I have nothing but undying respect for people with spinal cord injuries. But people with lower limb amputations are much different. (More on this later.)
Our prosthetic sockets are carefully and meticulously molded to each of our stumps. Test sockets are made, things are shaped and cut down and built up and re-molded so no, we can’t switch for fun.
FUN FACT: All 3 people in the prosthetic-fitting photo are missing at least one leg.
Nothing compares to flesh and bone. The computerized knees they make for above-knee amputees are great, but we can’t control them with our brains yet. We make them flex and straighten by shifting our weight.
…and the less you have left, the harder it is to walk.
Sometimes you have to let the stumps breathe.
Most of us try extremely hard to avoid resorting to wheelchair use, unless we absolutely have to. (But, alas, the world is unpredictable, so we stay open to resourceful solutions to unlikely situations.)
That would suck. These are for running, and running only.
Athletic, gorgeous, successful, famous…
(Yes, some of those are pictures of me…)
So please, don’t ever be disrespectful to an amputee who isn’t a veteran or a cancer survivor. Some, like me, are just paying for stupid mistakes.
And I don’t just mean “normal” by cripple standards. We have normal-person jobs, drive normal-person cars, have normal-person friends and hobbies and fights with our families…
Inside and outside the amputated community. And our relationships are just as physically fulfilling as yours. (See #1)
It’s usually extremely unwelcome.
Although some of us choose not to.
For some of us, our regular, stable, every-single-day, totally under-control walking just looks really sketchy. But I promise you, we’ve got this.
And at times, frustrating. And un-dignified. And discouraging. But it’s worth it, when you take those first few unassisted steps.
Every single one of us has no-legs jokes that we tell, and tell often. And they’re very funny.
Being stared at hurts. And that hurt starts to build up inside, when the gawking is all we get. It gets exhausting. But we’re understanding- and I cannot stress this enough- all you have to do is talk to us. We’re all human.