Thanks to all that have helped!!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Knee is on the Way!!!!

I'm extremely excited. I got the call today after leaving my final socket fitting. Otto Bock has confirmed that my knee is being shipped today and will be here in a few days. I feel like this is major victory for me and my family. I have successfully fought big insurance and won...we actually WE have. Thanks to the efforts of some of the people that follow me, Humana decided to let me be the test pilot for the computerized knee. This also means that Kate and I may have to meet with Humana and Otto Bock. It's a lot of pressure and honestly a battle I hadn't planned on fighting. It's one that I gladly pick up though, I have high hopes that if this goes well then they will alter their current protocol for microprocessor prosthetics. If they change this, this could create a huge opportunity for a large group of people that I've never met. First things first, I'm just hoping to walk. I took to the mechanical knee much better today. I was able to walk much better than I did the first time. They filled the bottom with algeanate, which is the same stuff used to make dental castings, and made an impression of my stump for a custom fit of the socket. Honestly, I'm at a loss for words to describe my excitement here. Which is odd for me, I'm usually so verbose. So hopefully in a few days, probably next Tuesday or Wednesday, I'll be posting on here that I am the proud new owner of a Genium knee and a Triton Harmony foot and be walking until my leg gives out...Kate is going to have a time keeping me off of it. It feels good to know that this battle is over and my war can finally  begin.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Come to the Dark Side...We have cookies

We all have a dark side. That voice inside you that brings all your fears and doubts to the fore front. The part of you that wants to cheat and steal to get what you want. Some call it hedonism, some call it narcissism, but no matter what your definition of it is, you have it. Everyone from priests to thieves, it's engrained in the human DNA. I have mine, that's for sure. For me, my dark side has been focusing in on my failures and fears of loss. Yes, I'm afraid. I'm scared of losing my job, my family, my fiance', I'm fearful of losing everything I have worked for prior to falling off that waterfall. Facing that fear has become a daily battle. Fighting off that dark side, he is very persistent "Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies..."

Now that  I'm finally realizing my goal it seems that I am able to not fight this battle everyday, while that is great and very helpful, it just means it comes back with a vengeance. Why not, it's had a few days to get affairs in order to really test my patience. My biggest fears have been losing Kate and losing my career as a medic. That's it. They are out in the open. Kate has done an amazing job of reassuring me that no matter the outcome of this journey, she will be there. If I was never to walk again, she would be there by my side, taking care of me through it all. She's an amazing woman. Next, being a medic. I have come to terms that my goal is lofty. I have decided that I am going to fight tooth and nail to reach it, going to go out with no regrets or 'what ifs,' and if I fail then at least I did all I could. I have a back up plan, I can always finish my nursing degree or even dabble in flight medicine. I think my prosthetic will be rated for flight...

Any way feeling like Eddie and the Cruisers...On the Dark Side...sorry bad movie songs are a weakness.

Spring

It's a beautiful day here today in the Bluegrass State. Warm, sunny, with just enough of a breeze to make it just comfortable enough to sit on the front porch and write. The promise of spring in the air. The promise of a new beginning. The thing about it is that promise is really only guaranteed to the products of spring, flowers, trees, grass, etc...those promises aren't made to us frail humans. We are only promised the minute we are living now. I learned that back in May. I had plans made, I was preparing to go back to work after a well deserved vacation. Those plans are were not to be. Not that this is a bad thing. Reevaluation is always good, it allows you to look at what you have and what you really need. The promise of a new day. A new you. The new me is now a man who is shy one leg, but who has the heart and drive to make it work for me, not be a hindrance to me. I have learned the value of friends, family, and determination. I love this time of year. I love that promise of a new day. I am hoping that this week Otto Bock gets my leg delivered and I can start walking toward my new future.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Walking Blues...

Today was a great and somewhat disheartening day. It's an odd mixture of emotion to feel. On one hand or foot rather, I was able to walk for the first time since January 26th. It felt great to take a few steps, yes it was on a mechanical knee not my microprocessor knee, I had on 2 different shoes, and it was an amazing feeling. Today, I walked probably 12-18 feet and for the first time since I fell I was not in pain. The rough part is that we have no real idea when I am going to get my leg. I get the feeling that my prosthetic company is getting as frustrated as I am. I feel like we are getting sent on a wild goose chase. They are being told that there is a prosthetic either on the way or somewhere in the US. Who knows really...I just want me knee. My socket will be ready this week and I really want a Genium attached to the other end of it. It's really getting me flustered. I just want a clear answer. Your knee will be here on this day and we will have you walking. I know Matt and Sienna will have me up and walking as soon as possible, even  if it is on another computerized knee. I just want to get this on, especially now that I have had a taste of being mobile again.

So, here we go. let's just hope Otto Bock gets me my knee so we can get this show on the road.

First Steps

video
Here it is. My first steps...It's far from graceful, I'm wearing mismatched shoes, and it's not the prosthetic I will be using, but I was able to walk and stand. The weirdest thing was I could almost feel my feet touching the ground. It gives me some hope towards the future and a glimpse of things to come. The knee I will be getting will keep me from buckling while I walk, and I'll be able to tackle steps and other obstacles. It was wonderful that Kate was there to see this, even better when my prosthesist had her wait for me at the end of the isle, just to prove I can make it down an isle...he's a comedian that one. OK..I'll write more later.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gearing up to Walk

Huge day tomorrow. Tomorrow, if all goes well, I will get to take my first steps since my surgery. Mind you, it's literally just 2-3 steps to make sure the socket fits correctly and will be functional for me once my prosthetic gets here. Kate is going to take some video and if I can figure out how to upload it I'll put it on here for everyone to see. I'm probably more excited than I should be, but to me this is a small glimpse of things to come. I'm really hoping that my leg is here and tomorrow I get a glimpse of what the Genium can do.

