Goodbye June & July…Hello August. Part 2 (July)

Part 2…
Ben turned 40 on July 8th. We had cake at home on the actual day and then went out for dinner and drinks to celebrate over the weekend.

Ben and his Billy's cake!

Ben and his Billy’s cake!


Dinner at Supper

Dinner at Supper


The rain didn’t put a damper on that night. Dinner was great and drinks after were just as fun!…except when I almost had to punch a couple of 20something year olds out! When I’m in places that have tight spaces and a lot of people, it’s usually better if I have an escort. In this case, two. I had to use the bathroom and since it was located across from the bar, which was down a hallway filled with people who were hanging out at the bar, I had two escorts. Ben’s cousin, Jaye, walked ahead of me and led the way and my friend, Wade, walked behind me. Usually when I’m “escorted” at a bar, someone walks in front of me saying something like, “Excuse me…can you make some room?” and dirty looks are given (like…what’s the matter, you can’t fit?!?), until they see me trailing from behind. And in usual fashion, this is what happened with most of the people we encountered on our walk to the bathroom. But these girls, took it a step further. Both Jaye and Wade weren’t rude. They were very polite and weren’t pushy, apparently, these girls just thought that their s**t didn’t stink. Jaye politely asked if they could step aside so I could walk through. They stared him down and then stepped aside. Then I followed, right behind him, and she proceeded to extend both her arms out and make this motion with her hands as if saying, “Here you go, is this enough room?” Maybe she couldn’t tell that I had prosthetics b/c it was very dark in the bar, but my crutches were very much visible. And in any event, it shouldn’t matter. So I paused, looked at her, and said very sternly, “Calm the f**k down.” and then continued my walk to the bathroom. Get that stick out of your ass…

“Manhattanhenge” – sometimes referred to as the Manhattan Solstice — is an event during which the setting sun is aligned with the east–west streets of the main street grid of Manhattan, New York City. This occurs twice a year, on dates evenly spaced around the summer solstice.

View from Long Island City

View from Long Island City

Isn’t it gorgeous?!?
Manhattanhenge 2016
On that same day, we also ran into ECTO-1!!!
Who you gonna call?!?

Who you gonna call?!?

It looked like they were doing some press in the actual car, so they drove it around while doing the interview…two birds, one stone. Pretty cool.

The second wedding we attended was in July, on a farm in NJ. It was the wedding celebration of one of my closest girlfriends. The terrain of this wedding was a little more difficult to navigate, but once I made the trek to flat ground, all was good. Bride and groom looked beautiful and despite it being super hot that day, we had a great time! Love ya Steph!
During the wedding, Steph came up to me and told me that her friend, Dina, wanted to meet me and if it was ok if she introduced us…Sure! (Dina – It was great to meet you and can’t wait to get together!) It’s always super humbling when someone wants to meet me b/c they know “my story”, what happened to me, and follow my blog. I always feel like I’m not worthy, b/c you know, I’m just doing my thing, trying to figure out life as my new normal. Always appreciate the praise and acknowledgement though, and happy to meet new people and answer any questions they might have!
Since the wedding was in South Jersey, a bunch of us stayed overnight at a hotel nearby. The hotel and room were great, the shower, not so much. One of the first things I do now, when checking into a hotel, is check out the bathroom situation, specifically, the shower. I need to see if it’s a roll-in shower or tub, and if it’s a tub, I need to make sure the hotel provides me with a shower chair or bench. I asked the gentleman at the front desk about the shower while we were checking in and he told me it was a tub shower and that the tub had a bench attached to it that folded down. Oh, ok..great! Ok…now take a look at the two pics below..
IMG_1314
Not exactly handicapped friendly...
You look at the first picture and you think, “Oh, it’s got all these bars in the shower…great! It must be super accessible!” But upon further inspection, I think to myself, all these bars must just be a distraction or diversion to throw you off the foolishness of the rest of the shower design. Note where the handheld shower is…all the way at the top by the shower head that’s in the wall. Yes, the handheld is on a sliding bar, but if it’s positioned all the way at the top, unreachable to someone that may be fully wheelchair bound, the fact that it’s on a sliding bar, is, irrelevant. See picture 2 for such a scenario. I’m not fully wheelchair bound, by any means, but I take off my prosthetics prior to getting in the shower. So when I go to take a shower, I am wheelchair bound. Ok, let’s say for argument sake, the handheld wasn’t positioned all the way at the top and I could reach it. Now, let’s refer back to picture 1. If I were seated on the bench, that’s attached to the wall, all the way at the other end of the shower, how am I supposed to reach the handheld shower head from there?…am I to use my Go Go Gadget Arms?!? Last I checked, I’m not Inspector Gadget, so that’s not possible. Oh, and last, but not least, when we turned the water on, it came out from the shower head that’s attached to the wall, and in order for it to come out of the handheld, you had to push the button…wait for it…that’s attached to the top of the wall shower head! WTF?!? Ok, I wasn’t alone, so Ben was able to bring the handheld shower down and give it to me once I was seated on the bench. And even then, it barely reached. I had to lean forward just so the handheld could reach my back.
Now, let’s say I was by myself. How would this play out?… I take off my prosthetics, get undressed, and wheel into the shower. Oh, I can’t reach the handheld. I guess I’ll have to get dressed and call the front desk. Hi..can you send someone up b/c I can’t reach anything in order to take a shower! Said person will come to my room, bring the handheld down, wait as I turn on the water and wait for it to be at the optimal temperature, and once at the right temp, push the button on top of the shower head so that the water will transfer over to the handheld. Oh wait, you can’t leave just yet. Now I have to transfer from my wheelchair onto the bench. Once I’m seated on the bench, you’ll have to hand me the handheld, b/c even though you brought it down and off of the sliding bar, I can’t reach it from the bench. And now, I’m sitting in the shower, fully clothed, holding the handheld. Now, you can leave…thanks. And now, I, will have to loop the handheld through one of the bars, get undressed, and pull the shower curtain all the way over to the other end (not sure how I’m supposed to get that accomplished solo..as I had Ben pull it once I got it b/c I couldn’t get it to reach all the way) and start my shower. Once I’m done with my shower, I’ll need to take certain steps if I have/want to shower again. Yes..the fun is not over. I’ll need to make sure I loop the handheld through one of the bars again, so it’s readily accessible for the next time. I grab the towel and dry off a little, before getting back into my wheelchair. Once out of the shower and in my wheelchair, I can roll over to the other end of the shower and shut the water off. I mean….really? Don’t they test these rooms and set ups out? It doesn’t seem like someone actually tested out the shower set up, but instead, had a checklist of things that were needed and just installed them. IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE!

The day after my birthday, we went up to Greenwood Lake, in upstate NY. One of my friends, one of the ESU (NYPD) guys that saved my life, lives up there and his family runs a Bed and Breakfast…WATERSTONE INN. Go and check it out! Book a stay! Tell them Teena sent you =) Teehee.
http://www.waterstoneinn.com/
Had such a great time just hanging out and relaxing. I wasn’t able to go swimming in the lake, since I was lazy, and didn’t pack an extra set of liners..next time. But…I did get on a waverunner/jet ski (I don’t know the difference…) for the first time! I’d never been on a waverunner before, even when I had my legs. It was awesome. Sean had me drive a bit..it almost feels like driving a motorcycle in the water. Not that I’ve ever driven a motorcycle either…but I assume…since you have to lean into your turns and it drives better when you go faster, like a motorcycle. Thought I was gonna send myself flying or tip the two of us over, luckily, we didn’t end up in the water.

Waverunner!

Waverunner!


