Chapter Seven – Tami Gets Her Driving Ring

 

            The next morning I awoke wearing my new stumps. I knew I would be fairly helpless until Nancy arrived so she could remove my stumps and let me put on my hooks. I knew she would want me to try bathing with my stumps.

            Nancy arrived and just as I suspected she wanted me to do as much as I could with my stumps. She instructed me in how to bathe, using a washcloth and liquid soap. She even wanted me to try shaving my legs by holding the razor between my stumps. I could do a little, but found it hard to hold the razor with my stumps. I couldn’t reach some parts of my legs. I did the best as I could. I knew that I could do better if I was wearing my hooks or I had more practice.

            After bathing Nancy removed my stumps and had me put on my stump socks with me teeth. She then let me slip into my hooks. I was totally naked. She had me select a bra and hook it around my waist using my hooks. She then had me slip out of my hooks and put my curled up hands through the straps and slowly work the straps up using my curled up hands. It was as close as we could simulate without getting back into my stumps. Once my bra was on she had me dress completely using my hooks. I had to really struggle to get on a long sleeve top. My pants were easier. They had an elastic waist band so it was fairly easy to pull them up. I repeated my routine of combing my hair and putting on my makeup. I was getting better every day. She didn’t forget to attach the chain around my neck so that I couldn’t remove my hooks. She even made me put on my earrings. I selected a pair with ear wires. These were the only kind I could manage.

            “First thing today we get you a driving ring so you can be independent. I am not going to spend all day every day with you,” Nancy explained.

            I knew I would have to become more independent if I was to start to lead a more normal life wearing my hooks. Driving was really essential to my independence.

            Nancy drove my car to a dealer who provided aids to the handicapped. They sold hand controls, vans etc. We went in and there was a girl in her late twenties behind the desk. I noticed right away that she was in a wheelchair. It wasn’t until she wheeled herself from behind her desk that I noticed she had no legs. Both legs had been amputated well above her knees. She was wearing jeans and the legs had been cut off and sewn shut to perfectly fit her two stumps. I wondered how long she had been that way.

            “Hi, I’m Karen,” she said. “How can I help you?”

            “Tami here needs an amputee driving ring installed on her car,” Nancy said.

            “I thought so,” Karen said. “We can certainly help. We don’t get too many arm amputees, especially a bilateral, but we can certainly equip your car. Driving is pretty easy I am told. Of course I use hand controls. Let me get the mechanic.” She wheeled off to the shop. A few minutes later he came out with the driving ring. We waited while the mechanic installed the ring. He then offered to give me a short lesson. I got behind the wheel and was very nervous.

            “The thing you need to remember is that you must always pull a little on the ring with your hook. You can guide the wheel with your other hook. Other than that it is not too hard to drive. You will have to work with your hooks to get the key in the ignition and to start the car. You can push the button on the shift knob with one hook while you use your other to move it,” he explained.

            I did as he said and slowly backed out of the spot. We drove around the parking lot a few times and then headed out on the road. I was a little clumsy at first, but quickly got the knack of it.  I practiced until he felt I would be able to drive by myself. I then drove back into the lot. We thanked him and paid Karen. We returned to the car and Nancy insisted that I drive. I was still quite nervous, but felt more confident as we proceeded.

            We stopped for a bite to eat, this time at a McDonalds. Nancy wanted me to order my own food, pay for it, and carry my tray to the table. I actually managed to do this without dumping the whole thing. I ate with my hooks and the knife and fork I carried in my purse. The flimsy plastic utensils they proved would not have worked. They were too small for use with my hooks and not strong enough. We finished up and headed back to the car.

            “Why don’t you drop me off and go shopping by yourself,” Nancy said

            “God, I don’t know,” I said. “Do you think I can?”

            “Sure. You are good enough. Have fun and I will see you tonight.”

            “Well actually I just realized that there is a problem. My boyfriend is coming over. He doesn’t know about my hooks,” I explained.

            “Well surprise him,” Nancy suggested.

            “We usually go out to dinner.”

            “So go out to dinner. I will be over before bedtime,” Nancy said.

            “You really think so?”

            “Sure. Just try to forget about your handicap and you will be all right. Your boyfriend will be able to help you if necessary,” Nancy reassured me.

            I dropped Nancy off and drove to the mall. I got more and more confident as I drove. I was really doing this myself. I was on my own out in public. I was a little worried that I would encounter something I couldn’t handle, but I was wiling to get help if I needed it. I parked the car, managed to get the keys out, and lock it by using the button on the door. I didn’t need to use the key. I also had a key farb with a button to unlock the door so I figured I would not get locked out.

            I walked into the mall and was once again quite self conscious. The feeling passed as I started to shop the way I normally would. I needed a couple of new bras and panties and so my first stop was lingerie.  I knew the bra and panties I wanted and so I didn’t need to try them on. I knew I couldn’t try the bra on anyway. I carried the bras and panties up to the counter and put them down. Could I do this myself? The sales girl immediately noticed my two hooks. I carefully got my wallet out of my purse.

            “Can I help you,” she asked.

            “Let me see if I can do this myself. I need the practice,” I replied.

            “So you haven’t had those for long I gather?” she asked referring to my two hooks.

            “No, I lost my arms only recently,” I said.

            “I am so sorry. Just let me know if I can help. I imagine it’s not that easy with those things.”

            “Not as hard as you think,” I replied as I got my money out.

            She helped me by putting the change into my wallet for me. I didn’t object. I then put my wallet back into my purse. She handed me the bag and I held it with one of my hooks through the cutouts in the plastic.

            “You did that like you have been doing it a long time,” the sales clerk said.

            “Thanks. That makes me more confident.”

            “Well anyway, enjoy your bras and panties and come back soon.”

            “Thanks,” I said as a started to leave.

            I felt pretty good that I actually purchased something entirely on my own. Was I confident enough to get something to drink? Well I figured I should try. I headed for the food court and walked up to a concession and ordered a Coke. I had the clerk put a straw in the cup and place it on a tray. I carefully managed to carry the tray with my purse looped over my arm as well as the bag with my bras and panties. I sat down and drank my Coke. I didn’t think that too many people were staring at me, but I knew some might be behind my back. I was pretty confident by now and actually quite proud of how I was doing. I just tried to relax as any woman out shopping would. After I finished I gathered my things together and carried the tray to the trash bin. That was easy I thought.

            I roamed around for another hour looking over some clothing, but I didn’t make another purchase. I headed back to my car to drive home. I had no trouble getting the door open. I tossed the bag with my bras and panties on the seat. Getting the key in was another story. I struggled with that for a good five minutes. I had to rotate and tilt my hook into the right position. Finally I did it and drove out of the lot. I got home a little while later and carried my new bras and panties in with me. I collapsed on the couch and turned on the TV. I knew my boyfriend was coming in an hour or so and I had no idea what I would tell him. This was going to be very interesting. Of course I couldn’t get out of my hooks until Nancy came over later that night. I really didn’t mind. I was getting more and more used to wearing my hooks all day long. They were starting to feel natural. This was certainly not something I expected.

 

Chapter Eight