I've seen endless videos online of the capability of this knee. I've seen people running, climbing over various objects, walking backwards (which is huge step in the prosthetic timeline, and very important for EMS), and many other steps that most bipedal people take for granted. I'm just ready to see what this knee can do and will mean to me. I stuck at the mercy of the postal system and a German company. From what I understand my leg will make quite the journey, Austria to Germany, Germany to Canada, Canada to Minnesota, Minnesota to hopefully Louisville. I wonder if they will stamp the box like a passport? Anyway, from my understanding there is a Genium knee floating around somewhere inside the US and my prosthetic company is doing everything it can to get my equipment to me. I feel like a kid on Christmas, one who has peeked at his presents and just has to wait to Christmas morning to play with the toy he's been wanting all year. So, this is where I am. I'm hoping tomorrow I post a video on here of my walking with my brand new knee. If not, I'll at least post about how it went, I'm sure it will be an emotional step. I am placing a lot on this one step. As Gandhi said "A step of one thousand miles begins with just one step," tomorrow I hope to take just one step...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Driven

What drives you? What makes you want to get out of the bed in the morning? Have you ever really thought about it? This time I've had off has forced me to really evaluate the things in my life that are my driving force. Prior to my fall I was as self-sufficient as one could get. Yes, I've always considered myself a family man, I've put my son first as much as I can. Yet, I was driven to excel in every venture. I didn't need your help getting their either. I was as Type A personality as one person could get. I'm loud, boisterous, I've even been described as cocky from time to time. Kate and I met in an ER as friends prior to my divorce. It's there that she first encountered this cocky redneck paramedic who knew it all and wasn't afraid to stand up to a room full of residents and attendings alike, just to prove he was right. I'd like to hope that man will return, but honestly I'm not sure I can get back to that frame of mind. Medically minded, I'm sure I will. I've never been a shrinking daisy when I know I'm right. I've always taught my preceptees that you don't ask for an order, you tell the doc on the other end of the radio what you are going to do and wait for him to agree. I have no qualms standing up for myself, but I now know what it's like to be on the other end of that stretcher. I think now I will have more compassion towards my patients. That being said, Kate has told me about some of her patients who have simply infuriated me. I live vicariously through her recounting her day at work, and the occasional text to ask my opinion about a current situation on a run.

After being here, here being stuck in a medical condition in which you have to claw your way out, I know understand the importance of drive. To hear her recount the innumerable patients who have lost that drive. Some of them for lack of a move in a positive direction, and when they get one, they are so unused to the feeling they take two steps backward for fear of failing, the others because they have learned that when they utter those magical words "I can't" someone will swoop in and do it for them. I simply don't understand giving up like that.

I know what drives me, it's not my job anymore. Once, that would have been my answer. Now my answer is my family. Kate, my boys, and the rest of my family. They are my drive. They are my reason for trying every day. Yes, I'm still determined to get back to work. I still want to return to my big grey box...our ambulances are grey. I still want the rush of bent metal and patients freshly ventilated with an unknown caliber of bullet. Mostly, those medical mysteries where you are behind and fighting to get ahead. To feel the cold steel of a laryngoscope blade the symphony of a cardiac arrest in which I am the composer. Guiding each and every person on their task, hitting every note, hoping to beat back death. I really miss it....but...mostly I miss the quiet click of a camera while Kate and I are out on some back road taking pictures. The musical laughter of our boys when they get tickled at something at the zoo. The wonderful smell of Thanksgiving dinner and the warmth of family and friends. This is now my drive. These are my drives. I am driven by both. Welcome back...My knee is on the way and soon my fight begins.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Memories...

Had another socket fitting today. Getting close. I'm excited, just hope the prosthetic gets here quick. I'm so happy to get up and moving. Otherwise, it's been a good day with my mom and brother. Now, things are going south. I think I'm getting sick, cough and sore throat...ugh. Had a great day with them, but feel like I ran all over the town twice. I just don't have the energy I used to. I'm trying rebuild my energy, but it's just not coming back as quickly as I would like it. I'm just wore out and will be turning in soon...

I'm getting tired of hopping around. I'm tired of fighting for every movement, constantly balancing and correcting movements. I'm tired of not being able to take a walk and hold my fiance's hand. Tired of telling my children that I can't...I loathe that word...can't. It's not a word that I was allowed to use growing up, and now I have to add it to my lexicon. Not that it will be there long, or gets used that often. I just hate that I have to use it at all. I'm going to get through this, just I'm get anxious and I've never been good at waiting. That's why I fell in love with EMS in the first place. Especially in this city, it's a constant stream of 911 calls, day and night. Never a dull moment, not every run is gun shots and blood raining from the sky, but there is always a run to go on. Always moving, perfect for my ADD mind. Now, I'm stuck. I spend days trying to fill my time with various exercises, television, video games, and various errands. I just get tired of waiting that's all....I've never been good at it, and patience is a virtue I haven't gotten yet. Lord knows I've tried.

I'm ready to get back...to run with my lights on, the smell of hot antifreeze puddling on the street, the fog of airbag dust hovering in the air inside of the vehicle, the sound of glass crunching under my boots, my mind going a thousand miles an hour while my affect and movements mimic that of a man walking in the park. Needless to say...I miss it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Socket Design

So I've decided on a design for my prosthetic socket. I figured it would be fitting not only for my profession but for me as well. It's a play off of the Jolly Roger, adopted by many to be the international sign of pirates. I figured since this was used as the logo for the TV show "Jackass" and I had quite a stunt that lead to my amputation it would be fitting. I'm not sure how much of it will be visible since they are going to do some cut outs on it to make it work better for me. I just feel that this symbol is appropriate for me at this time. I'm happy with this design. I know that it's going to take awhile for me to adjust to the new lifestyle of being an amputee. Today I suffered the hardest fall I have had since the amputation. I was sitting up on a stool and as I was trying to slide over to the stove, I found that I can sit here and cook without much pain, so I slid over and down goes Fraizer!!! I took the hardest fall I have had. Nearly knocked the wind outta me, I managed to catch myself and not hit my stump on the ground. I missed it by centimeters, but managed to keep it up off the ground. I'm not quite used to having my leg gone, so I went to catch myself with my missing leg, of course, the leg wasn't there to catch me. I suppose I'll get used to it eventually. Oh well...tomorrow is another fitting for the socket. Hopefully Monday I get to take my first steps, and I'm thrilled that Kate will be there to see. Due to her having to work she has missed most of the fittings, really it's not a big deal, just a clear socket with them drawing on it with a sharpie to make the necessary adjustments. I'm hoping that Monday we can make the last few adjustments and have my knee up and ready to make the necessary adjustments and get this on with. I am ready to walk. Honestly, I'm ready to run!!! I can't wait. To walk, run, hold Kate's hand instead of a cane or a crutch. I have big aspirations for the future, now if I can only get walking and get the move on.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Glimpse of the Future...

Not feeling it

Sorry for the missed post yesterday. I just was not feeling my normal verbose self. Today is a much better day. I just had so much on my mind yesterday that it would not translate to my fingertips. I'm trying to get through this rough patch, I know there are going to be good days and bad, but I'm kinda feeling bipolar as of late. I'm just so nervous about getting this prosthetic in and attached to me, but excited that the fight with the insurance company is over. I'm mostly nervous about paying for my health insurance, we have managed to get our bills paid for the month, but another month is creeping up fast and I'm not making any money right now, aside from what I have left in the  PayPal account, which I will be transferring out soon. I knew that things were going to get rough, but I am learning first hand that telling myself something, and actually doing it are two very different things. I tried to prepare as best I could, but honestly, there is no preparing for the anxiety this induces.

