So, this happened today…

First, a little back story. My prosthetist asked that I bring in a pair of my sneakers so he could look at them and deem them appropriate or inappropriate for walking. On Tuesday, I brought him my customized Nike “Free” kicks that I had bought a couple of years back and he said that they were fine to start off with but that a brand new pair would be better. I said, “Not a problem. I’ve already started customizing a pair of Nike Air Maxes.” So, he took my Frees to the lab and disappeared with them. I thought, “Oh, you’re holding on to them?” And then I thought to myself, “Well, I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s not like I’ll be needing them.”
Cut to today. I had an appointment at A Step Ahead for some PT and a fitting. Fitting first. I show up and he tells me that we’re going to be getting up on the parallel bars today. “We are?!? I thought that was next week?? Ok…” I wheel myself over to the parallel bars and the next thing I know, I see him coming out of the lab with a pair of legs with my sneakers on them! Weird. (These aren’t “my” legs and I won’t be going home with them. These are just the ones that we’re working with so he can see how I look standing up on my sockets. By standing up, he can see how the sockets fit me, my alignment, and what adjustments he’ll have to make. This way, when my legs come in, we can rock and roll.) So, he puts on the left first and then the right. Ok, not too bad. Then he tells me I’m going to stand up in them. Uhm, ok. Super nervous. Not something I can just do anymore, needs to be thought out before I even make the attempt. I pick my butt off my wheelchair, put weight in my “feet”, push my hips out, pull the rest of myself up with my arms (which are holding onto the parallel bars), and then pull my shoulder back. Ok, I’m up…and this thing is digging into my butt and other areas of me that things should not be digging into. Ouch. Stand a little, get used to the feeling, try to center yourself, and don’t look down, look at me (Oh, like in Dirty Dancing. Hehe). Ok, now sit down. Ouch some more. Erik then takes the socket back into the lab to make some adjustments.
Adjustments made. Time to go again. He puts them back on me and I have to stand up again. Ok, think about process again and then go. I’m up. Ahh…not digging into me so much this time. Still now the most comfortable, but manageable, for now. I stand for a bit and then I sit back down. He needs to go back and make another adjustment. We do this a few times.
This time, when he comes back out with the legs it’s a little different. We go through the process of him putting the legs on me and me standing up again. Then he asks, shall we try walking?!? Uh, what? Did you say walking?!? I just put on prosthetics for the first time and stood up for the first time in over 6 months! He says, “Yea, let’s try taking a few steps.” F*** it. Ok, let’s give it a try. Now, this requires even more thinking before hand. And, the “instructions” for my left leg are not the same as the instructions for my right leg. I listened to his instructions (trying to not cut him off too much..I get anxious…) and then I went for it. I walked. I walked!!! See pics and videos below.
Left leg

Left leg2

Right leg close up

Standing & aligning

Standing

Walking

Walking2

So, how did it feel? What was it like? It was a little painful, a little uncomfortable, and very unknown. I know unknown isn’t exactly a feeling…but that’s what it is. It’s very weird to be standing up but not being able to feel the floor beneath you. Keep in mind, I don’t have full sensation/feeling back in both of my legs yet so I don’t feel everything that’s going on as I’m standing or walking either, which makes it even more weird. Some words to describe the experience: weird, uncomfortable, new, amazing, scary, nerve wrecking, tiring, hard. It’s hard to do something that used to be natural and effortless. When you walk, you don’t think about all the things you have to do just to move one leg and then the other. Now I do. I know it will eventually become second nature but for now, it’s a lot of work. But, as expected. It’s also hard to be learning something that you didn’t actually “learn” to do. Yea, as babies we crawl, then stand, and then walk. But it’s not like your mom or dad actually taught you how to walk…you just kind of figured it out.
Today was amazing. Did I cry? No. But, I think that’s because I didn’t actually get to experience it as I was doing it since I had so much I had to concentrate and focus on, but when I got home and looked at the pictures and videos, it was pretty awesome.
Another fitting next week and maybe more walking. Stay tuned…
Have a happy and safe 4th everyone!

Opinions are like a**holes…everyone has one.

