Grave

My Great Grandfather Burke who lost both of his legs above knee in a railroad incident.  He farmed 40 acres despite his amuptations

My Great Grandfather Burke who lost both of his legs above knee in a railroad incident. He farmed 40 acres despite his amputations

When my leg was removed as a child my parents decided to purchase a grave plot and have it buried.  Their reasons were modest enough and I am honored that they took my amputation so seriously.  Still, I remember the awkward moment as a child standing before my grave plaque and trying to make the connection in my brain between my very much alive body and the very creepy grave plot which contained my very dead and amputated leg.

Of course, as an adult the idea of coining the phrase “one foot in the grave” has its appeal.  There remains however the dilemma of where I will be buried when I do pass on from this world.  Naturally, I would like to be buried near my husband.  Meanwhile the majority of my family is buried in a different graveyard that is local and I have thought about how nice it would be to lie there.  At not even thirty years old I shouldn’t be putting this much thought into my death!  Yet, the fact remains I have one foot in the grave and I need to figure this out at some point.

Do I buy the plot next to my leg so that my husband and I can be together and I can be buried with my leg?  Or do I somehow set money aside and leave directions in my will to have my leg dug back up and moved to wherever I am buried?  Let’s be honest, who would want that job of digging up a dead person’s body part and what would they think of me?  Isn’t the whole point of dying leaving a good legacy?  Yep, I’m pretty sure that would be squashed the second they dug up a decayed child-sized right leg!

Since there will be a new body in heaven waiting for me why even bother?  This life is temporary and we will all move on to better things and should give no thought to the past!  Yet whenever I pass that particular graveyard containing my leg I give a silent nod and salute towards my missing piece.

The truth is even if it doesn’t matter whether or not I am buried with my leg I simply feel a bit disorganized knowing that there may be parts of me scattered about.  I feel a little responsible to take care of my body – all of it. Of course, this theory will be literally blown away in the event that I am killed in any sort of bombing.

So for now, until my probable cause of death is resolved in my head the issue shall remain unresolved.  I still have a ways to go; after all, I’ve only one foot in the grave.

 *Please understand this piece was written in humor. While yes, I really do think about this issue from time to time the reality is I believe Jesus will restore my body and it really doesn’t matter where I am buried or how I am buried! 

You know you are an amputee when…Part III

You know you are an amputee when…Part III

Winterthur Estates Yuletide Tour 2013

Winterthur Estates Yuletide Tour 2013

…You wanted to participate in Karate as a kid but were sent to the Partial Arts center instead

…You randomly scratch your head and say “I think I’m missing something”

…Your friends tell you to “hop in the car” you quite literally hop in

…Anytime you go for a pedicure it is HALF OFF and you are willing to argue it!

…The “Bit by a shark” story guarantees you privacy at the beach and you take advantage of it

…People are always “pulling your leg”

…You are approached on a regular basis by Civil War re-enactors looking for recruits in the medical tent

…By donning an eyepatch you are a legit pirate to kids any day

…Counting your fingers and toes becomes a brain tease

…You have woken after a dream of having two legs, went to use the bathroom, then fell flat on your face


A Box of Left Shoes?

Last year we had a fire in the apartment next to us.  The fire didn’t come through the wall but we did lose a lot of things to smoke damage.  When the fire restoration girls came through they were going to pack up all of our belongings and take them for treatment.  After they were finished we could sort through anything not salvageable.

On a daily basis I checked in with the girls to see how they were handling our personal belongings and if there were any questions in regards to how things should be packed or handled.  It was quite stressful having strangers in your house going through things!  We were also in process of buying our first home so my patience was thin and my moods drastic during this time.

On the second day I showed up without my prosthesis and only on crutches. The girl looked at me and brought me in to my closet explaining there was a problem. She explained she wasn’t sure why but there were about 17 shoes that she could not seem to find a match for.  She looked at me completely baffled and apologetic.  I nodded and she started to apologize stating she had no idea where the others would have gone but they haven’t yet come across the matches and what would I like her to do?!

Nodding in confusion myself I looked down at my one foot and said, “Well, were they all left shoes?”  She said, “Oh let me check” while rummaging through the box and exclaiming “YES!”  I looked down again at my one foot and looked back up and thought…Girl…Here is your sign!!!

Skeleton Leg in the Closet

Back when I first starting dating my husband I was a single girl with my own apartment.  I had just started using a prosthesis again and it was one that I had to plug the electronic knee in to charge it up each night before using.  It was still the metal and no cover so it looked like a metal skeleton of a leg. When the battery was full the leg would beep and since I kept it in the closet it was out of sight and out of mind.  I guess over time I got used to the beeping and didn’t pay any mind to it at all.


