Disabled Workplace Discrimination

Hi all!

Hope all is well – so sorry it’s been a while since my last post! Things have been pretty busy but I’ve also been trying to research quality content so that I’m not talking about the same things twice to you all! ๐Ÿ™‚

This blog means the world to me and so does all of your support, so of course I will continue writing until I literally run out of things to write about (let’s hope never!)

As a little update to you all:
I have been lucky enough to receive a scheme called Motability here in the UK so I finally have the opportunity to drive an adapted vehicle! This has been such a long time coming as one of my dreams since a little girl has been to be able to drive just like everybody else.

That’s why updates have been slow, so please forgive me! And if any of you see me on the roads, don’t be shy to say hi! Haha ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, today’s topic is something I do feel very strongly about which is Disabled Workplace Discrimination.

I will also touch on discrimination in schools – as I know many readers may not have had the opportunity to work yet.

What is Disabled Workplace Discrimination?
Disabled workplace discrimination is discriminating against someone in a workplace purely because of their disability.

This can be things like not letting the disabled person have the same opportunities as everybody else in the workplace just because they are disabled; or not having an accessible workplace.

I am choosing to write about this topic because it breaks my heart to see workplace discrimination against disabled people like myself, it’s shocking to believe that it occurs but the statistics prove it’s much closer to home than we all think.

Here are some useful pointers from the helpful website: ACAS ORG

Direct discrimination

Is when someone is treated differently and not as well as other people because of disability. For example, an employer does not employ a disabled person just because it does not want disabled people in its workforce.

It breaks down into three different sorts of treating someone ‘less favourably’ because of:

1)Their own disability (ordinary direct discrimination)

2)A perceived disability (direct discrimination by perception)

3)Their association with someone who is disabled (direct discrimination by association).

Indirect discrimination

Can occur where a workplace rule, practice or procedure is applied to all employees, but disadvantages those who are disabled. A disabled employee or job applicant claiming indirect discrimination must show how they have been personally disadvantaged, as well as how the discrimination has or would disadvantage other disabled employees or job candidates.

In some limited circumstances, indirect discrimination may be justified if it is necessary for the business to work. For example, an employer may reject an applicant with a back problem severe back problem where heavy manual lifting is an essential part of the job.

So.. there are two main types of discrimination against disabled people in the workplace, but what are the statistics? According to these UK statistics from GOV UK – disabled people are actually less likely to be employed in the first place! Look at this:

Disabled people remain significantly less likely to be in employment than non-disabled people. In 2012, 46.3% of working-age disabled people are in employment compared to 76.4% of working-age non-disabled people. There is therefore a 30.1 percentage point gap between disabled and non-disabled people, representing over 2 million people.ย 

And what about the statistics of discrimination at work? Again, from GOV UK

Disabled people are significantly more likely to experience unfair treatment at work than non-disabled people. In 2008, 19% of disabled people experienced unfair treatment at work compared to 13% of non-disabled people.

The statistics are horrifying, and we have to keep reaching out to businesses to ensure that they are treating all workers fairly!

The question is always “What can we do to help?” but in theses many cases I think the best message that I can send to fellow disabled people that happen to be experiencing discrimination is to fight back!

Please, report all discrimination to your local police force and keep logs of everything.. it is a crime to discriminate especially in a place of work, you are definitely not alone and the only way things can change is if we all come together to fight against this discrimination.

As for schools/education:

Personally, I have never experienced discrimination throughout my education history but what I did experience was a huge lack of ignorance from some teachers and peers.

As I have said sometimes before – I never felt fully comfortable joining in with sports activities and I did have some teachers really try to force me to join in, some even saying “I’ve taught amputees before, you’re just being lazy” which really did nothing for my already low self esteem.

On a whole my schools did try their best to include me and NOT discriminate, as most of you know I was born with only 8 fingers, and it’s common for children to learn to count to 10 on their fingers.. I had teachers put gloves on my hands so that I could follow the lesson which I look back and think was incredibly sweet!