Some people are just assholes. Back when I was in the hospital, I would look at all the online articles about my accident to get a better sense of what happened that night. Since I fainted/blacked out, I didn’t remember anything after feeling light-headed and leaning myself against the back of a staircase wall. Looking at the articles was informative; that is, until I reached the comments section of the articles…tying back to my point of some people are just assholes. Seeing some of those comments made me irate. Who do you think you are?!? I really wanted to respond but I realized I needed to focus my energy on healing back then. So, I let it be.
I’m all for people expressing their opinions and all, but what makes you think you know better or are better than the person you’re commenting about? In my opinion (feel free to let me know if I’m being an asshole here), be a little respectful in your comments if/when you’re commenting on something that involves someone’s life/health (i.e. knowing if someone is alive, dead, or injured), especially if you don’t know the entire story. I take that back. Even if you do know the entire story, you should show some respect…and class. See below for a sampling of the comments that were made about my incident and my responses to them. (Note: I didn’t actually respond…only here.)

anon_coward • 6 months ago (Gothamist.com)
i’m sure leaning over made the train arrive faster

Oh I’m sorry, were you there? I wasn’t leaning over, but thanks for your insight, asshole.

Jay Myers185 days ago (NYDailyNews.com)
Stay AWAY from the edge!!! What is wrong with people, are they that stupid? I’ve lived here and ridden the subways over 20 years and have never stood near the edge! I stand back by the walls and watch the fools at the edge just waiting for someone to fall in for whatever reason, not understanding why they are so very dumb.

Oh, so you like to stand back so you can wait and watch for someone to fall? That’s lovely.

Nancy Diamond185 days ago (NYDailyNews.com)
If she wasn’t feeling well why was she standing so close to the edge of the platform. MOVE BACK.
Sorry many of these accidents are the fault of people doing silly things or just not being smart.
You must’ve been there that night with anon-coward. I guess I was stupid for not feeling well.

Daisy Gonzalez184 days ago (NYDailyNews.com)
My pre kindergarten’s could spin a better story! Aggggg

I’m not really sure what you’re trying to say here. Are you saying that the “story” of someone getting hit by the #7 train and losing both her legs should’ve been more entertaining or interesting for your reading pleasure? NYDailyNews.com – please take note…Next time something tragic like this happens, please make the article more interesting for Daisy Gonzalez184.

Moving on to my next topic. I don’t know which I “prefer”, those that are super nice to me upon seeing the “condition” that I’m in or those that seem to be oblivious to the fact that I’m in a wheelchair with barely a full leg, when combined. I like the super nice as long as it’s not patronizing. But, I do realize it can be hard for someone to know/realize if they are being patronizing, especially if it’s the first time you’re dealing with the situation. To those that are oblivious, part of me thinks, “Oh, ok. They don’t see anything wrong with me.” but then the other part of me thinks, “Uhm, hello?!? Do you not see that I’m in a wheelchair with no legs. Why are you so comfortable standing so close to me??” It’s silly. I know. #Newlifeproblems

July 4th is a few days away. People are going away, having BBQs, going to the beach, etc. I’m not traveling, bbq’ing (can’t sit out in the sun too long b/c it gets too hot and shouldn’t have my legs exposed to the sun), or going to the beach/pool (can’t soak my legs yet). And, I think Ben has to work. Any suggestions?..that don’t involve me sitting at home by myself?

6 month “anniversary”