Cloud Porn

Cloud Porn


Derek Jeter's house

Derek Jeter’s house


Atop of  Bellvale Farm

Atop of Bellvale Farm

Gotta go back in the fall. Apple picking season! Visit the vineyard, drink some wine, pick some apples (I’ll watch, while others pick!), do some shopping (they’re only about 25 min from Woodbury Common Outlets)

Some randomness…we were on a shopping trip at Target, when we came across this..

Interesting...

Interesting…

Ben and I picked up the book and started flipping through it, just to see the kinds of scenarios that were in there, and what does he end up flipping to..?!? Hah…coincidence?

And last, but certainly not least, I got my “skin” legs. I think I may have to make this a 3 parter. I want to show everyone pics of the legs, but I also want tell you all about the process of having them made and share pics of the process. I want to give it it’s own post.
I will try and get that up before the weekend is up. Stay tuned.

To Be Continued…
A sneak peak..

Real or Prosthetic?

Real or Prosthetic?

Goodbye June & July…Hello August. Part 1 (June)

I hope everyone’s been enjoying their summer. I can’t believe half of the summer has already come and gone.
Since my last post…I’ve been to 2 weddings, celebrated Ben’s 40th birthday, saw “Manhattanhenge”, had my 34th birthday, got on a wave runner for the first time ever (!), and got my “skin” legs!
But first, a few things that I left out from my last post b/c I only focused on the trip recaps…Blue Man Group show, concert at Forest Hills Stadium, and Property Brothers book signing!
Saw the Blue Men of the Blue Man Group with Momma and Poppa Katz. The show was a lot of fun!
Blue Man Group Outting
Ben and I went to a concert at Forest Hills Stadium in June. It was the “Disclosure presents Wildlife” show. There were multiple performers. It was a nice day, the venue was nice, I met Havoc of Mobb Deep..we had a good time!
Disclosure Presents Wildlife

Me and half of Mobb Deep

Me and half of Mobb Deep



Once we were in the venue, things were ok, but getting to the venue itself…forget it. So, per my usual routine now, when going to a place I’ve never been to before, I tend to do research according to my checklist: Is there going to be parking? Is it going to be street parking or will there be a parking lot? How much walking will I have to do from the car to the entrance?, etc. We used to live in Forest Hills so we’re very familiar with the area, the parking, and the streets. But, when we lived in Forest Hills, they had yet to renovate the stadium to hold concerts, so we weren’t familiar with what the streets would be like the day of or how they would handle the traffic. I went onto the Forest Hills Stadium’s website and the only informative info that was on there was, “The best way to arrive to Forest Hills Stadium is on public transportation. Strolling from the subway or LIRR along the streets of Forest Hills is a part of the iconic venue experience.
Please note: there is no parking at the venue or on the streets near the venue. For your own convenience, please do not plan to drive here and park.”
That information was under the section of the site titled, “Get Here”. Well, for my own convenience, I will drive there and park! And then under the FAQ section, “Is there accessible seating at Forest Hills Stadium?
Yes, we have an ADA/handicapped area at the stadium. Patrons in need of this area should select the ADA ticket type when checking out.”

Well, ok…not very helpful and nothing I didn’t already know. So, with this minimal amount of info, I decided to do a drive-by the day before. Turns out, there was a concert the day before, so I was able to ask the police that were there that night about the street closures and get a visual of what the area was going to look like. Cut to the next day…Luckily, we were able to get a pretty decent spot on the street. That was about the only “easy” thing about getting to the venue. There were more streets closed for the night of our concert than there were for the concert the night before. Great. Turned out to be a 0.5 mile walk from the first street closure to the actual entrance of the venue ( I mapped it on Google Maps when we got home to see exactly how far the walk was). We parked a block from the first street closure – so that was inconsequential. Now, a half of a mile walk, would have been nothing to me pre-accident, and it’s not the end of the world to me now, but there was ABSOLUTELY NO assistance or even any offer of assistance during that entire walk. No wheelchairs offered. No golf carts. Nothing. Now, we get it…The neighborhood around the venue consists of all private streets and they don’t want attendants of concerts to ruin the area. Fine, but by closing off a 0.5 mile area around the venue, not allowing cars to enter the closed area for drop offs, and then not providing assistance, it makes it really hard for me to go back there for any future events. By the time we got to the entrance, I was drenched in sweat and needed to fix my prosthetic ( I actually needed to fix it before I even made it to the entrance.). And here goes the next obstacle..the venue only has porta-potties, fine if I needed to just pee, but I wasn’t sitting down or touching anything in there. So…let’s just get to our seats and I’ll figure it out there. Once we’re taken to our seats, I realized there really wasn’t any private area where I could fix my prosthetic. I needed to fix my right prosthetic, which goes all the way up to the top of my thigh and in order to fix it, I basically needed to be out in my undies for that side of my leg. So, I asked Ben to get me some paper towels. I put a couple of sheets underneath my right leg so I wouldn’t have to directly touch the seat, and then I took my prosthetic and my liner off. Sat there with half my booty exposed and did what I needed to do. Gave ZERO f**ks. Then when I was done, I asked the staff, is there no assistance provided for the walk to the entrance of the venue. I was told that there’s a drop off spot, but when I asked about this at the entrance/exit when we left the venue, they didn’t seem to know what I was talking about. I had Ben carry me, piggy back style, for half of the walk back to the car b/c I was worn out from the day. So, Forest Hills Stadium – we had a great time at the actual show and the grounds are lovely. But, if half of a mile of streets need to be closed, please recognize that you need to provide some sort of assistance for that walk. (i.e. When I go to Cit Field, I can flag down a golf cart and they will give me a lift to the gate that is closest to the section my seats are in.)

We met the Property Brothers (Drew and Jonathan Scott) of HGTV in June at a book signing in Barnes & Noble. Yes, there are still B&Ns open out there. =)

Property Brothers book signing

Property Brothers book signing


They were super friendly and nice..and really tall! I put together a little pitch to present to them, b/c I’m a nerd. I asked them if they’ve ever built/renovated a house that was for someone that’s handicapped. They said they had, but not for the show and that they encourage people to apply. I went…”I’m right here!!” If you’re curious and want to see the pitch I put together for them, click on the link below!
On-The-Next-Episode-of-Property-Brothers
And if anyone reading this, has any contacts at HGTV or with the Drew or Jonathan…feel free to send them my way or pass along my info!

The first wedding we went to was in June at Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua, NY. It was the wedding of one of my friends from high school. She looked gorgeous and the wedding was beautiful! It was the first wedding, post-accident, that I attended, where I needed to “dress up”. I must’ve tried on at least 5 different dresses to see what would work…something that was comfortable for me to walk in, that didn’t make me look more large and in charge than I already am (with my Serena arms), something that was dressy enough, and something that wouldn’t lead me to sweat like a pig. Looking for clothing pre-accident was a breeze compared to what it is now. To think, looking for clothing that wouldn’t accentuate my broad shoulders was a problem…pshhh….that was nothing. Now, that’s the least of my problems when shopping for clothing.
There were some stairs and a slightly, uneven, grassy area that I had to contend with, but overall, manageable. I even got in a little bit of “dancing”…in quotes b/c I don’t think I would’ve called what I did dancing, prior to my accident. Hah! But all that matters, is that I had fun doing it!

Us with the beautiful bride!

Us with the beautiful bride!

Read Part 2 for the recap of my July happenings!
– Wedding, Birthdays, “Manhattanhenge”, and wave runner adventures!

Trip Recaps and the Latest Happenings

Hi there!

I hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day Weekend and is enjoying the start of their summer!
Let me fill you guys in on what’s happened in the last month and a half…

I went to Charleston, SC in April and New Orleans, LA in May. Both of these cities, were cities I’d never been to before, pre or post accident. I’d been to both LA and Florida before the accident, so going to both those places, post-accident, didn’t involve as much pre-planning, as I was familiar with what to expect out there, to a certain degree.
April – Charleston, SC
I went down to Charleston, SC with a few of my girlfriends for 4 days & nights. It was my first post-accident trip without Ben and with my girlfriends. The airport and flight portion of the trip went off without a hitch. Getting in a cab and leaving the airport to get to the hotel wasn’t an issue, either. Overall, the majority of the trip went fairly smoothly. I think the main “issue” I didn’t foresee was how much I needed to be in my wheelchair, not because I couldn’t walk or anything like that, but because it just wasn’t “convenient”. I wouldn’t say that the sidewalks/streets of Charleston were not handicap friendly, but I wouldn’t say they were, either. It’s an old city, so it was expected that the sidewalks or streets wouldn’t be the most accommodating. A big part of being on vacation is to just walk and explore the area…and this is where the convenience issue comes into play. Even though we were staying in the center of town and located within “walking distance” of a lot of things, I ended up having to take my wheelchair out and about with us. Even though things are close, it’s hard for me to walk and explore aimlessly. Although it has been 2 years since I’ve been on prosthetics, I’m still adjusting. So…it’s hard for me to walk without a plan or set destination because I won’t know what the terrain of the streets and sidewalks will be like, how crowded the sidewalks will be with people, how wide the sidewalks will be, and if I can keep up with my friends. Factoring all of that in, I wheeled around in the wheelchair, but brought my crutches along in tow for when I wanted and could use them. This wasn’t the most ideal, since I felt like I was being a burden to my friends, but we made it work. THANKS Jenn, May, and Steph! xoxo.
Charleston was good prep for New Orleans…
May – New Orleans, LA
The Charleston trip and the need for my wheelchair while there, prepared me for New Orleans. Learning from my Charleston experiences, coupled with the planner and anal retentive sides of me, I researched where we were staying and the French Quarter, probably a little more than necessary…Knowing that we were in the French Quarter and “within walking distance” to everything, meant almost nothing to me. Sure, it was a bit helpful, but phrases and words like, within walking distance and close, no longer have the same meaning to me anymore, as they do everyone else. So, this meant that I…Printed out a map of the French Quarter, marked where our hotel was, marked the top spots of places I wanted to see/eat/do within the French Quarter (don’t get all excited..it wasn’t more than 8…I’m not THAT crazy), then calculated how far said things were from the hotel, then determined if it was walkable or if it would require the wheelchair. And then last, but not least, it if was walkable, I’d go to Google and map out the walk via Google’s street view, so I could get a sense of what the sidewalks/streets would be like…ok…maybe I am THAT crazy. And with all that said and done, I still ended up doing the riding the wheelchair and taking the crutches combo because it was either too hot or too crowded with people. I attempted to walk around the French Quarter the first night we got there, to get a drink at one of the bars, but after 2-3 blocks…I was almost completely drenched in sweat (sexy!) and tired of navigating amongst all the drunkards.
We did walk/wheel around quite a bit, ate a lot, saw both a Jazz Show and a Burlesque Show, and definitely got a feel for the people and the Southern hospitality. We had oysters (raw and char-grilled), beignets (from Cafe Beignet and Cafe Du Monde), jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, gumbo, po-boys, coffee, hurricanes, etc! Oh..and the frozen cafe au lait from Cafe Du Monde….I mean, I can’t even….it was DELICIOUS! However, I think I liked Cafe Beignet’s beignets over Cafe Du Monde’s beignets. I’d go back to New Orleans just for that combo…Cafe Du Monde’s frozen cafe au lait and a couple of beignets from Cafe Beignet….*drool* (It doesn’t help that I’m writing this post during dinner time…). I currently have another window open to see if there’s a Cafe Du Monde cafe au lait recipe/mix…hah.
IMG_0967

IMG_0970

Musical Legends Park

Musical Legends Park

Cafe Du Monde break...YUM!

Cafe Du Monde break…YUM!

Tulane Graduation

Tulane Graduation


One other thing to mention, before moving on to current and recent happenings. During one of our Uber rides down in New Orleans, we met a driver named Chris. During the drive, I was asking him about the best way to get to the Super Dome for the graduation (We were in New Orlean’s for Ben’s cousin’s graduation from Tulane.) and what time we should head out…blah blah blah. At the end of that trip, he gave me his card and told us that he would pick us up at the hotel and take us to the Super Dome. Sweet..I didn’t have to worry about ordering an Uber first thing, Saturday AM. On Saturday morning he called to confirm and then showed up right on time. As he started driving, he started chatting with us. (This was almost 3 weeks ago, so it may not be word for word…) He started to say something about how he asked my husband for permission first, if it was ok to make this presentation to me…I wasn’t sure where this was going, but I got the feeling it was going to be something sappy and sweet. So, as he continued, I said something along the lines of, Chris, I don’t know what you’re about to do, but it’s barely 8AM, so it’s too early in the morning for me to get choked up…Chris is ex-Military, a former Navy Chief, and coincidentally, also worked at our hotel when he was a kid, for over 10 years. He began his “presentation” about his time in the navy and then about strength and bravery and how I demonstrated all these things. He was telling me about how he had been thinking about how to make the presentation during his drive to pick us up and that he was very nervous and wasn’t even sure if he should do it. I was COMPLETELY caught off guard. Totally unexpected and not ready for that kind of emotion at 8AM on a Saturday. I don’t think I’m retelling this story properly and doing it or Chris justice. It was so sweet and I was so honored. See pin below.USN

As for what else is going on…Bad news – still looking for a job. Good news – getting skins on my legs!…which basically means, my “legs” will look like legs and not robot legs! I will try and document the process so I can write about and have visuals for everyone!
Oh and in case anyone hasn’t seen this yet on The Today Show or on social media….
http://www.today.com/parents/watch-girl-cry-tears-joy-after-getting-doll-matching-prosthetic-t96226
Big Shout Out to A Step Ahead Prosthetics…my prosthetic place. SO proud of them for all they do and so glad they got so much coverage for this wonderful thing they’re doing for these amazing kids!

Home


https://www.facebook.com/AStepAheadProsthetics/

Packing and Traveling

Hope everyone is enjoying Spring so far!

The girls and I leave for our trip to Charleston, South Carolina in 3 days. We leave from JFK on a 7am flight…ugh…just the thought of having to get to the airport/get up at that hour is horrifying. I sent my girlfriends a short email with some FYIs and some heads up information since this will be their first time traveling with me since my accident. Some of the bullet points in the email: I’ll have my legs on but will be in my wheelchair at the airport, so I’ll need you guys to help carry my bag and crutches. You will definitely see me in my underwear and you might see me naked – apologies in advance. I’ll probably take 2 showers a day.
With my mom’s help, I did my first round of packing this weekend. Yes, I said first round of packing. I have a process when it comes to packing. I’ll pack, unpack, reorganize, and then repack. Sometimes this happens more than twice, but I try and keep it to only twice. The multiple repacking sessions helps me to get rid of “unwanted” items. I’ve always been an over packer and since the accident, I have extra “accessories” that I now need to pack, which makes the overpacking that much more annoying. Usually, when Ben and I travel, I try and pack all our stuff in a checked bag, even if 2 carry-ons will do. Since he has to carry everything, it’s just easier to put it all in one bag that will be checked. I know the rest of the girls will only have a carry on and I don’t want them to have to wait for me and my bag, so I tried my best to make it all work in a carry-on. So, I literally pulled out clothes, tried on all outfit options, and then packed only the outfits that worked and only what clothing was “necessary”. I don’t have everything I need to take packed in the suitcase yet, but I think I’m going to be able to make everything fit into the one carry-on…woot woot! What’s wrong with me?!?…it’s only for 4 days and it’s not like we have anything extravagant planned..I have issues. Hah. Pics and stories about the trip when I return!

