Sunday, October 5, 2014

It Would Be Stupid To Give Up Now

Yeah, I've basically deserted my blog.

For those of you who have been kind enough to ask if I'm okay, the answer is "yes." I'm doing okay. Making rehab progress a little every day and enjoying spending time with family and friends. But I'm exhausted and I have a major . . .  well. . . 'shitty thing' is the only way I can describe it . . .  coming up this week involving my ex-husband, lawyers, mountains of paperwork, a mediator, and a metric ton of bullshit. Preparing for it has drained me and sucked vast amounts of much-needed energy and writing time from my  day-to-day life. But this too shall pass. Right? Hello?

We all have times in our lives when our plans take a back seat to whatever emergency happens to be in our face at the moment. That's life. But honestly, I feel like I've been living in emergency override mode for the last three years and I'm really sick of it.  I'm not sure how much mojo I got left in me.

When I went in for my post-op visit with my orthopedic surgeon a couple weeks ago, he took me into his office and shoved my x-ray into the viewing window over his desk. The first thing out of his mouth was -- "yours was a particularly violent surgery." And then he went on to describe screws and bone grafting, and grinding, and shoving metal spikes into my femur, etc, etc. I sighed. Seems he won't know if everything's going to hold until mid-December. And if things look good then, we'll set up my knee replacement surgery -- next on the checklist.

I resumed outpatient physical therapy last week. I hadn't seen my buddy Ethan in a long time, since pain had prevented me from rehab. So we were were catching up with each other while he asked me to roll over there and lift here and resist force over there. He asks me if I'm ready to basically start from scratch in my effort to learn to walk again.

Shit. I put the pillow over my face and started to cry. It's not like he said anything I didn't already know. I'm right back where I was in the spring of 2012, when I received my first prosthetic leg and began the work of figuring out how to walk. It's like these last three years never happened. But Ethan was right. This is day one. Again. Starting now, I will know what it's like to be your average unilateral amputee -- a person who loses one leg but can rely on their "good leg" to get them through. I never had a "good leg." Now I do. It's held together with screws and bone grafts and metal spikes but hey -- I'll take it.

So there I was, sobbing into my pillow on the evaluation table. "I'm done, Ethan," I mumbled. "I'm so done with being disabled, going through life as a cripple who needs all kinds of special crap and extra time for every-little-damn-thing! I'm just so DONE with all of it!"

There was a moment of quiet before Ethan said anything. "But you're not done."

Yeah. I know I'm not. I made the choice a long time ago to never give up. It would be just plain STUPID to change my mind now.

The next day I was doing exercises in the PT gym and looked up to see a calendar hanging on the wall in an adjacent office. In giant-assed while letters on a plain black background were Winston Churchill's famous words:

NEVER
NEVER
NEVER 
GIVE 
UP

I laughed. I told everyone that I needed those words pinned up all over my house -- with a few more "NEVERS" thrown in. Sure enough, someone went and made several copies of the calendar for me to take home. Winston's words are on the wall over my desk as I type this.

Bullshit. Pain. Delayed plans. Frustration. Screws and metal spikes and lawyers.  I'm exhausted, but I'm still here and I'm not giving up.