Well, yesterday was the 6 month anniversary of the accident. It was 6 months to the day and happened to be a Thursday as well, just like the night of the accident. So, what happened yesterday…on the 6 month anniversary of the day that changed my life and the lives of those in my life forever?
The day started off with a couple of appointments at A Step Ahead. I had a fitting and PT. The fitting went well, so I was told…since I wouldn’t know…not like I’ve ever been fitted for any of these things before! And…I sort of stood up in them. I stood up with my right side on the exercise bench and my left side was suspended in the air with a “jack” underneath it. Didn’t get any pics this time around but definitely will for the next fitting.
I get my ass kicked each time I go to PT now. But, I guess it’s just a preview of what’s to come because I’m sure my ass is going to get kicked even harder once I start learning to stand and walk. Major ab exercise and core exercises..which are all much harder to do when you don’t have legs anymore to stabilize you. I’d say try it see…but one can’t really pretend to not have legs, can they??
The later half of my day involved going back to the scene of the accident. And of course, it had to be hot and humid today, which as all NY commuters know, means a very uncomfortable subway tunnel. We didn’t plan on going on the 6 month anniversary, it just happened to be a coincidence. Ben and I met the NYPD ESU guys at the station house and then headed over to Grand Central with them in their truck. I sat in the front with Jim while Ben sat in the back with Rob. That was a pretty awesome ride. Once at Grand Central, Paul and Sean met us there and then we rode the elevator one level down from the street level to the turnstile level. The smell of urine in the elevator was lovely. Once we went through the door/turnstile, we headed over to the elevator that would take us down to the 7 train platform, which is 2 1/2 levels further down. Problem. That elevator was out of commission and it was the only one that took you down to the 7 train platform. What now? The guys suggested they carry me down…which, for multiple reasons, wasn’t an idea that I was ecstatic over. So, I suggested that we should at least take the elevator one flight down to the 4/5/6 platform and then they could carry me from there…which is what we did. As a commuter that night I’m sure people saw something they don’t usually see at Grand Central…a woman with no legs, in a wheelchair, being carried by 3 NYPD ESU members. I also didn’t expect the guys to have to carry me up (and down) the stairs of Grand Central…AGAIN.
On a side note, I got a glimpse of how difficult and frustrating it is for handicapped persons to travel using the NYC subway system (not that I didn’t already have an idea) last night. If you were handicapped and made your way to Grand Central to take the 7 subway and then was hit with the fact that the only means of getting you down to the platform was out of service, what would you do? How would you feel? Are you supposed to just turn around and say, “F**K it, guess I’m not getting to where I need to go.” Are you supposed to find an alternative subway route – one that is also handicapped accessible (there aren’t that many) and in service? Good luck. I just checked the MTA’s site for escalator & elevator status and there are a ton of elevators & escalators that are under repair and out of service. If Ben and I had gone all the way out to Grand Central ourselves last night, we would’ve had to turn right back around and head home because we wouldn’t have been able to get down there. That would’ve been extremely frustrating. Luckily, I had the guys with me. MTA – get it together ASAP.
Back to the recap of last night…Once on the 7 platform, we walked to the part of the platform where I fell that night. They showed me which stairs they came down from and I showed them which escalator I came down from. We talked about where I was laying on the track bed, what they did during the rescue, what I remembered, and a few other things – all whilst commuters and 7 subways came and went around us. I felt a little uneasy but wasn’t scared (maybe because I had the guys with me?) or sad, probably because I was there to try and find answers and not to “remember”. We “hung out” on the platform for about half an hour and then headed out. They hoisted me back up into the truck and we were out. I pushed the button for the horn. Heh. Once back at the station house, the guys gave me a tour of their digs and then we hung out with them until their shift ended. It was a long day but all in all, a good one – considering. #NYPDESUTRUCK1.
Some pics from last night.
Jim & Rob

Our fancy parking sign

Our fancy parking sign

Truck 1

Truck 1

Hoisting me up

Hoisting me up

image_9

Me & Paul

IMG_20140626_211415_136

IMG_20140626_211915_882

Grand Central

Training for my new career.

Training for my new career.

Liners and falling.

So, I have custom liners now. “The liner is a protective cover made of a flexible, cushioning material. Worn over your residual limb, it reduces movement and chafing between the skin and the socket. Liners are designed with specific characteristics to work with different suspension systems.” – Courtesy of the ottobock site on “How liners work”
I wear these instead of my shrinkers now. They add some weight to my leg and they take some getting used to.
Liners
Left liner
Right liner
It was bad enough to be wheeling around in a wheelchair and to have people weirded out by my appearance when I had the shrinkers on, but now I have liners with “pins” (screws) at the end of them. I guess it’s one way to keep people away. Although it doesn’t reduce the staring. I had a little girl practically follow me and stare (with her jaw on the ground). Not the best feeling…but I guess understandable.
Eventually, the sockets will go over these liners (I don’t know if these particular ones). They are custom made by my prosthetist for my skin. Due to the large amounts of skin grafting and scarring on both my limbs, I have to have super custom liners made to protect my skin.