Slight digression, but still somewhat on topic…Since I was talking about traveling as I started to type this post, I called up Delta regarding our trip to New Orleans in May for Ben’s cousin’s graduation. If I book flights online, I usually call the airline as we near the trip date and since we’re currently a month away, I gave Delta a call. I give them a call so they can help assign me seats that are as close to the front of the plane as possible, which makes for easing boarding, trips to the bathroom, and deplaning. When I’ve dealt with JetBlue regarding this, the phone call is usually pretty straight forward and isn’t usually a big deal. I tell them that I’m handicapped and then ask then if they can give me seats as close to the front of the plane as possible. If they ask what my handicap is, I tell them, and then sometimes they ask if I can walk and/or if I’ll need a transfer chair. I tell them yes, I can walk, and no, I don’t need a transfer chair but being as close to the front of the plane makes life a little easier. They assign me my seats and we’re on our merry way. Previous calls to Delta aren’t as quick and easy as with JetBlue, but still pretty easy and quick, for the most part. This particular phone call took about 40 minutes, 15 minutes of holding before someone came onto the line, another 15 minutes of holding during the actual call, and probably about 10 minutes of actual dialogue. The conversation went a little something like this…Anything in “(…)” are my thoughts during the call.
Me: Hi. I currently have flights booked for travel from NY to New Orleans for May.
Delta: Yes, I see those reservations. How can I help you?
Me: The reason I’m calling is because I’m handicapped and would like your help in assigning me seats as close to the front of the plane as possible.
Delta: Ok. Let me take a look. Would you like bulkhead seating or seating in rows 1-3, or economy comfort seating?..
Me: (I’ve never been given choices before of where to move my seat.) Well, are any of those options going to be an additional cost?
Delta: I’m not sure. Let me check with my supervisor. You say you’d like seats as close to the front of possible?
Me: Yes, please.
-On hold.-
Delta: Hi. Thank you for holding. I spoke to my supervisor and she said that for your flight from NY to New Orleans you’re currently in row 13, so that’s fine and we can leave it, (Oh, it is? Then why did I call to ask to be moved further up to the front?!? Idiot.) but you’re in row 23 for your flight from New Orleans to NY so we can move you up to row 16 for that flight. (Uhm, no.)
Me: I’m on the website right now and looking a a map of the seating and I see that row 10 is open on the flight from NY to New Orleans, can you move me to those seats? I don’t see many available seats for the return flight on the map, is 16 the closest to the front?
Delta: Well, those are the bulkhead seats and those are usually reserved for passengers who board with service dogs or …couldn’t make out the 2nd part of her sentence. And yes, 16 is the closest on the return flight.
Me: Can you please check and see if I can have the bulkhead seats?
Delta: Ok. Let me check with the supervisor.
-On hold, again.-
Delta: Hi. I spoke to my supervisor and she said that that’s the best we can do b/c that row is for passengers who travel with service animals, that’s the row we put them in (I’ve seen passengers with service animals in other rows..and can’t you check if the passengers who are on the flight are traveling with service animals?…but,ok…) and for passengers who have full casts on their legs. (I believe that’s what she said..that’s the part I couldn’t make out before. If that is what she actually said, I thought to myself, what kind of ridiculousness is that?1?, followed by, oh, I’ll do you one even better!)
Me: I see. Well, I have prosthetics. So, can you please go back and check with your supervisor and see if that makes a difference? This is when I started to get irritated by the call…in case you guys couldn’t tell. =)
Delta: Ok. I will have to check with a different supervisor. (Ok. Check with whomever you need to, lady.) Prosthetics?..
Me: Yes.
Delta: You said prosthetics? One leg or both legs?
Me: With a slight ‘tude, I replied..”Both. Does it make a difference?!?”
Delta: No..Ok..I’ll check with my supervisor.
-Then at this point, she’s spelling prosthetics out loud, but incorrectly. I think she was trying to type in into her notes, or something..who knows?.. I help her out..P-R-O-S-T….etc.
-On hold, again.
And when she comes back on the phone…
Delta: Ok, you’re in seats 10 D and E.
Me: Ok, great. Thank you..and for the return flight?
Delta: 10 D and E.
Me: Oh, ok…same seats. Great. Thanks!
Delta: Thank you.
And then she hung up with the quickness…
I thought I was going to shoot myself mid-way through the call…holy crap!! All is well in the end and they moved my seats up, but, come on, Delta…get your s**t together…

Still job hunting…hate it. If anyone knows of anything or has any contacts that I can reach out to, please let me know. You can shoot me an email at teenakatz@gmail.com. Thanks in advance!
Currently going through fittings for new sockets for my prosthetics – pics when I’m done with fittings and they’re completed.

On the next episode of Teenavs7train…South Carolina pics/stories and pics of new sockets (maybe).
As always, thanks for following and reading!

Hello Teena vs. 7 Train World!…

…It’s been a long time…
I didn’t forget about the blog, but rather, went on a bit of a hiatus, I guess. Life sort of took over and I neglected the blog. (Sad face.) Hoping to get back on track with it, hopefully I still have followers that are still interested in my “wild and crazy” life!
Well, since my last post was from way back in October, I have a lot to catch you all up on. I’ll try and do a quick recap of events in order to catch up to present day…

November 2015
Beginning of November – We went to a Dead and Company (with John Mayer) concert. My first Dead concert and my first concert in an arena (MSG), without my wheelchair. Ben is the Dead fan, I was just there for the “experience”. I knew some of their music, but wasn’t too familiar. After about 2 hours at the show, I said, “Ok if we leave after the next song?” Cut to almost 10 minutes later..”Is this song ever going to end?!?” Great experience, but definitely a long night for me since I’m not a big fan of the music and since I had to “adjust’ my legs EVERY TIME people had to enter and exit the row!

Middle of November – We went up to Boston so that I could meet with the leg transplant team at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. I was in back-to-back meetings with doctors from 10AM to about 6P. After the last meeting, I asked the doctor in charge of the team if we could cut back on some of the appointments for the following day since I wasn’t expecting to be so overwhelmed by all the information I’d received. Done..the next day would only be a half day of appointments. After an entire day of schlepping from one doctor meeting to the next, we needed to unwind. We headed to dinner and then a movie. By the time we got back to the hotel, it was probably close to midnight. Just as I was getting out of the shower, I get a call from my brother, who was spending the night at our place that night. It’s about 1AM. My brother reaching out at that hour wasn’t alarming, since sometimes we’re still texting at 2/3AM. But it was odd that he was calling at that hour. Uhm..I think your apartment’s been broken into..WHAT?!?! We FaceTime so that he can show me the apartment…both windows in the bedroom are wide open, jewelry thrown all over the bed, dresser drawers all wide open. We’d been robbed. Now we’re pissed, confused, upset…What do we do? We decide it’s best to cancel the rest of the trip and drive back because if we stayed, all we’d be thinking about is the apartment. So, at 2 in the morning, we start packing up. At about 3 AM we got on the road and got back to NY at around 6AM. Once we got home, it’s post break-in drama…What’s missing, did we lock the windows, when did this happen, blah blah blah. Summary – Some of the items stolen: my engagement ring and wedding band, a $2K Michele Watch, other pieces of jewelry, about $2K in cash, Ben’s coin collection, etc. The detective(s) on our case were useless. A couple of days after the robbery, I went to drop off some paperwork at the precinct and the detective says to me, “I think we caught THE guy.” Oh yea?!? How do you know? “Well, he didn’t have any of your stuff on him and he lawyered up right away, but we’re pretty sure it’s the guy.” Right…but how do you know it’s THE guy that broke into our place? “Well, we’re not 100%, but it’s highly likely.” Ok, genius…so you caught A guy (which is great), but you didn’t catch THE guy. Your choice of words is a big deal here, buddy. All in all, there were no further updates on our case, or at least we weren’t informed if there were, and we filed a claim with our insurance. Our home and sense of security were violated, but we were OK.