I also wasn’t able to sit on the floor with the rest of my class for things like story time or assemblies, so I’d get to sit on a chair with a rest for my prosthetic leg (which at the time didn’t bend, just stuck straight out) again, I look back and think how lovely this was of my teachers.

I think that all teachers and tutors in education should have some experience with disabled students before they are thrown straight in to teaching, this way they will have vital first hand knowledge of the complications but also the heartwarming rewards that come with working with disabled students – the main message I’d send out to any teacher working with disabled students, or even students in general is please know every two disabled people are not the same! We all have different personalities and are not defined by our disabilities.

Please feel free to join in the discussion on this post via my social media located on the top right of this page! See you all next week ๐Ÿ™‚

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The process of getting a new.. leg!

Hi everyone! Hope you all have had a fantastic week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Today I thought i’d write for you about something I get asked about a lot; what happens when I need a new prosthetic leg.

I guess many people aren’t familiar with what happens in this process so i’ll do my best to describe an appointment with my prosthetist for you.. as well as key some of the words i’ll use frequently so that you can all fully understand the world of an amputee!

 

Key:
Prosthetist:ย a specialist in prosthetics

Prosthetics: In medicine, a prosthesis (plural: prostheses; from Ancient Greek prosthesis, “addition, application, attachment”) is an artificial device that replaces a missing body part, which may be lost through trauma, disease, or congenital conditions.

Prosthetic socket:ย the part of aย prosthesisย into which the stump of the remaining limb fits.

An appointment day starts by getting in to a patient transport ambulance provided by my local council for disabled people to get to and from hospital appointments with ease.. as someone who is currently unable to drive, these services are amazing and I’m so grateful they exist!

These vehicles usually look like ambulances but are white – and are never used for emergencies like regular ambulances.
The vehicles are also fully adapted so that I can be wheeled on to the transport in my wheelchair comfortably without any hassle at all, and for people who have only recently been through surgery, there is room for a stretcher too.
Once I get to my rehabilitation centre, I check in at reception (I’ve been going there for 20 years.. they all know me so well!) and then take a seat and wait for my prosthetist to call my name when she is ready.

The first appointment for a new prosthetic leg is called a casting.. I will be measured and then a cast (the type you have when you break a bone) is then applied to my stump and I wait for it to dry/harden.

The purpose of the cast is to make a replica of my stump so that a comfortable prosthetic socket can be made!
Once the cast has dried, it’s removed and then we double check measurements to make sure everything is correct; once this is done, that’s my casting appointment complete.
The second stage of getting a new prosthesis is usually called a fitting.
I will have a socket and a roughly (not perfect yet) complete prosthetic leg to try on.. I usually have to practice walking in between rails wearing this, and I will be giving pointers to my prosthetist like:
“This feels a bit sore, here”
“The prosthetic leg feels too tall / small / uncomfortable”
“The way I walk is hurting”
This way, she marks the areas that I complain about with a marker and then leaves to go back into the workshop to work on my leg and fix the parts that aren’t fitting correctly.
This is an ongoing process until I don’t have anything else that feels uncomfortable ๐Ÿ™‚ sometimes it takes a long time and we have to schedule another appointment to continue work on the leg.
It can be quite frustrating for me as I never really know if the new prosthetic leg is really uncomfortable or if it’s just a case of getting used to it!

It’s much like a pair of brand new shoes.. you have to wear it over and over sometimes to see if it’s ok.

After the fitting appointment(s) are complete, it will finally be time to go and collect my new leg!
I collect it from the hospital and they are always making sure I’m 100% happy before sending me home – they have to make sure the leg is comfortable and safe before I leave.
It will take me a long time to get used to the new leg even if it’s comfortable as I have to practice walking with it first with crutches and then using my wheelchair when walking feels too much.

It’s very important to make sure I only wear the prosthetic leg indoors at first as this is safest option to prevent falls outside or alone.

