Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Dancing In the World of the Disabled

Disabilities, Hip Replacement Surgery, Life is Good, Odds and Ends, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Therapy

Doc, my right leg keeps wanting to swing out to the right.  Every time I pull it back to straight - whoops - out it goes.  What gives?

Your right leg was shorter than your left (surgeon holds holds his fingers apart about a quarter inch - give or take) so when I installed your device I took the opportunity to lengthen your leg.  Both of your legs match in length now.  Your muscles don't know that yet but they'll eventually stretch and remember where they belong.

I struggled with the title of the post as I wasn't sure how to characterize my situation.

I use a walker to get around the house and prevent a fall.  I can do stairs with a crutch.  Going to the bathroom happens to be a bit more involved than for most of you.  A 3 am potty call is real work.  Unable to shower - I bathe and wash my hair at the kitchen sink.  Getting dressed takes awhile - and I'm only talking about flannel pants and a bike ride t-shirt.  I am forbidden to drive a vehicle.  Yet I have a disability parking permit ready for when I can drive.  By all outward appearances I'm dancing in the world of the disabled.

On the other hand I made breakfast for Jill and me the other day.  I made an awesome batch of wild turkey salad last night for dinner.  I'm exercising two to three times a day to regain my strength and my mobility is improving.  I haven't lost any of my marbles on this trip.  So, compared to some disabled individuals I'm doing the cha-cha.

Like all dances this dance will end and I'll rejoin the world of the able-bodied before too long.  My visit is therefore transitory and in the grand scheme of things is nothing more than a hill of beans compared to the real world of the disabled.

When I stop at the Shell station on Hawley and Wisconsin I'm reminded of the many blind pedestrians with their ubiquitous canes.

Or someone like this woman.

Going through life with her chair, her dog and public transportation.

Or my pal Doug who has ALS and while sharp of mind in all respects has had physical roadblocks erected on all fronts.

You see - plenty of people have been dealt a card to only one dance.  They may be limited to dancing in the dark.  Or the dance of motor limitations.  Maybe even the dance of cognitive failure.  Rehab at home with a spouse and the dogs is not their path to the dance hall exit.  They may be destined to a single dance for the rest of their lives or the dance of ultimate decline.

This dance hall visit has been humbling and given me a renewed appreciation for those who meet their permanent challenges on a daily basis.  I am in awe of their lives. 

It is going to be a very, merry Christmas in this household.

Same to all of you.

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