For millions of people, these are very challenging times. It's not easy to have your ability to earn a living restricted. To have your activity curtailed. To be cut off and isolated from friends, family and others. Suddenly, for millions of people around the world, life is defined by what they can't do.
Amputees already deal with these issues every single day. Amputees already know all too well the challenges of moving about, working, staying connected. Amputees already understand what it means to think about how you're going to do something as simple as running to the grocery store before you do it.
Interesting times, indeed. The playing field, it seems, has been leveled a little. The shoe, it would appear, is on the only foot.
What does it mean?
Well, here are two of my hopes for what it means, and challenges to go along with them:
This can be amputees' hour to shine. The world can learn a lot from amputees right now. The strength, adaptability and resourcefulness that amputees need daily can be examples for our able-bodied friends and neighbors. How can we put those strengths to use to help our social circles adapt to their new normal right now?
Amputees can help build the new world. The changes we are living through right now are not going away any time soon. And the world may be fundamentally changed as a result. Work, education, retail, daily living -- almost no area of life will be untouched by change. And because amputees already know what it's like to live in a world where necessity is the mother of invention, their voices can help guide what some of those changes should be. What changes can you envision for the future that would make our current world more livable for the able-bodied and mobility-challenged alike?
Over my many years as a prosthetist, I have learned so much about living with limitations from my amputee patients. I have learned how limitations do not have to mean sacrificing quality of life. I have learned how little adaptations can make big differences. I have learned to look for the opportunity in the challenge and use it to shape new approaches that make life more livable.
The world, it seems, now needs those lessons as well. Let's help teach them.