Friday, September 19, 2008
Yesterday I went in to see my leg guy. With the bump up from part time work to full time work, my leg was starting to speak to me. And it was not using nice language.
But Mike fixed the problem and, as usual, he and I got to chatting afterward.
I have always respected Mike, not just for the miracles he works on my metal leg, but for the upstanding character he so effortlessly exudes. Then I found out something new about him.
He lost his leg when he was six.
He was a tornado of a little boy one day, driving his parents and teachers crazy with his little boy energy, then laid up in a hospital bed the next, missing a critical part of his body.
And he lost not 'just' his lower leg. Not even 'just' his upper leg. He lost it all, at the hip.
Did I mention he was six?
But Mike, being the guy he is, didn't tell me sob stories about his childhood. He told me stories about breaking his wooden leg so often in Little League that the legitimate sound of a bat cracking with a powerful hit made his mother cringe. He told me stories of teasing his naive cousin that if she only pushed in her belly button the right way, she too could pop off her leg at the hip.
Stories shared with laughter and smiles. By a man who has a pretty successful life - loving wife, great kids, even a brand new grand daughter.
Of course it made me think about my four babies on my drive home. How each of them has all their limbs. And how most parents worry about childhood diseases and broken bones. But some have to face the reality of lost limbs too.
I rejoice that my son loves to run. A motion I still cannot comprehend. I watch in awe as he so effortlessly bends his arms at the elbow and jogs to the starting line. I have no memory of that sensation. I am just thankful to have full walking mobility returned to me, with the magic of this titanium leg.
I guess it is the curse of the parent who sees first hand the full list of potentially life changing events for their child.
But I chose to emulate my friend Mike. I trust my children will be spared losing a limb in their lifetime. But whatever big hurdle life might throw their way, I wish for them the attitude of a pretty honorable amputee I know. The guy who spends his days keeping amputees upright and productive. All with a smile on his face.