I went to my appointment with the dermatologist today. The prosthetist had suggested that I visit a dermatologist and look into laser hair removal for my bikini area and part of my leg. The reason being…with the multiple castings that I will have to go through and the hair that the cast will pull off each time, it’s probably best to not have the hair there in the first place (Ouch.) and waxing was out of the question because it would irritate my skin. Spot testing performed today and first appointment/session for laser booked.
What followed after the appointment…not so pleasant. At all. I fell out of the wheelchair. Ben and I left the dermatologist office to go back to the car, waited to cross the street, and when the light changed we crossed. Upon getting to the other side of the street and attempting to wheel over the curb, Ben accidentally hit a “pot hole” and I began falling out of my chair. I felt like I was flying out my wheelchair and that it was all happening in slow motion. Not to sound dramatic, but I sort of felt my life flash before my eyes a little bit. I was falling straight forward, as if I was going to face plant. I was SO scared that I was going to fall straight onto my left leg. I immediately grabbed the arm rest of my wheelchair with my right hand to try and change the direction of my fall or not fall at all. I wasn’t able to stop the fall but was able to change the direction of my fall to falling backwards and ended up landing on my tush. Ben immediately picked me up off the ground and put me back in my chair. This was immediately followed by me balling my eyes out. Ugly crying commenced. Falling out of wheelchair, being picked up off the street (literally) by your husband, ugly crying…all on the street corner…NOT a good look. I don’t recommend it. Luckily, I wasn’t seriously hurt by the fall. I’ve been home from the hospitals for almost 3 months and this was my first fall. It couldn’t have been indoors? It had to happen outside, on a street corner? Well, I guess that’s how I roll now. I’d gone 31 years and not had a single operation, not even a minor one, and then I go and get hit by a train and have 12! All or nothing…I guess.
I told my little cousin about what happened and she asked, “Is Ben still alive?” I replied, “Yea…I needed him to get me a Starbucks after that ordeal so I needed to keep him alive.”

6-14-14 was a pretty awesome day

For those of you that made it out to the game this past Saturday – Thanks for making it an awesome day and I hope you had a great time! It was a long day!..but a gorgeous one. It started with being on the field during batting practice and ended with returning to the field for the 50 Cent concert…with a bunch of other treats in between. Here are some pics from the day…
Field

Me & Bro on field

Me & Ben Field

ESU3

Cowbell man2

Me and Teenavs7train

Although the Mets didn’t win, it was so amazing to be surrounded by all that love and support. I have some pretty awesome family and friends.
I also made it on TV!..exciting and embarrassing…but here’s the link for those that want to see it.

http://m.mlb.com/video/v33715671/sdnym-mets-support-the-recovery-of-fan-hit-by-train/?c_id=mlb

Ever since my accident, I’ve had encounters that show me how small the world really is. While being escorted onto the field for the concert Saturday evening, a gentleman who works for the Mets came up to me and asked if I remembered him. His face looked familiar but I couldn’t quite place it. He then said that his son and I went to NYU together. I probably had a very confused expression on my face at this point because I was thinking to myself, “I didn’t go to school at NYU and I doubt there’s another Asian woman amputee out there who’s my twin”. I mean, really, what are the odds?!? And I guess from the quizzical expression on my face he felt he needed to elaborate because he then said, “You were at NYU Rusk the same time my son was…” HOLY CRAP. OMG! So, the wheels finally starting turning and I remembered. His son was in a car accident and had both his legs amputated above the knee and was at NYU Rusk for rehab while I was there for rehab as well. I didn’t get to speak to him and catch up during our brief encounter but he was able to tell me that his son was doing well and had just received his prosthetics. That was awesome to hear. I reached out to my Mets contact and asked if they could provide me with his contact info. They did. Can’t wait to find out how his son is doing. Such a small world.

Coming up…
Appointments for/with: liner fitting, wheelchair measuring, plastic surgeon, dermatologist.

