Category Archives: Amputee Humor

20 Top Strange (and Actually said!) Things NOT to Say to Amputees

20 Top Strange (and Actually said!) Things NOT to Say to Amputees

 9 september 42

We all have moments where we stick a foot in our mouth (pun intended). When you have only one foot the moment can be even more awkward. Here is my top 20 list of things that are said to me, an amputee, which I rhetorically/sarcastically respond to below. I must note here that the intentions of the speakers are typically not rude or heartless but just because I do not believe most people have ill intentions in saying these things doesn’t mean I shouldn’t and draw the line in the sand for basic conversation etiquette. Take a moment to read my humor-inspired top 20 list below and feel free to add a few of your own in the comments!

Humor Disclosure Statement: My rhetorical responses (in italics) are to be humorously interpreted by other amputees and may sound extra harsh to make a point. Some humor may not translate for my two legged counterparts. Reader Beware!

  1.   “Mmmm…I don’t see another leg there…” – Well I’m really glad you aren’t seeing double.
  2.  “It’s such a shame…you’re so pretty…” Can someone explain this one to me? When did having all your limbs become a requirement for a pretty face?   Last time I looked at someone that was pretty it wasn’t because of her pedicure.
  3. “You have so much courage to wear a bathing suit and come out here like that” I hadn’t really thought about it until you pointed out what a freak I must look like. Should I go slit my wrists now…or after our water aerobics class?
  4. “Thank you for your service to our country…or, well, um…seeing your tattoo was it a motorcycle accident?”Tattoos do not mean I was a biker babe (note the past tense) but seeing that mole on your chin I did wonder if you were the wicked witch of the west at one point.
  5. “Come away kids, we don’t ask questions!”First of all, let them ask. It is better for a kid to ask and then leave it alone than for you to loudly correct them in a way that insults me by assuming I am also deaf.
  6. “Can I get the door or are you going to snap at me? SOME PEOPLE get mean, you know…”SOME PEOPLE are rude enough to slam the door in your face too but it doesn’t mean you should!  I’m a lady with two crutches in my hands, a smile on my face, and a bag on top of it: open the door for me. I can’t help other people have issues but now that you are projecting their attitudes on me I am tempted to get snippy.
  7. “Where did your other leg go?”It rotted in the grave twenty five years ago. Do you really want to know? Or perhaps I lost it and if you find it be sure to let me know.
  8. “Maybe someday you will find a young man that will love you in spite of this.”When I was single this was said to me more than any other comment. I don’t care what was “intended” by this statement it is rude.  It always made me want to say “well looking at you (knowing you got married) I find hope.”
  9. “How OLD were you?”Is there an age prerequisite for amputation? Yes, yes, it’s a shame that I was only four years old but what are you getting at? No, amputation as a child isn’t any easier than for an adult.  Disability means you must motivate yourself to move and be healthy regardless of the age. Speaking of age, how old were you when you lost your manners?
  10. “I guess I shouldn’t complain about my problems to YOU…look at YOU!”The truth is that we all have problems no matter how great or small.  My biggest problem is not on the same wavelength as that of a bilateral amputee. But really, stop comparing and assuming that I must be doing awful just because I am missing a leg. Seeing you missing your brain through these comments makes me feel sorry for you instead.
  11. “I wasn’t sure if that was you and then I realized…duh!”It’s always nice to know your friends recognize you by your number of feet. I wouldn’t mind this comment if I was with a group out drinking and there was no other way to identify Ashly Ash, but since you more than likely aren’t incapacitated this is a comment you can just keep to yourself.
  12. “You should wear your leg, you seem so weak with only one.” Weak = missing body parts? I’m sorry but to me weak = your limited perception of true strength and courage. End of.
  13. “Well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?”Actually that is not always true. It almost killed me and it killed many others that were there with me. I’m not here because I’m strong I’m here because God ordained it and He kept me alive. That being said do you have any idea how hard my life is or has been? Don’t brush my sacrifices off with a petty silver-lined comment that says you feel you have rationalized and justified my entire life in seven words.
  14. “Why aren’t you wearing your leg?”Not sure, why aren’t you wearing red underwear? Why aren’t you wearing a hat? Hey, a pair of spanx could really dress you up a little!  I have my own reasons do I really need to explain them publicly? Move on!
  15. “If I were you I would kill myself” – Nothing motivates and encourages me to face another day as a handicapped woman like this comment. Really?
  16. “My brother’s, nephew’s, sister has a niece that is cousins with a girl dating a guy that lost his pinky and still runs a marathon!” (Exaggerated family tree …but surely everyone knows SOME distant connection)   – I don’t care. Really.   As bluntly as I can say this I will repeat myself: I don’t care. Each amputee is different. Each level of amputation is different and we don’t all carry some membership card stamped that we joined a club. We are individuals. I also don’t care if you saw the latest technology on television. Truthfully, my insurance won’t cover any of that stuff for another 15 years anyway. It’s like me reminding you that my sister’s husband has a brother that married a white woman. Just sayin’…
  17. “You are so brave, I wouldn’t even leave the house, I would curl up in a ball and die”Maybe that would be best for you then if your entire self-worth is wrapped up in what you look like when you walk out your door. Life goes much deeper than looks.
  18. “Wait, you are married like that?”Yup, freak girl with one leg and metal rods managed to snag herself a man. And not one that felt sorry for her either…imagine that. This comment makes me sad for people because they must not understand what true love is about.
  19. “I wonder if you can have kids like THAT?” Well, I don’t have any yet. How do you know that isn’t a sensitive topic that may cause me to burst into tears?       How rude! I don’t ask you if you can have kids like THAT…
  20. “Does the bone still stick out?”C’mon don’t be stupid. Educate yourself. Moving on.

