random thoughts


random thoughts 02.26.13

There are many things rambling through my brain that I deem unworthy of a full-length post. However, when you aggregate them, it occurs to me that they could be interesting. Maybe?

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Had one of my infrequent bouts of phantom pain Saturday night into Sunday. This after waking up at 4 AM on Saturday to get Caroline prepared for a regional cheerleading competition. Nothing quite like collapsing into bed after waking up at 4 AM, logging 11,000 steps through Washington D.C., and then getting jolted awake every 30-40 seconds with what I can only describe as electrical shocks shooting through my limb.

I tried unsuccessfully to sleep through it from 12:30 AM until 2:00. Watched TV from 2:00 until 3 AM. And no, watching old episodes of House doesn’t help. Sat in the shower from 3 to 3:45 hoping that might help. Wrong again.

On the bright side, I was wide awake when Cara and Caroline woke up at 4 and 4:45 respectively for Sunday’s competition.

This was one of my worst phantom pain episodes in years – things didn’t subside until about 4 in the afternoon when I arrived back home and inexplicably decided that watching Battleship would be a good idea. As soon as aliens started destroying Earth the pain went away. This may be the first good thing associated with Battleship since its release, other than Greg Gadsen’s alien-smashing performance on two (real) prosthetic legs.

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For those who listened to our last Amped podcast, yes, we intentionally left that dialogue in at the end. Didn’t want you all to think that we weren’t perfectionists or anything. Only the best for our listening audience.

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Got a chance to stop by the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team’s workout at Nationals training camp in Viera Florida last Thursday. My favorite part? Sitting in the locker room and watching Matias Ferreira’s teammates go silent while he told me how he lost both legs below the knee when jumping off a rooftop in Afghanistan and landing on a force-sensitive plate housing explosives.

My second-favorite part? Matias asking me how I lost my leg and watching the same thing happen. Stories are powerful. Period.

My third-favorite part? Matias saying, “Cool shoes, dude,” looking somewhat skeptically at my brown Cole Haan Air Morris Wing Oxfords. I think my response, which involved something along the lines of, “Thanks, but you and I both know that these are dangerously close to the border separating acceptable from not,” was about the best I could do under the circumstances.

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Ate at Theismann’s in Alexandria Virginia last Friday, just over a month after seeing its namesake speak at a meeting in Scottsdale. Joe Theismann the speaker was quite entertaining, if not entirely accurate in his pre-Superbowl football predictions. Theismann’s the restaurant wasn’t as entertaining as Theismann the man, but its menu was incredibly accurate in describing the food.

The Hilton on King Street in Alexandria? Room service was neither entertaining nor accurate: 1+ hour wait after being told 30 minutes; every dish ice cold; and they got three of the five orders wrong. Oh, and I almost forgot – Hilton apparently expected us to eat our room-temperature, incorrect meals with our hands, as they neglected to give us any silverware. Suffice it to say, we had that removed from the room bill.

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I’m sorry. I can’t read one more story about animals using prosthetics. The latest inspirational tale? A turtle with a prosthetic flipper.

I like animals. I want animals missing limbs to live happy lives. I just don’t want to read article no. 4051 regarding Mittens, Fido, or Franklin.

I wonder if I can modify Google alerts to exclude the words “cat,” “dog,” “dolphin,” “llama,” and “turtle” when searching “prosthetic.” Figuring out the answer to that will be time well spent.

*   *   *

Several years ago, my dry cleaner asked me what was wrong with my leg. I asked him why, expecting to get all pissed off that somehow I had given it away by walking poorly. He replied that my pant legs were different lengths, and he had subsequently observed that I sometimes had a small limp.

Moral of the story? Never get your dress pants altered when your prosthetic leg isn’t exactly the right length.

*   *   *

There are still times when I’m a bit amazed that I can walk all day long, get a warning alert that the battery in my knee is at critical levels, and then switch it out like Tony Stark replacing the miniature arc reactor in his chest. The advances in prosthetics since I became an amputee are remarkable. The fact that many American amputees can’t access these advances due to payer limitations is even more remarkable.

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Apparently, speaking at TED makes you faster. Scout Bassett spoke at TED a few months ago. Then she turns in her personal best two weeks ago. Coincidence? The only way to find out is to get a group of amputee runners to speak at TED and compare their before and after times. I’m volunteering to head that research project.

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I traveled through the Orlando airport for the third time in the last four months last week. Visit number one: full body scanner, followed by swab and public cast scope. Visit number two: full body scanner, followed by swab and cast scope in a private room, even though I didn’t request it. (I was told that the private location of the cast scope was standard procedure there.) Visit number three: full body scanner, followed by swab and no cast scope at all. I would like to thank TSA at Orlando for doing their best to make sure that I’m never bored by the same old routine.

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My daughter asked me to speak at her career day this week. She sold me on coming by saying that my job was interesting. But I’m still smarter than her. I know she has no idea what I actually do, other than talk on the phone and type on my computer.

When I asked her if she wanted me to come so that she could pull up my pant leg and show her friends my prosthetic leg, she grinned from ear to ear and asked me to bring my running prosthesis and other spare parts I’ve got lying around. To her, I’m just a cool show-and-tell prop.

I’ll take it.

One thought on “random thoughts

  1. I’m a little hurt that you were in Alexandria and didn’t give me a call. Why am I getting snubbed?? Maybe we’ll have to discuss/ explore in the podcast. 🙂

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