11 Things I Learned From Dating An Amputee

11 Things I Learned From Dating An Amputee

Loving someone with a disability gives a whole new world perspective.

For the last year, I have been dating a bilateral above the knee amputee. This comes with its own lessons and trials. Here are some of the lessons learned over the last year.

1. Patience

It takes longer to get ready to go somewhere. Putting the chair in the car, putting legs on, accessible parking, ramps, taking the chair out. It all takes a little extra time. You can’t be in a hurry going places and you have to give yourselves that extra time. A lot of extra time if she decides to wear different shoes on her prosthetics.

2. Doctors Appointments

There are a lot more doctor appointments when it comes to amputation. Prosthetics, physical therapy, psychologists, general doctors. You name it, we go to an appointment there. Life is scheduled around appointments because it is all part of the journey to her walking again. I have become pretty close with my girlfriend’s prosthetic doctor and physical therapist because I go to most of her appointments and sometimes I see them more than my own family.

3. The world is not wheelchair accessible.

Before we go on a date, I’m always checking online as to whether or not the restaurant is wheelchair accessible. Walking down the sidewalk I’m always looking out for bumps, cracks and rocks that might trip her up. We are always looking for the handicap parking or the handicap bathroom stall. And there are always the people who do not need those amenities that use them. Then we have to wait or go out of our way for her to use something that she has no choice to use.

4. People stare.

Children stare. Adults stare. It is something out of the ordinary to see someone coming through the street with no legs. Or robot legs. There are people who will come up to us on the street and say things like, “God bless you,” or anything along those lines. We know they mean well, but all it does is draw more attention to the disability. Some people ask questions nicely and out of pure curiosity. Some people point and stare and laugh. It’s a chair, amputations are not contagious and just because someone is different does not make them bad or less. Everybody is a little different, but some differences are clearly more prominent than others.

5. They block the hallways.

Every time. Especially when you really have to go to the bathroom, there the chair is. The chair blocks pretty much everything.

6. You will get your feet run over.

Another major disadvantage to the chair is the amount of times she does not know where her chair is because normally it winds up on top of my foot. And it hurts. Sometimes her footplate rams into me, sometimes that is on purpose. I am pretty sure my little toe is losing feeling from the amount of times it has been run over.

7. They can do more than you give them credit for.

Most people look at someone in a wheelchair as completely incapable. My girlfriend is on the wheelchair basketball team at our school, so my experience with people in chairs is not just limited to her. The people on the team can drive, they have their own homes, they clean, they play sports. Everything is normal -- it is just adapted. Which means sometimes, my girlfriend asks me to do things I know she is completely capable of doing and plays the disabled card. And most of the time it means I will still do things I know she is completely capable of doing because I love her.

8. Relearning how to walk.

This is possibly the most frustrating thing about dating an amputee. For her, I know it is the most frustrating part. With no knees, walking again is a process. A long process. Everything is new as walking is no longer an instinct movement with the knee and the knee of her prosthetic is moved by the muscles in the glutes and hamstrings. This relearning means multiple physical therapy appointments per month. It means tears, falling, walkers, crutches, canes and parallel bars. And that is just the physical side. The prosthetics come with their own appointments and adjustments. And of course, the amputee is constantly frustrated. The way she describes it is “being a baby all over again, but worse.”

9. Phantom pains.

Limbs are amputated to prevent further damage to the body. That does not mean the pain goes away after the amputation. The nerves are severed, but the brain still sends signals to those nerves. Nerves send pain signals when something is wrong, so the nerves are almost always sending pain signals to the amputee’s brain. My girlfriend describes her’s as a burning sensation in her feet or spasms. The worst part is knowing there is nothing I can do to help her other than try to put warm compresses on it. Nobody knows how long phantom pains will last, but I do know they get worse when it rains. Meaning every time the sky turns gray, I ask her how she is feeling. It takes a long time to understand the phantom pains and even longer to find out how to help when they happen.

10. Hand holding.

Hand holding is a little different for us. It is basically just me pulling her around. It is one part romance and one part laziness. But I am always smiling when I’m pulling her because honestly, it can be fun. Some days, I whip her around a corner. Sometimes she holds on to the grocery cart. No matter what it is, I would pull her across the country if I had to.

11. Love is blind.

I forget about the chair. No, I’m not just saying that. I have gone to the back of the car to get my mom’s wheelchair when I have ridden with her. My mom doesn’t use a wheelchair, but for me that is habit. Or sometimes I forget to grab my girlfriend’s chair because I forget she uses one. We have been together over a year and I love her more every day. She has told me about people who would not date her because she’s in a chair. That is their loss though because I wound up with the best girl I could ask for. She takes care of me, she loves me and I would love her with or without the chair. Because the person in the chair matters much more than the chair itself. And the sooner more people realize that, the sooner we could accept each other as is.
Cover Image Credit: Melanie Uhlenhake

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.

We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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Poetry On Odyssey: Some Days

A poem that reminds you that you're not alone.


Some days,

You dread the sound of your alarm. You snooze and snooze and snooze and snooze.

When you finally pull yourself out of bed, pressed time forces you to throw on stained sweats

you find yourself chugging a cup of coffee.

You sit on the couch and contemplate calling out of work

You caught the stomach bug,

Or perhaps the flu,

Maybe you broke your collar bone

Or need a new phone

The endless list of excuses repeats through your head as you sit on the couch, wishing you were still in bed.

It takes every ounce

Every breath

Every fiber of your being to pull yourself off the couch

And into the car

And into the building where you work

Some days,

This is just how it goes

You are not alone.

Some days,

You awake to the beautiful sound of birds

Chirping outside your window

The sun sneaks its way into your room

A smile creeps across your face as you realize you are awake to see a new day

You make a good breakfast

You read a few pages of your favorite book

You get your mind ready for the things it will accomplish today

Before you know it you've worked an entire day

Your job is done

As you pull into your driveway,

you take a few breaths

Feeling grateful for another meaningful day.

Some days,

This is how it goes

You are not alone.

Every day is a gamble,

Every day is a gift

The key to getting more good days

Is believing that everyday is one.

You are not alone, this is just how it goes.

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