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 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 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…

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! 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.

..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…

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 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….
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!


Biggest update to share…the car finally arrived, with hand controls and all! We ordered the car last year. It arrived at the dealer around March of this year and then I had it sent down to Tampa, FL to have the digital hand controls installed in April and now it’s finally here! I took it for a spin yesterday. The first spin was just around the block, to get the car inspected. We took it to the auto shop around the block, got it inspected, and then we were good to go! Then later on in the day, I drove to my parent’s place, with Ben in the car as well, ..for moral support…b/c it’s not as if he has a gas and brake pedal on his side, like a driver’s ed car. My folks live just 3 miles away from us, so I took all local roads. Not quite ready to venture onto the highway just yet. It was such a weird feeling to be driving again, let alone be sitting in the driver’s seat. It’s been a year and a half of being a passenger every time I get in a being in the driver’s seat and doing the actual driving was pretty awesome. Pics/Video to come…
My thoughts on driving with hand controls…
There’s a lot going on. I’m doing EVERYTHING with my hands, obviously. It’s a tad overwhelming, but I’m sure I’ll adjust. Being that I was an experienced driver prior to the accident, it wasn’t the driving that I was nervous about, per se…it was driving with hand controls that I was nervous about. It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Obviously, I’ll have to get used to driving with my hands…but there are a couple of things that are a little tricky as a newbie to driving with hand controls. For instance, accelerating when turning is something that I’ll have to get a feel for. Since the accelerator ring is set inside the steering wheel, I have to grip the steering wheel to both steer and apply the gas, and getting the right grip and applying the right pressure to the “gas” will take a little bit of practice. The other thing I noticed is, it’s a little tricky to do things that I used to do with one foot and two hands now…it’s not like I lost a foot and gained a hand, so it’s tricky doing something I used to need 3 appendages to do, with only 2. For example, when your in tight spots or backing out of a driveway, you need to turn the wheel before you put the car into gear. “Normally”, you’d do this by, using your hands to turn the wheel, putting your foot on the brake, and then with one hand still holding onto the wheel, you’d take your right hand to put the car into gear and then take your foot off the brake to move it to the gas pedal, and then go. Still with me? But now…I have to do all that with my hands. I use both hands to turn the wheel, then take one hand off the wheel and put it on the brake. But..I still have to put the car into gear while keeping one hand on the brake and one hand on the steering wheel. Problem is, I only have 2 hands. I have to use 2 fingers of my left hand to hold the wheel and the remaining 3 to hold onto the brake and then my right and to shift the car into gear. So, driving might be a little more complicated nowadays, but I guess I’ll figure it out, just like I’ve figured everything else out…

Some other miscellaneous updates and thoughts…
Back when I was in the hospital and was trying to look on the bright side of things, I thought, well…at least I’ll be able to wear skinny jeans now with prosthetics! Apparently, I was wrong. My right prosthetic is “skinny” enough but my left prosthetic is bigger than my own, real, muscular calves were. So much for skinny jeans. So much for any jeans. Of the 20 pairs of jeans I own, I can only fit into 2 pairs of them, barely…
As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, a lot of my clothes no longer fit me. It’s one thing when clothes that I’ve owned for a while no longer fit me, it’s another when clothes that I bought less than a year ago no longer fit me properly!…What the hell?!?!…

I’ve graduated to “big girl” exercises at therapy. The post-op exercises that used to be my main exercises, are now my warm-up exercises. I’m now doing kneeling exercises, bridges, planks, kneeling push-ups off of a Bosu ball (flat platform on one side and dome ball on the other), and other fun stuff…Even though it’s much harder and challenging, I prefer them over the warm-up ones…those were kinda boring…but don’t tell my PT…And on that note…To anyone that’s planning on having their legs pays to be in shape before-hand…it helps. =) I didn’t think I was in shape, but apparently I was in much better shape than most people. Who knew?!?

It’s been 3 months since my last operation and I’m STILL pulling stitches out of my leg…”dissolvable” stitches, my ass. My wound/scar is healed, but I develop these pimples/blisters constantly b/c the stitches are trying to work their way out of my body. Sorry for being gross….I pop the pimples/blisters, goo comes out, and then eventually a stitch gets squeezed out. Sometimes the process of a pimple/blister forming and getting popped occurs several times before the stitch actually evacuates my body. Fun times.
Again…sorry for being gross…I was sitting on the toilet recently…and had a thought…It’s the best place to do your thinking, right? Hehe. I thought, it’s a good thing my right leg is the one that got amputated above the knee and is the shorter one. Reason being….I’m a righty and therefore use my right hand to wipe my butt. So…that means, I lean over to my left side and lean on my left leg, to lift the right side of my butt up in order to use my right hand to wipe it. (Sorry again…just keeping it real…) But, if my left leg was the one that was amputated above the knee and shorter, then I’d have to lean over to the right and use my left hand to wipe my butt. I mean…I guess I would’ve “learned” to use my left hand to wipe my butt and eventually gotten the hang of it. But, I’m glad that’s one thing I didn’t have to learn.

