Part III: Barb’s Top Ten Tips for Living with a Spouse or Partner with Limb Loss

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With 50 years of experience and a great outlook on life we asked Barb Casper’s to share her top ten tips for living with partner

1.   Humor. Remember to keep your sense of humor.

attachment-527fe2bae4b0f8aebbc9a9a6Ex: Early prosthetics were not so terrific (think late 60’s) We were playing tennis with my parents when in the middle of a hard serve Carl’s foot broke off at the ankle.  He calmly picked it up, put it under his arm and hopped to the car, laughing all the way. My parents and I were joining him in the laughter, the other tennis players, not so much.  I am sure they thought he was one tough guy to break his foot off and find it humorous.  They probably talked about that visual for some time!

2.  Support.  Love your spouse or partner enough to support him in all his or her attempts at athletics, household activities and scary things such as climbing a ladder to wash the windows.  Yes, you might worry, but they know what they can do…hopefully.
3.  Grin and bear it.  Sometimes prosthetic liners or socks can become a little “stinky” when they are taking them off to go to bed.  I suggest you ignore if not too bad, but if you are sharing the bedroom and it can clear a room, insist on banning it to another room or have them wash it immediately.  It makes for happy co-habitation and a good night’s sleep.
4. Smile. If your foot gets stepped on while dancing, smile and continue.
5.  Listen. Be a good listener. Sometimes there are bad days when things are not working quite right.  Here comes the support…sometimes listening is all that is needed; sometimes we need to encourage a trip to the prosthetist.  If they can’t decide whether to go or not, usually that means they should go.
6.  Share. Generally people are curious to hear how you happen to have a limb loss. Don’t be afraid to share the story, education is always good.  Many people do not know any amputees and it’s a good way to let them know it doesn’t define you and you have as normal a life as they do, only with an addition of a prosthetic device.
7.  Select.  Pick your prosthetist with the same care you would pick your doctor, dentist and car repairman.  You want to be comfortable with him or her and have the confidence you are getting the best care possible for your situation.  If not, have the courage to speak up or find someone else.  You need to be able to depend on this to move on with your life at the best level you are capable of.
8.  Tighten. Make sure your foot is always tight.
9.  Strive. Be the best you can be!
10.  Love & Live. Live your life as full of love and as much joy as possible.  Do not let being an amputee define you.  I have lived with my amputee husband for 51 adventure filled, joyful, wonderful years with an amazing family.  There have been some tough times like everyone has, but we have come through together with our love intact.

Carl and Barb golfing.
Carl and Barb golfing.


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