Chapter Four – The Mall
We drove to the local mall and headed in. I was still very nervous and self conscious.
“Tami, just try to forget you are wearing hooks. Be as natural as you can. Use your arms as you normally would. You can point to things and don’t be afraid to pick things up with your hooks. You are good enough opening and closing your hooks now that you will be surprised what you can do,” Nancy said. I wasn’t convinced.
We entered the mall and once again I felt the stares. To break the ice we went into the lingerie department of a major mall chain and looked at some bras. I even gained enough courage to pick one off the rack with my hook and hold it up.
“Good girl,” Nancy said. “See, just act natural. Do things just like you normally would.”
I didn’t feel natural at all. I felt like every eye was on me. I tried to forget I didn’t have hands, but my hooks were so obvious to me. It was impossible to ignore them. Everything I did was different if it involved holding things. We roamed around and Nancy continued to make me use my hooks.
A little later we went into the handbag section and Nancy found me a nice purse with a short handle strap. I was unable to manage my shoulder bag and Nancy felt a purse would allow me to easily carry my makeup, comb, money and a few of the usual feminine things we girls carried around. I could just hold it with my hook or slip it over my arm. We also stopped off and bought a snap fastener kit and some Velcro strips to be sewn on some of my clothing. I quickly realized that buttons were completely out. I knew that it was possible to fasten buttons with a special adaptive aid, but that it was just too time consuming. We even stopped for a Coke in the food court. By now I was much more at ease and the stares weren’t bothering me as much as they were when we entered.
Nancy bought the drinks and carried the tray to the table. She inserted a straw in my drink for me. We chatted and since I didn’t need to use my hooks I felt a little more at ease.
“You’re doing great Tami. You are starting to look like you have been using your hooks for a long time. The more natural you are the less attention you will draw.”
After we finished our drinks we went to the ladies room. This time I was able to get my panties down by myself. Nancy still had to help me get them back up though. The only embarrassing thing was when Nancy was combing my hair and touching up my makeup at the mirror. I overheard a pair of young girls chatting about me.
“God Jen, can you imagine having hooks for hands. She can’t even comb her hair or do her makeup without help. That must be humiliating. She probably can’t eat by herself either. I bet someone has to feed her. I would die before I had to live with hooks like that. I wonder how long her arms are.”
“Probably just little stumps below her shoulders,” the girl’s friend said. “It must be horrible to have no arms. I can’t imagine what it must be like.”
I vowed then that the first things I would learn to do were to comb my hair and touch up my makeup. I knew I could eat if I tried very hard. I was now determined to show people that I could do normal things with my hooks and I wasn’t handicapped. I wanted to be fully functional.
We arrived back at my apartment late in the afternoon. By then I wanted so much to get out of my hooks. I was starting to go a little nuts. I just about couldn’t stand it, but I realized a real arm amputee would have no choice either.
Nancy and I just relaxed and watched TV for the evening and had a few glasses of wine. I could hold the glass pretty well since it had a stem I could grasp with my hook. Nancy had to get the cork out of course. I figured I would never be able to do things like that. Eventually it was time for bed. Nancy helped me out of my sweater, removed my skirt, pantyhose and panties. She helped me slip out of my prosthesis but would not let me use my hands at all. She then got a short nightie out of my dresser. After she removed my bra she slipped the nightie over my shoulders and then had me slip my hooks back on.
“Now Tami, I am not putting panties on you tonight to make it a lot easier for you to pee. You can slip out of your hooks whenever you want. Use your mouth to pull the stump socks off. Don’t cheat and use your hands unless you ball up your hands and use them like stumps. If you need to go to the bathroom at night don’t use your hands the normal way. You don’t have panties on and your nightie is short so you can just sit on the toilet and relieve yourself. I will be back in the morning around the time you get up to help you bathe, dress, and get back into your hooks for another day.”
Nancy said goodnight and left the apartment. There I was wearing my hooks all alone. I felt more helpless than I had all day now that Nancy was gone. An hour later I slipped out of my hooks and got into bed. I knew tomorrow would be another challenge. I fell sound asleep very quickly. I dreamed that I was a real amputee with only small stumps below my shoulders and that I was perfectly comfortable using my hooks. In my dream my lover appeared to enjoy the fact that I was armless and had prosthetic hooks. I very bizarre dream.