Monday, April 20, 2009

April 20 - Day of (mostly) rest

It's been another action-packed day with thrilling twists and turns and crashes and burns. I will post more later tomorrow while using this body as a placeholder but

I finally got the all-clear to go home.

We have 6 new additions to the family that hatched while I was being reconfigured...either black-capped or Carolina chickadees in a bluebird house that has a TweetyCam in it. Looking forward to manana mis amigos...

Forward troubles Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy!
Look at all the happy creatures dancing on the lawn.
Bother me tomorrow, today, I'll buy no sorrows.
Doo, doo, doo, Lookin' out my back door.

- John Fogerty


As promised, the stuffing for the filler, a bit later as I don't have several hours alone anymore to compose my thoughts-

Passionflower - official flower of IIAGDTR

After my breakfast and shower I asked again about being released. I needed to be looked at by the rehab doc before we could proceed so I would go on to PT and see him later in the afternoon and hopefully be discharged.

Joe, my roommate was born in 1928. I enjoy talking to him...I still have to remind myself to shut up and listen to someone who has lived a full life and who arrived at today through the pages of history. My dad was born in 1927 and lived through the same pages, found humor in the worst of times. I don't recall him ever complaining about any of it.

It didn't occur to me until later that in one of the greatest changes of my life, a man of The Greatest Generation like my dad was there to share the experience with me.

My first PT session had me sharing a table with my former roommate. The therapist had to work with him quite a bit, I don't know the specifics of his ills but they are obviously extensive and his quality of life, at the present, is rather minimal. Over and over I heard the same thing: the less fit and motivated a person was, the more difficult it was to rehab them. There are more of these people than their opposites, with most gathered around the lower midsection of fitness.

I was able to do my exercises without incident and tried to make sure I did them correctly. Part of me felt like a detached observer of the assembled group, but like an infant is a natural swimmer, I did not feel like an alien either.

Last exercise was two laps around the rehab room block. It took me a little longer because I started noticing photos of athletes on the walls signed with notes of appreciation to the rehab staff. Note to self when the time comes...

As I left the first session a woman came up to me and gave me a hug...I could not place her face, being off on Planet Richard thinking about some of the things I have written above. She pointed to her badge...Maxine! She had a cleaning service that took care of our office for years. Being in IT I saw them after hours way more than most, just the friendliest folks you could imagine. It appeared to me her entire family had found the fountain of youth; the lottery of life is often won with a healthy helping of good genetics.

My second session was upper body with hand weights and the rickshaw. And guess what subject came up again? Do these people ever get tired of talking about running? Hope not.

Back to the room and thinking about being home tomorrow. I don't go to session three since I expect to get my walking papers any second and I want to rest the leg. As I am reviewing in my mind how much has changed my 800m teammate and PT assistant pops in to say goodbye. She is off to study PT perhaps as soon as next month, and I have sensed since the moment I met her that she has a gift. I gather PT as a profession can be extraordinarily rewarding but also, given the lack of motivation of many Americans, frustrating in equal measure at times. My friend is a supernova of positrons...and many will be fortunate to be in her care.

Okay, so I was choked up by her kindness, many forces have been at work reconstructing the bent and the broken.

Soon Dr. Warmoth from rehab came by to check me out before discharge. Off with the shrinker, remove the that doesn't look quite right. The end of the stump is quite red. A decision is made to have Dr. Ohlson come see it later in the evening. I suspect having it down, even though it's not being actively used, has caused some pooling of the blood. However, it is important to make sure it is not inflammation, which would be a bad thing.

In the meantime there was some office work to deal with, it does not enhance my mood at all and for the first time since my surgery I am feeling those negative waves, man. It later turns out the problem I fixed was not a problem in the first place, so I try to let it slide can't quite restore my reborn faith in humanity. No, I will not let the insignificant incident into my house.

Out, damn'd spot!

I am fitted for a wheelchair and walker; I get as narrow a chair as possible to accommodate my rump, thinking it will be easier to pass through some doorways. Feels a bit like sports car...I take a deep breath to gather in the new car smell...nope, that is something that is most definitely not the new car smell. I look about and only find a lot of me to blame.

I have crutches at home but doubt I will use them. Not having an additional balancing point - a crooked foot that is - makes them awkward to use.

I believe it was about this time that Larry Wiley calls and we talk about the redness, and then he gives me a bit of news that centers me again - no guarantees, but it is possible I will be sponsored - potentially given a prosthesis since I will be active and out doing races and running 24/7/365. Well maybe not that often...I have promised that we will try kayaking. = :-)

Dr. Ohlson comes in with his assistant after 9 pm. They take a look and a poke or two - not painful to me - and the good doctor pronounces I can be released tomorrow. My mood immediately brightens; we've got a tourniquet on the emotional bleeding. I did not want my experience to end up as a drug-induced mirage, with so many bright beginnings lost in a head-on collision with a runaway freight train. Note to self: Tracks have trains, the track has runners.

See ya spot.

One more night...time to turn off the light. I feel my strong heartbeat's low vibration in my bed. I raise my leg, and in my mind's eye see it complete with a curved running blade.

Hello Jato.

low and fast and without effort. we are flying. in the night.


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