Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hill Running

This morning I walked into the office of my orthopedic surgeon.

I walked into his office without a limp, pain, cane, crutches, or a wheelchair. I walked out not needing any future appointments.


I always have a good chat with the x-ray technician; we talked about my foot history as she prepared to take the pics. Very nice lady, she always seems genuinely interested in her patients. Afterward I was shown to my room and waited for Dr. Ohlson.

A short time later the doc steps into the room and I stand and shake his hand. He admires the work of the prosthetist and examines my stump. It looks good with the small exception where I overdid it recently, but even that area is almost completely healed. We take a trip down to the imaging computer where he reads the x-ray and shows me where the bones have grown together, very cool.

He thanks me for the letter I wrote to the CEO of Roper St. Francis Hospital where I had my surgery; excerpts of it were posted in the elevators so the employees could read it. I was happy this was done as the people there are truly inspiring in what they do for the patients. I took a walk down the hall for Dr. Ohlson and an associate, and another short parade for Kate, Dr. Ohlson's superb PA. They said if I wasn't wearing shorts that most would have no idea I was an amputee.

Dr. Ohlson also has a patient he wants me to talk to, but the person will need to contact me. This is a tough thing to go through, and having a compatriot does ease the sharpness of the edge. There are many things you just can't know in life without the actual experience because it will change you, usually for the better or worse but you do not escape unscathed. I hope I can help but know the power to move forward is in the individual, and they alone can decide to climb the mountain or fall.


I asked Dr. Ohlson if I needed to schedule a follow-up and he said unless I had a problem, no, was I done. Wow. I make my copay, get in my car, and drive to work.

I had the odd sensation of the day I decided to have my amputation was like today, but different in that I had some closure to that lost part of me. Not of sadness, but of celebration that I was done with this phase of my life, ready to move to the next. Tears of joy are often surprising because we see them so rarely, a singular thing that can have two meanings.

Today I had the better one.

And if I only could
I'd make a deal with God
And I'd get him to swap our places
Be running up that road
Be running up that hill
With no problems...

- Kate Bush "Running Up That Hill"

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