Countdown to my legs

My physical therapy readiness evaluation is four weeks away. My pelvic reconstruction surgery to repair my diastasis symphysis pubis was five weeks ago tomorrow. That sounds like a good place to be.

I am doing well. No pain medication for two weeks. I’m getting stronger, my arm and shoulder muscles are getting used to the increased workload. And the plan I’ve worked out with my boss, to work from home on Wednesdays so I can work laying down rather than sitting up, was a wild success yesterday. I got my entire list done, maybe more than I would have finished in the office. And I went to work today feeling rested, not sore from knotted back muscles.

As I get closer to being back on my legs, I am filled with gratitude that this trial has been temporary. After my class on Tuesday and Thursday I share an elevator ride to the first floor with a student who uses an motorized chair. (I wrote earlier about our first meeting.) Today I learned his name and watched as he struggled to select an elevator floor. He was frustrated that he couldn’t get his chair angled correctly, couldn’t make his atrophied finger engage the button at first. But he worked at it, apologized to me for his language and worked on it again. As the elevator went up to the third floor, he got it. And as a woman got on, standing between the two chairs, the young man and I smiled at his triumph.

I could relate to what he went through in that minute. But I don’t know what it feels like to know that struggle awaits every single day. I wanted to confess – it felt like something that needed to be confessed – that I was expecting to be out of my chair by Christmas, maybe sooner. I was filled with guilt that I had a surgery and this is just part of my recovery.

As I left the elevator and wheeled back toward the office a gratitude filled me. I’ve been hanging on an emotional rope swing the last few days and today’s encounter made me hopeful about the future. It was a welcome counter to the sadness I have felt the last few days on behalf of a family I don’t know.

A friend of mine has a good friend who’s two-year-old son is in the hospital after a near drowning. I can’t stop thinking about that little boy, and his mother. The family’s property, several acres in the country with a garden, horses and a duck pond, sounded just like what my husband and I dream of for our family. That duck pond has changed their reality for ever. I keep imagining the anguish, the guilt, the fear I would be stricken with if it were my little guy. I wish there was something I could do to help make the road ahead easier for that little boy, his parents and siblings.

I will cherish each day. Each day that remains before I can use my legs is an opportunity to learn, focus, grow and experience. Each day after will be a gift.

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