If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked the following questions, I’d be able to afford all the clothes that don’t make the cut and get left behind in my online shopping cart:
1. What happened to your leg? This is by far the most common question I am asked. And it delights me. The long answer is: I was born with a very, very small and misshaped femur bone in my right leg. My knee basically replaces my hip and my foot is where my knee would be. It’s technical term is PFFD but I can never remember what that stands for without googling it. The short answer, the one I usually use with children to make it simpler to understand is: I was born with one leg shorter than the other and they gave me a prosthesis to make them even so I can walk.
2. You can paint your toenails? Yep! And Being able to take my foot off to paint my toes myself is a serious amputee benefit!! Also, I can change the polish using normal polish remover.
3. Why do you even wear socks? Because I have to wear one on my real foot, so I wear one on my fake foot. Also, when the rubber on the shell of my foot rubs against the inside of my shoe it makes the most annoying squeaking noise in the world, so I wear a sock to prevent that sound.
4. Why do you wear a shoe on that foot? Well…why do you wear two shoes? Because you have two feet. And so do I. That actually may be the one question that annoys me a little. I don’t get mad by people’s comments very often (almost never) but this one just feels ignorant. And maybe I shouldn’t let it get it to me, but it does and I am a pretty understanding person so I think it’s only fair to have one thing that grinds my gears. I just think, wouldn’t I look silly without two shoes on?? And also, it would make my legs uneven, so it would be hard to walk and hard on my back.
5. Do you sleep with your leg on? No way! It gets so hot and it makes it uncomfortable. I sleep with it right at the foot of my bed and can whip it on and off super fast.
6. Can you drive? Oh yeah! I drive with my left foot. Admittedly I’m a shitty driver but not because I have a fake leg. It’s mostly because I like to drive fast. I tuck my right foot behind my left leg and sort of cross it over. I had to take a special driver’s education course to make sure my reaction time was fast enough. I don’t know if that’s something all right-leg amputees have to do, or if I did because my mom called to see if I needed anything special before I took my test. Either way, it was kind of nice to get one-on-one lesson and I am shockingly good at parallel parking now because my instructor made me parallel park several times.
7. Can you feel this? This question is typically followed by a series of light touches to my leg. The answer is almost always yes. I can feel the vibration on my stump so even some of the lightest touches I can feel the movement.
Please keep in mind I am absolutely obsessed with talking about my leg and my prosthesis. Even if I don’t get paid a dollar every time I hear these questions, I would still answer them. (If you want to pay me a dollar to ask a question, though, I’ll give ya my Venmo! Hahahaha.)
But like also, if I’m having a bad day and you ask me why I wear two shoes, I may be sassy with you, but other than that question, I will be happy to answer anything you ask me about my leg. I love having a good prosthetic conversation. I totally geek out and it’s exciting for me!