Tuesday, November 9, 2010 arrived with a clear early morning that promised to become a chilly, sunny, and typically autumn day. I zipped my coat, buckled my helmet strap, unlocked my bike, and headed off to work. A few minutes later, a garbage truck crossed a bike lane to make a right turn. I was in that bike lane. The tires of the truck crushed my left leg and caused other internal injuries. An amazing team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my leg to do so.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Confucius.

In July 2011, I set off to walk a thousand miles as an above-knee amputee in my new prosthesis. The journey has held more twists, turns, and detours than I ever imagined.

I reached Mile 1000 on March 30, 2013.

But of course, that wasn't the end.

I'll keep walking!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

BELIEVE

Mile Marker 242:

This time last year, Center City was a swirling snow globe.

Through my window at the rehab hospital, I watched commuters and shoppers wading carefully over the ice, huddled deep into their wool scarves, their mittens clutching steaming cups of coffee.  At night, streetlamps ignited the snowflakes into a yellow mist. 

I spent that week learning to drive.

A wheelchair, I mean.

Even 20 degrees is
invigorating when you've
got your own wheels!
I was not the greatest driver.  I rubbed walls and bumped table legs.  I apologized to hallway pedestrians, joking that I’d just received my learner’s permit.

But my wheelchair’s green tag granted me access to the entire hospital.  So my arms propelled those wheels frantically!  My first taste of independence in almost two months!
  
One year ago, a visit from
my favorite Skatin' Santas

Through the year, I became reacquainted with other modes of travel.  Using crutches, driving my car, getting back on my skates and bike, and of course, WALKING.

One skill led to another.

It's no coincidence that the motto of my rehab hospital is BELIEVE.

After all, BELIEVING transported me to Delaware last weekend to see my good friend Bosco.  Even with all my progress this year, driving that 35 mile trip seemed daunting.  

Last year at this time, the thought of going anywhere – even climbing into my parents’ car -- sent me into a full-blown panic.  Exposing myself to the dangerous, precarious world outside the hospital was too much to bear.

Yet, there we were.  Walking the streets of Trolley Square.  Dining at our favorite pub.  I'd made it to Wilmington!




How can you NOT
believe when your gym's
decorated like this??
Then, at the rehab gym on Friday morning, I put in a mile on the treadmill --my longest distance yet.  Sure, I had to BELIEVE for 26 minutes straight, but it was worth it!


BELIEVING also took me to an annual Hanukkah party with caring families from school.

Last December, that party was just a photo.  It hung on the wall of my hospital room for weeks.  Returning to that warm holiday tradition seemed miles away.  (Turns out, it was!)

And yesterday, my brother Mark and his trusty dog Jack joined me for a brisk walk around South Philly.  As the sun set on Christmas Eve, we passed dolled-up families loading their cars with red and green gifts.

We strayed blocks from my house.  The cement sidewalk sent reverberations through my socket. 

But, BELIEVE!  I thought. 

Cold hands in my pockets, I wished the neighbors “Merry Christmas” and kept walking.

And behold, Termini’s Bakery was still open at 5 p.m!  We basked in the light of those dancing cannolis.  
Then we turned around to walk 3/4 mile back home!


This week, I also received a long, skinny box in the mail.  Inside was a Snow Broom, a curious tool with a 5-foot handle and a huge Styrofoam blade. 

The card read:  Ideally, it won’t snow.  But just in case....
 
It was signed by my tiny niece, Riley.  At age 21 months, it seemed she'd miraculously gotten hold of her parents'  Visa card :)

BELIEVE, I wanted to tell them!

They know I'm wishing against snowdays this year.  As a teacher, it contradicts my instincts.  I am choosing to believe in a WINTER WITHOUT SNOW.

Of course, Riley is wise beyond her years.  
And also from Vermont.


We all know the chance of a snow-free winter in Philly is slim.   But whether a belief is true or false doesn't really matter.  As long as it gets you through to the NEXT STEP. 

And if that next step just happens to be icy.... Well, luckily I've got a Snow Broom to pave the way!

Wishing everyone a year of JOY, LOVE, and PEACE!  BELIEVE!

3 comments:

  1. From the The Monkees, "...Now I'm a Believer!!"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Now that I have figured out how to comment...let the record reflect that the cohort of caring families from school is so large there is no way we could have included them all. :)

    ReplyDelete