Rick and I when we started dating

Rick and I when we started dating

So when I started dating my husband one afternoon he came over to visit.  (At this point we had only been dating for about a week and I was very shy in regards to my disability and any sort of disability paraphernalia if I may call it that!)  After awhile he mentioned hearing a beeping noise but I shrugged him off as I was engrossed in making some sort of meal for us to enjoy.

He mentioned it again later and said, “Do you mind if I figure out what that is?”  Being wrapped up in the kitchen I told him to feel free to search and let me know what he found.  Immediately he started for the bedroom and suddenly I heard my closet door open!  My heart stopped and I must have turned three shades whiter than usual as I realized what he had just stumbled upon and how he must feel standing there staring at a leg in the closet!

I froze for what seemed eternity and then I heard laughing from the bedroom and he came out like, “hey…it is your leg!!”  It was a completely embarrassing moment but one that was so priceless that we still joke about me keeping my skeleton in the closet to this day!

You know you are an amputee when…Part II

You know you are an amputee when…Part II

by Ashly P. Ash

Amputee Humor...My famous halloween costume of the "Leg Lamp" from Christmas Story

Amputee Humor…My famous halloween costume of the “Leg Lamp” from Christmas Story

…You are not all right and you are more than half left

…The signature party costume you wear is the Leg Lamp from Christmas Story

…You feel you already have a leg up on new projects

…There has been some sort of pranking in regards to taking your leg off and beating someone or something with it

…Everyone agrees you always put your best foot forward

…You tend to take things one step at a time

…You find it funny to kick the crutches out from any of the temporary users

…People say “keep your feet on the ground” you know it doesn’t really apply to you anyway

…You find yourself when reading “Footprints in the sand” screaming in your mind FOOTPRINT, IT IS FOOTPRINT!

…You can properly demonstrate the meaning of costing an “arm and or a leg”

Disabling the Disabled?

I used to travel a bit with the Amputee Coalition of America to various conferences nationwide.  The amputee kids of all ages and disabilities would get together on these trips and bunk out in hotel rooms assigned and organized by the ACA committee.  Activities would be planned for the entire three or four day event aside from the conference meetings and it was really a growing and interacting time for kids to be with others “like them”.  I participated in this from within months of my amputation at the age of four all the way through an adult of nineteen.


There is really no way to describe the humor and interaction between amputees.  Most of us I have found seem to have a drier sense of humor which is only encouraged and multiplied when in groups of seemingly “like kind”.  I have seen everything and I’m sure many of my stories will come from these hilarious trips.  Several times I’ve seen kids fall down randomly in front of a parked car and scream “MY LEG!” to create a scene.  Once a man in a buffet line on crutches with one leg with a full plate was approached by a fellow amputee stating “You are pretty good on those things, let’s see how you do without them” and with a swift kick they were gone leaving the man to only laugh and balance his tray as he hopped along.  I have even seen kids attempting to recreate wild WWF (World Wrestling Something) scenes resulting in actual prosthetic limbs going through the walls of hotel rooms and creating huge bills.


Amputee Humor...My famous halloween costume of the "Leg Lamp" from Christmas Story

Amputee Humor…My famous halloween costume of the “Leg Lamp” from Christmas Story

As a part of being one of the older participants in the program I would be assigned caretaker for three girls who would bunk in my hotel room and for whom I would be responsible for being sure they turned up on time, appropriately dressed, and well-rested for events starting with a daily 7:30 AM breakfast.  Anyone with children knows telling kids at a sleepover to “get some rest and go to bed” is borderline psychotic and never actually happens anyway.  Yet I still always managed to end up with the three most rambunctious girls in the entire hotel and still get them to all events (sleepy under eye baggage and all).

One particular evening I received a call from hotel management informing me that my girls were going down the hallways knocking on random doors and running away.  I’m sure it was the awkward hop-skip that amputees do when running that gave them away to the security cameras.  Still, I was responsible for them even if I was in the shower when this happened.  I sat my girls down for a talk and with silent nods we seemed to reach an agreement.

The next evening as I came out of the shower someone was at the door.  I opened it to find the leader of the committee with three girls in tow and a very unhappy scowl.  She informed me abruptly that she had found the girls in the elevator pushing all the buttons and enjoying the free ride as a hundred amputees at the conference downstairs were forced to wait or take the stairs.

I thought about it for awhile and finally came up with a plan.  How could I further disable my disabled children?  The only way I could further disable already disabled children would be to pull their legs.  Quite literally, I mean I decided I was going to have to pull their legs.

