Facts About Crutchprints – Ashly Pearl Ash

October 2014 090_picnik

 I want to give my readers a chance to know a little bit more about me. While some followers know me personally many more follow from afar and wonder what everyday life would be like for someone with a disability. Here is a glimpse into my life and my heart while learning how I came to be known as “Crutchprints”:

1.  I am the oldest of four sisters. My three younger sisters are named Amanda, Katelyn, and Olivia. It is nice being one of four especially as we grow older and can share with one another and spend time together. Surprisingly many of the relationship dynamics that were formed as children still remain even as we have all grown our separate ways into adulthood. One year my youngest sister, Olivia, bought us all matching plaques that said, “Sisters share childhood memories and grown up dreams”. This sums it up in my heart. We still enjoy buying four of something just so we can all match and share and enjoy the same thing. Sisterhood is a bond that goes beyond strife, hard times, and reaches into our hearts as we still “play” together! Oh…and I should mention one-legged jokes abound in my family since we all share the same sense of dry humor!

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 2.  I met my husband for the first time in a bar. Yes, you read that one right.  He was in a bar, I was in a bar looking for a ride home (pre living-for-Jesus), he appeared to be a neighbor from my apartment complex and I asked him for a ride. Unfortunately the ride entailed taking what I thought was his date (just a friend) home first and when I finally ended up on my doorstep I gave him $10 and made it very clear there were NO strings attached.  (As I read this I look at my wedding band and wonder just who I thought I was kidding!)

3.  I am an introvert. Surprising, right?! Most people that have met or know me realize how much I love the company of friends and family and how much I enjoy talking and laughing and being a part of relationships. What most people don’t realize is that I recharge only when I am alone. After a day of activity that involves people I am so utterly exhausted it can take me up to two days of alone time to be rejuvenated. The exception to the rule: kids.  I can be around kids 24/7 without needing alone time because I find kids are more resilient and able to attach\detach periodically throughout their visit which is something a lot of adults do not do.

4.  Besides my amputation I have only broken one other bone (my dominant wrist) on the monkey bars in 1st grade.  Being only six years old and the time frame only a year after my amputation, when I broke my wrist I was convinced I was dying. I didn’t understand how anyone could live life without a leg AND without an arm! Six weeks later when the cast came off I learned that being ambidextrous came naturally and I still sometimes write and always eat with my left hand.

5.  I had the opportunity to train for the Paralympics. I was sought out for swimming, skiing, and shot-put based on my competition records in all three. I decided not to pursue the skiing after much consideration based on the expense it would be to family and the fact that I would need to move to Colorado for many months out of the year. At the time I wanted to be a normal teenager and finish school. Large chunks of my childhood memories and great stories are from the weeks of camp and competitions on the ski slopes! In the screening for Paralympics I was always forced as well to compete in the running. During these competitions and being a hip disarticulate I finished last every single time but was always cheered through the finish line by well meaning spectators. Finishing first and last truly does build character.

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 6.  Walking in the sand is pretty hard for me in spite of my blog name. Seriously, try to walk in the sand with a fake foot or with crutches. You will sink, wear out much more quickly, and if you wear your leg in the surf water you will wash up smelling like a rotten seashell a few days later (not to mention rust your foot off). This is also one of the reasons I chose the name for my blog. As a child my joy and delight was walking in the sand and picking up seashells with my father. Even now that walking in the sand is a struggle I feel it is an accurate picture of my life as I walk with my Father in heaven picking through the treasures I find.

7.  Buffets are hard for me because I have the “carry my plate” dilemma. To wear or not to wear…the leg means to “to carry my own plate” or “not carry my own plate”. A lot of buffets have slippery floors from dripping food and condensation so I have fallen many times and sprawled out in very embarrassing skirt-over-head encounters. Crutches find each slick spot just as easily but I tend not to wipe out as easily on crutches. On the other hand, when I don’t wear my leg there is the inevitable feeling of forever owing the person that had to carry your plate and judge each piece of fried chicken while they wonder how you ever can fit in that piece of pie too! Ah, so glad to have a husband that loves to carry my plate and equally loves to eat! Before having him around it was a lot harder because there have been times where my fellow diners have gotten their plates, sat down, and started to eat without realizing I was still sitting there with no food waiting for someone to help me!

8.  I drive a normal car with no modifications but cannot drive a stick shift at all. Theoretically I have tried to drive a stick shift but found that since you need two feet (one for the clutch one for the gas/brake) I am out of luck. Working with three fake joints in my right leg (hip, knee, ankle) the prosthetic leg tends to be more than a little unreliable when pushing the gas.  Sometimes I full-throttle and sometimes the same pressure will push my foot off the pedal altogether.  So I simply drive an automatic with my left foot over my right and that has worked just fine. The Department of Transportation did not wish to grant me a permit when I was 16 because of this. They were afraid I would mix up the gas and the brake. After much arguing the point that the gas and brake never change places (so what exactly would be mixed up?) they awarded my permit without a guarantee to pass the instructors sharp eye. The day of my test I wore a long skirt and threw my fake leg over the back seat and drove for my test just fine without my leg. As I received the slip of paper with a big fat “PASS” stamped on it my instructor looked down shocked to find only one foot peeking out from under my skirt. I snatched my paper, said a great “thanks!”, and reached over his seat for my leg so I could walk inside and get my picture taken.

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9.  Tea parties are my favorite type of gathering. If you ever want to assure my attendance to a gathering just promise tea and some beautiful lace doilies! While my home is traditional country-kitchen décor if I ever had the chance I would change everything to floral prints, lace, and knick knacks!

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10.  Speaking of floral my favorite flower is the Sunflower. They are so happy and so friendly. You will find dozens of these beauties scattered all over my yard. I learned to plant them in two-week increments to ensure blooms all summer. As they push hard and grow straight up towards the sun they attract so many birds and dress up any landscape with their bright colors and varieties. I dream of seeing a field of sunflowers someday!

Thanks for reading and peeking into my life a little bit. Hopefully you enjoyed seeing the balance between normal and abnormal, humor and reality. I have a few more facts to share another time with you! Blessings to each of you as you create memories of your own this summer!

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