Tag Archives: gifts

Gift Ideas

Shopping, especially for holiday gifts, can be an exercise in frustration. Frequently I am asked to provide gift suggestions for an amputee. Purchasing both meaningful and functional gifts has become a necessity in today’s economy.  Because of the frequent inquiries, I have compiled a list of functional and fun gifts for an amputee friend or family member. Although many of these items are available at a variety of retail stores, we have included links to amazon.com purely out of convenience.

Fuzzy and warm socks are often a welcome gift. The residual limb becomes cold on winter nights so sleeping with a cozy and soft sock over the limb can make the individual more comfortable. I used to sleep wearing my husband’s tube socks over my limb until I splurged and bought a dedicated soft pair for myself. Sometimes the simplest gift will be the most appreciated.

The residual limb often benefits from a deep massage, especially when the muscles are sore. This Homedics Massaging Pillow provides a comforting massage that can be personalized according to an individual’s preferences. Many amputees have reported that their use of this massage pillow has lessened the frequency and intensity of phantom sensations. For me, the massage pillow has eased the phantom pain enough for me to rest without narcotics.

Many lower extremity amputees who rely upon a prosthetic frequently struggle to put shoes onto their prosthesis. A shoe horn is a simple stocking stuffer than can alleviate their shoe donning frustrations. Although a simple and low tech gift, I know from experience that I can never have too many. I can never seem to find one when I need it!

Walking in snow and ice is difficult for those with both limbs. When the individual is an amputee, it can become a terrifying feat. These removable cleats easily slip onto a variety of shoes, increasing traction and safety while walking on slippery surfaces.

For the amputee gamer on your list, you might want to consider the Wii Active Personal Trainer system. This program can be easily adapted to accommodate for limitations due to limb loss. It is also a great way to learn how to put equal weight through the prosthesis, decreasing the chances of developing osteoporosis!

Traveling presents unique obstacles for the amputee. This portable grab-bar is simple to apply and can make any shower accessible. It is compact and fits into the corner of a suitcase. If the amputee utilizes a bionic prosthesis, they may appreciate receiving a power strip to use when traveling. The amputee traveler often must rotate between charging their cell phone, computer and prosthesis due to limited electric outlets in hotel rooms.

If he or she doesn’t travel far from home, they might appreciate a handicapped tag holder. This holder keeps the placard both protected and in a central location, allowing it to be easily accessible. I don’t know about you, but mine is always slipping between the seats or ends up piled under a mountain of “treasures” on the floor.

Slipping on a cold silicone liner can be miserable way to start the morning, especially during the winter. For a “luxurious” gift, consider a towel warmer. The liner can be placed into the heated box to be warmed before it is donned. There is little that feels better than slipping into a warm liner on a cold winter morning!

Although this list is by no means exhaustive, we hope that it has provided some helpful ideas to make shopping a little easier. Do you have additional gift suggestions? We would love to hear from you.

The Gift of a Doll

For me, living with a disability is all I have ever known. Therefore, I never thought of my life as particularly hard or challenging. The daily struggles I face today are the same, or similar, to the struggles that I have been facing for the last 31 years. Things that able bodied people might consider a struggle are as commonplace to me as brushing my teeth.

That being said, I do have days when I hate the hand I was dealt. Sometimes, I just don’t want to deal with it anymore. It’s usually something small, one too many falls, or a particularly long wrestling match with my shoe, which sets me off. Suddenly, I just want to scream, to punch something, to kick something or break something. My victim during these outbursts is usually my pillow, but a surprise gift from a friend could change that.

See that? Don’t worry, at first I couldn’t figure out what it was either. I thought briefly that the gift had been sent by mistake; or worse, that my friend had lost her mind. I mean, this thing is the kind of ugly that people write songs about. U-G-L-Y. What would I possibly want with it? I started to think it was a gift meant for my dog, (who, as you can see from the photo, also thought it should be for her) until I finally saw the tag stitched to one side.

This ugly little darling is a Dammit Doll. What is a Dammit Doll you ask? The tag declares: “Whenever things don’t go so well and you want to hit the wall and yell, here’s a little Dammit Doll that you can’t do without. Just grab it firmly by the leg and find a place to slam it. And as you whack the stuffing out yell dammit, dammit, dammit.”

Life is funny; I happened to receive this gift right after a fight with my husband. I don’t remember what the fight was about, but I do remember that I did not have to use the doll that day. The absurdity of the gift made me laugh so hard that I forgot about my bad mood.

I still have not slammed my Dammit Doll in to any walls. It’s silly, but a part of me feels bad for her. Most dolls are meant to be loved and cared for. This doll, on top of being ugly, was designed for abuse. It’s a little tragic in my opinion; then again my husband says I am just too sensitive. I don’t know if I will ever use my Dammit Dall the way she was intended; but her presence in my life is now a constant reminder that I am loved, and it is the people who love me that get me through the bad days. They pick me up when I fall, they wrangle unruly shoes and they encourage me to keep challenging myself. They are the real reason I live an Unlimited life. Objects make certain things easier, but their support makes things possible.

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