December 2015
Hanukkah, Christmas…usual.
12/30/16 – We went to the archery range. We had stopped in a few months back to get information and to see if, logistically, I’d be able to do it. If needed, I could shoot from a seated position. So, we decided to go and give it a try that night. Ben shot with a recurve bow and I shot with a compound bow. Most beginners shoot with a recurve bow, I opted for the compound bow. The compound bow is slightly heavier than the recurve and requires a little more strength to use, but is easier for aiming. And since I have “Serena arms” (credit: WB), I figured I could handle the additional weight, if I’d have some help with the aiming..one less thing to worry about.

Training for the Hunger Games...

Training for the Hunger Games…


It was a 1 hour class. I did pretty well for my 1st time at archery…at least for someone with no legs, anyway. I shot 90% of the class standing up. I sat when I started to get a bit tired, but I found it more difficult to aim in the seated position since I had spent most of the class standing and had gotten used to shooting that way. My arms were sore at the end of the class and even more sore the following day, but only because I was using my muscles in a way that I had never used them before – which is hard to believe, since my arms are pretty much involved in everything I do! We have yet to go back, but definitely will!…If only to get pictures of each of us individually shooting and not just holding up the beaten up bullseye sheet. If there aren’t any pictures, then it didn’t actually happen, right?!?

January 2016
Obligatory Happy New Year! – albeit 2 months late.
1/1/16 – We flew down to Florida for some warm weather and to visit Ben’s parents. It was a busy week!..Mini-golf, swimming (both with legs and without!), movies, gun range, and more!

You can't see it...but there's a look of intense concentration on my face

You can’t see it…but there’s a look of intense concentration on my face



Poolside Lounging
Oh, hi there! It's just me and my legs sitting in the pool...

Oh, hi there! It’s just me and my legs sitting in the pool…


file:///Users/ThunderKatz/Desktop/Legless%20Swimming.html
The link above is to the video of me “swimming”. I’m not sure if the link will work, but the video was too large to load onto the site…It’s on Facebook, though.

Gun Range Targets Left - Ben, Right - Me

Gun Range Targets
Left – Ben, Right – Me


Skilled in bow and arrow and firearm. Don’t mess with me! I may not be able to run after you…hehe. In fact, I’ll give you a head start. Muhahaha.

1/7/16 – Our 2nd to last day in Florida. I get a phone call in the morning, from work. They know I’m on vacation…dun dun dun. “Your position is being absorbed in LA.” Long and short of it…I was laid off…while still on vacation. Happy New Year! At least I was in warm and sunny Florida. I should’ve saved my trip to the gun range..hah.

Rest of January – Present Day
The first couple of weeks of my unemployment were pretty busy…
-Cleared out my office and returned my equipment.
-Did some “spring cleaning” around the apartment.
-Got my haircut.
-Updated the scrapbook.
-Worked with a professional to revamp and update my resume.
-Took a new Linkedin profile pic and updated the profile with the new and improved resume.
-Fell and almost face planted.
That last item was a doozy. Luckily, I was at home and I was ok. The wall – maybe not so much. I was turning a corner in the apartment and my crutch and foot somehow got tangled up and the next thing I knew I gravity took hold. As always, when I’m falling, whether out of the wheelchair or when I’m in my prosthetics (thankfully this was only the 2nd time ever in the 1.5 years I’ve been in prosthetics), I try to contort myself so that I don’t face plant. Success!..in not face planting. I fell on my butt. Boom! Bruised and scraped my forearm from falling with my arm still in the crutch, but otherwise OK. Scraped a bit of paint off the wall, but I’m sure the wall is fine.

Currently…
..still unemployed and searching for a job. If anyone knows of anything, please reach out and I’ll gladly forward my resume. Searching for a job is so tedious. I’m bored and sick of constantly being at home and on the computer, but in order to search for a job, I have to be home and sit in front of the computer all day. Half the time, it feels like my resume is just going into a black hole. Of course, I know people mean well when they tell me I’ll find something and that things will work out because I know they genuinely mean it and it’s coming from a place of good…but it’s almost like, when, after the accident, people would say to me, “Everything happens for a reason or God only gives you what you can handle.” Words of encouragement and positive thoughts are always welcome and great, but please also couple it with help, if you’re able to provide it, of course! Please!..and Thank You! Any help is and always will be greatly appreciated. xoxo.

Preview of what’s to come…trip to Charleston, South Carolina booked for April. First trip with the girls in quite a few years. First trip with just the girls since the accident. First trip not with Ben since the accident.

The Struggle is Real…

Some stats…6 days since my stitches were taken out. 18 days since my surgery. 18 days that I’ve been wheelchair bound = 18 days that I haven’t been able to put on prosthetics and walk. At least another 7 days until I can put my prosthetics on. And 4 days since my allergic reaction (yes, another one)…
The last few days have been rough. I thought it would be smooth sailing once the drain was taken out and the stitches removed…mmm..not so much. 2 days after I had my stitches taken out, I noticed something was off. The incision areas were “leaking”…I was having an allergic reaction to something. Wonderful. After the stitches were removed, they put Steri-Strips on the areas Steri-Strips and used Mastisol (liquid adhesive) to secure them. Mastisol I got a reaction to the Mastisol. Here’s the irony in this. This was taken off a site on Mastisol, “Reduce the likelihood of dressing or device migration and minimize the risk of infection by creating a lasting occlusive dressing barrier by incorporating Mastisol, an adjunct liquid adhesive that is non-staining and has a lower risk of adverse reactions.”…and yet I got an adverse reaction. My incision areas developed a rash and my skin started to become macerated and “blistery”. I’ll spare everyone the pics the pics that I took…The blistering was what was causing the leaking and “sweating”. 4 days later the sweating/oozing has finally started to decrease (I think/hope), but it’s been a long 4 days. The first day I noticed it, I was concerned, but something similar had happened to me back when I had my surgery in March so I wasn’t too freaked out. Then the 2nd day when the sweating increased, I started to freak out a little. But I emailed the doc and his team and they said to just be on top of changing the gauze and try to keep it dry. So these last couple of days have just been watching, waiting, and hoping for the sweating to stop or at least decrease. And in hopes of not jinxing myself, it looks like it’s finally starting to ooze less (knock on wood). It’s been a very stressful few days and what makes this allergic reaction even more aggravating is that it is potentially prolonging me being able to put my prosthetics on. As it is, I haven’t been able to wear my shrinker or my liner. Both of which, are very helpful in reducing the swelling. But…I need to let the areas air out as much as possible, since they’re macerated.
Surgery in March – Discovery of infection? Check. Antibiotics? Check. Allergic reaction that added to my recovery time and was SUPER aggravating and frustrating? Check.
Surgery in September – Discovery of infection? Check. Antibiotics? Check. Allergic reaction that added to my recovery time and was SUPER aggravating and frustrating? Check.
Between March and now, I’ve discovered that my incision areas are super sensitive to any type of adhesive and that I’m allergic to Levoquin (an antibiotic), which coincidentally also brings about an annoying skin rash. Moving forward, no adhesive anything near incision areas post surgery! Instead of eating things and then potentially discovering I’m allergic to something, I like to reveal my allergies by having surgery. Doesn’t that sound like more fun?!?
Just another bump in the road. It could be worse…Both these statements are true and are applicable in this situation. But that doesn’t mean it makes it suck any less or that hearing it makes things any better. I know that the rest of my isn’t going to be a smooth road and that post accident, my entire life has been re-routed and that I’ll probably need to take detours for the remainder of my life…but enough with the constant construction already!…over it.
The struggle is real…

