AmputeeOT: difficult parts of being an amputee

By: AmputeeOT

Hi, everybody. This is Christina the Amputee OT. In this video I'm going to be talking about some of the difficulties associated with being an amputee.

If you've been following my videos for a long time or have just recently started watching them you probably noticed that I am a super happy super positive upbeat person when I'm discussing my amputation, but I want to let you know that having an amputation is not all fun and games and positivity and awesomeness and entertaining videos that are fun with your friends. Being an amputee is actually pretty difficult and although I project a positive image in almost all of my videos that is... It's an image. It's not actually the whole entire story of who I am as a person. I'm actually not one of those people who are super happy and super positive and super upbeat all the time.

Just like everybody else I have my ups and downs, and so if you're a new amputee and you're going through some difficult times in dealing with your amputation, I don't want you to look at my videos and go ,"Wow she's so positive why can't I be that way? there must be something wrong with me?" There's nothing wrong with you if you can't be positive and upbeat and a happy little ray of sunshine all the time. I don't know if you know who Josh Sundquist is but he's an author of Paralympian and a motivational speaker who's also an amputee and he once talked about his motivational speaking and how motivational speaking was kind of the exact opposite of counseling because when he talks to his counselor he's talking about all the problems that he is dealing with that. He hasn't quite figured out yet but when he's talking to audiences and talk and doing his motivational speaking he's talking about problems in which he's already solved and he already knows the answer to and that's kind of the way it is with my videos.

If I've solved a problem or had a success or have found a good way of dealing with some aspect of being an amputee I want to show [that] to you guys so that if you haven't found a solution to your problem you can come to my videos and you can see, "Oh! there's a solution to this problem that I'm having." One of the hardest things about being an amputee is going through the process of getting your prosthesis. A lot of people when they get their amputation they have this goal to look forward to and that goal is well I just got my amputation, but in six weeks or eight weeks or 10 weeks I'll be getting my prosthesis and everything will be awesome.... And everything is that awesome. It's not as though. You can go to your prosthetist office, get casted for a leg, get a leg a couple days later, and walk on out of the office. Getting a prosthesis and getting it adjusted so that it fits you correctly and comfortably so that you're able to use it all day is a long drawn-out process that probably will take longer than you think. It's been about a year since my amputation and I still go see my prosthetist for adjustments.

AmputeeOT: difficult parts of being an amputee

In fact there was a time in which I went to my prosthetist once a week. Sometimes twice a week in order to get something changed on my prosthesis and in the meantime I had to deal with sores and discomfort and pain and not being able to wear my prosthesis all day. The fact of the matter is that your residual limb will change in shape and size throughout the rest of your life and you will always have to be going back to get adjustments to your prosthesis. So, that means it's really important to pick out a prosthetist that you like because you're not going to see them once or twice a year or less than that like you would maybe a doctor or physician. You are going to develop a lifelong relationship with your prosthetist. Another thing that's really hard personally for me to deal with our phantom pains. I still get phantom pains in the foot that doesn't exist anymore.

I call it my ghost foot and while those phantom pains don't really bother me a whole lot during the day they really really bother me at night. So I will have times when I won't be able to sleep at all because it feels like somebody is squeezing my second toe with vice grips or stabbing the side of my foot with needles and that as you can imagine makes it really hard to sleep, and I've tried a bunch of different medications. I've tried gabapentin. Which works pretty well, but I have to take a lot of milligrams of it and it kind of makes me sort of sleepy during the day, so I feel like my brain is kind of fuzzy and I also take Vicodin every once in a while only at night. Maybe like once every week or two weeks and while that gets rid of the phantom pain it also makes me kind of think really weird things and it keeps me awake, because it kind of gets my mind going crazy and I can't shut my mind up enough to sleep, so sometimes I'll be up until 3:00 4:00 5:00 in the morning the sun's coming up and I haven't slept at all and I have to work all day and then I'm working and I'm exhausted all day, and it's a huge problem. And actually the only time that I really am upset about being an amputee is when I have phantom pain that I can't really control that's keeping me awake at night. Thankfully my residual limb itself doesn't get a whole lot of pain but it actually kind of does, so I wanted to go get an adjustment for my prosthesis, but right before then for some reason somehow my legs started hurting I must have done something to it like sprained it or smacked it or wiggled it around or ran too far something I don't even know, but it hurt on the inside of my residual limb like it kind of felt like tendinitis you know if you ever, like, sprain an ankle it sort of felt like I sprained my residual limb and it took like two weeks before it didn't hurt anymore.