This process will usually take about 2-3 months, and having the leg finally feel ‘right’ is great! I can then normally ditch my crutches and walk freely with my prosthetic.
I am extremely grateful to have the NHS here in the UK, as making, producing and assessing for a prosthetic leg are all very time consuming and EXPENSIVE!
JUST the foot on my current prosthetic leg is over ยฃ2000, can you believe it?
I’m lucky to have my healthcare provided by the NHS – and I really do feel for those around the world who need prosthetic limbs but unfortunately cannot afford to pay for them, as they have no healthcare provided.
I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it would be to be told you can’t have your full mobility because you don’t have enough money, it must be truly devastating.
I am currently looking into donating my old prosthetic legs from when I was a child to countries that are less fortunate in the hope of helping other children out there who are in need of limbs!
As always, I really hope you guys enjoyed this post!

I enjoyed writing this for you all because it’s great to know that lots of you out there are curious about the life of someone wearing a prosthetic leg – I love answering your questions so please get in touch with me via my social media located on the top right of this page ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you! โค

The pay gap that nobody talks about

Hi everyone! Hope you’ve all had a fantastic week, as usual.

Today I’m going to be talking about the few organisations and companies that purposely single out disabled people (not necessarily in a negative way) and discuss whether this is a good thing or a bad thing in my opinion.

I’ll start off by talking about my own experiences of inclusion when I was younger, and how I feel this impacted my social life, school life and personal life in the future.

I was always happy to be involved with most activities in school – but sports was something I could never enjoy as I felt so self conscious about my disability that I wouldn’t be able to join in as well as everybody else.

This was of course due to low self esteem.. but what would really upset me was the people who tried to force me into joining in activities JUST because they wanted to look good for persuading the disabled girl to join in.

As I grew older I withdrew from activities more as I didn’t feel I could compete in the physical aspects of them as smoothly as everyone I was comparing myself to, but does that mean I should be respected any less.. or even, secluded from society? Of course not!

I haven’t had a chance to work out in the community as of yet, but the thought of being paid less because I have a disability is terrifying.

Once I am well enough and able to work in the community, I would love the same respect, treatment and pay as everybody else.. I’m pretty sure everyone wants this, disabled or not.

This may be hard for you to believe.. but there are STILL places in the USA that pay people with disabilities a lower wage than everyone else doing the same job as them.

I know, it’s disgusting.

There is a documentary called Bottom Dollars that explores this subject and focuses on a few disabled people living in the USA doing their jobs, it closely follows their stories.

It’s awful to think that in the 21st century there is still a wage difference – originally, this ‘lower wage for people with disabilities’ was bought out to persuade employers to actually employ disabled people; the fact it’s still around is unbelievably discriminatory.

In 2016, nearly 250,000 people are legally paid less than the minimum wage, on average, less than $2 an hour.

โ€œBottom Dollarsโ€ is an hour long documentary that exposes the exploitation of people with disabilities through personal stories and expert interviews.

It also presents clear employment alternatives with competitive wages and community inclusion.

The name of the places that employ people with disabilities at this dreadfully sub-minimum wage is called a sheltered workshop.

The term sheltered workshop refers to an organisation or environment that employs people with disabilities separately from others.

The term ‘sheltered workshop’ is considered outdated in the U.K. and the U.S., and increasingly in Australia.

If even the terms are outdated, why are these places still running?

I couldn’t find many acceptable reasons but here is an opinion that I did find:

Many parents, guardians, and employees themselves say that the advantages of sheltered work-shops include that they are safer alternatives to outside employment, they are less demanding for people with disabilities in terms of work and social skills, they provide greater opportunities for fostering friendships, they ensure structure during the weekdays, and they ensure assistance
for life without affecting disability benefits.

Safety has also been cited as a positive for workshops as many
parents and guardians are concerned about the vulnerability
of their loved ones in an integrated setting in the
community.

source: http://eitas.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Newsletters-Fall-2014.pdf

I do see how they could be a benefit in the short term, and maybe even for training a disabled person in the very early stages of their first employment – but no way would I subject a disabled family member or even myself somewhere that I wasn’t treated fairly by being given the minimum wage!

To make things easier for disabled people, employers could simply make their workplaces more accessible, invest in to specialised equipment that people with disabilities can use and more inclusive training exercises.