Can’t believe it’s June already…

Thought I had some potentially bad news last week, but turned out to be not as bad as I was expecting; Still not the best, but working on it. Hoping it won’t be so rough and will be smooth sailing from here on.
This week has been off to a good start, so far. I went to a 1 year old’s birthday partay on Sunday and met a Superbowl champ and got hit on by a 3/4 year old. I checked out some wheelchairs yesterday and got casted today.
Let’s start with the birthday partay…He gave me one of his cookies and told me I was pretty! It’s nice to know that losing your legs and being in a wheelchair doesn’t deter the 4 year olds. In fact, any time the topic of conversation was about me or what happened to me, it was the easiest thing ever. For example…
Lucas: What’s that for? (referring to my wheelchair)
Me: I need this to help me get around.
Lucas: Oh, Ok. (while nodding his head)
-While on the topic of swimming in the summer and playing in the snow this past winter.
Lucas: What did you do in all of the snow?
Me: I was in the hospital all winter so I didn’t get to play in the snow this year.
Lucas: How come? What happened?
Me: I was in an accident so I had to stay in the hospital.
Lucas: Oh, ok.
-After my brother brought out my leg rest.
Lucas: What’s that for?
Me: Sometimes my leg gets tired and I need this to rest it on.
Lucas: Nods head
He was adorable.
And let’s not forget that I met a Superbowl champ…although I think meeting the 4 year old may have topped that meeting!

I went to NYU yesterday for wheelchair clinic, which was essentially window shopping for different wheelchairs. I can’t wait to have my custom wheelchair; This rental is just not cutting it, especially since I’ve seen and sat in what’s out there. Unfortunately, it won’t be for a few more months because I have to wait until I have the prosthetics in order to be able to fully customize the chair. And then once it’s ordered, it will take about 2-3 months to get it in. See pics below for what my chair may look like. These are just demos/floor models..but the red is kinda nice!
TiLite Wheelchair3

TiLite Wheelchair1

I went to my prosthetics place (A Step Ahead) today and was casted. They took molds of my residual limbs so they can make the liners out of them. The liners are what I put on before I put the sockets on. They’ll recast me again for the sockets. The sockets will be what connects my residual limbs to the prosthetics. Casting wasn’t so bad. I never broke anything that needed a cast when I was younger, but it’s essentially the same thing..having your limb paper mached. (The cast doesn’t stay on..it was taken off right after it dried.)
Left side cast

Left side first cast

Until the next casting…

Thinking up titles for my posts, is becoming more and more difficult…

I’m over being in a wheelchair, particularly this one. With the weather getting warmer, it can be extremely uncomfortable to go outside, which really sucks. Think about how hot you are to begin with when it’s a hot day and you’re in the sun. Now, picture being in the sun whilst sitting in an all black wheelchair with your back, bum, and arms (almost burned myself on my arm rests the last time I went for a stroll when it was nice out) getting all sweaty. Going out on a nice, hot, sunny day doesn’t sound so pleasant anymore does it? Note to self – when picking out colors for custom wheelchair, no black seats or back. But then again, when it’s really crappy out (i.e. heavy rain) I can’t really go out either. Just can’t win. Just gotta hang in a little longer…
I have an appointment next week at NYU to try some wheelchair models. It’s a start…yea!
I also have an appointment with my plastic surgeon next week as well. (Still not used to saying I have a plastic surgeon..) Pending his ok (Physiatrist wanted him to give ok before Prosthetist started anything), my prosthetist can start casting me, which I think is the first step to getting my prosthetics. The cast will be for my socket, which is what connects my residual limb(s) to the prosthesis and fulfils an important function: it ensures optimum adhesion and the proper fit of my prosthesis. A little freaked out about it, but definitely happy to be starting the process and making progress.
Speaking of progress, I attempted to wash some of the dishes that were in the sink tonight…and was successful! I removed the leg rest for my left leg and because I can bend it more now, was able to get close enough to the kitchen sink to reach into it in order to wash the dishes. It definitely wasn’t as easy as before and having to scrub a pot or something is definitely still out of the question, but I did it. Oh, now that I think about it..maybe I need to tell my mom and husband that it was REALLY difficult..they might start slacking on the dishes thinking that I’m so capable! Good thing neither of them read this. =) And since I was feeling so adventurous, I decided to cut up the watermelon that we had just bought and put it into tupperware. Left the knife and cutting board from that in the sink for my husband to wash…
Dishes washed

Watermelon cut

And last but not least, for those that don’t follow me on FB, here’s the latest edition to my crappy wheelchair.
Wheelchair horn

This is my husband’s way of jazzing up my wheelchair. But its real purpose he says is, “So people will get out your way!”. It’s also much cuter looking that it sounds…think sounds a dog toy makes..