The next evening prior to my shower I called each of them into the bathroom and told them to take off their legs.  They shrieked in horror as if I was forcing a limb loss or something!  One of my girls even threatened to tell her mother I made her take her leg off, to which of course I laughed and continued taking my own off.  So, they took off their legs and I locked them in the bathroom with me for my shower fully satisfied with the obvious brilliance of my ability to cripple children.

Over the next year or two I became known as the leg-collecting chaperone.  Did it work?  Well, if you think it worked apparently you do not know the determination of amputee children.  Those critters still managed to get out of the room and be ornery knocking on doors!  The good news is, they never got very far hopping along and raising cane in ten minutes.  I would finish up, open the door and yell at them, and then as each girl came hopping back into the room I would re-issue limbs hiding my smile.

The fact is, the determination and humor they had is what got them through their daily life.  Amputee children face more in a day then a normal person will face in a year.  The determination they have and attitudes of diligence are something that I admire and have continual respect for.  Their ability to fight through anything is what has kept them not only alive, but able to thrive.  It makes me smile, as I hope this story has made you smile.  After all, I was one of them!


You know you are an amputee when…

Being an amputee I feel that humor is such an important part of life!  None of these things are to “make fun” of or insult other amputee/handicap people but rather are things that at one point or another I have come across in my own experience and thoughts.  Enjoy a smile today!

I met a friend, a goat that is also missing something!

I met a friend, a goat that is also missing something!

You know you are an amputee when…

…You don’t understand “the dryer ate my socks” phrase because you never have to match your socks!

…Every pair of socks you own gets double use by simply switching the socks onto the other foot!

…When snorkeling you realize you have 50% less chance of being bitten by a shark

…You are always celebrated when entering an IHOP

…The song “Lean on Me” is very personal

…Literally, you have one foot in the future or one foot in the grave depending on the day

…Shoe salesmen hate you

…Your friends know the parody Johnny Cash song “I Hop the Line”

…No one else you know can literally break a leg and keep on going!

…You have two feet in two different states every time you leave your leg at the doctor’s

Explosive Alert!

One of the things I hope to do on this site is smile about some of the things that have happened to me and are unique to my situation as an amputee.  I chose to start with something that happened to me just a few weeks ago.

My husband and I were in the Philadelphia airport en-route to Seattle.  Now, anyone that is familiar with prosthetic devices is well aware that airport security is one of the most difficult parts of traveling!  On an easy day you get a wand, a pat down personal enough to make your father blush (his words not mine!) and will be sent on your way with an apologetic smile.

On this particular day, however, I was asked to enter the 3D scanner with my prosthesis.  I bravely entered with both hands above my head and a knowing smile.  My crutches were taken from me and scanned as well.  After coming through I was then “wanded”.  (I just want to stop and say here that if security personnel are given wands they should at least add a little “bippity boppity boo” in the process for victimized patrons as myself!  A little bit of something to make me feel a less in touch with reality would be great.)  Anyway, they asked me to lift my shirt a tad so that they could swab my prosthesis for explosives.  I chuckled and obliged without hesitation.

The next thing I knew there was an “EXPLOSIVE ALERT” on the screen in front of me and I was being rushed off in quarantine to a small private room.  I jokingly told the security officer, “No worries, I wasn’t playing with fireworks”.  But she didn’t think that was funny.  I could tell by her curt, “Ma’am, I would advise you say as little as possible right now” accompanied by a brief pat on the shoulder that summed up her expression of “good luck”.

After further discussion including an argument over whether it was really necessary to make me pull my pants down any further or to take my leg from me to scan it or take it apart they decided to let me go.  Their justification for this was, “Those pants can’t get much tighter, I don’t think there is anything hiding here.”  (Yes, I should have been horrified as I stood silently wanting to remind them that I could still hear them but honestly I couldn’t have been happier at that moment to be free!  Regardless of criticism, insult, or bruised ego I was about to be free!) One final swab of my clothes, crutches, and shoes and I was returned intact to my family.

In the midst of this I realized WHY I tested positive for explosives.  I’m sure you, dear reader, are wondering this as well!  A few weeks prior to our trip I had purchased a .22 Rifle for my husband as a birthday gift.  We had been shooting targets in the woods behind our house and when I came in to remove my prosthesis I must have had residue from the bullets on my fingers!

As I bounced lightly the rest of the way to gate A2 I realized somehow I forgot to remove the pocket knife from my purse.  But oh well, at least they found the explosives!


*Ashly P Ash