It’s about time that the world woke up to the idea that disabled people are perfectly competent doing the same jobs as everybody else; most importantly doing the jobs just as good, making the same amount of friends and gaining the same amount of social skills as anybody else so of course their pay should be equal.

Our culture spends a lot of the time talking about equal rights but where are the rights of these disabled people that are getting paid pennies?

There have been studies that have found that people with disabilities that were working in sheltered workshops actually thrived when they were given the opportunity to work out in the community, surely this says something!

As for the safety aspect of these sheltered workshops.. I completely understand that many parents, guardians and carers feel at ease knowing their loved ones are being cared of around the clock while at work, but surely something could be put in place so that they could have a carer while working in the community?

Or maybe they could be placed close to others in the workplace, so that they weren’t left alone? either way, I’m sure something can be done to stop this disgraceful pay gap.

As many of you know, I live in the UK and I don’t believe there are any sheltered workshops here that pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage, but that does not mean we can’t all come together no matter what country to fight against this form of discrimination.

It’s so important as disabled people (a minority group) to stick together, help each other and not forgetting learning from each other.

Maybe one day we can end this sort of discrimination and live happily side by side with everybody else! It’s time to get the world to wake up!

Have a great week everyone, I hope you enjoyed this post and would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Feel free to follow my social media, too! ๐Ÿ™‚ located on the top right of this page.

 

 

 

 

My thoughts on Ableism

Hi everyone! Today I’ll be talking about how I feel about Ableism, and giving you a pretty simple breakdown of what Ableism actually is.

This post may raise some differing opinions – mainly what is or isn’t ableist.. It’s important to remember that we don’t all have to agree to respect each others opinions.

As always, these thoughts are 100% my own and I’ll be writing from my own personal experiences only ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s start by giving a few examples of ableism so we can all understand what exactly ableism is:

Wiki definition: discrimination in favour of able-bodied people.

Some examples of discrimination against disabled people include no disabled access, seeing disability as a fault rather than a difference, and being apprehensive to interact with someone just because they are disabled.

Want to know the worst part? A lot of disabled people are subconsciously ableist towards themselves! Myself VERY much included.

I only recently discovered what ableism was.. I learned through twitter as I follow lots of others within the disability community and I had to research the word to find out what it meant.

It felt like everything clicked together for a moment.. I realised that so many of my thoughts were actually ableist against myself, and that the reasons I had felt uncomfortable around certain people (that were being ableist towards me) actually made a lot of sense.

I’ve explained this in previous posts, but I never accepted my disability until recently.. because of this, I used to have fears like will that person be offended if they can see my prosthetic leg? Will my family be embarrassed to be seen with me in public because I’m an amputee? Would my family/friends rather me stay indoors so their own friends can’t see that I’m disabled?

Of course, these thoughts are awful and even though I felt them about myself I would have NEVER made anybody else think those things about themselves.

The main turning point for me was actually realising what my reaction would be if I met someone with the same disability as me, that said they feel all those things.. I’d say they were wrong and their family would never want them to hide away.. so why was I being so harsh?

I don’t know why I was so ableist towards myself but I have an idea that it stemmed from my extremely low self esteem.. I hated myself because of my disability so I guess that seeped into every other aspect of my life, including believing things that were false.

These tough times really affected my mental health and I can see this now, I would never think those things anymore as I know that my friends and family love me no matter what – and have never seen my disability as a flaw, just a difference.

I’ve had people be ableist towards me having to use my wheelchair and crutches, acting as if my life is doomed just because I struggle to walk.

I’ve had people try to force me into sports that I really couldn’t do just so “I wouldn’t feel left out”.. but I didn’t! I didn’t feel left out at all and I felt like these people just wanted to make themselves look kind by including the disabled person in their sports classes.

I’ve had people call me an inspiration the second they meet me, which of course is meant as a compliment.. but it doesn’t make much sense, does it?
They don’t know me, I could be a really bad person! Yet they see I’m an amputee and automatically assume I’m inspiring – even though they know nothing at all about me.

The worst part of ableism for me is people think they are entitled to know all about my disability because they can see it.
They see my prosthetic leg and come over to me (a complete stranger) and ask me how it happened.. I can’t stand this!

