Look Mom It’s A Robot!!

  1. Jeff Bourns on what it is like being approached in public and asked about his prosthetic leg or life as an amputee

As amputees, we are often approached in public about our prosthesis or amputation. We hear some crazy things, and sometimes tell some crazy stories to you in return,  🤣🤪!  It can, however, be difficult for some who still feel self conscious about their amputation to open and reply to complete strangers on the spot. This is what I experienced for a segment of my life and how I have learned to process the situation differently; Being approached in public and asked about my prosthesis.

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it. Bad things happen to great people sometimes. If you catch me out I will probably be in shorts. In the past when I was younger I mainly wore jeans and had a cover for my prosthesis to make it have the cosmetic appearance of a real leg.

There is me. Top left. Cosmetic cover over the Prosthesis (Right Leg)

As I got older I started wearing mainly shorts and ditched the cosmetic cover because I felt I was hiding who I was by wearing them. Not to myself, but others. I would observe an obvious change in demeanor and interactions if you met me in jeans, couldn’t tell I was an amputee, then saw me in shorts. I am sure it is an experience for you as well because it is not everyday you see one of us out and about.

I get approached quite a bit on a daily basis. I get confused for someone who served in our armed forces, being thanked for my service. In the past my body language and energy was very standoffish. I would respond, no, birth defect, and you would walk off. I would think to myself, “insert expletive here, haha.” This was my 10 and 90 for several years. I had to change the way I processed information and think about it from a different  perspective. Maybe you were embarrassed and scooted quick? I do match the profile and I am not the only amputee who experiences this daily.

In 2012 a report came out that since 2001 when we entered wars there are an estimated 1,600 amputees to date resulting from these conflicts, Compared to 2 million total amputees in the USA . Not exactly the numbers we saw represented over the years in the media. Your experiences, my experiences. Let’s learn. So I changed my 10 and 90. If approached I would make sure and have welcoming body language, a positive attitude and smile, (<–Universal when approaching someone) and after asked the question would reply, “No Birth Defect. My name is Jeff, or Jeff Bourns,  it’s nice to meet you.” Ice-Breaker. Don’t be embarrassed, remember the numbers. I engage in friendly discourse for a few and then scoot on my way. If you do see someone out who is an amputee, a great way to approach the individual is by saying, “Hi my name is ____ , (welcoming body language) do you mind if I ask what happened to _________?

The More you Know. You Grow 🌳

Jeff Bourns