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!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Take Two

Mile Marker 335:

If you think back on your life, you can probably come up with at least one "do over" moment.  One event or conversation you'd re-live if given the chance.  A minute or two you'd like to replay just a little bit differently, a little better than you did the first time.  

My guess is that LEARNING TO WALK doesn’t rank real high on that list.

Why not?  We all know your first steps were sloppy.  You wobbled across the room unsteadily.  You toppled onto your butt before your mom even had time to grab a camera.

But the thing is, you don't REMEMBER it.

I don't remember my first steps either.  But I'm fairly certain that when I toddled into the walking world, my mom wasn't giving pointers like, “Take a bigger step with your right foot.”  And I'd bet all the stock in Apple that -- in September 1970 -- my dad was not capturing the proud moment on his iPhone!


But none of us will forget TAKE TWO. 

One year ago today, on February 11, 2011, I re-took those first steps at Prosthetic Innovations.

And this time, I remember every detail.   Nervously letting go of the parallel bars.  Jerking my little left leg through each step.  Tripping over that C-Leg like it was stuck in the mud.

video


It was a momentous Friday, indeed.  Nestled inside a dark winter of ER trips and hospital stays, it was the one shining star.  The one we all hoped would guide me into a brighter future.

But like the first time, this moment took us by surprise.  Mom was at work.  Dad was out running an errand.  He returned half-way through my first lap.

Luckily, prosthetist Tim knew what to expect.  He had everything under control -- teaching me how to walk and shooting cell phone video at the same time!

That night, my family and I sat around the kitchen table.  We enlarged the video till its grainy picture filled up my laptop screen.  We played it over and over again until we'd memorized every chuckle, every breath, every helpful tip from Tim.  I posted it to Facebook.  Then I watched it some more.  And when all was said and done, we agreed:  It was the BEST DAY in a very long time!


Now a year has passed.  Yesterday at PI, I took my newest test socket for a spin.  So far, so good.

I also caught up with buds (and fellow clients) Brian and Zach, whom I hadn’t seen for a long while.

But there was another celebration going on -- one even bigger and better.  I mean "FIRST STEPS" better!

I met Bob.

Yesterday, four months after his traumatic accident on October 10, 2011, Bob re-took his first steps.

Bob is a bilateral amputee -- one above-knee, one below.  For every one of my steps, Bob TAKES TWO.

I watched as Bob took his first stroll outside the parallel bars.  I saw him figuring out how to place each foot against the ground.  Those sweaty palms, those uneven steps.  That hard-to-control knee.  I remembered all of it!

By the second lap, I was practically bouncing out of my seat with excitement.  

Maybe you’ve heard of a “guest blogger?”  

I couldn't help myself.  Right then and there, I handed over my pedometer.

I'm honored to introduce this blog's first "GUEST WALKER"...  Bob!
  
video

Did you applaud??  I did.

With those steps, we passed Mile Marker 335.2.
One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind?

Nope.

If you ask Brian or Zach, or anyone from PI, they will tell you that every step is a BIG one!

HAPPY WALKING DAY, BOB!
Welcome (back) to the club!

The journey of a thousand miles begins with…. Wait!  You’ve already begun.

9 comments:

  1. Hi Rebecca!

    What an awesome post! You have come so far in only a year, and I'm sure for patients like Bob, seeing you strive to walk 1,000 miles is such an inspiration! I can definitely relate to the experience of having 'second' first steps! Three months after my accident, I took my 'first' steps while clumsily pushing a walker through my kitchen, with both my parents bawling, of course. We are lucky that this time we'll both remember them and have fabulous Apple products to record them on :)
    Keep up the great work!

    Michelle

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  2. Wow! Can't wait to see where you and Bob are next Feb 11th. Keep up the good work! And, I remember crying while watching the video of you taking your "first steps" last year.

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  3. Like Marla, I remember watching your video last Feb 11, and just gasping and putting my hand to my heart and smiling ear to ear .... and I know Bob must be gaining strength and courage from your energy. You both are ROCKSTARS! (And yes, I did cheer at Bob's video....in fact, the silence in my apartment was broken by a rather loud "woo hoo!" from me. :o)

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  4. Hi Rebecca!

    I'm a new member of your fan club...bob's sister karen. you have made this day more than memorable as i watched the video along with my sister kathy while she was on the phone in virginia and me in pa. we sat in awe, yes, crying, gasping for air, as we watched bob take his first of many glorious steps back to his independent life. i'm so glad you were with him to share your victories and then allow us to be a part of it through your video. we are truly grateful to now be part of your club. wishing you continued success on your journey, look forward to meeting you. karen

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  5. Rebecca, thank you so much for posting this video! Bob is my brother and I live in Virginia Beach so you have given me and my family something great, since I could not be there for the first steps. As I sit here crying with happiness watching this great milestone, I think of all of the challenges that are ahead, but by no means, insurmountable. You and Bob give us people to look up to and you will have us cheering for every single step you both take. Thanks again, Kathy

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  6. Sometimes, in the thick of the moment - the grind of the push for each foot, yard, or mile - it is hard to appreciate progress. But looking back at milestones passed and achievements earned gives us the perspective to perceive the change. I too remember watching the video you sent me and it was AMAZING. But looking backwards, I'm even more amazed by how far you have come since - walking up, down, around, and yes, even over, obstacles in your path. What we saw then as a miraculous accomplishment, was in reality only an opening chapter. You have taken us, your friends, fans, and family, from quietly wondering "if" to ourselves, to now anxiously anticipating "when" and "what" your next big achievement will be. Hoping Bob and his family feel the same way this time next year. Keep achieving, keep inspiring, and definitely keep walking.

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  7. I can only echo Mark's comments: Keep achieving, keep inspiring, keep walking, keep skating, keep riding and definitely keep going to brunch at Little Pete's.

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  8. Hola Rebecca! Congrats on your journey! Wow...how God works in mysterious ways and placed you in the right place at the right time to be able to capture Bob's first steps. Can't tell you how overjoyed we are to be able to witness this. Bob's courage and streghnth has been inspiring. What a blessing to be able to watch....GRACIAS REBECCA!

    GO BOB!!

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