New Life Problems

Do I get t-shirts made that say, “Take a picture, It’ll last longer!” or “Just ask, you know you want to!” It’s not so much the staring that bothers me, per se, but the looks on people’s faces as they stare. It’s usually a frightened look, a look of pity, a look of shock, or a combination of all. I mean, I get it..I’d probably look too if it was me, natural curiosity and all. But looking for more than say, 5-10 seconds, is excessive because then you’re just making things awkward. And then I can make it even more awkward if you’re staring for a long time and I catch you and then stare back at you. Maybe the next time I catch someone staring I should just look at them and say, “Shark Accident.” Problems of my new life…
While on that topic…when can I get back to wearing my “regular” wardrobe and not clothes that are “functional”. I’m so over wearing sweatpants and boxers. Can’t wait for the day that I can look cute in an outfit again. And as the weather gets nicer it’s even harder to deal with. I have to look for longer and more functional shorts since the ones I currently own are either too short and won’t cover enough of my “wounds”, not functional enough, or too thick and will lead to a sweaty bum since all I do is sit on it all day. Oddly enough though, when I’m online shopping looking for functional clothing, I’ll still look at shoes..hah.
Happy Hour last week was awesome! The turnout was amazing and way bigger than I expected. It was great to see everyone. Can’t wait to see everyone again in June at the Mets game! Thanks in advance to all those who got tickets. And to those that haven’t..what are you waiting for?!?! You’ve got a week left..tickets are still available! =)
Had my blood drawn to check my levels last week and everything came back normal..woohoo! I have my 2nd follow up with my physiatrist (rehab doc) tomorrow and a follow up at A Step Ahead on Wednesday. Hopefully good news from both appointments.

Wednesday, MAY 14, 2014

Hi all,

Just wanted to put this out there to those who read this…

WHAT: HAPPY HOUR FUNDRAISER
WHEN: WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2014
7P-9P
WHERE: LOUNGE 247
247 Eldridge Street (between Houston and Stanton) NY, NY

OTHER DETAILS: $10/ticket for 1 glass of wine, beer, or well drink.
This will be my first “public” appearance since being back home after 3 months in the hospital and rehab.
Please come by to support, have a drink, catch up, or just to say Hi!

Shrinkers

So, I’ve got my shrinkers on! They’re sorta like really thick and TIGHT panty hose. It’s really tight on both sides. But on the left side, it’s a little painful to get on but not nearly as uncomfortable as my right side. The right side is a little easier to put on but waaaay more uncomfortable to wear. The left side is painful to get on because the bottom part of the limb is still healing and is still pretty sensitive. The right side is about 90% healed (I think..) so it’s much easier and less painful to get on; There are still some minor spots that are healing and there is swelling that needs to be reduced. Oh and that uncomfortableness that I was referring to on my right side, that would be from the shrinker riding right up to my crotch. Let me tell ya – NOT COMFORTABLE at all…but I’ll suck it up..trying to not complain about it too much along the way. I’ll just have to keep thinking that’s it one more step closer to getting into prosthetics. I have my 2nd follow up with my physiatrist (rehab doc) next week and hopefully I’ll get some good news, or at least not bad news…
The weather is getting nicer and the temps are rising, which prior to the accident, would be wonderful because this would mean: sandals, dresses, shorts, outdoor activities, etc. Unfortunately, right now this means: black wheelchair arm rests that get really hot in the sun, a sweaty back and butt from sitting in a black cushion for my wheelchair (sorry..TMI?), not able to wear shorts (not yet, anyway), forget about sandals or any other warm weather footwear (obviously because I have no feet to put in them.), and a bunch of other things. But hey, at least I’m not stuck in bed at a hospital. I’ll take sweaty, uncomfortable, and out of the hospital over being trapped in a hospital bed any day.