That about sums up the most frequent comments made to me. I am sure that if you are reading this and you are an amputee you have a few of your own, and I would love to read them. Leave a comment below the article to share with all of us or send me an email at ash8410@hotmail.com and I may add it for you!

To my two-legged compadres that have suffered and probably even found yourself in the above list: I love you and wouldn’t have had an article if it weren’t for your clumsiness! Thank you for being you and I am more than sure you have experienced plenty of inconsiderate statements directed at you. Share those stories with me as well!

Paste that Pad in!

Paste that Pad in!

6 june 11

When someone is getting a new prosthetic device customized (especially at a hip-level) there are a few weeks of trial and error where the patient wears the new leg out and about while taking notes about any discomfort. As time goes on the prosthetist may stick a pad in here or trim a little from the leg there; whatever it takes to allow maximum comfort and optimum functionality.

It was during this time frame of testing out a new leg that this story takes place. You see, taking up a few hours of my doctor’s time one Friday there was one simple fix we didn’t have time to squeeze in. He loosely glued and stuck a foam pad into the area that the leg was pinching me and sent me out the door so that I could test it out before making it permanent.

Of course there was no problem with the pad (or pinching) when I was home alone and no one was in sight. Instead, I was at a picnic to celebrate the gender reveal of our (now) goddaughter that wardrobe malfunction struck. Innocently standing in line waiting for another drink of water in the heat of the sun I turned to make conversation with the three big and young guys standing behind me. Just as I turned I heard a light “plop”.

Oh yes, it was “the pad”. It fell straight out the bottom of my cute picnic dress and laid there staring up at me and these young strangers from between my feet like the white nightmare that it was. I looked down horrified as my mind quickly pondered the best course of action to take. Do I pick it up and show it to them, explaining what it is? How do I explain “the pad” is really something that belongs to my fake leg?! Do I ignore it and pretend this never happened? Their horrified and curled up lips silently revealed that road would not be the least bumpy to take. I mean really. What could I say in this situation that would be remotely believable! What would you think if you were standing there and the lady in front of you had a white pad fall out of the bottom of her dress?

Not knowing how to react and cursing the fact there is no “leg malfunction etiquette” manual for amputees I simply bent over mumbling an “oops” and busted out laughing as I realized how screwed my reputation was from there forward. Even in my laughter I must confess to making an immediate beeline for my husband just to make it clear to those young fellas that no matter how disgusting they perceived me I was loved by SOMEONE!