…Part II

I’ll finish up the story I left off with in the last post, re: the impromptu show-and-tell. We were at Rye Playland and I needed to take a break. We walked over to a bench so that I could sit down and rest. Ben took the opportunity to take a bathroom break. About 2 minutes after I sat down, a little girl (Chloe), maybe 6 or 7 years old, comes over to me and asks if she could ask me a question. I said, “Sure!” She then proceeds to ask what happened to me. I’ll retell our conversation below as if it were a script to a TV show or movie…
Me: I was in a train accident…
Chloe: You were ON the train??
Me: No…I was hit by the train…
Chloe: (With her eyes wide open) You were hit by the train?? Why didn’t you just run?!?
Me: I couldn’t. I fainted and then fell onto the tracks and then the train hit me…
Chloe: So, you lost your legs and now these help you (pointing to my prosthesis) walk?
Me: Yup!
Chloe: Do they hurt?
Me: Nope! But it takes a lot of work to use them so sometimes I need to sit down and take a rest, like I’m doing now.
At about now, her grandpa, 2 sisters, and cousin showed up! Her grandpa interjected and apologized for all her questions and curiosity and asked if it was ok. I said it was totally fine, better that she be curious than scared. Chloe introduces her sisters and cousin and then proceeds with her questions.
She then asked if she could touch my right prosthetic. Of course, I said yes. This was followed by the rest of the kids asking if they could touch as well. And once again, of course it was ok. I then told them that that leg has a computer in it. Their eyes lit up and they asked me where it was and if they could see and touch.
Chloe: But, you still have your feet, right?
Me: No…I don’t.
Chloe: So, what’s that then? (Pointing to the foot shell)
Me: It’s just a cover. You know how sometimes stores have the fake people, mannequins, with the clothes on in the window? My foot is kind of like that.
Chloe: Can we see?
Me: Sure!
I take my sneaker off and then my sock, so they can see the foot shell.
Chloe: Oh! It looks like my foot! Can we touch it?
Me: Sure!
Chloe and group: Ooh! It feels like a real foot!
Chloe then sits down on the grass, removes her sneaker and sock to expose her foot and says, “It looks like my foot!” To which her grandpa says, “Put that stinky foot away!” To which I say to Chloe and the kids, “That’s one thing I don’t have to worry about anymore…stinky feet!” They then ask me why the 2 prosthesis look different. I tell them it’s because one leg is shorter than the other and that the shorter one needs more help so that’s why it’s different. I pointed to show them how high the right one started. They asked if they could see. That one I said no to…didn’t think I needed to be flashing my undies to the people at Rye Playland and all. But they had a couple of more questions about that leg, so I told them that I would take the cover off so they could see. But I warned them that I had to do something with the leg so that I could take the cover off, and told them don’t be scared. They all went, “We won’t!”. So, I turned my knee/leg “upside down”…they were all wide-eyed, but not scared. Chloe sat back down on the grass and said, “Wait, I think I can do that too!”..and proceeded to try. *Adorable* They looked, touched, and then went over to the left prosthesis. I explained that the left one had a hidden button that I push so that I can take it off. They asked if I could take it off so they could see. I warned them again not to be scared…since there’s a pin/screw at the end of my liner. I took off the left prosthesis and then then put it back on. Chloe then asked if she could try to push the button and take the prosthesis off. This girl…love her. I said yes and then she “unclicked” my left prosthesis and took it off! Then she asked if she could hold it. So there she was…holding my left prosthesis by the shoe in her hands. Then the rest of the kids asked if it was heavy and if they could try holding it. And so…it got passed around. I mean….could they be any cuter?!? Then their grandma showed up and then the show-and-tell began to conclude. It was so nice to answer all their questions and show them my prosthesis. It was my pleasure to teach them about my prosthesis. I hope I was a good teacher/presenter for them and that they walked away asking more questions! I certainly didn’t start that day expecting to take off my prosthesis and having it passed around at Rye Playland…And I’m sure they didn’t think they’d be passing a prosthesis around!
Rye Playland Show and Tell_Sept 2015

No smooth segue into my next topic…I had my 14th surgery to date on Wednesday, 9/16/15. 14th surgery and 4th hospital, in less than 2 years. Fun times.
So, lets start by saying I was duped. Well, sort of, but not really. Hah. When I first scheduled this surgery and spoke to the doctor about what would be done, we had talked about anesthesia and he told me that he wouldn’t need to put me completely out. I took this to mean something along the lines of…I’d be awake, maybe not coherent, but awake, and numb in my leg and there would be a “curtain” up so I couldn’t see what was happening. Wrong. Completely out means you’re under full anesthesia and they intubate you with a breathing tube because you’re not breathing on your own. So, I wasn’t completely out because I was under full anesthesia but still breathing on my own. I guess that’s better…but I was completely unaware of the fact that in all the 13 prior surgeries, I was completely out.
With that being said, this surgery took about 2 hours. The tentative “plan” was that surgery would take 1.5-2 hours and then I’d be in recovery for 2-3 hours, and then I’d go home. Wrong again. I woke up in the recovery room and I was a little groggy..ok…to be expected. As I start to come to a little more, the nurse asks if I’m in any pain. I am. We go through the usual routine..1-10, what number is your pain? 5-6. She gave me some pain medication and then told me about the JP drain I had in my leg. Ugh…what?!?.
[A Jackson-Pratt Drain (also called a JP Drain) is a closed-suction medical device that is commonly used as a post-operative drain for collecting bodily fluids from surgical sites. The device consists of an internal drain connected to a grenade-shaped bulb via plastic tubing. The flexible bulb has a plug that can be opened to pour off collected fluid. Each time fluid is removed, the patient, caregiver or healthcare provider squeezes the air out of the bulb and replaces the plug before releasing the bulb. The resulting vacuum creates suction in the drainage tubing, which gradually draws fluid from the surgical site into the bulb. The bulb may be repeatedly opened to remove the collected fluid and squeezed again to restore suction. It is best to empty drains before they are more than half full to avoid the discomfort of the weight of the drain pulling on the internal tubing]
Luckily, I knew what it was because I had a JP drain in my left leg back when I was in Bellevue, but I wasn’t expecting to have one inserted into me after this surgery. So, knew what it was but caught off guard that I had one in me. Then Ben came in and told me the doc said that surgery went well. He said the doc said they found a 3-4 inch suture in one of the spots they operated on and removed it. Of course they did.
At this point the pain meds had kicked in and I was feeling a little better…but not for long. After coming out of surgery/anesthesia, I was REALLY thirsty and REALLY hungry, but you’re only allowed to start off with ice chips, then move to water, then jello..and only when they deem it ok, you’re allowed to start having real food. I never got to the real food…I started with the ice chips and quickly moved to drinking water. Then, my head started to hurt. It wasn’t bad at first. The nurse gave me some Tylenol. Then, I felt nauseous and started to get the thick spit in my mouth. Never a good thing. I grabbed the vomit tray and 5 seconds later…PUKE…water puke…since I hadn’t eaten anything since midnight the night before (it was about 3P now) and all I had post surgery was water. Ok, puking was not fun, but I did feel a little better afterwards. Cut to 10 minutes later…the headache was back and now it had been upgraded to full migraine status. The next few hours were torture. I just wanted to crawl into a cave. The migraine escalated to the worst migraine I ever had. For those of you that have never experienced a migraine, hope that you won’t ever experience one. This was like the worst hangover…times 10!!! The slightest sound, the dimmest light…it all was too much. I would just try and fall asleep, but even that was difficult. So for the next few hours I was just in and out. At around 6ish, I puked, again. After this 2nd puke, the nurse alerted the plastic surgery team that was on call. When the 2 docs came to see me, they asked me a few questions and told me that nausea and vomiting were normal reactions from anesthesia, but not the way I was experiencing it. “Normally,” people are nauseous for a little while and then puke. I would get nauseous right before I puked. They asked me if I normally have migraines. I don’t have them on a “regular” basis, but I do get them. So, it was decided that I wasn’t having a reaction from the anesthesia, but more likely that I just happened to get the worst migraine ever, at the worse possible time. They injected another dose of anti-nausea medicine into my IV, along with some Pepcid to coat my stomach. I dozed off for about an hour after that and when I woke up I finally started to feel a little bit of relief. By the time I felt good enough to leave and was cleared to go, it was about 10P. By the time we got into the car it was a little after 11P and by the time we arrived at home, it was midnight. I was so exhausted. I was finally able to eat something when we got home. It had been over 24 hours since the last time I had eaten anything. I was fasting for Yom Kippur a week early. Hah! I was starving and barely had enough energy to eat, but forced myself to get some toast down…then off to bed.
Cut to Saturday…I had just taken my shower and was redressing my wounds. It was the first day I was allowed to take a full shower. I had to wait at least 48 hours before I could changes the dressings or take a full shower. As I was changing my dressings, I get a call from the doc’s PA. She tells me that when they took a culture from one of my “pockets’ during surgery and took it to the lab, it tested gram positive for a staphaureas infection. Of course. She says that it’s ok since I wasn’t showing any symptoms, which I wasn’t and hadn’t. She then proceeds to tell me that that’s probably why my wounds weren’t fully closing and had been oozing all this time. No shit, Sherlock, you think? She tells me they’re going to call in a prescription for antibiotics at the local pharmacy and tell me to take all the pills. Easy enough. Luckily, these antibiotics didn’t give me a horrible rash, like the last time.
I haven’t been able to put my prosthetics on since the surgery, so I’ve been wheelchair bound for the last 10 days. Not fun. But I wasn’t really doing anything the first week, anyway. The first couple of days I just stayed home. The day I showered, we went out for a drive so I could get out of the house and get some fresh air. Although I was seated in the wheelchair, having the drain attached to me made it very inconvenient to move around. I had to constantly check that the tube wasn’t getting caught on anything or that the bulb wouldn’t fall out of my pants. Good times. I’m still wheelchair bound, but I was able to get the drain taken out this past Thursday! And stitches come out next week. It will probably be at least another week after the stitches come out until I can put the prosthetics back on. My back has been killing me from all the sitting. I can’t win. I have severe back pain All. The. Time. My back hurts from using the prosthetics and it hurts when I’m stuck in the wheelchair. Sigh…
Til next time. Thanks for reading!

