Since I lost my leg in a freak sports accident nearly 2 months ago, I’ve surprisingly taken it pretty well. With that said, I’m still wheelchair bound for at least 6 more months. Since then, I’ve noticed a few things that kind of get on my nerves to really piss me off. So this is a list of my top 5 pet peeves of being an amputee and/or being wheelchair bound:
1) Asking how I got hurt
This one didn’t bother me at 1st. To be frank, I’m fine telling people I dislocated my knee playing a sport. And that, after trying to reset my knee multiple times, the popliteal artery (major artery) got severed and nearly killed me from blood loss, resulting in an amputation. And that I had to amputate AK (above the knee) to have a better quality of life because remaining BK (below the knee) could have cause further complications or I had limited ability to walk... With that said, what gets real old real quick is when strangers ask. I’m generally fine with answering as it’s an honest question. But when their 1st words are “what happened to you?” (which a grown ass man fucking yelled in public) without even asking what my fucking name is, that’s when I start getting a pretty angry and would otherwise punch you in the face (if I could reach 😂)... Thanks, dickhead, nice to meet you too. But me being the perennial passive-aggressive mook, I always answer the basic I got hurt playing sports. What I always get annoyed at is when they press and somehow feel it’s their birthright to follow up and ask what I was playing, when I got hurt, where, my blood type, my great great grandma’s maiden name, etc. And proceed to go on and tell me about their friend who lost their leg from wetting the bed or some shit as if that somehow makes me feel better or make my leg grow back. I got hurt, thanks for noticing... did you also notice the sun is bright and it’s hot as ballsack today (I live in Texas)?
2) “Be strong” Guy/ “ You’re such an inspiration” Dude
This one usually follows the 1st after they hear my story. Usually people comment on my positive attitude... As if I’m supposed to be super depressed. In reality, I’m just apathetic since it’s my new reality. It happened; move on. While I get the intention, and people generally mean it, I get miffed because I feel like it’s the thing to say... like when people say to soldiers “thank you for your service”. Not to compare myself to soldiers but the sayings end up sounding trivial with little meaning behind it. The latter generally sounds hollow. To be fair, to the people close to me such as family friends, and even my nurses/doctors, I can understand because they’ve taken care of me. But when random people say it because I have a disability and not drinking my tears, I feel more like a piñata.
3) When people tell me what to do
When being in a wheelchair and have 1 good leg (which is actually recovering from neuropathy with no feeling in your foot), doing things becomes a little more challenging. Because of that, you have to become more aware, creative, and you get used to certain things. The act of going to the bathroom or getting food becomes a strategic challenge. What gets real old real quick is when people tell me how to do things... generally my parents and family. Again, I understand that they are looking out for my safety, but let’s face it, I’ve been crippled and they haven’t. Telling me how I should get in/out of my bed or the car while I’ve been functional since I was still in the hospital makes no goddamn sense. You don’t tell an astronaut how to float in space. And what makes it even worse is when I tell them what to do and they can’t fucking remember basic directions. For example, when I tell them how to position the wheelchair for weeks and can’t get it right after weeks despite me telling them the reasoning why they need to do it a certain way; or how I explicitly tell people to close my pill bottles so they don’t spill if I try to get them and wonder why I get beyond pissed when they don’t and I spill them on the floor. Unfortunately, there’s way too many examples
This can go from pushing my chair to holding the door to picking things up for me. All are pretty annoying. Now, I appreciate that they are trying to help. I get it. But what you have to understand is that my biggest goal is to have my independence. Why I get peed when my mom or uncle pushes me is that my arms work fine. I already am missing 50% of my left leg and my right leg is essentially a useless noodle. I’ve been bedridden for literally a month, which meant I couldn’t do anything. Given how active I was (played sports 5x a week), the fact that they feel the need to push me after I vehemently tell them to stop gets my blood boiling. Or picking things up. I generally drop things when I’m rolling because I got shit in my lap... while it takes a bit of effort, I have a 6’4 wingspan. I can reach. With the door, I can open doors and pull myself through. While I’m fine with the initial gesture, when I say “I got it”, I don’t understand why people get almost hostile as if it’s their duty to pick things up (sometimes literally snatching the item off the floor as I’m about to pick them up) or sometimes literally pushing me out the way from behind as I’m literally opening the door and pulling myself through 😑. Or having to watch me/ask if I need help to transfer from the chair to the couch or to the bed or toilet... again, I’ve done this shit well before you’ve been here. And there are times when I did ask for help from them and were sleeping or they were gone for some reason and I had to do a certain thing by myself anyways, which is exactly why I tell them I don’t need/want their help. I get the intent, but again, what I’m trying to gain is my independence, not lose it. Don’t strip that away from me. If I need help, I know my limitations... I’ll ask for help.
5) talking about me
this kinda goes back to #1. Luckily, this only happened 2x in the 2 weeks I’ve been home, but nonetheless, it’s fucking annoying. Anecdotally, I’ve had 2 people ask my mom what happened to me, how I got injured and how I’m doing... while I’m literally right next to her. Like bitch, why are you whispering as if I can’t fucking hear you? That was the 2 only times I’ve yelled at someone about my injury.
I wrote this take not because I’m an asshole (ok I might be slightly), but I guess to vent. I think there’s a time and place for all of these things (except for #5). And I can understand how these can seem nitpicky and not worth complaining over. After all, these are pet peeves of things people asking genuine questions, telling me positive things or trying to help. But the same things get stale real quick. As I’m struggling to gain my independence back, I start to get the feeling that people start to see me as a figure that is a figure rather than an person. As a result, I get the sense that I’m struggling (at least now) to keep my identity and individuality.
Since I have another 6 weeks (at least) before I get evaluated for a prosthesis, I will essentially have to deal with some of the challenges of being an amputee. Being an AK (above knee) I’ll have harder challenges and won’t have many of the same luxuries I had before like I would bring a BK, like sprinting fast. With that said, thank god it’s 2019 because technology has almost caught up and I should be able to live a relatively normal life with a normal gait. With that said, I’ll probably write another, more positive, my take on being an amputee, but I had to crank this one out as a vent.