On a happier note, I now know that my socket will be made of black woven carbon fiber, and I can choose a design to bring in and they will add it to my socket. Now, I just have to find a design that I like on a t-shirt to add to it. I'm looking for some sort of Celtic design I think. I'm so indecisive about this...there are so many options out there and I just can't decide. I want something that either nods to my heritage or to who I am trying to become...just not sure what to do. I also go in on Monday, hopefully, to take my first steps on a prosthetic. Hopefully, it'll be mine, but if not they said they would have me up on a system just to make sure the socket fits correctly. Kate will be there to shoot video for the first steps and if I can figure out how I'll upload the video here so everyone can see it. I cannot wait to walk again. I'm literally very nervous about it and extremely excited.

Tonight I end with asking for your continued support. You have all been amazing and I love hearing from you. It's great motivation to see that I'm getting out there and helping others, even if I can't do it on the ambulance. Thank you all so much.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Moving On

Had my first fitting today for my socket. This is the integral part of the prosthetic system. No matter how good the technology is, without a proper fitting socket, it is for naught. Luckily, I trust these guys and they are working hard to get me a proper fit and designing this socket to be optimal for me and the lifestyle I hope to live. It was good to get my stump into a socket for the first time and get an idea of how it feels and where I will have different sensations because of it. Today's fitting was just the first of many, it was a clear socket that was a rough draft of what it will become. Later this week I get to go back in and stick my stump in some casting molding to make the final adjustments and create a custom socket just for me. I know that it will be a vacuum system that will hold pressure against me in order to create a better hold with every step I take. I'm very excited to be moving forward with this.

Next, I went to Fraizer Rehab to meet with the physicians that will be in charge of my physical therapy for the foreseeable future. You know you are getting an expensive prosthetic when the MD looks at you and says, "wow that's a top of the line prosthetic, that's quite an expensive leg" I had to laugh a little, knowing that Humana finally came through and I don't have to fight that fight anymore. That is one stress that has finally been lifted off of me. Fraizer is amazing inside. I had been in there a few times while working EMS, but looking at it through a different set of eyes today really amazed me at what they do there. I was able to glance inside at some of the treatment areas, where they work with people just like me, trying to get back to their lives, whatever that may be since their personal traumas. I was in awe of these people and their drive. To glance inside and see the sweat and tears that it takes to get back to where they want to be. It was nice to hear the doctors say that there is no reason for me to be afraid of getting back to where I want to be. I know that they are going to make me hate life for these next few days, but it will all be worth it. I am ready. I can't wait to get started.

I have been advised by Metro HR that I need to fill out my American's with Disabilities Act paperwork. Not asking for a transfer out of EMS, but to secure my position and insure that they have to make "reasonable accommodations" to make my transfer back into EMS a seamless one. I also was informed that I will be getting my first bill for insurance that I have to pay out of pocket. Not really excited about that, it's money we don't have for a service I can't make it without.

Lastly, I had to take some paperwork to EMS HQ today. There I came face to face with what I am trying to return to. The challenges that lie ahead in trying to return to this agency as an amputee. I know that until I prove that I can do it, I will not be seen as a paramedic, I will be seen as an amputee who "used to be a medic" as I was introduced. I'm sure he doesn't know I heard him, but I did. Thanks, that's just more motivation. I can honestly say one individual particularly was very cold and disinterested in any progress that I have made. I'm sure he wants nothing more than to see me fail, or be able to just close the door on my career there so he doesn't have to worry about me anymore. I am a liability. One that he has a personal vendetta against, one that he wants to just fade away. Sorry, I'm not going anywhere, and if I have my way I will be there for years to come. If not, I know there are other agencies out there that would love to get this medic a chance. I want to go back there, hopefully in a few weeks, and proudly walk in those doors, up those stairs, and let them see the progress I have made.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tomorrow is just a day away...

I have to admit. I'm as nervous as I am excited for tomorrow. I have two major appointments tomorrow. First, and most exciting to me, I go to Kentucky Prosthetics to start the fittings for my new leg. I know that I have to go through several measurements and adjustments for the socket. After doing some research I've learned that most of the measurements for then knee are all done by computer as well. This should speed up the process and get me walking sooner. Next up, is the meeting with the doctor who will be in charge of my physical therapy after I get the prosthetic. I will be going to Fraizer Rehab to learn to use the prosthetic. I'm not sure if I will be inpatient or out-patient for this, either way, I'm ready to get this show on the road. I'm so excited to be able to walk again.

I realized today that I'm very excited to be able to walk with Kate and be able to hold hands again. It's amazing the little things you take for granted, going for a simple walk, holding hands, walking to the kitchen...all things that we have all done a thousand times now take planning and thought. I cannot wait to be able to do these things again. Mostly, I want to be able to go take pictures with her again, this was our stress relief. We would just grab the camera, go for a drive, and take pictures where ever we ended up. I miss that. Getting the news that my leg was approved has given me hope that I can get back to that. Not only going back to work, but going back to life. I have had to put my life on hold for nearly 9 months since the accident, and with that Kate and our boys have had to do the same. It seems unfair that the trauma suffered by one effects an entire family. This is the aspect as prehospital care providers that we never see. We may make the runs that save their lives, do our best to keep them from as much permanent damage as possible, but we don't get to see the damage suffered by those closest to them. Very few people are aware of the stress an injury like this puts on the family unit. Everyone has to chip in to help the injured person. I have watched this transformation in my son and Kate's. I've watched them learn to help out around the house, hold doors for me, and be my own personal pack mules. I've watched as Kate helps take care of me even after coming home from a long day at work. She gladly cleans up my messes and helps in what ever way I need her too...but they don't really get a respite from these duties. Everyone is aware of my plight. Not many are aware of the stress it has placed on my family, don't get me wrong. Kate and I have, in some ways, grown closer together due to this accident. I am amazed by her and her strength throughout this entire ordeal, as well as that of my boys. They have been amazing and I can't wait to find someway to repay them for all I have put them through this past year. I'm thinking as soon as possible I need to take them on a well deserved vacation.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Good Day

It's been a good day. We were able to get out and enjoy this nice weather with Kate's son a little bit, I cannot wait until I have my leg and can really get out and play with both our boys. Monday will be a great day. I get to start the fitting process starting Monday. I already know that they are going with a socket that will be vacuum sealed to my leg. It will have a pump that suctions air out of the socket with every step. According to my prosthesist this will allow for a better fit and reduce residual swelling of my stump through out the day. I am feeling much more optimistic about my future. I still don't know if I'll be able to return to work, but as I have said before now, finally, this is an aspect that I can control. It is up to me to push myself and put in the work necessary for this to come to fruition. I'm not kidding myself, I know that this is going to be the hardest thing I have ever done. I don't expect to hop in there and come running out on day one, but I do expect to celebrate the little wins and learn from the failures...I've tried to do that my whole life. Although, as anyone who has worked with me before knows, I am my biggest critic, I find issue in everything I do, so I'm going to have to learn to go a bit easier on myself I guess.

