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, January 14, 2017

On A Good Leg Day

Mile Marker 4709:

On a good leg day, I walk through a metal detector at the Flyers Game.

It beeps, of course.  Dad glances at me; I glance at him.  No one else around seems to notice.  We keep going, and no one stops us.

We show our tickets to the next attendant, step onto an escalator, and finally ascend a flight of stairs.  I suspect there's an elevator nearby, but today it doesn't matter.

It's a good leg day.

For those of you who aren't ruled by the comfort of your extremities, let me clarify.  My friend Ian once said to me, "Some people have good hair days.  You have good leg days!"

That's exactly how it works.  (And when they both fall on the same day, well, watch out world!)

On a good leg day, I walk better.  I feel coordinated.  I have more energy.  It's like someone hit the mute button on the static -- all that nerve noise -- that usually runs through my body.  Of course, there's still sweating, and rubbing, and poking to worry about.  But on the rarest-of-rare days, even these fade to the background.  My Genium and I move in tandem.  We are one.

Our first time in a Club Box
At Mile 4,709, it gets even better.  A good leg day turns into a good leg night!

Dad and I find Club Box 81 at center ice.  The players are already on the rink warming up, but I don't even make it to our seats.  I'm pulled in by the buffet of snacks from Chickie & Pete's.  The counter tops are filled with food.

"Wait," the server tells us, "a huge Lorenzo's pizza will be here soon!"

Yep, it's worth waiting for!

Our seatmates are athletes from Magee's wheelchair basketball and rugby teams.  They're a friendly, welcoming bunch!  I marvel at their ability to maneuver around the tiny space, dodging bar stools and high tables.  As the clock counts down to face-off, they lift themselves out of their wheelchairs -- over armrests and stairs -- into what some would think are "inaccessible" stadium seats.  These guys make it work.  They're strong!!!

I'm in AWE before the game even starts!

Dad and I descend the stairs to the front row.  We cross in front of two other amputees, Jim and Jimmy, to reach the inside seats.

Getting my prosthesis into a stadium row is usually a dizzy, wobbly, precarious adventure.  But tonight, I'm carrying snacks and stepping over people's legs without hesitation.  It all seems like kids' stuff!

On a good leg day, anything's possible...

...which leaves plenty of room for fun!

Let's Go Flyers!
Unfortunately the Flyers are not having a good leg day.  Goalie Steve Mason's legs (and arms, and body) cannot seem to protect the goal.  And right winger Jakub Voracek's legs (and arms, and stick) are working overtime to compensate.

We cheer like crazy, but it's not quite enough.  The Flyers trail the Rangers the entire game.  End score 5-2.

Our seatmate Keith has a huge smile on his face.  He's the Wheelchair Sports Coordinator at Magee, and the one who invited me to the game. "Sorry about your team," he says.  (Spoken like a true Rangers fan!)

That's OK, Keith!  I had an AWESOME time!

As we make our way out, it's nearing 11 p.m.  On a typical night, my leg would be screaming to get out of its socket, and I'd be counting the minutes until I could take it off.  But tonight all is quiet and comfortable.  If everyday were like this, life would be so... normal.

"This is the best leg day I've had in a long time," I say to Dad.  "Maybe EVER!"

Good leg days, like most good things, don't last forever.  I know tomorrow will probably be different.  And when it is, I'll remind myself that walking -- for better or for worse -- is always a privilege.

Any day on my feet is a pretty good day.

Metal and all.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the peek into a good leg day. Amazing as always.....