Once I had a taxi driver actually get visibly angry because I explained that I didn’t want to answer his question which was what happened to my leg.

As much as I can relate to many others experiences with this kind of discrimination I have to admit that sometimes I do believe ‘ableist’ goes too far.

An example of something that I disagreed with was a video that circulated online recently.

The video is of a baby that was born deaf, being given hearing aids for the first time.. it’s an emotional video where the baby clearly smiles as they can hear their mothers voice for the first time!

Unfortunately, I saw many people share the video calling it ableist and say that it was wrong to have given the baby the hearing aids because the baby should have made it’s own choice when it was older as to whether it should be disabled (deaf) or not.

I really disagree with this, I think the parents did the right thing in letting their baby be able to hear! And I would definitely make the same decision myself with confidence.

Just like everything in life, we all have differing opinions about complex subjects such as ableism so I’m sure there will be many that both agree and disagree with my post today.

I am very proud to be a disabled person at this point in my life, and once I learned what ableism was I made a commitment to myself to try my hardest not to use ableist words or phrases anymore such as: “are you deaf?” when someone doesn’t hear me, “are you blind?” when someone doesn’t see something, “you’re mad/crazy/stupid!” when someone does something out of the ordinary etc.

I didn’t use these phrases much, but realising these were ableist really put a lot into perspective for me as I do get uncomfortable myself when people say things like “you’re walking like you have a pegleg!” to people that don’t have a disability.. as if it’s something to joke about.

It’s natural to make mistakes, so sometimes I may accidentally say/tweet/post something that could be considered ableist, but I’m happy in myself that I’m trying my best to avoid this and be a better human being using better phrasing!

Maybe you’ve accidentally used phrases like this too and not realised! It’s OK! Forgive yourself and move on, we can always improve ourselves.

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this post!

Feel free to follow me on social media, located on the top right of this page.

And have an awesome week everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

 

 

 

 

Me, My Disability and My Identity

Hi everyone! Hope your week has gone well.
After my latest blog post talking specifically about the word disabled, I thought that I’d explore the topic a little more and speak more about my identity as a disabled person.

I was able to converse with lots of people about the word disabled and received mixed reactions about the word; therefore I assume that I will receive lots of mixed reactions talking about disability and identity, too.

As always, I’d like to let you know that these opinions are 100% my own and I am in no way speaking for other disabled people, just myself.

I’ll start by briefly recapping what I spoke about in my latest post.
I used to absolutely hate the word disabled as I felt that it was a derogatory term!
As a child, I felt totally able and didn’t want to class myself as anything but.

However with age I grew up to realise that I didn’t actually think being disabled was a bad thing.
Disabled wasn’t really a bad term.. if I fit the criteria for a disabled person, why was I so ashamed?

I believe I was ashamed because of my poor self esteem and this meant that I automatically assumed being disabled was a negative.

It took me years to accept my disability as part of my identity!
I would hate any attention being drawn to my disability (people asking me about it, even going to hospital appointments for it) and now I couldn’t be any more opposite if I tried.

I believe that identity is a complicated thing whether you are disabled or not, I mean our identity changes constantly, doesn’t it? I never imagined growing up that I would one day be vegetarian for example, and now I believe it’s the best change I’ve ever made!

It’s just the same with lots of other things, we always assume we are going to stay one way forever but life gets in the way and shows us it’s OK to change.

We grow up and parts of our identity adapt to what’s around us.. what music we like, what hobbies we have, etc.

But what about something you are BORN with? now that’s a little more complicated.

I was born with my disability just like many others around the world, so we have to deal with this part of ourselves forever.. that’s quite scary isn’t it?
Imagine knowing you cannot change this thing about yourself even when you don’t like it, even when you know you are different and it’s just stuck there forever..

That’s what my life was like before I accepted my disability.

It emotionally pained me for every second of everyday that I couldn’t change and get rid of my disability, I just wanted to be ‘normal’ and enjoy what I saw in the mirror.

I felt cursed, unlucky, deformed and wrong.. but most of all, I felt stuck.