For now, I'm going to get off of here and watch Indiana Jones with Kate...everyone be safe out there in internet land, and those working tomorrow be safe with the impending snow coming to the Kentucky area.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Victory!!!

So, I got a very surprising call today. The medical director from Humana Insurance called me, I didn't answer the phone, since I was expecting the call to be my denial of services and had nothing nice to say to this man. After listening to the voicemail, that little voice inside my head told me to go ahead and call. I'm very happy that I did. Thanks to them reading this blog, multiple twitter comments on their twitter site, and the news coverage I have received, not to mention my job and the varied tasks that I must do...Humana completely reversed their position and have approved everything. Including my microprocessor Otto Bock Genium knee and everything that attaches to it. That's right...soon I am going to become the Prosthetic Medic....It's almost here. After months of toil and fighting my dream has been realized and it's up to me to make it come true now. All the questions have been answered except do I have it in me to make this a reality.

I happily called Kentucky Prosthetics only to be told that they had already received the call, they were excited and said this has been the easiest time they have had trying to get the microprocessor knees approved. Humana is the last company to not have a process to get this technology and I hope with the approval of my prosthetic they are opening their eyes to the needs and wants of the people they are supposed to represent and take care of. An insurance company should function no differently than any other healthcare institution. We are taught at the beginning of EMT training, nursing school, or even medical school...we are to do what is in the best interest of our patients and fight for what is right for them. To be a patient advocate. I know this is a pipe dream, but if you are reading this and are in need of certain medical care...fight. I have reached out for every avenue to make this a reality, and thanks to your support, we have achieved this portion of the goal. I promise to all my readers, my family, and my friends, I am going to fight tooth and nail to get this mountain climbed.

Tonight, I get to end this post on cloud 9. I am going to rest easy tonight knowing that in a few weeks, it is up to me to do whatever is necessary to get this done and get on with my life. I want to thank everyone for all your help, but this is just a victory in a major battle, the war continues...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Medical Directors say the darndest things....

First, I want to thank everyone for their messages of support, both on here and my facebook and twitter accounts. For now, I am letting Kentucky Prosthetics handle the fight with Humana. That being said, once they say that I can speak out I may have to ask for a little more vocal support against this heartless company. It saddens me that we have gotten to a place in our country where the company's best interest goes above that of the patients best interest. I am now over my initial shock and breathlessness and now I'm ready for this fight. I'm utterly pissed that I was told that the company doesn't care if I function to the top of my ability, just so I can function somewhat. SOMEWHAT!!!!

Now, lets look at this. I could give up, take this mechanical knee and try my best to get back to work. The problem with this is, in a mechanical knee you can't go up and down stairs step over step, the weight restrictions are less, so I can't lift as much. Yes, if I was able to work out of a response car then maybe this would be possible. The problem is, this isn't a possibility for me where I am working right now. I enjoy where I work. I love working 911 in this city. I love the excitement of never having the same day twice. The joys of either working in the suburbs dealing with random "country" injuries and illnesses, then going down to the hood and treating gunshot wounds and "urban outdoorsmen." I love my job, I love my city. I will fight for this leg so I can return there. I'm blessed to have a fiance that is willing to fight this fight with me. She has been my rock, and continues to be right beside me through all of this. Now, I'm blessed enough to have a group of readers who I consider another source of inspiration. I don't want to let any of you down. Especially Kate and the rest of my family.

I know I have spoke of it before, but my old friends "fear and doubt" continue to creep in my head. They seem to walk hand in hand, trying to be detrimental to any progress I make, both physically and mentally. I have made the decision that I will let them stick around, I have discovered that they are great motivators. Neither one of them are necessarily bad, as long as you keep them under check. It's when you let your fear and doubt overshadow your drive and hope that the failures become too monumental to overcome. So tonight I end with this. Accept your fears, accept your doubts, they aren't going anywhere. They are going to continue to creep in, no matter what your are going through. No matter what fight you are fighting, you're going to continue to deal with these two little critters. So, instead of running from them or giving in to them, use them to strengthen your resolve. I know I am.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Denied

My resolve has been tested today. I have to admit, I got the wind knocked out of me. It's been quite awhile since I've let doubt creep in like it has today. I got a phone call from the company that I'm working with to get and fit my prosthetic. It seems Humana Insurance surprised them by not only denying my knee, but they denied everything. They denied the knee, the socket, the foot...everything that has to do with me walking. Humana is the only major insurance company left that does not provide a way to get the microprocessor controlled prosthetics, and their bullish actions have got me worried. They responded to my prosthesist that until they provide a request that includes a mechanical knee that is covered by Humana, they will continue to deny me. What does this mean for me you ask...it means my dream of being a paramedic stops here. Luckily, Kentucky Prosthetics isn't leaving at that. They have vowed to go above the head of the medical director of Humana and get me the knee I need. Just for the first time, the magnitude of what I am trying to achieve is hitting me in the face. I am worried that it may take much longer than anticipated to get me up walking. I would love to see this medical director face some of these decisions I am having to make only to have some guy reading a chart decide that he doesn't deserve what he needs to live the life he wants. Don't get me wrong. I'm not wishing this upon this man, I would never wish anything that I have went through on another human being. I just wish he could look at what his decisions do to the people. I have been assured that I have nothing to worry about, but when it deals with my life and the well being of my family I am going to worry. I just hate that as of right now there is nothing I can do. I am once again stuck and leaving the decisions that effect me and my family in the hands of somebody else. I trust the people at Kentucky Prosthetics. That's what made me decide to give them my business. So now, I am trusting them to get me what I need. Obviously, this creates a system of worry. I try not to let this get out, I put on my mask and pretend to be OK. Well, this knocked me down and I can assure you, right now, I am not OK with this. So, as we speak my first denial letter is on the way to Kentucky Prosthetics and they will take this to Louisville Metro Government to the lady who makes the decisions to over-ride Humana's decision. This could take months, they could decide that they want Humana to deny me 2 more times before they will step in. I'm praying that she will take into account what I am trying to achieve and have mercy. I'm just freaking out, because honestly, I don't know how Kate and I are going to make it, if we have to wait much longer. We are fighting tooth and nail, and luckily we have received donations from friends, family, and some of my readers. This has helped take some of the edge off, but this could last months longer than we expected, and I'm not sure how much longer people will be able to give. So, tonight I end this post broken and scared of tomorrow. I haven't felt this way since I was lying in the hospital with my original injury. I had always either been sitting still or moving forward, today I feel like I was knocked backwards. Tomorrow, I will get up and regroup, figure out what I can do to change their minds. Who knows, maybe the lady who decides my fate will stumble across my blog and see how determined I am. At any rate, tomorrow is a new day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Defiantly Optimistic

Rough day today, the GI bug has made it to the Prosthetic Medic household. Needless to say a panicked trip to the restroom is difficult for a one legged man. Now that you have that disturbing/hilarious stuck in your head we'll move on to the post for today.

