The person I decided to interview was my husband’s cousin, Kimberley De La Rosa. Kimberley had the lower part of her right leg amputated about 1 year ago on March 25, 2017 that was caused by a spider bite. She was helping her family pick tomatoes during the spring time since her family has a love for farming but did not realize that she was bitten by something a couple days later. She ended up going to the emergency room about a week after the day she was bitten and was told that she was bitten by a black widow spider and the poison had reached her central nerve that runs to the foot and that made her lose the function of her right foot. She tried physical therapy and surgeries to help salvage her foot but there was severe irreplaceable damage that was done. She then elected to get her foot amputated since it seems that it was the best option for her to be able to have a similar life to the one she had before this incident.
Kimberley states that her first thought was that she just couldn’t believe what had happened to her. She admitted that she cried for most of the beginning of getting her options lined up because she would have to change her life for the better. She did state being upset with her parents for a while since if she did not go into the field then shed might not have been in this situation in the first place. She claims to have not a lot of time to think about her amputation but put it in her mind that she had to do this and look at the positive even with all the negative emotions she kept feeling. She also claims that her parents felt guilty for what happened because they made her get into the field and help pick tomatoes but that she forgave them, and, in a way, it has brought her and her family closer. She states that her family is supportive and even though it was a bit unsettling trying to get accustomed to not having her foot that they tried their best to adjust to what she needed.
Kimberley mentioned that her father had her under his insurance policy and she was able to get all her medical cost paid for by their insurance and also got rehabilitation services for her recovery. Kimberley also stated that her experience with the health care professional team that she was given was caring and helped her through the whole process of accepting and understanding her disability. She said that she did go get doctor check-ups, rehab, medical exercise therapy and occupational therapy. Kimberley noticed how the doctors made sure she understood everything she was going to endure and what to expect afterwards and that it really helped her set her mind. She also stated that her rehabilitation team helped with talking about her feelings and being open and helping her adjust. She claimed that some of her coping methods that were helpful were managing her pain and when dealing with frustration she would try counting exercises and trying to take a short break but continue. She also claimed to have joined a support group online for people with disabilities and that it made her feel fit in and was able to express herself without being judged. She claimed that with the extra services provided and also with her family’s support, it gave her the necessary mind set she needed to bounce out of her grief. She also claimed that there were no legal issues that arised from her disability in regard to her family or with health care professionals.
Kimberley claims that one of the hardest things she has had to face was when she went out to public places and people just stare at her. She claimed that she already felt conscious about herself since she did have body issues with herself before the incident but afterwards she felt as if she was like a moving attraction. She feels that even to this day she still gets stared at mostly by little kids and she knows that it is something people just do since they do not know but that maybe there should be more awareness for people with disabilities.
Kimberley states that apart from the staring that the barriers that are difficult for her are mostly physical and it does get challenging when she goes to places that are not handicap friendly. She says the hardest obstacles are going up stairs when elevators or ramps are not available for her. She claims that she is always finding new ways to improve herself in making walking and other things easier but that she just takes it one step at a time.
Kimberley claims that the best advice that she could give to others that are placed in the same position as herself is to take things day by day, if help is offered then to take it, and to not let a disability take over your whole life. She says that she never would have expected to be handicapped but that it has essentially enriched her life for the better. She has gotten closer with her family and found out more about what her strengths are as a person and figured out who she is as a person.
When I asked Kimberley to do the interview, I was nervous and shy and did not want to do it because it felt as if I was invading her privacy and maybe she didn’t want to tell me something so personal. To my surprise she said yes and was open about her experience and gave great incite on how it is being a patient with disabilities. I felt that the interview was an eye-opening experience in how we as a society should view people with disabilities. I have seen videos of people explaining their experiences but to be the one asking such personal questions and finding out what people experience, and their feelings is different. I got to be the person who not ended up feeling sorry for them but am got the privilege to say her side of the story. I got a different perspective as to what people stereotypically think of people with disabilities and I did not feel inspired by my interviewee, but I felt a type of gratitude towards her for being able to overcome her disability and regain who she truly is which is a confident and wonderful person. I liked how we were assigned to do this project because I know in my field of work I will encounter people like my interviewee and others and feel that I will have a more professional connection with them and be able to do my job to the best of my ability without having a clue to how to act or in asking questions.
- Hello, my name is Daisy Alvarado and I am going to be interviewing today September 23, 2018.
- Can I please have your name and what disability you have?
- Can I ask when and how you got your disability?
- What was your first thought when you realized you had lost a leg?
- How did your family react after your amputation?
- Did you have health insurance at the moment?
- What were your personal beliefs, attitude, or values when working with doctors in regard to your disability?
- What resourced helped with you with your disability?
- Did you have any coping methods that helped you accept your disability?
- Were there any therapy methods or techniques used by the health care professionals for you?
- Were there any legal issues that concerned you or your family while living together?
- Have you encountered different perspectives from people that you encounter?
- Are there barriers that you have to encounter with the current disability you have?
- Do you have any suggestions or tips for people who end up going through something like yourself?
- Was there also anything ‘positive’ in the accident for you?