Thursday, August 09, 2007
Last Friday I went back to the Prosthetist's office and we hooked the legs back up to the computer. As I walked we could actually watch the motion of my legs and feet on the computer. Instead of taking big steps and walking quickly (as I had the first time we programmed them) this time I took very small steps and walked slower. I think my large steps were a direct result of changing from the old legs to the C-legs. As I walked we learned that I wasn't getting as high up on the toe as I needed to for the knee to bend. Through programming we lowered the necessary elevation and I'm now able to change speeds and step length with minimal effort. These legs really are amazing!
Tomorrow we start a new round of Physical Therapy. My goals are to be able to stand/balance without holding on to anything for extended periods, walk with only one crutch and progress to a cane (preferably one with a sword inside!), and to walk down steps going forward step over step (instead of stopping on each one). Renee says these are lofty goals (especially the last one) but that they should be achieveable.
One thing that I think will help with the steps are the remote controls. (Yes, my legs have remote controls!) The remotes allow me to put the legs into three specific modes for different tasks. The first mode is a walking mode (which is the one it's normally in). The second mode is a programmable mode which is currently set for extended standing (the knees won't bend at all). The third mode is a stance mode; I haven't played with this mode yet but I think it allows a little bend in the knees. Ultimately I want to get to a point where I can use the stance mode for standing and have the programmable mode set for steps. I think this will allow me the confidence to walk down steps the way I want to without worrying about the knees bending too fast.
Now for the anger part. I want to fill you in on something that happened this weekend. It's a situation that hadn't happened yet and my reaction was...well, it was unexpected. I went to see the Bourne Ultimatum with some friends. being opening weekend I expected it to be busy. Some of my friends went ahead to the theater to get seats. When I walked in there were so many people in the theatre that I couldn't find them and an usher asked me if I needed help finding a seat. I told him that I was here with some friends, but that I didn't see them. He approached a man that was sitting in a row of four handicapped seats and asked him to move so that my group could sit there.
The man had an empty baby carrier sitting in front of him and looked up and said to the usher that he had a baby and this was the best place for him to sit so he could leave easily. The baby was out in the hallway with it's mother. The usher told him that these seats were meant for disabled individuals and their guests. The man said that they should be allowed to sit there because of their baby. The usher pretty much froze at this point.
I was standing next to the usher the whole time, I was sweaty, starting to get shaky, and was needing to sit down. Listening to the man argue with the usher was making me angrier and angrier. Since the usher wasn't saying anything I decided to speak. What I meant to say was "hey, do you really want to be the guy who wouldn't give up an accessible seat to a guy who is truly disabled?" What came out was "HEY!" with enough force behind it to draw the attention of everyone in the theatre. I was so shocked by how loud I was that I forgot what I was going to say. The man was staring at me so I finally said "look" and motioned to my legs.
The usher asked me not to make a scene, the man said "oh come on, don't make it about that", and said "it is about that, these seats are meant for people who have disabilities. As he stood up he said "so you ask a guy with a baby to move instead of all those people over there" motioning to other people who were sitting in accesible seats futher away. He gathered his things and moved on.
As the previews began the whole scene kept rolling through my head. I don't know where the force behind my voice came from, I don't remember sucking in my breath and I certainly didn't intend to yell. I kept thinking about his reaction and what I had said. I also kept thinking that a baby is a responsibility, not a disability. That sounded so much better, why hadn't I said that?
In the end I didn't feel any better about the situation. Normally I don't even sit in the accessible seating in theaters. This was the first time I'd been to a movie that was so busy I couldn't get to any of the empty seats. My hope is that the next time I'm confronted with a similar situation I'll be able to hold my temper and react better.
I wondered what the remote controls were for when I saw them online...now I know, and it sounds like they are some super legs!
Keep up the good work, and like Kathli said, don't be so hard on yourself!
Love Annie xx
I imagine the others who witnessed that were appalled at his rude behavior.