Perhaps there is a “Prosthetic Device Malfunction Manual” to be written after all…

#1. Have your Prosthetist Paste in All PADS!

#2. In the case a pad falls out of your leg in public…

What is an Emergency to a Fake-Leg Doctor?

What is an Emergency to a Fake-Leg Doctor?

Each time I call my prosthetic provider the answering service is clear in stating, “If this is an emergency call the after-hours hotline”. I have always wondered what exactly would be considered an emergency to a Prosthetist? It’s not like you can be physically in danger using a fake leg…but then again all those warning labels we see are for something so I finally resolved that an emergency would be considered when a fake leg completely broke after hours. After such pondering it was only inevitable that the day came when I received a new leg and needed pants to fit it. (Nearly every time I get a new leg I need to buy new pants because each leg makes my waist line a different size since I am fitted at hip-level.) It was a dreary day when I headed to the store and on my way out of the store the floor was wet and I wiped out. Now when I say I “wiped out” I do not mean a pretty little slip-around where I was able to appear to be speed-skating and still manage to hold my purse and salvage my dignity. No, no, I mean a flat-on-my-back-purse-goes-soaring-rolling-and-flailing while screaming, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” kind of wipe out. Right there in front of everyone.  Really, I couldn’t get back up because my new leg had a new hip joint and knee and I couldn’t figure out how to get them to work together so I kept catapulting forwards and backwards as one would bend and the other would straighten like a broken jack-in-the-box. This display was truly the closest thing to a flopping seal Seaworld expo you would find in Pennsylvania.

Eventually, (I’m convinced it was half an hour but more than likely was somewhere between five and ten seconds) I decided to play possum and wait for someone to come and check my pulse before helping me up. After making it to the car and leaving management with their own half-convinced smiles that I would not come back with a lawsuit I headed home in my state of shame wondering (based on the dirty state of my clothing) how they could have sent me away without at least a gift certificate to the dry cleaner or new pair of jeans. It was on my drive home that I realized how badly messed up my fake leg was from the fall. It was completely askew. Foot pointing one way, hip pointing another, immediately the “crooked little lady” nursery rhyme started playing in my head on repeat. After several hours of my husband and father working on my crooked piece of equipment I decided this would definitely be constituted as an emergency for a prosthetist. I mean hello…if you break your real leg that is an emergency to the real-body doctor so when you break your fake leg that should be an emergency to the fake-leg doctor, right? I was a woman with no leg and now filthy clothes. I had just sprawled out in a very public place and was more crooked than a bank robber! I needed to make the call!

Fixing my leg...A FAIL I might add!

Fixing my leg…A FAIL I might add!

Calling the hotline I was curtly informed by the on-call doctor (and to this day I am sure I heard thumping music and smelled grilling through the phone) that if I felt I was hurt I should call 911 and that a crooked leg was not an emergency, “Feel better and call the office on Monday for an appointmen…” I was instructed as the voice on the other end dissipated before even getting out the “t”.

Four years later I was recently reminded of this incident. I asked my doctor’s office what exactly is an emergency to a prosthetic provider? “There have been several cases where a patient cannot get their leg off, this can be bad news and counts as an emergency,” I was told. That’s it? If my wedding ring is stuck on and I call 911 I’m sure they will laugh and tell me to try soap and water or baby oil. Sorry to say this but I definitely feel if a stuck leg can be an emergency then my embarrassing, crooked, and broken tragedy should definitely count to the fake-leg doctor. You don’t need to get the Jaws of Life out to work a leg loose for crying out loud! Shaking my head I resigned myself to the fact that here, like all insurance claims, justice can be a fleeting thought…  

*This article is meant as a piece of humor and in no way aims to poke fun or laugh at those that have had their legs or arms stuck on. I have had that happen too and agree it’s no fun. It can be scary but I do advise you try some baby oil and laugh along with me…

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!!!