"You've been busy."
That's what my surgeons said when they walked into my hospital room the day my mom hung the article on the wall.
It was a travel story I had submitted to the Philadelphia Inquirer two months before, documenting a home exchange I'd done in France. The article was accepted in October and published in the Sunday newspaper on December 5.
In between those dates... well, everything changed.
When the article came out, I was proud of it. It was my first published piece. But it came with a sense of loss too. That was me, BEFORE. It seemed like a lifetime ago. When my mom taped the newspaper clipping to my wall, I felt so different from that person and so far from that place. I couldn't imagine ever going back. It hurt.
I've talked about France before, but you might not know this: at the time of the accident, in November 2010, I had another trip planned -- to return to Provence to visit the family I'd exchanged homes with. I was to leave the day before Thanksgiving, and return the Sunday after.
So in those early days as I lay in critical care, my sister scrambled to locate the family on Facebook and somehow communicate -- with her nonexistent French skills -- that we needed to cancel the trip. Meanwhile, my dad argued with the airline to credit the flight. I wasn't going anywhere anytime soon, except maybe to the OR.
Throughout my recovery, France continued to be my "happy place." I sat outside to drink coffee and dreamed of the little town of Draguignan. I bought a French cookbook and made Cheating-on-Winter Pea Soup. I pratiqué mon francais with my friend Cécile. I talked about going back. I even got my passport renewed.
But underlying all that joy was something else. What if it's hard? I thought. What if it doesn't feel the same??
Every time I considered taking the leap, the sorrow broke through.
It's taken me more than 6 years to accept that. It will be hard. It won't feel exactly the same. As I round the corner toward Mile 5,000, I'm ok with those answers. Finally, I can say...
That's life. C'est la vie.
|That's almost like|
bringing my docs along!
I've bought new shoes and practiced walking in them. I've found yoga pants wide enough to access my socket. I've sought out travel advice from amputee friends. Leave the leg on? Take it off? And then the clincher: What if I can't get it back on again??
There are a lot of unknowns. But then again, they're always going to be there.
|Here at home...|
|...or wherever I go!|
Might as well take off into that vast expanse of blue sky!