Last night was rough as well, I have moved down a size with the stump shinker and my phantom pains have increased as a result. Strangely enough we've discovered that if I look into a mirror and Kate rubs my right leg it tricks my brain into thinking my left leg is being touched. This normally helps the phantom pains pass quicker than they would on their own. It's amazing how the human mind works. To go from this weird sensation of itching or cramping and have her rub the right leg and feel like its working on my left. Craziness I tell you.

So aside from the phantom pains and stomach bug, I am actually very excited. Yesterday, I was told that I should be walking in the next few weeks. The more I dwell on it and more excited it gets me. I am so excited at the prospect of being able to get up and walk without the assistance of a cane or crutches. To just decide I need to do something and be able to get up and do it is a freedom that I have missed beyond belief. Definitely something that most people take for granted. You never really think about the freedom of movement until it is taken away from you. It is something I will never take for granted again, and I'm sure those first few steps will be the most liberating since I had my first steps on a cane after the fixator was taken off. I have been a member of a few groups of people now that are cursed to have their movement limited. First I was stuck in the fixator, and although I could get around on a walker, it was such a limited amount of movement that I felt trapped. I graduated out of that to my next prison. I was stuck with foot drop, for those of you who don't know what that is...Foot drop is a condition where you can no longer dorsiflex your foot, or bring your toes towards your head. This means that your foot just dangles there without any nervous or muscle control. This is a very strange sensation to deal with as well, but one that has prepared me for walking without feeling the ground. Prior to my amputation I had no sensation below my knee. So, when walking I couldn't feel the ground and had to guess where my foot was in space. More than likely, since my prosthesist is using a vacuum system to hold my socket on, I'll have better proprioception that I did with my actual leg attached. Now I am moving into the next group I'll be in for the rest of my life. I am an amputee. I will be using a prosthetic to mimic a normal person's every day life. This is fitting for my lifestyle. I have never considered myself normal and now I have to say I am not. I am not normal for many reasons, and like a t-shirt I had many years ago, Normal People Scare Me. I am blessed to be in this situation. I have been given an opportunity to be abnormal again. I am taking a situation where most people would quit and get depressed, and instead I am pushing myself and I am excited. I get to prove people wrong. I have a set group of people in my head that I think of when I feel like quitting. The people who want me to quit, who want me to fail, so they don't have to deal with me. Congrats, you are my motivation. You are my driving force. Yes, I am driven by my family and friends, who want to see me succeed...but I have to say. I want to see the look a few peoples faces when I WALK in and they have to deal with the repercussions of my victory.

So, as I end tonight, I will quiet my defiant tone and end appropriately on this Valentines Day. Kate, I love you. Happy Valentines Day I am alive because of you and am blessed that I get the honor of spending the rest of my life with you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mountain Climbing

I took the night off last night to spend time with Kate. I needed the time to let my brain rest. That being said, today was a huge step forward in my journey toward my goal. First, we went to Dr Ross to get my first post op check up and to have the staples and sutures removed. I was joined by one of the staff members at Kentucky Prosthetics whom I am using for my prosthetic care. After the staples were removed, Dr Ross tested my mobility of my stump and is very pleased with the functionality and progress that I have. We then went to Kentucky Prosthetics to have the first of many measurements for my socket, the portion of the prosthetic that will actually slide over my stump and attach to the prosthetic knee. I was thrilled to hear that the goal is to have me up and walking on my own in the next 4 weeks. They expect to be denied my Humana today for my knee, which is the first step in getting the city of Louisville to step in and approve me for the Genium knee that I need so desperately. The plan B, if you will, is to order the microprocessor knee that is one step down from the Genium, the C-Leg. While the Genium nearly guarantees that I can return to work, the C-Leg just means I have to work harder to overcome my physical limitations, since I won't have a leg to do that for me. I'm nervous about all of this. I won't pretend that I know anything about insurance or how approvals and appeal processes work, all I know is that this is the final piece of the puzzle that is stopping my rehab. This is the last cog in a complex series of gears I have placed over the last 9 months to try to do the impossible. Well, seemingly impossible to me. I am ready to start this ascent, I think I know how a hiker feels the weeks before the biggest climb of his life, the mental preparation, the physical preparedness, and the gut wrenching nerves that build when he thinks about it. I am about to climb this mountain, I am prepared for the climb. That doesn't make this any less nerve wrenching or make me any less afraid of the fall. For me, falling doesn't mean sliding down the mountain side and plummeting over the edge, I've done that already. I've had my fall, to me the fall means failure. Failing to live up to the high expectations I have set, failing to take to the prosthetic like I want to, even failing to get the prosthetic I have built my mind around getting. There are so many pitfalls in this journey. So many places that I can trip up and fall flat on my face. I realize that there are going to be set backs, it would be foolish to think that I'm just going to strap on this leg and take off, I know that is an unrealistic goal. I have decided I will celebrate the small victories. Today, I celebrate moving down a size  in stump shrinkers and getting my staples out. So, for those reading this...take the time to celebrate any small victories you may have accomplished today. I know today I won these small battles and small victories end up in winning large wars.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Time Out

