Personal perception is a funny thing. We all take a certain amount of pride in our appearance and anything that affects that can really throw people off. I was stopped by someone a couple of months ago when I was grocery shopping. I was on my crutches and he called me over and asked me how long I had been an amputee. I told him it had been just under a year and he said he had been an amputee for 7 years now. He had also lost his leg to cancer and he told me about how hard the adjustment had been for him. To this day he has still not worn shorts with his prosthesis.
This is something I can relate to in a relative way. I have pretty much only worn shorts with my prosthesis, because I don’t really care and I think the technology is cool. But when my bone spur and neuroma popped up, I didn’t want to go out or be seen on my crutches. Stupid right? For whatever reason, I didn’t care if people knew I was an amputee and on a prosthesis, but being an amputee on crutches really felt embarrassing to me all of a sudden.
I think it was because it felt like I was back tracking. I was pushing myself hard and was proud of my progress, and now, due to issues beyond my control I was slammed back to reality and put in check. It was a blow to my ego as much as anything and it was hard to admit that I couldn’t just push right through this like I had done with everything else.
After I was on my crutches for a week or so I no longer cared about being on crutches. It became my new normal and just what I did. Today I have found myself in yet another similar situation though. We are going to the Masters this week and I am renting a mobility scooter in order to get around the course. Really!?? A mobility scooter??? When did I turn 80?
I have tried to tell myself that I could just use my crutches and be fine. And I still think I probably could for the most part. But the course is extremely hilly and without a guaranteed place to sit when you get where you want to go, your one leg can get really tired really quick, not to mention your arms. This really is the best way to do it, but for whatever stupid reason it is embarrassing to me to drive this thing around.
I think all of this comes back to personal perception. I’m not worried about anyone looking at me and saying “Oh, look at that guy!” — I’m used to being looked at. I think these feelings are caused by how I view myself as capable to do anything I want, and regressing in my use of these different items feels like I am moving backwards when I am still so motivated to push forwards! I know some of these things take time, and it’s probably good character building blah, blah, blah, but I am more anxious than ever to get back on my leg and start pushing myself again!
I also want to get back on my leg because I have a very busy summer coming up! The highlight of which is a week and a half trip down to Exuma (in the Bahamas) this June to visit my cousins. June is right in the heart of the Blue Marlin season and I am really tempted to try and land one of those things! That and possibly get scuba certified. Just for fun. We’ll see!