Like most sane people don’t leave the house without clothes, I never venture out in public without wearing my leg.
As well as not being able to get around if I were to leave it at home, I also feel incredibly vulnerable and naked without it.
It’s a common dream for people to dream of turning up to work or school or anywhere in public only to look down and find they aren’t wearing any clothes.
They instantly feel incredibly embarrassed, vulnerable and exposed.
I have never had one of these dreams. However, I have had my own version of it many times.
I will find myself in the halls of school, or at a shopping centre and all of a sudden I will realize I’m not wearing my leg. I feel so exposed, on display and awkward. Often the dream is accompanied by frustration as I struggle to get around in the dream.
Today that dream is about to become a reality and I am terrified.
Three weeks prior to the operation I am not allowed to wear my leg as they want the skin to be fresh and free of rubs and abrasions.
I have never left the house without my leg, in fact apart from showering and sleeping I never take it off. Despite it being uncomfortable, it is just easier that way, although at the end of the day there is nothing quite like the relief of finally taking it off.
For the past week or so apart from feeling a little frustrated at being back at home and isolated from my friends, I have enjoyed my freedom immensely.
I have been going to the gym everyday, catching the bus home and popping up to the local shopping centre to see movies. Almost living the dream really.
But I’m worried all of that is about to change and as a fiercely independent person, this terrifies me.
I’m still determined to keep up my workouts at the gym in order to keep my fitness up as well as keep me sane but I’m not sure what I will be able to do without my leg.
I planned to swim and make the most of my remaining days left being able to swim in the pool but I also want to go to the gym if it is possible.
I know I can still do weights but will I be able to ride a bike? How about the rowing machine and cross-trainer? Will I be able to do any cardio?
Oxigen, the local gym have been incredibly supportive when I told them about the operation and that I would need to use the gym while I was here. They hooked me up with a good deal and today I have an appointment with the exercise physiologist to design a program for me.
I am nervous about my disability being so noticeable.
Only last week I was heading into a Cross-Fit class when a nosy older lady asked me what was wrong with my leg as I was limping.
My heart sunk. I hate encounters like this.
I told her I had one leg.
“Oh that’s a shame,” she said with a frown,
She made some comment about did my other leg get extra tired as she found the leg she had with arthritis got tired more easily.
“Yes lady, our situations are exactly the same,” I wanted to say but instead just smiled awkwardly.
She asked about my hip and what I could do and I had told her it wasn’t the greatest but I got by.
“Oh yuk,” she responded when I said I didn’t have a proper hip.
I was starting to really hate this lady.
It’s not the rudeness or nosiness that I hate the most about encounters like this but rather that I will be just going about doing my thing at the gym and or wherever and just living my life not thinking about my disability, then wham! I will be reminded that I have a disability and that people notice it and my heart will sink.
But it’s not always like this. The previous week at Oxigen I had also had one of the ladies in the class and two of the trainers come up to me and tell me what an inspiration I am and how well I do.
“You have a legitimate reason to take the easier option but you rarely do,” one trainer said after Body Attack.
“You often go harder than everybody else. You are an inspiration to everyone here.”
Seeing the look of admiration on her face, I almost believed it and felt quite proud.
I met with Alex, the exercise physiologist who would run through some exercises with me and first up I had a go on the bike. It was tough trying to push those pedals with one leg but it was manageable. I could only do about 20 minutes but I was pleased with the effort. I could manage the rower too.
Then she suggested the cross-trainer. I had stared at her with disbelief. How would this be possible? And with some nerves I climbed onto one. It felt kind of silly but I could do it, I was on the cross-trainer with one leg!
I left the gym feeling like I had conquered a marathon. Sure the stares will take a little getting used to, but I can still get sweaty at the gym which has me on top of the world.