This was my identity that I was stuck with.

As I said it has taken years, but the hard work on raising my self esteem and being open about my disability has paid off more than I could have ever imagined!
I’m happy with myself and I fully accept being disabled as part of my identity happily.

When people meet me for the first time they sometimes notice my limp or my missing fingers and you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way anymore.. it makes things more interesting and is a SURE way of starting a conversation!

People rarely ever have a mean streak inside them about disabled people, of course sometimes they do which is awful but most of the time I’d say 99% of people are just curious.. they find it interesting and want to learn about it!

Now when I see someone staring at my leg or my hands I don’t instantly hate them and think they’re mean.. I think oh, they’ve never seen someone with 8 fingers and one leg before, they just wanna know more about it.

Curiosity is a natural human emotion that we all feel, when we see something we don’t understand we want to learn about it ๐Ÿ™‚

I didn’t ever think there would be a day when I could say this, but just like I have brown hair and blue eyes, I also have 8 fingers and one leg.

It’s an identity that I’m happy with, and even proud to have.

The worst part of the hatred towards my own identity is that these monsters were created by nobody but me.. I made the decision to hate my disability and identity..nobody else!

My family love me ever so much!
My friends love me, my boyfriend loves me.. nobody apart from myself has ever wanted me to change, they love me for who I am so I have to say, making the decision to love myself for who I am just like they do completely changed my life for the better!

Now I finally feel free to live my life after 19 years of self hatred because of my identity, I’m happy to be the Amy everybody knows and loves and since I learned to love myself, my life has blossomed and is beautifully full of colour.

If you are or ever have struggled with this, I think a really simple way to look at the situation is to take a step back and think to yourself, Is what I’m thinking real?

Let’s say you make a mistake or bad decision, it’s pretty likely the people that love you will be honest with you and agree.

Now let’s say you think you are worthless because of disability, the people who love you are still honest with you and will OF COURSE tell you the truth which is that you are wrong!

What I’m trying to say is almost always our family and friends are honest with us and we believe them until we want to punish ourselves!
We have to trust them, to know that it’s way too easy to self criticise and self hate even though nobody apart from ourselves feels that way.

We have to love ourselves and as hard as it is, the first step is accepting love and truth from everyone around you because you’re amazing.

It’s a long journey to self love but coming from someone that has travelled that road, you will NEVER regret it.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post everyone, and feel free to follow me on my social media located at the top right of this page to join in with discussions about this blog post and many others. ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

 

 

Your questions answered

Hi everyone! Hope you’ve all had a fantastic week – I certainly have! ๐Ÿ™‚

This week for this blog post I wanted to answer your questions!
I have been receiving them through social media and I have to say I’ve been very excited to answer these for all of you!

I’m overwhelmed with the response of questions from you all so I hope you love reading this post as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Q1) “Hi Amy, my name is Robyn.
My daughter has PFFD and it looks as though we wont be able to continue with the surgeries that she was meant to have due to the cost involved.

She was meant to have four leg lengthenings and one pelvic hip support built (she doesn’t have a hip joint at all on one side).
She has had one lengthening, though.

My question to you is, do you have any hip pain as of yet? I have heard from some women who haven’t had any interventions who have chronic hip and pelvis pain now.
It is a concern that I will need to talk with my daughter about it so that she will know what to expect in the future.”

A1)ย Hi Robyn! I’m sorry to hear that your daughter was unable to continue with the surgeries she wanted due to the cost – that must’ve been really hard on all of you.

To answer your question – right now I don’t suffer with any hip pain, but my hip does click a lot and I have had to work really hard in physiotherapy to build up strength around that part of my body.

I would chat to your daughter about the pains that can come from wearing a prosthesis and being born with PFFD, just so she knows for the future like you said.. ๐Ÿ™‚ Take care!

 

Q2)ย “My daughter is six and will probably have an amputation in Bristol.
Either through the ankle keeping her knee joint where it is, or through the shin and her knee fused so the artificial knee is in line with her longer leg.