Update – Since I started drafting this post, I’ve driven on the highway. We drove, I drove…to my in-laws to surprise them and show them our new car. My in-laws live in Westchester and we live in Queens, so I had to drive over the Whitestone Bridge and take a couple of different highways. I was hesitant at first and thought Ben should do the driving, but I bit the bullet and went for it. We figured, worst case, if I was feeling uncomfortable, we could pull over somewhere and he could take over. But, I made it…safe and sound!
I think I want to create a bumper sticker that says, “Person W/O legs driving…DON’T honk!”…or something along those lines. Hehe. I’m taking suggestions. =)

Next post – pics and video of car and me driving!!!

It finally happened…

…I fell. I’m OK.
Luckily, it happened at home and I wasn’t alone.
I was walking down the hallway (prosthesis on and with one crutch in hand) from the bathroom, heading towards the living room, when I slipped…I think. I’m not quite sure what happened b/c once I started going down I was more concerned with trying to hold myself up and figuring out how I could fall by causing myself the least amount of injury, that I wasn’t exactly paying attention to how I was falling. But..I think my right foot (AK) slipped and then I wasn’t able to regain my balance so all of me started going down. After my right foot slipped, I reached for the wall with my right hand to try and catch myself, but no luck. Then I dropped the crutch that was in my left hand and tried grab the wall with that hand, failed yet again. Now I knew I was going down…
Since this was my first time falling, it was obviously scary, but I’ve never been scared of the actual falling, per se..I mean…once it’s happening, it’s happening and gravity is going to do its job. I knew the first fall would be the worst, simply b/c it’s the first time, but I’ve always been more worried about the where and how. And of course, how badly it would hurt. Since I don’t have full flexion on my knee (BK), the pain would be dependent on what position my left leg would be in when I fell. Since the last operation, I have much more flexion in the knee, but the knee is still stiff and generally when I’m bending it, it’s in a slow motion. So…with the being said, this fall hurt like a MOFO. Once I started going down, my right leg gave out and then my left leg followed. (My right leg is the AK, so it’s mostly the prosthetic. My left leg is the BK so the prosthetic starts right below my knee.) My left leg bent to 90 degrees (not in slow motion) and then my knee cap hit the hardwood floor. Fuuuuck. So, first I fell forward onto my knee first and then I fell backward onto my bum, both screaming and crying in pain. Then I just sprawled myself out on the floor…balling. It felt like something along my knee had snapped inside and of course the impact of my knee cap hitting the floor wasn’t pleasant. When anyone hits their knee on a hard surface, it’s not pleasant, but I have very thin skin graft over my knee cap so it makes it so much more unpleasant.
Ben was sitting in the living room and heard the “crash” and the screaming so he came running. I was already down by the time he got to me, so I had him take my left prosthesis off b/c the weight of it was causing me more pain. After he took it off, I just lay there for a few minutes. After the pain subsided a little, I tried to move my knee and it seemed to be moving which meant I didn’t break anything. I had him help me up so I could sit down. Once seated (I only have one leg on at this point), I moved the knee/leg around a little more. It was definitely sore, but I was able to move it. I decided to put the prosthetic back on and see if it was painful to stand in it…seemed ok. Then I took a couple of steps…still seemed ok. Ben thought I should take the legs off and just take it easy the rest of the day but I didn’t want the fall to keep me home and sulking since I didn’t seem to have any major injuries. I didn’t do a lot of walking the rest of the day, but I put the leg back on and left the house like we were planning on doing. It was sore for the rest of the day and I iced it later that night, but it hasn’t swelled up (knock on wood) so that’s good. This happened on Sunday and it’s now Tuesday night. It’s still sore, but as expected. And I think the snap I felt was probably scar tissue. So…on the bright side, the fall may have broken up some of my extensive scar tissue..which is a plus! I’ll have the physical therapist take a look at it during my appointment tomorrow and hopefully everything is all good.
Sometimes, even people with 2 good legs fall. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Gotta just get back up and carry on…

Spring Time!

