When Callie had her amputation, we vowed that we would never let her prosthetic leg limit her in any capacity. Anything that she wanted to do, any activity she wanted to try, any trip she wanted to take we would do it and our motto quickly became “We will figure it out.”
That being said, we have figured out a few things that have helped us along the way and wanted to share them with other families like our own!
- Plan time for plenty of breaks and rest stops. We try to structure in rest time during our vacation as a whole and during our daily activities. Callie doesn’t have the endurance that other kids do, so we have to be able to take breaks through out the day for her to rest her leg. We also try to plan a day mid vacation that is strictly for sleeping in, relaxing, and doesn’t involve a lot of activities. The last thing we want to do on a vacation is have Callie walk so much she gets a sore on leg and is immobile for the rest of the trip.
- We scout out accessibility before hand. Does the location have a lot of stairs? Is the flooring not paved? Is there a way for her to get around comfortably or will we have to carry her? Do they offer programs like Disney’s Fast Pass/Accessibility Pass so we don’t have to make her stand for long periods of time? Are we able to board the flight ahead of time to give her more time to get situated? We look at all of those things prior to the trip to be able to make it easier for us to navigate.
- Be ok with being flexible. Going through TSA with Callie’s prosthetic and my insulin pump, CGM, and diabetic supplies is a three ring circus. We have to be able to allow for extra time to clear security as well as time for us to explain everything to the agents. We also try and keep in mind they aren’t giving us a hard time–they simply have a job to do to keep all of the traveler’s safe. More power to them and we’re grateful for the throrough job that they do.
- Speaking of activities……when we are given the option of picking tours, programs, or excursions, we are mindful of her limitations but also try to introduce her to as many things as we can. When we went on a Disney cruise, we knew that it would be hard for her to go snorkeling for a full day so we decided to do a partial beach day and then go on a glass bottom boat ride. The boat ride was perfect because she could just relax and check out the fish after her morning at the beach!
- Pack extras! We always take extra liners for her prosthetic as well as a mini tool kit. Luckily James is super handy and can fix almost anything that goes wrong with her leg in an emergency. There have been a few times we’ve had to zip tie her leg because a screw fell out of it! We also make sure to pack her cream for her leg, bandaids, and an Ace wrap for swelling.
- Ease up on expectations. We’ve gotten very good at rolling with the punches and not putting too much pressure on ourselves while traveling. We figure it out as we go and some of our best memories from trips are the quiet times together as a family. Life is an adventure and it shouldn’t stop when a challenge arises! Give yourself some grace, rest when you need to, and go make some amazing memories!