Ack, haven’t updated in nearly a week :P

Hmmm, it’s been a busy week or so, haven’t had a chance to write another post since the last one – but don’t fear, there’s plenty on the way, including a full review of Wii Fit, but from an amputee’s perspective! It’ll include plenty of pics as well, most of which see me looking really stupid, and thus, funny πŸ™‚ I’ve also got to catch up on some of my regular blogs, and I’ll probably post some other random stuff to share too. Stay tuned!


Airport security and your prosthesis – always an adventure!

One of the amusing/frustrating (but moreso amusing, you have to find things in life amusing, helps keep you sane) parts of being an amputee is dealing with airport security. Now, this wasn’t too bad pre 9/11, but since then when global airport security ramped up, things have gotten… interesting πŸ™‚

Obviously, being an amputee, it’s generally very likely that you have a cocktail of titanium, metal plates, springs, carbon fiber, and so forth, complementing your stump. Most of these things, obviously, are metallic and set off metal detectors. Thus, whenever travelling via an airport (or just seeing people off and having to go through the security checks), you’ll set off the metal detectors. Every time.

Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about making this easier for you and the security guards:

Step 1, let them know in advance you’ll set it off as you are an amputee (normally when handing over stuff to go in the x-ray machine or to the attendant standing next to the metal detectors). Providing they have a grasp of your native tongue (or you a basic grasp of theirs), you’ve at least pre-warned them to make the process a bit easier.

Step 2, as soon as you go through the gates and set it off, let the guards know and cooperate in a friendly manner. At the end of the the day, they’re just doing their jobs, and it’s nothing personal. It also means you’re less likely to antagonise them πŸ˜‰

Step 3, let them do the pat-down, and if they ask you to take your shoes off, ask politely for a chair, and generally all should be fine. I’ve never been asked to remove the leg for inspection, so I don’t have any advice there. I certainly wouldn’t want to though, I reckon that’s taking it a bit too far; but hey, that’s just me.

All through this, it of course helps if you have a partner/parent/friend to grab your gear that has gone through the x-ray machine so it doesn’t get pinched whilst you’re complying with security.

Oh, and remember to factor in that you’ll need extra time to go through security – in Australia, 5-10 minutes is more than ample, and I imagine something similar would apply overseas depending on the level of anal retentivity (I’ve heard from people travelling to the US that security is more thorough there for example, so just keep it in mind that I’m writing with a decidedly Australian perspective!).

Now, all this being said, I do have a few experiences to share!

I’ve travelled between the main airports in Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne in Australia:

  • Brisbane is a bit on the shonky side, but wasn’t too bad – staff were a bit weirded out, but reasonably polite (they gave me a chair when they asked for my shoes, though some of the staff on the day were a bit rude; the guy called over for the final security check was cool though, very relaxed and chirpy, so gold star for him)
  • Adelaide’s generally very good (since the upgrade a few years ago anyway)
  • Sydney is the most thorough, and we’ve had some issues in the past with language issues and staff not understanding my condition
  • Melbourne is average — we had a really delayed flight that day so we were probably a bit grumpy, but I can’t remember any issues

Haven’t travelled anywhere else in Aus in a while via plane, so I don’t have any extra nuggets of info to share. Wifey and I holidayed in NZ a few years ago, and we found the security staff there very relaxed and easy to deal with, so big thanks to NZ for making it an extremely smooth ride, both in the international and domestic terminals.

We’re keen to travel to Japan some time next year, and I’m paranoid that there will be problems when we head home and having to get through security, since my Japanese is a bit on the shonky side by default πŸ˜› Still, we’ll see how we go!

Oh, and the other point to consider when travelling is whether or not you’re taking a walking stick – I generally do to make getting around on foot easier (Wifey and I tend to do a lot of walking around when we go away, [a] because we don’t hire a car, and [b] you get to see more of the place your visiting), but that’s only been in recent years. When travelling domestically I don’t think there’s any problem with what type of walking stick you take (mine’s a cool old wooden cane that was my Great-Grandfather’s), but internationally you’ll need to watch out depending on quarantine rules. Whenever Wifey and I have the opportunity to do some international travel again, I think I’ll go and grab a metal walking stick to make the transition through security/quarantine easier.

So yeah, there’s some travel tips for amputees out there – granted, it’s focused primarily on travelling in Australia, but hopefully it’ll help somewhat πŸ™‚ If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment!


Amputee missing foot, but she still has her junior black belt (

Stumbled on this one via the Prosthetic Center of Excellence News blog – the Sun Journal has an awesome story on a young below-knee amputee’s push to learn karate and earn her junior black belt!

Now this is the kind of thing I love to read about – like the girl in the story, Jaedyn, I lost my leg when I was really young as well (click here if you want to have a read of my story), but I always wanted to learn martial arts, and I always had the support of my family and instructors in doing so. I tip my hat to her parents for encouraging and supporting her in this, I’d like to pass along a big thank you to her instructor for doing such a wonderful job, and a big high-five to Jaedyn for earning her junior black belt. This is such an awesome thing to share, and I wish her the best of luck on her journey.

For those interested, please visit the site and have a read. The direct link to the story is here.


New link – Prosthetic Center of Excellence

Just a quick post – added a link to a blog on Blogspot for the Prosthetic Center of Excellence. The blog’s a run-down of stories posted by other news sources and looks like its repeated verbatim, so could be a great way to keep up with what’s happening at least in the US on issues to do with amputees.


Wobbly leg

Nearly two weeks back Black Belt Mama wrote a post on the wonderful wonderfulment (yes, you read that correctly :P) that she terms Gym-Legs. While I can’t profess to the plural, I can confidently say I have the case of the wobblies with my right leg. I spent the Saturday and Sunday afternoons just gone squatting, sitting or standing behind my latest toy:

Sega Astro City

Yes, that’s a Sega Astro City. It barely fit through the door, the chassis (the boards the power the tube monitor) blew 4 days after first receiving it, and even after installing a refurbished chassis on the weekend and accidentally blowing that up (note to my fellow nerds – don’t forget to connect that earth cable on your video chassis!!!), I still love it. I think Wifey will come to love it too once I’ve stopped nerding around on it and we can play some old school scrolling fighting games or Moon Patrol together, but we’ll see how that goes.

Anywho, Saturday and Sunday arvo were spent wiring up, testing, and disassembling the chassis, throwing in some extra wiring on the JAMMA adapter for MVS stuff, and swearing profusely at it. This involved all manner of sitting/standing/squatting/storming-off-in-a-huff, and my right leg is well and truly telling me off now.

So this one’s to BBM – I’m totally feeling your pain right now!

What’s making it doubly interesting is that I’m hammering through my second cold in a row, which means my asthma’s flaring up and doing a good leg workout to iron out the kinks is out of the question. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a solution!

Once again, karate comes in to save the day – I spent about 20 minutes this evening going through all my leg stretches I normally do in class, and then did a couple of dynamic leg lifts afterwards. The end result certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s a damn sight better than before!

So there you are – if you’ve done yourself a nerd injury from tinkering with stuff, karate training can help you get back on your feet. Or in my case, foot πŸ™‚ I’ll hopefully be ready to roll into a good weight training session tomorrow after work, complete with my usual stretches and exercises in prep for next week’s class.


Companion blogs


June 2009