Sunday, February 19, 2012

And He Took Up His [Prosthesis] and Walked . . .

Seth and OT Kaitlyn showing off their matching boots
The highlight this week was getting the ortho surgeon's approval to walk without the boot. The surgeon was a bit reluctant to give it. He wants Seth to be very careful because there have been instances of guys re-breaking their legs. In fact, Dr. Gordon said, "100 percent of my re-breaks amputated--their choice, not mine." This was a tad alarming, so I asked, "100 percent of how many?" To which he responded, "Three." Thank goodness for a very minimal understanding of statistics.

From the "things you would never think about" file, before Seth could walk with the boot, he had to have his prosthesis lengthened, so his legs would be the same length. When he was told he could walk without the boot, he had to have the prosthesis shortened again. Thankfully, we have a great prosthetist available to us five days a week.

Other highlights from the last two weeks:
  • Seth is now off his pain medication. He is only taking ibuprofen twice a day. When I see or hear about the struggles of other wounded warriors to manage their pain and/or to get off the narcotics, I am even more impressed at where Seth is with this.
  • Seth has been walking to almost all his appointments. Considering the size of the hospital and its campus, that's saying something. We've had to make more time to get places because a wheelchair is much faster than walking. I never thought there would be times we wished we had brought the wheelchair so we could make better time!
  • Seth is now training service dogs two mornings a week. They are currently training four dogs--three golden retrievers and a new black Labrador puppy.
  • Seth went shopping yesterday for real clothes--no more velcro pants!

Not a highlight, but a thing of note: Seth's physical therapist Greg is an endurance runner. He has done 100-mile races (including one in Utah!). On his Facebook this week, he posted, "Today I ran 40 miles--one mile for each limb that has been lost this year." This is pretty sobering considering it's only February.

NMA Notes
On Monday, February 13, the Red Cross sponsored a night out for the caregivers of wounded warriors.  Twenty-five wives and mothers of wounded warriors were treated to dinner at Le Pain Quotidien, a lovely restaurant and bakery, and then to haircuts at a salon next door. The restaurant features a community table, so half of the group sat around it and ate while the other half went to the salon. The food was divine (I am still dreaming of the chocolate mousse cake), and the conversation very therapeutic. The woman ranged in age from 20 to 60-something. For many, this was the first time they had left their charge at home alone. For some, it was the first time they had left their double-amputee husbands home with their children--and we're talking babies and toddlers here. We shared our troubles and our triumphs, our sacrifices and our rewards. I felt very humbled by the strength of these women and grateful. While I would never wish this trial on anyone, it is good to know I am not alone.

After we ate, we went to the salon for our haircuts. It was a very trendy salon, so I felt very old and very white, but my haircut was fabulous, and we all rode the bus home more beautiful and buoyant than before.

I am grateful to the Tiffany Circle of the Red Cross for organizing and hosting such a lovely evening.

Also this week, OperationTroopAid presented 75 wounded warrior families with kitchen sets from The Pampered Chef. We were lucky enough to get one and, let me just say, they did not skimp. I would estimate each set to be worth approximately $500. Because we have been here awhile already, we discovered didn't need much of what was there, so we will pass ours along to another wounded warrior family.

Birthday Surprise
It was my birthday this week, and perhaps the biggest surprise was Trentelman's column that was published that very day. He was surprised as well since he didn't know it was my birthday. It was very sweet. I will add that the regret at letting go is not just about being needed; it's about doing something meaningful. I think empty nest syndrome and/or the difficulty in letting kids go is not as much about loneliness or being needed as it is about knowing that nothing you do will ever be as meaningful as raising children.

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday.

    I can imagine it's with mixed emotions that you get ready to let Seth loose on the world again. We are all looking forward to seeing you out here.

    It's not what any of us would have wished, but Seth's journey has proven what a strong and well-grounded young man you have raised. Bravo to you, and double bravo to Seth.