Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just a Test Drive

Today was a day of very mixed and overwhelming emotions.

I woke up feeling extremely anxious. What if it doesn't fit? If they see pain on my face will they decide I can't have it? What if there's another delay? What if my leg has changed shape since they took the cast?

Those fears were realized on arriving at my fitting! The liner they gave me didn't fit with my leg in the socket.

I was determined to get it on. I pushed harder and took more pain than I should have, yelling like a drill Sergent in my head: "suck it up princess, you push 'til you bleed or pass out, but you damn well get it on before they take it back!"

I got very very scared. I wondered if anyone would notice me hide it under my shirt and run out..

Lucky for me, the liner they ordered for me was just too thick (for now, I'll shrink) and they had a thinner one on hand.

To my very great relief, with the new liner in place, the leg popped on with a very snug but easy fit. I was elated! About a hundred minor little adjustments later, we were done and the stunt double was locked back away in a little closet, waiting for Thursday.

It was all over so fast! I tried playing the "but it's my birthday" card, but no dice, that gift has to wait two more days!

I would equate this to taking a really amazing luxury sports car for a test drive and loving every minute of it. You're absolutely sure this is the car for you: you know you can afford it, it's everything you'd hoped and you know it's got the best safety rating/fuel economy and horsepower money can buy. As a bonus, it even has the stereo, nav system and light-up-cup-holders you wanted plus you find out the dash lights up with sexy blue LED lights at night! You're ready to take delivery right then and there! That's when the salesman laughs in your face and says "we'll have to order one in for you, this one's already sold! Should be in next month."

The wait is killer but this next one really took me by surprise: there's a strange bitter-sweet sadness that this period of extreme challenge is coming to an end. I know the next one will be hard too, but I've been having a lot of fun!

I've enjoyed this period for what it was worth: every task required extra problem solving, extra time, extra balance. I've climbed mountains, hiked narrow trails, adapted a rock-climbing technique and swam about a hundred lengths of the pool. Everything feels like an accomplishment on crutches.

That cycle of achievement is addictive! I'm looking forward to what the next phase has to offer and I plan to keep that addiction through the next chapter(s) of my recovery.

After all the delays, my wait is nearly at an end. I was able to touch it, feel it, try it on and get that little taste of what it's going to be like. The wait now is all the worse but each second that ticks by gets me closer. Two more "sleeps" is an eternity right now.

Check out my fancy-schmancy diagram for more detail on the leg itself! Pretty cool stuff:


  1. Good for you, Michael! A year ago this past week I walked with my new leg (that I had for almost four weeks), along the rehab hospital corridor holding on with one hand while putting weight on my new leg. How well I remember the first day I got my leg, the anticipation, the apprehension, the emotion, the joy, and then that day a short few weeks later, my walk down that corridor nearly brought tears, and was joyful.

    Be patient as you face these new challenges…and eat up the excitement and joy of it all.

  2. Hi cousin Mike. Mom, Dad and I are so proud of you. Your pics are interesting and your leg is cool!

    P.S. Hope to talk to you soon

  3. Thanks Amanda! I can't wait to put this new bit of hardware to good use and really test the limits of what I can be. I promise you it won't take me long to get back to my old form and I can't wait to try rock climbing on a toe that never gets tired. ;)