For this I am going to break it down into two sections, the first being purely and simply about me and the problems that I had whilst I was on the trip not because I want to put a downer on Kerri’s big day but because there might be other above knee amputees that are thinking of going someplace hot and it gives them a heads up on the problems that I experienced of course you might be one of those people who are used to the heat and it wouldn’t be a problem but it was for me …..Sigh where to start.
Before we even set off on this holiday I knew that I would have problems, to start with I had been nursing a very knacker knee (my real one ) for the last few weeks and it didn’t seem to be getting any better ………..not a problem for most people but as it was my only one I was getting rather worried about it then first of all there was the long flight times from Manchester to Jamaica , and as any above knee will tell you sitting on a plane for that amount of time and the swelling of the stump can cause a few problems , I decided to combat this by regularly getting up and walking around the plane (or walk as far as space aloud ) I was assisted in this by my better half Yvonne who had the window seat and “had to go to the toilet” every time I sat back down , but it worked out and even though we arrived with me feeling very uncomftable the system worked , getting past immigration at the airport in the full force of the heat could have proved difficult but once a local spotted my arty leg on show we was both quickly escorted straight to the front of the queue , that meant we could pick a seat and wait for the rest of the party to get through and saved us an hour or so of queuing in the heat .
The hotel was a riu and as such had very high standards, we have stopped at a riu in Mexico some years ago so we sort of knew what accommodation to expect and we weren’t disappointed the whole place was first class.
I didn’t expect Showering / bathing to be a problem as I have practised numerous times different techinics for using the bathroom however the highly polished stone / marble floor tiles proved to be very slippery when wet, in fact the whole complex had these tiles down and kept me on my toes many times when I relaxed and forgot about them causing the crutch to slid out causing me to nearly fall.
The heat as expected caused me no end of problems, I could wear Arty leg first thing in the morning after a night sleeping in an air conditioned room and it stayed comfty for breakfast but by the time I had finished and got back to the room, my seal in liner was starting to slip because I was sweating so much and the socket started to feel tight and as we all know if it gets to tight the nerves start to play up.
During the day we decided that we would spend our time around the pool or on the beach (after all we are on holiday and it gave me a chance to rest my poorly knee) this meant that I had to go legless and use the crutches ……………..there was no other way to function really, taking the arty leg off and putting on around the pool or down the beach wasn’t really an option that would work.
Getting into the pool wasn’t a problem as I would just crutch down the steps into the pool leave the crutches on the poolside and off I would swim , however getting across the sand and into the sea proved to be fun and caused a bit of concern , I found it easy to crutch into the sea , then I would have to ask someone to take my crutches and put them safe on the beach , which meant that I had to ask for help …………………..not a big thing I know but I hated it and every time I asked I felt that little bit more useless , it was the same when it came to get out from the sea , I again had to ask someone to bring my crutches and that only added to the feeling I was getting of being useless as the weeks went on I started to hate this feeling but couldn’t do a thing about it , of course it was totally knackering having to crutch up the beach in the soft sand to get back to the hotel , but I don’t think people realised how much hard work it was and I didn’t want to let them know , I felt as if I was a burden as it was .
Naturally being on crutches I couldn’t go to the bar and get the drinks in for everyone, yes there was any amount of staff wandering around only too happy to bring us drinks back but after several of our friends dropped drinks off for me I started to feel guilty that I couldn’t do the same for them ………stupid I know but again as time went on I started to feel more helpless I guess what the problem was I just don’t like excepting help in any form.
Lunch time was another problem, the choice of food was again first class but I had to ask my better half to carry my plate to the table for me, again no big deal but it slowly added to my feeling of uselessness and as time went on just added to it.
The evenings really proved to be a problem for me, after spending the day around the pool or beach it was back to the room, and despite having a cold shower and the air condition on max cold I found that my stump has swollen (as expected) and I really had problems putting arty leg on, now I had to get the leg on just to function and get around but it was hard.
Most evenings my socket was very uncomfortable / painful and I found that I couldn’t walk very far without having to stop for a rest after 20 meters or so ……………….for someone that can walk all day without any problems I found this a very bitter pill indeed and after we had eaten I still hadn’t settled down into the socket which made life rather difficult , naturally the nerves started to kick in and added to my “joy” and I found myself excusing myself from the evening entertainment a lot earlier than what I would have liked , fortunately my wife had her friends and family with her so I didn’t feel too bad about leaving her on her own and I would stagger / limp back to our room where I could remove Arty leg before any damage was done and basically sit under the cold air from the air conditioning but to be honest it wasn’t the way I wanted to spend my nights.
As the week went on , I developed blisters on my hands where I was using the crutches so much and at times when crutching along the wet floor tiles I was a nervious wreck , naturally I did my best to keep my feeling away from everyone as the last thing I wanted to do was put a downer on Kerris wedding, however we had talked about any problems that I expected to find and they all know how much I hate the hot weather and how it effects me .
Other stuff …………I had forgotten about or was it not really cared about what other people thought about me and the looks that you get but somehow some of the people “got to me” with the comments and I really wanted to stop and say something but it was just too hot to start anything …………I found that the Americans seemed to be the worst but again that might have been because they seemed to talk so loud. the only other bad experience that I heard of was when a life guard approached my family when I was swimming in the sea and asked if I knew that I had “only one leg and should I be out there” they smiled and told him yes they think that I know that I have only one leg and did he want to swim out and tell me I shouldn’t be swimming so far out , he declined but informed them that he would be keeping an eye on me ……………………..in hindsight I think that he meant well and it was a language problem rather than anything.
I had started to give some serious thoughts about how I was going to manage for my daughter’s big day, I couldn’t go on the way I was so after much thinking I decide to have an early evening meal then head up to my cool room so my stumps had the maximum amount of time to cool down and shrink, I set the alarm early for her big day, got up had a cold shower and got straight into Arty leg , I figured if I stayed in the air conditioned room till the last minute I stood a chance , my plane seemed to work because by the time I went to get her from her room with the bridesmaids and escort her down to the beach for her wedding I more or less was sitting in the socket where I should be , so that meant I could walk her down without having to stop or worse still having to stop to deal with a nerve pain or anything , my good knee was still playing up and I couldn’t walk as “posh” as I would have liked but that didn’t matter we all had a great time approaching the alter , all our guest where there waiting on the beach , the bridesmaids looked stunning , the best men where all lined up and I didn’t fall and successfully handed her over to her future husband ………..mission over phew.
The rest of the day went extremely well, all Kerri’s planning paid off and we had an almost perfect wedding, I was still wasn’t in any pain or in too much discomfort during the speeches (including my own) and it wasn’t till much later (when most people where drunk) that I quietly had to slip away before the nerves and pain started to play up.
I can’t fault the hotel, staff, location as they are all first class, the problems that I encountered where mine and mine alone and was all amputee and heat related.
As for Kerri and Anthony big day the photos can speak far better than any words:-
ABOUT ME OTHER STUFF