I haven’t disappeared…

It’s been a while. Sorry to all for being M.I.A. on here. Apparently, it was a pretty busy summer. SO many things to cover!
Lets start with our trip to LA for the annual 2-day “team-building” gathering my company puts together. Some differences from last year’s trip and this year’s trip…When we went last year, I needed an entire “team” to travel, my mom, Ben, and my brother. This year, just Ben. Last year, I wasn’t on my prosthetics full time, nor did I have them to travel with, so I was in the wheelchair full-time. By the time the event came around this year, I was in my prosthesis full-time, so I got around solely on them. The wheelchair still came along…it will always be a travel companion since I need it to help me shower and get around prior to going to bed. Last year’s sporting event was softball and I was solely a spectator. This year, the event was bowling and I thought I’d be watching from the bench, yet again. But, I figured I’d give it a try. I do exercises with weighted balls in PT, now granted, I don’t walk with them…I usually just do sitting exercises, but at least I knew I wouldn’t have any trouble lifting an 8 pound bowling ball. So…with the crutch in my left hand, I picked up the ball with my right and walked from the ball return to the start of the lane and threw the ball…(with Ben next to me in case I lost my balance)…SIX pins down! Hmmm…not too bad. Now I was a little pumped. So, as I stood there while the pins got realigned, Ben went and got the ball back for me. I chucked the ball down the lane again to finish up my turn…FOUR pins down! SPARE!!! (Keep in mind, there was no technique or skill involved in either of these attempts. It was purely, release the ball without falling on my ass and hope to at least get it down the lane without going into the gutter.) Woohoo!!! First time bowling in ages, since the accident, and on prosthetics (not that I’d bowled in the wheelchair)! Unfortunately, because I didn’t think I’d get a spare, or any pins for that matter, we didn’t record it. UGH. I bowled a few more times, but after a couple of tries I started to get gutter balls. That killed my momentum…so I took a break. After taking a little break, I thought, we have to record me until I knock some pins down!… See video…it’s pretty dark. I wasn’t able to get a spare again, but I knocked down 9 pins in one shot!…couldn’t knock that last sucker down…
Bowling_LA_August2015

We also went back to Universal Studios while we were in LA. For those of you who forgot, when we went there last year and I tried to go on the Mummy Ride, I was told that I couldn’t go on the ride b/c you needed to have at least one full leg to go on the ride and I only had a half. Womp, womp, womp. So…Take 2. This time I was able to go on the rides and we were able to visit the Simpsons land, since it was now finished. See pics below of our ginormous Lard Lad donut and our Duff Beer!
Lard Lad Donut_Simpsons_Universal
Duff Beer
The lunch of champions! The beer wasn’t bad and we brought home the “glass” as a souvenir!

About a week or so after we got back from LA, we went to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, an anniversary gift from my in-laws. Thanks again Momma and Poppa Katz! There are a lot of people in wheelchairs at a casino, or at this one, anyway. You can bring your own, obviously. But you can also rent manual or electronic ones from the casino! At the casino, I played black jack at a handicapped table and at a regular table. So, when we played at the regular table, I’d pull up next to the chair, stand up, and then get into the chair. Once I was seated, Ben would park the wheelchair off to the side. When seated at the table my legs were hidden by the table top. So, when we were ready to leave, Ben would bring the wheelchair over and I would start to get up. If someone came to the table after us, they wouldn’t necessarily know about my legs. So as I’m wiggling out of the seat, they’re watching, since Ben has brought over the chair by now. And then when I finally stand up from behind the table and they see the prosthetics, it’s like this look…Oh..She doesn’t have any legs and can still play blackjack?!?…maybe you had to be there…hah.
So, ever since I got the car at the beginning of June, I’ve been driving myself all over town! My first major solo drive was to PT and/or A Step Ahead. They’re both about 25-35 minutes away from our apartment. It was scary at first, but freeing at the same time. It’s one thing to have Ben or someone else drive me somewhere if I needed help at the destination, but I would feel helpless when all I needed was to be “chauffeured”. So, to be able to drive myself to PT, a drive-thru, or anywhere where I knew I could drive myself from Point A to Point B and know that either I didn’t need help at Point B or there would be help there, if I needed it, was pretty awesome. If I drove myself to a drive-thru, I’d take one of my shoulder bags with me and put the food in the bag so that I’d be able to walk from the car into the apartment and still have my hands free. I could also drive myself to places where the terrain was familiar. After about 6+ weeks or so of solo driving, I decided I’d start trying to go into the office.
At the end of August, I decided to start some trial runs of going into the office. The plan would be to go in once a week, maybe twice, if I was up for it. I’ve gone in 3 different weeks, for a total of 4 times. I drive myself in, park the car, usually on the side street as it’s commercial parking and I have a parking permit, and then have someone meet me in case I need help getting in. Once I’m at the office, everything is pretty much smooth sailing. But the drive in…OH MY GOSH. I don’t drive in during “rush hour”…but still…geez. And let me tell you…whether you’re driving with your feet or your hands, traffic still SUCKS…big time…and it doesn’t make you more patient or less annoyed. OK…can we talk about the amount of cyclists on the road AND all the people who cross the street with their heads in their phones?!?…holy crap! Lets start with the cyclists. Now, let me just say, I have nothing against the cyclist that are fully aware that they are sharing the road with cars and obey the traffic laws. And I realize that we all need to pay attention, but to those that ride however they want and think they’re invincible…uhm…I’m in a thousand pound car. And people…look up from your freaking phone when you’re crossing the street! When I’m inching into the intersection to try and make a turn and you’re walking at the pace of a snail with your head in your phone, don’t look up from your phone just to give me the stink eye and then go back to walking like a snail with your head in your phone. F’ing PAY ATTENTION. One of these days I’m gonna get so annoyed, pull over, and say to either a biker/pedestrian…you see my prosthetics?…this is what could happen to you if you don’t pay attention…*drops mic*.
Ben and I went to the US Open about a week and a half ago. I hadn’t been since the accident and hadn’t been there in a while, even prior to the accident. It was a pretty nice day, not as humid as it had been the previous days, which was great. We talked about bringing the wheelchair and putting it in the trunk in case I needed it..but forgot. I toughed it out. We were there for about 7-8 hours, and there was more walking than sitting done within those hours. We saw good matches, did a lot of walking, and ate some extremely, overly priced food! I almost got trampled at one point, but survived..maybe uttered a few *$#@!#..but was OK otherwise. A long and tiring day, but a good one!
US Open 2015

