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.
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 🌳