Today has been my day to rest. I pushed myself kinda hard yesterday, so today I have done absolutely nothing. I microwaved dinner, I played playstation, and I napped. I woke up with an uneasy feeling. I was kinda disappointed in myself for not accomplishing anything today. I have decided to forgive myself for this. One day of relaxation is not a failure, I'm not dooming myself by taking a day to rest...even God took one day off. I just worry so much about disappointing someone, mostly disappointing my family. I don't want to look back and say "That's the reason I didn't get to the top of the mountain." That is one of my biggest fears, being able to look back and have failures that I did nothing to correct. I'm also afraid of taking this and letting it become who I am. Right now, I have absorbed this identity while I try to find it's place inside the conglomeration that is "Joe." I don't want to let it become my identity. I've never liked being able to be sorted into a category. Reflecting today I have realized that I am letting the amputation become who I am, it has consumed me. I understand that for awhile I have to let it take it's place on the front burner, but I can still stir my other pots while it's cooking. I am blessed that some of you have donated your hard earned money to help me achieve my goals, and if I make this my primary identity then I have failed you too. To accomplish this goal I will be "The Prosthetic Medic," but more than that I want to get back to being who I was before my life changed back in May. That has been the most tragic part of this accident to me, not losing my leg, but losing who I am. I have been forced inside and my normally optimistic, upbeat personality has, at times, been crushed. That is what hurts me when I look back on the past 9 months, I have let my injury change who I am. I have lost a few battles, but I am going to win this war. I will return to who I was, who I am. I'm blessed to have a fiance' and a family that stands behind me through this and helps me realize when I am straying from the path that I need to be on. Also, they show me that sometimes I have to stop and breathe and realize how far I have came in such a relatively short period of time. I'm still scared about where I'm going. I'm scared about money and mostly about not returning to where I want to be. I can say that, reflecting on where I started, I have been fighting tooth and nail for 9 months and I don't see that stopping anytime soon.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Limitations and Memories

I hate being reminded of my limitations, especially when they reach out and smack me in the face. I'm trying my best to take some of the burden off of Kate. Since she is the primary breadwinner right now, I'm trying to pull my weight by doing the dishes, laundry, cooking, and buying the groceries. Today was my first try at doing these things on my own. My body has quickly reminded me that I cannot do things like I once did. Aside from being absolutely wore out, I was also reminded that I can't stay on my feet as long as I once did. I was able to go to the grocery store, gotta love those little motorized carts. I felt like drag racing, except for the fact that they move slower than honey in a snow storm. I was able to get the few groceries we could buy right now, but then came the challenge. Not only did I struggle getting them into the car, I found out that when I got home I was at a loss for how I was going to move them from the car to the house. I managed, by carrying one bag at a time around my wrist and using my crutches. I have come to terms with the fact that people are going to stare and whisper behind my back as I go by, I know that people in this city aren't as used to seeing amputee's without their prosthetics as they are in cities with more active duty military presence. What gets to my self esteem is realizing that I am not able to take this weight from Kate like I want to. I will get some of these things done, I refuse to let this stop me. I'm just not used to not doing things the way I want to. If I do manage to get some things done, I find that I am using triple the amount of energy it used to take me. I want to go back to work light duty, but honestly, I don't know how much I can do even sitting  behind a computer desk. I may see if I can go back for half days until I am acclimated to the energy expenditure I have now.

On a brighter note, I'm looking forward to Monday. Not only do I get my staples out, well the exact words were most of the staples should be ready to come out, but I also get started on getting my socket fitted. I feel like this is another great step forward towards my goal of getting back onto the streets. I still feel my heart swell up at the sound of a siren, letting my imagination drift into thinking about what's going on in the back of that truck. Exercising my mind as to what would I do in this situation or that situation. I find myself reliving the runs of my past, you know the ones that stick with you, either you did something right or something wrong and for whatever reason, despite making thousands of runs since then, these runs are still vivid in my mind. I'm constantly taken back to a pediatric full arrest I made at a school. Toeing the line of HIPPA all I will elaborate on is that I was able to regain a pulse on this boy, who so reminded me of my son. I guess it's because I had just bought the same shoes for my boy a few days prior to finding myself in the back of this ambulance with him. I remember fighting back tears when that fact made it's way past my medical emotional shut off, wiping the  tears from my eyes and fighting tooth and nail to get this child intubated and medications on board. Then getting that cautiously optimistic feeling when we regained a pulse and the feeling of pride when I went to see him a week later and he was extubated and talking to me. His mother's hug is a feeling I will cherish forever. I get these emotions flooding back when I think about my goal. When I look up at the peak of this mountain I am trying to climb. These memories, both good and bad, are anchor points, so when I slip I don't fall too far, because I can rely on these memories to refill my determination and shrug off these little losses I suffer daily. In my career I have had the terrible job of letting family members know that there is nothing I can do for their loved one. I want to fight for these people I couldn't save, so I can learn from my mistakes and save the next one. From my fall I have learned that while so many of us suffer burnout in a career that offers little to no thanks, and not nearly enough pay, considering me leave our families day and night to protect the families of strangers; yet a quick cure from burnout is to have all this taken away from you. I cannot wait to prove myself again. I know that I have an uphill battle and that I will be forced to prove myself in more ways than one. I'm still going to do this. I have too, I have to do this for the ghosts of memories that are stuck in my head. I will return...In the words of Arnold...I'll be Back!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Prosthetic Medic...on the small screen

So I made my television debut last night. Wave 3 news here in Louisville did an interview with me, regarding my goal to return to work post amputation. Apparently people are interested and some what amazed that I want to return to work on the streets as a paramedic as an amputee. I stressed that I know this is going to be hard and that I am up to the challenge. The interviewer was somewhat amazed that I didn't want to go on disability or  just move to a desk job. The part I stressed that wasn't on TV was that once you work in EMS, there is a freedom there that you don't get anywhere else. There is a liberty in EMS that no other profession affords you. As a medic you get to make the decisions about what type of treatment you're going to give to your patients. You decide when and what to do for each patient, sure you have protocols, but I've always viewed those as suggestions rather than a cookbook for how to treat. So, I have to return to my line of work, I can't see myself anywhere else. I also explained that the word "can't" is not in my dictionary. She got a laugh out of my country accent saying "Can't never could do nothing." So to all my EMS brothers and sisters, take pride in the work you do, we may not get the thanks or the pay we deserve, but we do a job that a number of people can't do. We are wired differently than most, we walk into danger instead of away from it. We get kicked, pushed, cursed at, puked on, and we still come in for the next shift without worrying about what that day will bring. I can't wait to get back on that truck. I miss my days of taking whatever dispatch dolls out. So if you haven't watched the story feel free to check it out. If you are able please think about donating a little money our way we need the help since I'm not bringing in a paycheck right now. Thank you all for all you have done thus far.

Oh wow, just found out that I was also on the radio and on TV in Lexington, Ky as well. I'm shocked it went outside our viewing area. Who knows maybe I'll get on the Today Show!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wave 3 News...I made the 11 o'clock news

http://www.wave3.com/story/16774937/louisville-amputee-hopes-to-return-to-work-as-paramedic

Thank you to Wave 3 News for allowing me to get my story out to the local community. Check out the story above. 