My questions are:
1. Whats the length difference between your knees and do you get any hip or back pain as a result of your knees not being even?
2. As an adult do you still get phantom pains?
3. Do you keep needing prosthesis adjustments?
4. Do you think you could’ve helped make the decision to amputate your foot when you were young?”

A2)ย Thank you so much for this fantastic set of questions!
I’m not sure exactly of the length difference between my stump and my long leg but I know that the stump is significantly shorter than my knee on my left leg.

I suffer with a lot of lower back pain due to being an amputee and having to wear a prosthesis, it’s very unpleasant but over the years I have learned to deal with it to some extent.

I do still suffer with phantom pains! They aren’t extremely painful but they’re really annoying as I usually have to stop what I’m doing while I’m having one! The sensation is just really unusual.

I need prosthesis adjustments roughly every couple of months – and a new leg about once every two years.. I’ve been visiting the same rehabilitation centre for 20 years!

As for deciding on the amputation, I made the decision myself 100% that I wanted to amputate. My parents we’re confident I was doing the right thing for me and were happy that I got to be involved in the decision, in fact, making it ๐Ÿ™‚ take care!

 

Q3)ย “What sort of things do you like doing?”

A3)ย Thanks so much for the question!
I love spending time with my family more than anything! Having meals with them, cooking with them, family get together’s are my absolute favourite. ๐Ÿ™‚ take care!

 

Q4)ย “What has been your health treatment regime, and is it ongoing? If so, how does it impact your life?”

A4)ย I have to have many appointments with doctors, prosthetists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.. I see these a couple of times a month to make sure I’m OK and not in any pain, the only impact it has is repeatedly going to the same hospitals so often can be really draining! Take care.

 

Q5)ย “What is your favourite: Colour, Food, Drink, Place, Item, Song”

A5)ย Awesome questions! ๐Ÿ™‚
My favourite colour is purple – when I was younger it was orange.

My favourite food has to be pasta, I love cooking and a quorn spaghetti bolognese is one of my favourite meals to make for myself and others.

My favourite non-alcoholic drink is pomegranate juice, and my favourite alcoholic drink has to be a purple rain cocktail โค

I absolutely loved visiting Spain, it felt amazing being in the sun and close to the beach, so far that is my favourite place!

My new chromebook is my favourite item right now, I’m amazed laptops can be this fast!
I love anything and everything by Lady Gaga!
Take care!

 

Q6)ย “What hobbies do you have?”

A6)ย Reading, writing and listening to music are my main hobbies that I thoroughly enjoy all of the time.

I love adventure fiction books, where you can just get lost into a story.. My favourite book of all time is Perfect by Rachel Joyce.

I love writing my blog, and I’m always on spotify to listen to music!
Take care.

 

Q7)ย “What’s your favourite thing about blogging?”

A7)ย This is a fantastic question and I’m so glad it got asked!

My favourite thing about blogging is getting the amazing responses from people all over the world telling me that my blog has helped them in someway, especially parents of children who tell me that my blog has helped their child in some way.

I love blogging and hope to continue forever! Take care ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Thanks so much for these fantastic questions everyone.

I hope every single one of you has a brilliant week!
Don’t forget, If there’s any questions you missed out on asking me please feel free to ask me them through my social media pages located on the top right of this page.

๐Ÿ™‚ โค

 

Getting around as an amputee

Hi everyone! Hope your previous week has been great! ๐Ÿ™‚

Today I’m going to be talking about getting around as an amputee as I feel there are a lot of misconceptions about what some of us can and can’t do – and I hope to make people aware of the struggles that are sometimes overseen or forgotten easily.

What Is PFFD?
Proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD), also known as Congenital Femoral Deficiency (CFD), is a rare, non-hereditary birth defect that affects the pelvis, particularly the hip bone, and the proximal femur. The disorder may affect one side or both, with the hip being deformed and the leg shortened.

Because of this condition, I personally have had to wear a prosthetic leg from birth, and undergone operations to fix the deformed leg including having the foot amputated.