PS After all that you didn't tell us if the movie was any good! I'm sure it was! I hope I get to see it. First, I have to find a sitter :)
I know exactly how you feel when you say you wish you had said something else. I have experienced that feeling so many times! And, I must say I've never even tried to go to the theater with a baby because I figure I would just be throwing away money by spending the whole time in the lobby (or car!).
Just goes to show you that America has changed so much when it comes to being a decent human being in this world today. At least the ones who write in your blog know how to be decent human beings, with emotions.
Ok, I'm going to stop writing now....
The legs sound awesome, you sound awesome and I can't wait to see you again with the new legs.
Stay cool my friend, it doesn't hurt to lose your temper every now and then....
Love you so much,
But also, I support you and all that jazz. I'm sorry; did I just completely ventilate about idiots? Ah well. Such is life. See you soon!
Your c-legs sound awesome and so do you! Your goals for using the legs to the fullest advantage are great and I know you can do it! I don't know you personally but I have kept up with your blogs from Day 1 and know how determined you are and how supportive your family and friends are!
I agree with all the other comments about your movie theater experience! You had every right to speak up for your rights. If that "gentleman" couldn't see for himself how distressed you were getting having to stand there and listen to him argue with the usher, somebody from nearby seats should have gotten up and escorted him outside, baby carrier and all! I'm sure had your friends been near-by,they would have done exactly that.
He should be the one having that encounter going through his head over and over again and kicking his own a** for his behavior!!
Hope the movie was good. We would like to go see it but have my 92+ year old mother to take care of and she wouldn't enjoy the movie or sitting in a theater so we will wait for it to come out on CD! Babies and elderly parents pretty much fall in the same category!!
Secondly,I agree with everyone here...
For many reasons I won't go into here I would have to say; forgive the sad little man and move on.
And practice your one liners and cane/sword moves for anyone else who dares to be so rude in the future.
Sounds like this guy either had a huge chip on his shoulder or was having a really bad day.
Either way, pooey on him.
I'm sorry you had to come face to face with that narsisistic twit, but they are out there and it was bound to happen sooner than later. I apologize of behalf of all "able-legged" humans out there.
However, I must say it is nice to know that you are able to experience and express your anger emotion. (I was beginning to think you were not human.) You are very much an extraordinary man with normal emotions living in a very special body. Think of one-line comebacks that get your point across (without lowering yourself) for those future encounters we all know you will face. You might even come up with a business card size note to slip to people (or put on cars improperly parked).
I look forward to seeing you walk and dance on your new legs. By the way, what happens if your remote controls get into the wrong hands? I'm picturing Maddie as a preteen having Uncle Jeremy waiting on her hand and foot (LOL).
Love you more than words can express,
It's just amazing how insensitive some people are. We have had to deal with our fair share of stares and comments when out with Anna....especially since she doesn't physically look like a child with a disability when she's in her stroller. I actually have sat and thought through in my head what to say in different circumstances....though, there will always be the one that just shocks you like the guy in the theater! I think your reaction was fine....his wasn't. Luckily, each of these experiences will just cause you to grow in strength.
I'm glad I don't have to handle those usher-type jobs--I get too ticked too quick! I would have probably been marching him and his empty baby seat out to the ticket office for a refund and encouraging him to try another theatre next time... Probably not the best way to keep a job.
SO-O-O, glad you had a great vacation and came home to the C-legs!! Woo-hoo!!! This has got to be such a milestone. Today the toes, tomorrow the stars!
Please continue to stand up for yourself and for all those who can't speak up when they have a need.
PS. You'll be glad to know, Jeremy, that David was introduced to Star Wars at the great age of 6 weeks--even though he slept through the whole thing on my shoulder. (Back in the 'old days', we carried the baby only-and diaper bag-which meant that the whole kit and kaboodle would fit in the same seat as mom or dad!! Amazing, huh?) Anyway, he was old enough to watch and enjoy it the next time it came around. And he didn't have a bunch of R-rated images floating around in his head, either.