Friday, January 22, 2010

One Step at at Time

Amputees come to my office every day.  Below knee, above knee, below elbow, above elbow, breasts, toes, feet…. Diabetics, veterans who lost limbs serving our country, breast cancer survivors, accident victims, and God knows all the ways good, everyday, folks end up minus a body part… Maybe they are coming in for a BK adjustment, a new bionic arm, or to pick up a few prosthetic socks. After a while some feel so part of the “family” here that they just walk right back to the staff room and help themselves to a cup of coffee.

The greatest days here are when a new amputee walks for the first time on her/his new leg. It’s like they have life again. I’ll never forget the look on a local police officer’s face the day he first tried out a new leg designed for high impact, heavy duty use. He ran across our walk room, and it wasn’t the running that was amazing, it was the smile on his face that literally filled every corner of the building. Some months later, this handsome man in his late 30s met all the physical requirements to be a fully active police officer, without any restrictions… saved from the fate of a desk job for the rest of his working years. 

The harder days are ones like today. A young woman came in, pushing her husband in a wheelchair. I am not sure what happened to him. I heard the words “burn victim,” which explained the fingerless gloves on his hands, hands that were missing most, if not all, of their fingers. His right leg, above knee and down, was also missing. Both their faces still bore the strain, grief, and shock, of everything that they have gone through, and he has suffered, since the terrifying moment that transformed their lives forever.

The great thing is they will get through this. He will walk, even run, again. Someday when he becomes a dad, he’ll be able to run and play with his kids. He will have hands to lift and hold his babies close to his heart. The face that is now drawn, grieving, and frightened, will again shine with light and he will again feel joy. His life will be transformed again.

Honest to God, I don’t always love all the things my job entails, but I do love what we do here, and that gives purpose to everything else.

No comments:

Post a Comment