Tuesday, July 28, 2009


This email made my week!

Hey Mike,

I thought you might get a kick out of this. My daughter had her third birthday party this weekend and got a Bratz doll. Since you're probably not up on your girl toddler toys, Bratz are super popular with the under ten crowd. The doll comes with all these little designer clothes that you can change the doll in and out of.

So when I was helping Wynn change the shoes of her Bratz doll, I realized it doesn't actually have feet but what looks like a stump with a prosthetic shoe that you change. It made me think of you. Who knew that you were similar to a Bratz doll? You too would be very popular with little girls if you would consider wearing sparkled high heels or fancy tall boots. You may want to consider a career change.

Anyways, I hope all is well with you!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Leg Update

I received my long-awaited new socket on Thursday.

The Good:
As prosthetic leg sockets go, this looks sweet! The weight of the carbon fibre is significantly less than my old white plastic job. It's also not nearly as bulky under my jeans at work either and looks awesome when I wear shorts.

The Bad:
It's the wrong size... in fact, it's slightly larger than my last one. It was meant to fit me like a glove and instead fits like a large garbage can. They've packed it with some foam and promised to make me a new one, but it means more waiting and walking on something that isn't right.

Staying Positive:
It's discouraging but at very least the shape is better than the last one. Even though it's still huge, it more closely matches the shape of my leg than the last one so when I pack it full of extra padding, it's at least a better shape. I guess that's an improvement.

It also means that in a month, we'll have TWO old sockets to experiment with for new climbing leg designs. The socket was always going to be the hard part to source. The rest is just machined aluminum which we've already worked out. I even have a prosthetist contact now (outside of my treatment) who's willing to help with the design. All big bonus points.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


We dusted off the bikes today for the first time since the accident.

After breakfast, we spent several hours adjusting cables, tightening bolts, greasing chains, adjusting heights and sorting out the gears to get them into ridable form, but eventually, we managed to get them loaded onto the car and headed off for a late afternoon ride.

Around this time last year, Subway was offering free bikes to anyone who bought six fresh value meals. You just had to pay the $50 shipping fee. Since they were pretty much the only lunch place within walking distance of my office, I was already eating there everyday.

Since we hadn't intended to buy bikes when we moved here, free bikes were hard to resist!

My bike frame is a bit small for me and I think my seat height needed some more adjusting, but overall, it was a nice ride. It was a great way to get in some cardio which has been sadly lacking lately.

One challenge I found was just keeping my foot on the pedal. It kept drifting forward or out to the side making for the occassional slip off the peddle. Eventually, I managed to get the pressure right but I still think toe clips would be useful.

All in all it went very well and we look forward to getting out again for a longer ride!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Working on my Apotemnophobia

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, ironically, is the fear of long words. Perhaps even more ironic is the "short" version of that word: sesquipedalophobia.

Odontophobia is the fear of teeth!
Algophobia is the fear of pain.
Deipnophobia is the fear of dinner conversation!
Anablephobia is the fear of looking up? Really?

Xanthophobics fear the colour yellow!

I'm really not sure where I'm going with this, I just thought these were really funny!

For a complete list of fears to use on your friends and family, check out: http://www.phobialist.com/

...and to all my friggaphobic friends out there, I wish you a happy Friday!

Friday, July 10, 2009


When I was younger, I watched a documentary about zoo keepers and how they train large wild animals. One thing that has always stuck with me is the story of how they raise baby elephants in captivity.

No, I haven't been watching too much Animal Planet, I promise I'm going somewhere with this.

As a baby, an elephant born in captivity is shackled by the ankle and chained to a large steel spike driven deep into the ground. The chain length is always the same and baby elephants don't yet have the weight or strength required to break free.

The young elephant will struggle against this tether every day in the yard until it learns that whenever a shackle is put around its ankle, it may only travel a particular distance.

Soon there's no struggle at all. It becomes accustomed to this "reality". Just seeing or feeling the shackle and chain is enough for the growing elephant to accept this limitation of its mobility as fact. The elephant's reality and subsequent actions have become a product of its environment.

As the elephant matures, zoo-keepers remove the heavy chains and replace them with a light rope and a movable wooden stake so they may show the elephant to crowds in multiple locations.

The fully grown adult elephant has more than enough power to pull free of the rope and peg but the programming of the ankle shackle is so absolute, so totally ingrained in its behaviour, that the elephant never bothers to try.

I find that sad.

For the past few months, my leg hasn't been fitting right. Not to worry, this is a normal part of the progression and they're building me a new one as we speak, but in the meantime, I've had a lot to put up with.

My old socket is HUGE on my leg, allowing my stump to bump and grind with each step. This causes me pain. I can generally fix that with a few extra socks for padding but throughout the day that changes, meaning more pain until I can get my "supplies" to sort it out.

Over the last few weeks, I've been limiting my walking and activities. I accepted the programming and allowed myself become fearful of standing and/or walking. I felt like my ill-fitting leg was a limitation that I couldn't control.

It's important to realize that most "limitations" are self-imposed. Sure, they have their foundations in past personal experience: a failed first attempt, a bad experience, a repeated put-down, etc, but for the most part, they are the product of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In my case, it was inconvenient to have to carry around extra supplies and to take the time needed to correct the problem so I wasn't taking care of the pain when it came on. Pain made me cranky. I stopped getting up because I knew it would hurt. I was even avoiding walking around at the office.

My limitation had nothing to do with my leg and everything to do with my attitude. I've since corrected my thinking and given myself a few good kicks to the head as punishment. Really I did -- it's easy when you have a detachable left leg!

We all have the power to change our situations rather than accept them. We need to recognize obstacles for their reality, not for what we perceive them to be.

Ask yourself: are you being held back by a bit of rope and a wooden peg?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day

Wishing all our friends and family back home a happy Canada day!

-- Mobile post