Tuesday, April 21, 2009

April 21 - Poets and Saints

Jennifer at the Grand Canyon

I was released from Roper Rehabilitation Hospital today. Since I thought I was going home yesterday, it was a bit strange. Joe and I had said goodbye twice because of PT schedules; no one should leave a friend without a farewell.

There was no PT scheduled for me so I worked on the blog, caught up on some email, drank a lot of water and hence, practiced my bathroom wheelchair skills. I felt like I should wheel over to the gym and nurse's station to say goodbye; also to my fellow patients I had just started to know. I heard voices of the familiar drifting into my room but no one returned. Everyone was in sessions or making rounds and I thought I should stay put and wait for my release papers to be served.

This happened around noon and my wife came over to retrieve her abbreviated husband. Transportation was called and a young man with a large cart came by for my stuff. Jennifer went to get the SUV while my entourage and I headed to the elevator.

"How are you doing today, sir?"

"Great!" Yes, I rarely had any bad feelings whatsoever during my stay. "And you?"

"Great, and that makes two times I've heard that all day - you and me." Damn, I think, that sucks. "Hey, I understand you're a runner."

"Yep, and will be back later this year."

"I'm a runner too, hurdles, relays, 400m...haven't run in a while but need to get back."

We chat a bit until Jennifer arrives...he asks about races and I tell him to check the local running stores or go online to active.com or running.net. I slide into the back seat to keep my leg up and my stuff is piled into the cargo area.

I did not like leaving my friends behind or a place that changed me so much...for the better.

We stopped by the drugstore to fill my prescriptions and drove the short distance home. As we pulled into the driveway I felt I was losing what I had learned, that my old impatience was returning, that life inside the hospital and rehab was more honest and clear than the trivial mutterings of daily life. Fretting over the daily minutia is a distraction of monumental proportions.

Let it go and live.

I hurry into the bathroom to gather myself. Already the world has closed in around me, once again proving the fragility of all things human.

"Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it - every, every minute?"
"No. The saints and poets, maybe. They do some."

- Thorton Wilder, Our Town

I miss the poets and saints I left behind. I feel out of place in my own home.

Okay, time to get it together and face the new world. How could I understand what I know now without having gone down this path? How can anyone describe the Grand Canyon in words or music without being there? When you run, can you explain how it feels to a running agnostic?

Bury this knowledge deep, down, down, down to the core. Make it a part of who you are.

I place my hand on the knob, take a deep breath, and open the door and shuffle forward with my walker.

Hello World.

My wife gives me a kiss and we start anew.

RB on the edge

"That's what being a man is all about, boy.
It's just doing what's got to be done."

- Robert Newton Peck, "A Day No Pigs Would Die"



I am home now, over my little self-inflicted crisis. Life is more simple in the hospital; few distractions and the focus is on recovery. I discovered more about life and myself there in a few days once the distractions and a foot were removed. But life is hardly that simple, forces pull us this way and that; we are obligated to do things we'd rather not; and we lose sight of the only thing that matters, and that is the tie that binds.

Love. Only love.


  1. my dad loved that poem. I'm really happy I found your blog; thank you so much for writing this. I've only been living with ankle pain for eight months, but I miss cycling so bad it's like a physical thing. I'm mean to my family and I hide from my friends and if amputation would stop that, I'd toss the whole damn leg. Your blog is a fantastic way to start researching, thank you.

  2. Good luck Arael. Many people have gone down this path and there is more information than ever available to you. Pain is a strong signal something is wrong and there is help in making the best decision(s) for your health and well-being.