Stress with a side of Excitement

Excited and stressed today. The excitement is stemming from an email from my prosthetic company. Next monday, Dr Ross is going to take out the staples in my stump, then I will  be going to the prosthesist office to start the fittings for my socket. This means I am one step closer to getting my leg and starting the restoration of my self-esteem and mobility. They have the paper work drawn up to fight Humana for the prosthetic, to show why I am deserving of this technology. I hope Humana can see the advantages of paying for this prosthetic, this technology is my only chance at returning to the level of function I want to return to.

Now on to the stress. Normally I would be getting a paycheck this Friday...the only problem is that I am not. Thanks to the donations my bills are caught up till the end of the month. I just don't know how we are going to pay for the bills that are upcoming as well as groceries, gas, everyday expenses. This is the part of the surgery I was most concerned with. Learning to live and hoping to get my debtors to give us a break until I can get an income of some sort. I trust that things will work out. I am the eternal optimist and know that things will work out somehow. I am asking that if you are spiritual you remember Kate and I in your prayers, also, if you can donate anything please do. Kate is looking for another job but hasn't had any luck as of yet. Those are my worries and stresses, as well as my accomplishments.

For those following at home Kentucky Prosthetics is my prosthetic company. They are trying to get me the Otto Bock Genium knee and the Otto Bock Triton foot. Kate is excited about the foot since it has toes and I could wear a flip flop on my "Terminator Leg" as she calls it. I know things are going to work out and thanks to your generosity much of my stress has been and will be alleviated. I owe so much to you, my readers, and thank you for everything. Mostly reading my blog and giving me encouragement. Thank you all.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Racing the Clock

I haven't spoken much about work, aside from the fact that I am fighting to get back to being a paramedic. The fact is, not only do I want to be a paramedic, but I want to return to the job I held before I was forced to go down this path. The fact is I'm racing against the clock. The problem is this clock has two different times. One is my 1 year date from my date of injury, which is May 8th. The issue is that on this day my employer has the right to fire me. With termination I am going to lose more than my employment, I lose my insurance, and my pension. The second date is October 30th. This is the day I started back to "modified duty," a fancy way of saying I went back to work behind a computer desk and crunched data regarding our performance with Cardiac Arrests. If they choose to use this date as my last date of employment, then it gives me much more of a chance to achieve my goals. I know these are lofty aspirations, and the chance of me coming back to this employer is slim. The fact is, I love where I work and the people I work with. I want to remain here. I have had an offer at another agency. That is a comfort, knowing that despite what I am going through, I have a place to go. I just hope that I can do all these things I am hoping for and not let down those around me. Although, what I am most looking forward to is being able to walk down the isle and wait for my beautiful bride. I can't wait to marry her, in one year she has seen me through a heart cath (it was stress and ruled out as stress induced angina), my fall and subsequent surgeries, and now my amputation and recovery. All the way through this she has been my rock, my support. I couldn't ask for more. I am going to spend the rest of my life happily trying to repay her for the year of Hell I have put her through. Between Kate, my family, and friends they have all been through a lot with me this year. I am blessed and welcome the challenges ahead. I owe them that much. I know this isn't going to be easy, so I'm trying to take things one day at a time. Today, I rested and just tried to do some stretching to loosen up the muscles in the stump. They are very sore and tight today, after the workout they got yesterday. I have to get this swelling down before they can fit me for the socket that will attach to the prosthetic. I hate not knowing what day I'm going to be let go from work, or if I am going to be let go at all. All this uncertainty is too stressful, I try not to think about it, but it's always in the back of my mind. Knowing that as soon as this decision is made I lose my insurance. Then I'm still stressing about how we are going to afford to pay for our normal bills and the added expenses of my insurance out of pocket. I'm praying that I win the lottery, just need to start playing...Anyway. That's all I got on my mind today. Until next time.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Update 2/6/12

Short post today. More of an update than my normal waxing philosophical. PT came today, I'm doing quite well and he's very pleased with my progress. It hurts more than I expected when I started, still can't lie on my stomach without excruciating pain shooting through my leg. My soon to be step son really enjoys the exercise where he gets to throw a ball to me on various sides. We did this last night during the Super Bowl and he really enjoyed himself. I'm glad that I'll be able to get my boys involved in my rehab. It lets them have fun with me and lets me work on  healing. After the pain I felt today I know I have a very long and painful road ahead of me. That's all for tonight. Going to spend some much needed time with Kate after she gets off work. I'll be back tomorrow. Goodnight all.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Learning to Fail...

Who knows you? I mean really knows you? Who do you tell your intimate secrets too? I know my answer to this question. It's great to have that one person in your life who has seen you at your best and worst and loves you equally for both of these people. That person who has seen you without your mask on. We all wear masks, we walk out the door and cover up our true identities and feelings to spare those of the strangers around us. Don't believe me...next time you go to the store and the clerk asks how you are, tell the truth and see how quickly things get uncomfortable. Some days my mask gets to heavy to wear, it's these days that Kate helps me recharge and quickly reminds me that 1.) You're human, you're allowed to be upset, depressed, and most of all you're allowed to be happy. 2.) She reminds me that I'm not who people want me to be. I am who I am and if people don't like it, then they can get over it or get out. I've learned that due to the issues I'm having with self-image post surgery, it's very important for me to realize that I don't have to be "The Prosthetic Medic" yet, all I have to do is get better. Take my time and heal, both mentally and physically. It's easy for me to want to get ahead of myself and push myself harder than I need to, just to try to make you, the collective public and friends, proud of me. I've always pushed myself to be the best. I wanted to be an EMT, so I was top of the class, I wanted to be a Paramedic, so same story. My main goal was to be that medic that when I arrived on scene my coworkers could breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I was going to take control and it would be done right. Now that I'm fighting to make it back, I have the same drive. Now that I'm an amputee, I want to be the best one-legged medic ever. I want to people to be able to say that "You'd never know he was an amputee if he didn't own it." So, luckily I have my girl to bring me down to earth and keep me focused and not crushed when I don't make it to a benchmark I've set for myself.

Oh and for those following at home, Bryson was here this weekend. He asked to see and touch my leg, then he was fine and just went off to play. His biggest concern now is that I get my "robot leg" so we can go to the zoo and play. That's all for tonight. Till next time. Same amp time same amp channel.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Post op...iHop shirt...Thanks Mary

Kids say the darndest things....

Attempted going out on my own today. Just got out and drove and went into a store or two. Not to shop, just trying to learn how to move around on the crutches and dealing with the gawking from strangers. One of the more amusing things today was a little girl, probably 7 or 8 years old, saw me hopping on my crutches and exclaimed loudly "What happened to you!!!" Her mother was mortified of course. I found it cute, I just told her I was in a bad accident and her mother rushed her away. This is what amazes me about children. They say what they see and if they have a question they are going to ask. This is a fresh change from the strange glances and whispered words from adults. Why is it that we are afraid to ask questions, but we are quick to pass judgement silently. The innocence of children is amazing and Bill Cosby is correct, they do say the darndest things. I'm sure my absentee limb was the topic of conversation inside the car on the way home.

