The Comeback: Part 1
Most days are easy.
Well…its never, “easy”. But most days are relatively manageable.
Waking up is always a process. I awake to the feeling of someone stabbing my left foot viciously with a piping hot, razor sharp knife…but am reminded upon opening my eyes that I no longer have a left foot. Its never a friendly reminder…but its most certainly an eye-opening one, especially when you have just opened your eyes.
I like to stick to a tightly structured routine; hence why I didn’t waste much time grieving and frolicking around in the hospital. Since I can remember, I have risen to the sound of brutal alarms in the waking hours of the day and trained. Being a creature of habit, I reform to what is routine.
I hate my crutches…but hate sympathy and excuses even more, so I have developed a way to stay mobile on one leg without crutches; I hop. I hop all around my apartment prepping my day…the neighbors downstairs probably hate me.
You’d never think, but things take twice as long when you are performing them on one leg. Tasks as simple as brushing your teeth are exhaustive…especially when balance and supporting yourself on one arm are involved. Once I am dressed and have all 103 pills that I take in the course of a day organized…im out the door…headed to train at the gym.
Usually I’m headed out to the track, warming up each and every muscle involved as I can see my breath evaporate from my mouth in the brisk morning weather. I close my eyes, and before each sprint, I imagine I’m chasing someone down. A ballcarrier has sprung free, and I am my teams last chance at keeping him out of the endzone. A masked man has harmed the ones that I love most…its time to chase him down to return the favor. I collapse into my stance and violently explode outward. I surpass the acceleration phase and can feel my legs begin to cycle beneath me…this is where I excel. The stride involved with being 6’5 is highly advantageous…that is if you know how to use it to your advantage.
I begin to gain on my prey. Like a lion on the heels of a gazelle; dinner is almost served. I feel my injecting force into the ground. My heart is voraciously pumping away. Every hair on my body is raised and my eyes are dilated as widely as humanely possible. Deep down, in the pit of my stomach I can feel it: the fatigue. It sets in and suddenly every cell in my body is on fire. The burning reaches my lungs…I can no longer breathe. No matter the pain involved, my eyes never leave the prize. I steadily move closer to my target. 3…closer; 2…fingertips away; 1…
The door swings open and I crutch my way into the crowded gym…all goes quiet and every eye in the room suddenly jerks in my direction. This feeling of attention is quite familiar…however its never been on the level I currently find it.
Regardless of who is there and who is watching…I came to do one thing; I came to train. My femur is still broken in 4 places and hurts if I sit down…so I don’t; a phenomenon that every person sitting down conversing finds flabbergasting. I am still nursing an open wound that is highly susceptible to infection, so I am restricted from entering the pool. My only form of cardio comes from not resting…so I don’t. In 30 minutes I accomplish what my bipedal counterparts would finish in 2 hours. I know gyms are for recreational fitness…but every person in that gym, every elderly old man, every desperate housewife, everyone is my competition. Todays game is effort…a game in which I wont be beat.
30 minutes later, I leave the gym. My clothes are saturated in sweat. My muscles are swollen with blood. I am fatigued beyond belief and slightly lightheaded. Amputees require up to 40% more oxygen than normal people and I am no exception. Every time my crutches hit the ground and my body swings through, I require a small break to breathe. I am exhausted. As if I had just swam to the surface from the bottom of the ocean, I desperately gasp for air. Im exhausted…and its never felt so damn good.
The doctors said I should still be in bed…my body has decided differently. This is my grind and I wouldn’t want it any different. Through every adverse day…I am gifted with the chance of redemption. I push on, I fight forward, I never give up…so naturally, most days are easy.
Today is the exception.
My mind races a million miles a minute. Deep down in the pit of my stomach, the stress begins to sink in. So many things to do…so little time. Life is always tough, but it seems to get tougher on one leg.
After dealing with all I dealt with regarding the accident, dealing with all of the horrors of the hospital, and becoming acclimated to being a newborn amputee…if you were to tell me that the war had just began…I would have thought you were crazy.
Unfortunately…I am the crazy one. The bills pile high. The insurance case worker is constantly calling. The lawyers need me to accomplish some time sensitive task. My facebook inbox has over 100 new messages. My phone is ringing off the hook. I’ve got a flight to Europe to cancel, a prayer to pray to somehow get out of jury duty, and about 30 people I need to call back.
Overwhelmed: Definition – my life right now.
It wouldn’t be so bad, if I wasn’t getting laid off in 8 days. I begin to think…and that’s when I get in trouble. I have about 1000 questions that need answering, but the most imperative would have to be, “What do about insurance now that I am no longer an employee?”
Deep down…its growing; not in size, but in density. Like a star on its deathbed, the white hot core begins to magnetically attract all matter in its surrounding. The stress devours all of my being and I can feel myself slowly succumb to its evil.
What will happen to me? Better yet, why is this happening to me?
Its ironic. The guy who likely uses his leg more than anybody…loses it.
The self-pity and self-loathing sets something off. Like a supernova, the core of stress deep in me explodes and I lose all control. I can no longer think with a strain of sanity. The negativity inundates my being. I can feel myself sinking. The light at the end of the tunnel becomes smaller and smaller.
A life-preserver is tossed my way. While am at war overseas, she is fighting domestically. When I begin to doubt myself and stray away from positivity, she puts me back on course. I am a dominant force to be reckoned with on my own, but with her…I am unbeatable.
She pulls me out of the depths of self-loathing and I am back on my feet (or foot). Unconquerable…I set out for another battle…and that’s how the war will be won…one battle at a time.