And basically every step. I took it hurt and it was because of that sprained "unfoot" for lack of a better word now this may come as a surprise to you but even though I really love answering questions about my prosthetic, my prosthesis, my components, my residual limb, my my "unfoot" I actually get kind of tired of telling people how I lost my leg. People ask me all the time I don't really mind at least I try not to mind, but I actually sort of do because for one whenever they ask me I have to deal with comforting them because they ask me you know how'd you lose your leg? I say I drop my car on it. They're like. Oh my gosh. They have this reaction to it and then I feel like I have to say no, you know. It's okay. I have a good life now.

It's great. You know I make these YouTube(tm) videos. I've had all these opportunities. So I have to comfort them ....because I lost my residual limb... And it also is a little bit triggering for me because whenever they ask me about it. I think about it, and then I remember it. And to me being an amputee; how you lost your leg is like one of the least important parts of being an amputee. It doesn't really matter how I lost my leg.

What matters is who I am now, and what matters is what I have to deal with now and how I lost it is not very important. And I feel like people ask it because they are curious and they want to know and they like good stories, but it makes me uncomfortable when people ask it. Even though I try not to show my discomfort and I try to show them that life after an amputation is just as good and fulfilling if not even more so than before the amputation. But still sort of makes me uncomfortable. Wearing a prosthetic is not the most comfortable thing in the world and it's also not the easiest thing to get used to. It's especially difficult to walk on uneven terrain when you have a prosthesis. And this may be easier or more difficult for a given person to get used to depending on their balance and skills that they already have. So if you're an older individual and you already have compromised balance, then having a prosthesis will make it really hard for you to get around.

Especially on uneven surfaces. Although if you're kind of a young person like me who has pretty good balance then you probably won't be too bothered by that. Another thing that's a little bit difficult about being an amputee is what to do when it's the middle of the night and you have to go to the bathroom. So, for example if I wake up in the middle of the night, and I have to go to the bathroom, or get a drink, or let the dogs out, I have to either put on my prosthesis, or I have to crawl around on the floor. I would use a wheelchair or crutches except my house has a lot of stairs and so it's really hard to get around with those so I just crawl around.

But sometimes I just wish I could get up and go to the bathroom without having to worry about that. Skin integrity is also a big issue, I tend to get a little bit of a rash or a skin Irritation right at the edge of my liner. Which usually I can use a cream to help with that, but doesn't always totally help. Some people have a lot more issues the skin integrity that I do. I'm pretty lucky, and I don't have a lot of issues with skin breakdown, but other amputees for them that's a huge issue. And sweating! Sweating is something that not every amputee has to deal with but some amputees end up sweating a lot in their socket. And I am one of those amputees. I don't really know why that is but that's just the way it is.

In the winter it's not really that big of a deal, but in the summer or if I'm doing any kind of exercise My socket and my liner gets basically filled up with sweat and I end up kind of slopping around in this sweaty liner that's not really comfortable and then taking it off and sweat flies everywhere and anybody in the vicinity gets soaked with sweat, and it's just not cool. So that's something that I'm definitely dealing with is lots of excessive perspiration with my prosthesis. So basically the bottom line is that being an amputee is not really a walk in the park and I like to show the positive side to things but there's also a lot of issues that people have to deal with and Both emotionally and physically and so if you are having some issues, you're having a difficult time emotionally physically, psychologically, you're having issues with your family, with people staring at you with you know anything that comes up don't feel like you have to judge yourself based on what I do.

If you were to judge how you feel based on my videos you'd basically be judging your entire life by my highlight reel more or less. You would be judging your life by all of my successes and believe me most of the time I fail before I succeed. Even though my videos sort of portray me as having everything all completely together I totally know what I'm doing. Totes professional, right? I'm showing you videos about the problems I've already overcome. And I'm not showing you videos about the problems that I currently have. If your rehabilitation from your amputation seems like it's not going quite as well as mine is. Don't worry because mine's not going as well as mine is either There are definitely still problems in my life I would like to solve. And when I solve them you'll see a video about it.

Probably. Okay, everybody that's all for now. I hope you enjoyed this video if you have any questions You can leave them in the comment section below. You can subscribe if you like. I put out new videos every Wednesday. (I mean to anyway!) You can follow me on Facebook at facebook.com slash Amputee OT, and have a good one.

See you later. Bye.

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