This is a welcome change from my second experience with an outspoken person today. I was using one of those motorized carts at a store and yes, it was slow, but move around me. Instead this lady decided to walk behind me talking about how this grown man was using this cart when someone else could, then realizing I was missing a limb, chose to describe me as a cripple who should get out of her way. Of course there were some other choice words peppered in, so I decided to stand up for myself, actually this just included standing up and her realizing that she is 5 foot nothing and I'm 6 feet tall with one foot off. She cowered and ran away. I just don't understand people. I didn't have to say anything, and hopefully she will choose better battles in the future.

No news on the prosthetic front or work front yet. Still waiting these answers. This is the hardest part...I'm not a very patient person, so I really hate waiting. I have another week before the staples come out. I've started my PT and it's going very well. I'm getting stronger and can't wait till I'm learning to use that prosthetic and I am going to become the Prosthetic Medic. It's going to happen. I am going to make this work. Till tomorrow...

Friday, February 3, 2012

10,000 Views!!!

Wow...big day. 10,000 views. I'm amazed and feel quite blessed to be sitting here. When I started writing this I never dreamed that anyone would want to read what I have to write. This is my therapy. It's just a much cheaper way to get things off my chest than paying a therapist to let me lie on their couch and say the same things. Now down to business.

Today is a great day. I got my son, and much to my surprise, he isn't scared at all. From the scared little boy on the other side of my phone, to the little boy who ran up and hugged me today there is a 180 degree turn. He asked to see the staples and touch my leg. He's excited for me to get my new robot leg. I am relieved to say the least. I expected crying and a sheepish little boy who wouldn't want anything to do with me. I'm glad that's not the boy we picked up today. The insights of children are amazing, I asked him if he was scared, he told me that he was afraid while driving up to meet me, but when he saw me I'm just the same daddy. A very relieved daddy. I'm looking forward to this fight. I feel like the contender to a championship belt that I know I can win. I know that this fight is going to be more of a war than a battle. I'm lucky to have many people in my corner and know that I can do this. I won't say that I'm not scared. To say that would be foolish. I know that I'm going to fall. I know that some days I'm going to fail. The issue with failing is what you do with it. You either take the failure and run away or you take the failure, learn from it, and come at things from a different angle. This is one of the greatest things practicing medicine has taught me. Not every method works for every patient. Some times you have to get innovative, and when in doubt...duct tape.

Also, I have to say this. Please remember the caretakers. Those that give up so much to take care of someone else. I am blessed to have Kate in my corner. She works so hard to right this entire ship while I'm under the deck trying to get better. Those of us in medicine are much better at being the caregiver than the patient, and Kate and the rest of my family is stuck with dealing with a paramedic who is fighting tooth and nail to get back on the street. Which means, not listening to what I'm supposed to be doing and pushing myself harder than I should. She's a great woman and I have a wonderful family to put up with this. Anyway, till tomorrow...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Falling Down

Today has been rough to say the least. I experienced my first of many falls today. The fall, although painful, wasn't as bad as what it concreted in my head. That impact slammed into my head the finality of my situation. Without the aid of a device I am no longer able to just get up and get out like I want to. I find myself trying to balance and juggle things while maintaining using the walker. The physical therapist wants me up on crutches as soon as possible, and while this represents a huge step in locomotion, it does nothing to help me gain that full independence I want so badly. I wish I could take the burden of care from those around me and have that freedom I want so badly. I have spent the last almost 9 months having to get around on some appliance and have people get things for me. I just want to be able to walk again. I know I have lofty aspirations, but those first steps unassisted will be like a weight lifted off of my back, liberating if you will. I dream of that day. The day I no longer have to ask Kate to be my fiance' and my caretaker. While I'm sure there will be set backs, and she and I will revert to these roles we know so well, I yearn for those days. I wish while we are in between visits I had a way to just take off for a couple of days. Just get out of town and away from the everyday fact of my current existence. I know this is impossible at the moment. A pipedream if you will. I know that in the coming months this pipedream I will be able to make a reality. We have a goal of within the next five years we want to go to Ireland. We'll see if we can make it happen. I've wrote about it before, but the stress placed on caretakers can sometimes be worse than the stress placed on the patient. They have to balance everything while the other focuses on healing. I am blessed to have such a loving, caring woman to take on these roles. She has done nothing short of amaze me.

The concrete evidence of this new life I am going to be dealing with, the wind knocked out of me lying on my back in my living room floor. I had to take a moment, to just look up at the ceiling and ask what have I done. Once the initial emotion passed, I am still resolute that I have done the right thing. My physicians all agree that I have done the right thing, and the ultimate outcome would have been the same no matter the path taken to get here. Although, one cannot help but ask why and wonder what if. Those are two questions I don't go one day without asking. I think anyone with a permanent life change has to ask these things. In those few moments lying there I realized that this life change is not my own, it's Kate's, it's my family's, my friend's. It belongs to all of us, because I rely on all of them in order to make this work. So tonight I end with a few words that are more powerful than most. Thank you and I love you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gonna be a good day!!!!

Good day. I was able to get out for awhile with my mom, to the DMV, but it was out. Tried my luck in one of the lovely motorized buggys, I can see myself getting into trouble with this. Got good news from my new physical therapist, he is very impressed with my physical shape and recovery already. Only have to see him once a week and I get to make the transition from the walker to crutches. Watch out the Prosthetic Medic is about to get a little more mobile!!! There is still a huge learning curve to overcome here. I'm still very apprehensive and terrified of falling. I know I'm going to fall, that's a given. I was even instructed to "learn to fall," this could get ugly quick, at least this training doesn't begin until I get the staples out.

For the first time in a very long time, I am cautiously optimistic. I finally feel like things are moving in forward direction instead of spinning my wheels. I have learned throughout this ordeal that the biggest opponent to healing and mental health is stagnation. Stagnation in any operation is difficult to overcome, like I said yesterday you have to adapt. Adaptation is difficult and nearly impossible when you aren't moving forward or backward. I am so blessed to have made it through these months of no momentum to jump right into making huge strides forward. I am aware that I have to be honest with myself and know that I am going to suffer set backs, and as much as I prepare for it, it will still hurt and be hard to deal with. I'm not focusing on that now, now I am cautiously looking positively at the future. I am going to get through this and because I have went through this life changing ordeal it will take me and my family to places we never dreamed of...well a man can dream. I just hope it takes me back to playing outside with my boys and the back of the ambulance. Till tomorrow...