A week after the Open, Ben and I had a wedding to attend…at Rye Playland! For those that are unfamiliar, Playland Amusement Park, a.k.a Rye Playland, is an amusement park in Rye, NY. Google it if you want more info! I was really sore for a few days after the Open, so glad that I had time to recover, since there would be a lot of walking, yet again. We rode the Dragon Coaster, their main coaster. It was my first roller coaster with prosthetics. As long as it’s a coaster where the car has a floor, I’m good to go. It was a lot of fun.
Rye Playland_Sept2015
The best part of the day though, was probably when I had an impromptu show-and-tell for a group of little kids.
Rye Playland Show and Tell_Sept 2015
I just realized what time it is..1AM…and I have to get up early for my surgery tomorrow. As much as I hate not finishing this post, I have to get ready for bed. And since I’ll be recovering for the next few days, I’ll make sure to finish it.

To be continued…

Quick Update…

Ben and I are currently flying out to LA for my company’s annual gathering. A quick update while I’m in the air…
I’ve had the car for about a month now and I’ve gotten a good amount of driving in, both accompanied and solo. It was definitely easier than I thought it would be. A lot of the apprehension was definitely me psyching myself out. It’s not quite 2nd nature just yet, but I can see myself getting there. I’ve been driving myself to therapy for the last couple of weeks, have driven myself to get dinner (drive-thru…), and even ran errands with my mom, partly to accompany me and partly in case I needed help. I even went to Starbucks and the Verizon store all on my own. I dropped Ben off at Restaurant Depot so he could get supplies for the store and while he was there, I drove to the Starbucks across the road. I parked, got out of the car and walked to the Starbucks, ordered and enjoyed my coffee and snack, and since I still had to kill more time, walked to the Verizon store that was next door. Then I got back into the car and drove back across the road to pick Ben up once he was done with his shopping. It had been quite a while since I was the one doing the dropping off and picking up, as opposed to being the one being dropped off and picked up! Next goal…driving myself into the office…eek!
My PT wants me to start walking with no crutches. Yikes. I mean, at home or indoors, where I’m familiar with the layout and floor, I can do 1 crutch or maybe none, if I’m feeling confident. I can definitely do 1 crutch at home, if I’m not being “lazy”. I put lazy in quotes b/c for me to just physically get out from bed, with or w/o prosthetics, that task alone is quite a physical one.But to walk with no crutches outside, on the streets of NYC…that’s a whole other situation… We went into SOHO the other day to run an errand and you’ve got tourists in their own world, locals shopping and running their own errands, and none of these people are paying attention to me. And in those situations, I don’t necessarily expect them too. It’s the hustle and bustle of NYC. Between tourists looking at everything but me and locals zipping by me, couple that with small sidewalks and street vendors filling up those sidewalks…this becomes much more than just “walking”. My worries are two-fold. I’m worried I’m not quite strong enough to walk without crutches (if there’s an incline/decline or major steps I definitely need at least 1 crutch, usually 2) and I’m worried that if/when I fall while walking outdoors w/o any crutches, I won’t have anything to help brace myself with…It’s funny…walking w/o crutches is one of those things where I’ll get asked…”So, when are you gonna get rid of those things?”…yet with some other things I’ll hear, “Wow, I can’t believe you’re doing that…it hasn’t even been 2 years!” It’s strange..like there’s some manual out there that contains a timeline of when you’re supposed to accomplish certain things after losing your legs in a traumatic accident. Is there?…and I just don’t know about it?!?
So, I’ve got about a month until my 14th surgery. I’m scheduled for a procedure on my right leg/stump the week after Labor Day. Hopefully this will be the last one for quite a while, or even better, ever. Doc says procedure will be same day and that I won’t have to stay overnight at the hospital and that I won’t have to be put under, just a local…which is good..I think. Does that mean I’m awake and know what’s going on but I just won’t have feeling around the area that’s being operated on?!?…Doc says I’ll have to be off the prosthetics for about 2 weeks…which isn’t too bad, but anytime off prosthetics, at this early in the game for me is a slight setback. But, I’ve gone longer, so 2 weeks isn’t too bad.
New update to be posted when we get back from our LA travels!

Just a few silly things that irk me…

I don’t understand why people who have a handicapped parking permit, those blue things you see hanging from the rear view mirror, don’t take them off when they’re driving. Not only does it say it on the application that you fill out in order to obtain one, it states it on the actual permit…in all CAPS! “REMOVE FROM REARVIEW MIRROR WHEN DRIVING” Ok…maybe you don’t want to take it down, put it back up, take it down, put it back up, take it down put it back up. But really…how often is that happening?!? Unless you’re just driving around going from parking lot to parking lot, this doesn’t seem that difficult or that much of an inconvenience? We put ours in the little “pocket” that’s on the side of either door in our car or in the glove. Not only does it make me think you’re super lazy when you don’t remove it from your rear view mirror before getting on the road, but doesn’t it bother you that this tag is hanging down from the middle of your windshield?!? Are you not looking through your entire windshield when driving?? Come on, people! If it’s that much of an inconvenience, then just get the handicapped license plates! I have a friend who has a pet peeve of people who keep their bike helmets on when they’re not actually biking. He takes a pic and posts it on social media every time he encounters such people. Perhaps I should take a pic and post it every time I see someone driving with their handicapped permit still on their rear view mirror…though I don’t think anyone would really care but me…Hah.
Handicapped Parking Tag

My shower chair/bench. I think I may have ranted about this in a previous post, so I’ll keep it short. It’s a shower chair. It goes in the shower. It gets wet. Having the screws on it rust and then in turn causing my bathroom to smell because of it…not cool. I realize the only option are metal screws (right?), but can’t they spray something over it so it doesn’t rust?!? I read that vinegar can take the rust off…going to try it and see if it helps.

Anyone seen the Toyota Camry commercial with Dancing with the Stars veteran and paralympic snowboarder, Amy Purdy? It premiered back in February, during the Superbowl. Here’s the link for the commercial….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjUfygo5mzw
At the 17 second mark of the ad, you see her getting out of bed, with her legs already on…uhm…people don’t go to bed with their prosthetics on…not to my knowledge, anyway. Maybe she was just taking a nap, but the way that part of the commercial played, it looked like she was getting up to start the day. It’s not a big deal and I doubt it bothered other amputees (I just notice everything…), but you don’t just “jump” out of bed anymore. Nothing against Amy Purdy, but I thought that maybe they could have just left that part of the commercial out…

Happy 4th, everyone! Be safe!