Amputee Rule #1: What goes down, must somehow get back up. This is a lot easier to do if you're smiling.
I propped myself into a half-kneel and then onto my feet.
When I reached the glass doors of the school, I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Possibly my first breath of the entire trip.
But as the miles roll by, more often I think it's the smaller ones that keep me going.
At Mile Marker 949, I go to a doctor's appointment, then to the rehab gym, and then to Whole Foods to buy groceries. Yes, without stopping. All in one day. It may not sound like much, but it feels like a triathlon.
|With Maeve, Mia, and Diane!|
There are so many steps in a mile, so many moments in a day. It's the proud ones that hold them all together.
For me, they're often the least dramatic. Getting out early in the morning. Carrying groceries -- or coffee. Leaving my car behind. Persevering through an "uncomfortable" day.
When I take one step after the other, I do stumble sometimes. It's true. But the proudest moments remind me that life goes on.
At the tail end of these miles, I return to the inpatient rehab hospital where I'm now a volunteer. I'm still limping around on my new socket, but there's something here I have to see.
I take the elevator to the 6th floor, and tiptoe into the back of the conference room. It's packed with wheelchairs and spectators. Patients, doctors, nurses, and therapists. Families and friends. It's standing room only.
Up front on a makeshift stage, against a wall of windows facing the city skyline, sits former patient and fellow amputee Virgil. With his band The Elgins, he's rocking out Motown Style!
I met Virgil last November when he was a brand new amputee. Back then, his leg was so painful it often made him physically sick. Maybe it still does.
But today, Virgil sings soulfully into the microphone. His broad shoulders sway to the beat. His eyes close as his voice rises to the final number, What a Wonderful World.
When the song ends, the room erupts into applause. Although half the audience is in wheelchairs, there's no mistaking it. This is a STANDING OVATION.
Afterward, I talk with Virgil. Still in his wheelchair, he's not yet officially back on his feet. He'll be fitted for his first prosthesis in the weeks ahead.
You might say he has many miles to go.
|Virgil and Agnes --|
2 proud graduates!
Check out the Elgins -- click here.