It’s been 7 weeks since my operation and once I was no longer breaking out in hives or rashes, I was doing ok. I’ve just been pulling out my stitches on my own for the last week or so…you know, in my spare time. Last week, I pulled out 2 really long stitches (each about the length of a Q-Tip). Actually, I think it was 1 really long stitch, but I wasn’t able to get it fully out in one shot. I pulled half of it and then had to cut it and then later on during the day I was able to pull out the other half. Apparently, dissolvable stitches don’t always dissolve and when my body doesn’t want something in there, it’ll constantly let me know until I finally take it out. Good times.
I’ve been back up in my prosthesis and walking, slowly and not full time just yet, but steadily working on it. Only problem is, I’m still in my old socket. Post surgery, my prosthetist made me a revised socket, because the size and shape of my leg changed, but I’ve still been using my old socket b/c insurance has yet to approve it. Come on, insurance!!! Give me a break! Yet again, battling with insurance.
Some good news…I saw my orthopedist last week and I don’t have to go back into the hospital for another procedure. He was happy with the progress I’ve made so far on bending my knee so he told me that I don’t have to back into the OR so that he can “manually manipulate” my knee. Woohoo! Good thing b/c I was told that it’s very painful. Manual manipulation is basically me being sedated and then the doctor just going to town forcing my knee to bend as much as it can…it’s like forcing someone that’s not flexible to do something flexible. Ouch.
Our new car is now down in Tampa, Florida. It’s down there at the factory of the company that’s installing my digital hand controls. It was transported down there last week. They told me installation should take about 2-3 weeks and then it will be transported back to me. That means….I’ll be driving on my own by next month! Eek! Exciting and scary!! Of course, I’ll have to learn how to use the hand-controls and become comfortable driving with them, but this will be a huge step towards more independence. I’m getting digital hand-controls, as opposed to manual hand-controls. See below for the visual difference of manual, old-school hand controls and digital hand-controls.
manual hand-controls
digital hand controls
If you look at the 1st photo, there are rods that go from the pedals up to the steering wheel and the entire contraption looks very cumbersome and looks like a… contraption. If you look at the 2nd photo, you can barely tell that there are hand-controls installed in the car. The small ring inside the steering wheel, that’s the gas pedal, and the little knob to the right of the steering wheel that looks like a mini gear shift, that’s the brake pedal. The brake is still manual but it’s hidden unlike in the set-up of the first photo and the steering wheel is tied into the car’s computer. Neither system is cheap, but the digital controls are definitely much pricier…about 3 times more than the manual controls!…but it looks like it belongs and is part of the car and from everything I’ve heard, much easier and more natural to use, as well. It’s expensive…but in the long run I think it’ll be worth it. If it makes me feel more comfortable and is more natural, in both appearance and use, it’s worth the cost. I can only assume it’s more expensive b/c it’s not the “standard” in hand-controls, but with everything else in the world being digital, it’s a wonder why this isn’t one of them. Make sure to be on the look out for when I start blogging about the driving experience…yikes! Maybe, I’ll have to enlist my brother to rig the entire car with cameras and film my learning process along with the first time passengers. Volunteers, anyone?!? Hah!
I might be working on a little, mini crusade for an issue/cause that is now relevant to me since I am “handicapped” but I’m going to be a little hush hush about it until I have a “plan”. Stay tuned.
I’m started to research for a therapist/psychologist. I’ve waited this long b/c I wanted to wait until I’d be able to drive myself to appointments. I didn’t want to tack on, yet another thing, that I’d have to rely on someone else to drive me to. Clearly, it’s b/c I have a problem talking about my “issues”…obviously. I’m just in the beginning stages of the process, researching for people that have experience dealing with people who have been through trauma, preferably someone that accepts my insurance, located in a good location, etc. Clearly, I’m not going to want someone that will baby me…that’s for sure. I have a vision of what this therapist will look like and even the type of person he/she will be…male, 50s or so, tough guy who’s actually a sweetheart…haha. I’ve made a list of a few from my criteria (the experience with trauma and takes my insurance criteria, not the nonsense criteria!) and have emailed a few requesting for phone consultations. I’ve had 2 get back to me, one male and one female. I had a quick consultation with the guy and I have my consultation with the woman tomorrow, but she and I did speak briefly. In my email, I mention that I was in a traumatic accident about a year and a half ago. Both psychologists made the assumption that I was in a car accident. When I told them no, not a car accident but a subway accident, the results were kind of funny to me. The first person said, oh..I assume you were on the subway. My response, in typical Teena fashion (sorry for the 3rd person reference…), “Actually, I was under the subway.” What?!?..Yes..I was hit by the subway. And then she had a kind of an excited reaction. It’s like doctors when they get an “interesting” case. Do you guys know what I mean? She tried to check herself, but I could tell she had this moment of, oooh, I’ve never had a patient/case like this before! She confirmed this for me when upon setting a time for our phone consultation tomorrow and right before we got off the phone, she said, I’d love to work with you (in that excited tone again). Maybe it was just my imagination..we’ll see. The other guy..same thing, assumed I was in a car accident. His reaction wasn’t of excitement, but it was a little funny/odd too. After he said to me, traumatic I said, no..I was hit by the subway. His response..the subway?!…you’re kidding?!?
Uhm…that’s what you come up with?? I appreciate that it was a genuine reaction and that he was surprised, but it was a little awkward. I mean..maybe if I had said I was struck by lightning…
Let’s see how the rest of them react…I have a feeling they will all have a similar reaction.