My road came to an unexpected halt on November 9, 2010.

That morning, I was bicycling to work when a garbage truck turned across a city bike lane. I was in that bike lane.

A team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my left leg. My body and life were forever changed.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

As I learned to walk again, I measured my recovery in steps and then miles. Over time that journey grew into something more -- a way of being in the world, wherever I go.

I am a person of ability and disability. I travel in the space between. These are my postcards.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Hygge Cure

Mile Marker 7975:

Some people make a packing list.  I make an anxiety list.

Last spring, when Natalie and I bought our airline tickets, Copenhagen in November seemed like a fantastic idea.  It was the land of Christmas markets, castles, and this mysterious thing called hygge.

The problem is... November.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

What's your story?

Mile Marker 7816:

Stay calm, breathe; you're in good hands, competent hands; these hands can save your life; they've saved others' lives, applied bandages, hooked up IV lines, removed pain; relax, that one drip will bring relief; inhale the tingling that feels like fireflies in your head; lie back on the clean, sterile sheet, newly spread across the gurney just for you; stay calm, breathe; relief is just moments away; brace yourself for the long haul; inhale past the tube in your nose and throat, scratchy and hard-to-swallow; embrace the heartbeat of the hospital; bandages on and off; new IVs every three days; nurses in and out, 7 to 7, like sunrise and sunset; stay calm, breathe; lie back against the raised head of your bed; press a button, help will come; the days will start and end and start again; time will crawl by; keep your eyes on the second hand of the clock, the one that hangs on the blue wall across from your bed (a blue darker and more muddled than the sea or sky); count the minutes, the hours till morning; watch the tiny DVD screen; stare out your doorway into the dim light of the corridor; close your eyes; stay calm, breathe.


Sunday, September 1, 2019

Inside Out

Mile Marker 7650:

I'm on one foot, balancing my hip along the edge of a boulder.

My backpack is sprawled on the rock next to me, its insides spewing out everywhere:  harness, climbing leg, shoes, socks, towels, liner, alcohol spray, and more.  It's all I can do to keep from dropping my Allen wrench into the ravine 100 feet below.  

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Small Town Steps

Mile Marker 7610:

"Do you want some candy?"

Um, no? 

Never take candy from strangers.  Even in a small town.  

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

One-Way Ticket

Mile Marker 7566:

I have a new philosophy:

It's better to go than not to go.

I'm sure there's a famous quote that could express it in a catchier way, but I don't want to take the time to search for it.  

Monday, July 8, 2019

New Leg!

Mile Marker 7545:

Tim places her in my arms.

A brand new knee.  Fresh out of the box.  Pylon still long.  Microprocessor not yet programmed.

Smooth finish.  Titanium shine.  Sporty and sleek with a racing stripe down the side.

She's not quite what I had pictured, and yet, I love her instantly!  

Friday, May 31, 2019

Sweet Home Chicago

Mile Marker 7420:

How many supplies can I tuck into a carry-on backpack?  Should I walk through the airport or take a wheelchair?  Will the gate area be too hot?  What's wrong with my new liner?  Why is my leg so tight in the morning and so loose in the afternoon?  And how can I pack for a trip that will cover both?

When I arrive at the airport, these worries turn like gears in my head.  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Trauma Survivors Day

Mile Marker 7395:

Cycling with surgeons?  Yes please.

On the heels of Nurse Appreciation Week comes Trauma Survivors Day.

Coincidence?  I think not.  

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Nurse Appreciation Week

Mile Marker 7377:

Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.

I don't remember the first week after my accident.  

Thursday, March 21, 2019

I'm So Excited

Mile 7200:

As spring hits, the gentle balance of life takes a nosedive.

We turn the clocks ahead.  The rain is torrential.  And the more I press the elevator button, the less happens.

Yep, the elevator is down for the count.  

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Food Train

Mile Marker 7070:

Buttered pretzels.  Roasting chickens.  Freshly glazed donuts.  Gooey cinnamon rolls.  It's Philly's tastiest traffic jam.

We shuffle along in the crowd, heel-to-toe, winter coats brushing against each other in the narrow aisles.

If you've been a tourist in Philly, you know it's all about the food.  Cheesesteaks.  Water Ice.  Chinatown.  The Italian Market.  Regular stops on the Philly food train.

But if you want it ALL, follow our footsteps at Mile 7,070.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

19 for 2019

Mile Marker 7000:

It's New Year's Eve and I can't sleep.

Actually, it's 3 A.M.  The fireworks are finished, my friends have gone home, and the streets below my windows are eerily silent.  Yet I'm wide awake, restless, pacing around the apartment with my leg still on.