I’ll start by saying that as always I’m only speaking for myself so every other amputee out there could very well have had a completely different experience in terms of accessibility and getting around. ๐Ÿ™‚

A common misconception about myself as an amputee is that I can join in with sports to the same standard as anybody else; for me this isn’t the case, I cannot run or bend down because of my prosthetic leg.

When I was younger in school (about ages 5-11) I always avoided joining in because of my low self esteem and I felt silly trying to join in when everybody else was so much better at running and getting around.

Now that I have a lot more confidence I would be much more interested in joining in with sports and keeping fit but I have to admit, the fact I can’t run or simply bend down to pick something up is difficult and upsetting at times.

Many times I’ve had people ask me my opinion on being a Paralympian JUST because I’m an amputee.. this is pretty strange and odd considering I really don’t like sports at all!

Everyday things can be quite difficult when you have a prosthetic leg! I struggle to put my own shoes on and walking up the stairs can be a challenge after a day of walking around.

Leaving my house means I’m subjected to even more problems unfortunately; I really struggle to walk on uneven ground as well as walking uphill and downhill.
Things like gravel and sand are really hard for me to walk on, my prosthetic leg seems to sink in the sand and then my limp has to drag it out (if that makes any sense!).

Weird question, but have you ever felt the weight of a prosthetic leg? They are SO heavy so limping (lifting one leg up and swinging it with every step) really takes a toll on your lower back.

The unfortunate struggle with sand makes going to beaches basically impossible because of the pain and when I’m going to new places I’m always worrying about what the ground will be like.

Ramps are a very popular option for places to stay accessible, but when you’re an amputee (for me anyway) walking uphill is just as painful as using the steps so my ideal location is 100% level ground.

My shower is a wet room and I have a chair fixed to my bathroom wall so that I can sit as I shower – something that has made washing SO much easier for me!
Whenever I go to family or friends houses and I have to use their showers I usually sit in the bathtub (with help from somebody getting in and out) or sit in the bottom of a shower.. standing would be very dangerous on one leg.

If only every house could have a sit-in shower with a chair! ๐Ÿ™‚

I have to use my crutches or my wheelchair whenever I’m not wearing my prosthetic leg, which means the second I take my leg off I’m unable to do most things and would class myself as immobile.

I have to say.. when you’re exceptionally comfortable in bed and realise you need something like a glass of water or the toilet, the thought of putting on a heavy and uncomfortable prosthetic leg is so annoying!

I can only dream what it’s like to be permanently whole – to just get up out of bed and be free to walk around.. it’s such a process to strap on my prosthetic leg and fit it on properly before I even stand up.

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My prosthetic right leg.. the straps are around my waist and have to be secured painfully tight in order for the leg to feel ‘on’.

 

As mentioned above stairs are a manageable struggle but the main problems occur when there is no banister or anything for me to hold on to as I walk up the steps.

My balance doesn’t seem that great so I think that’s the main reason I need a banister or something to hold on to as I walk up stairs to feel safe.
If there is no banister I have to rely on whoever I am with to help me up the steps; but if I’m alone I have to avoid the stairs altogether.

A few people have said to me that the problems I have with my prosthetic leg could be due to the fitting being wrong, but there hasn’t been a time in my 18 years of wearing a prosthetic leg (genuinely since I learned to walk!) that I have felt like the prosthetic is comfortable and pain free at all.

I see many amputees online that seem to be able to do the things I’ve mentioned here with ease, and I’m honestly not sure why I seem to struggle so much!

Could it be the type of amputation? The type of prosthesis? The fact I use NHS healthcare for my prosthesis rather than some people that opt for private care?

Who knows! I know that above knee amputees (like myself) seem to have more problems mobility wise than below knee amputees though, so this could contribute too.

Screenshot_11
Young me on the beach without my prosthetic leg, my Dad used to carry me so I didn’t have to walk in pain!

I’d love to hear from other amputees about what struggles they face getting around to see if I’m not alone with mine! I’d also love to hear peoples opinions on why some of us struggle with certain things and others don’t – is it a simple case of we’re all different?

I hope you enjoyed this post and please feel free to get in touch with me via social media located on the top right of this page!

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Have a fantastic week all! ๐Ÿ™‚ โค