Thursday, December 21, 2006
Holiday Parties and Old Friends
While I was at a holiday party over the weekend I commented to a friend that if I didn't have any inspiration this week you, my loyal readers, might be subjected to an in depth description of what it was like to finally urinate standing up! (The guys who read this should understand how important that is, ladies, I just don't think you can fully grasp it.) A year ago one of my goals was to get to a toilet instead of using a hand held urinal or a bed pan. Since the addition of the legs one of the goals has actually been to urinate standing up. It wasn't until the last few weeks that I was able to meet that goal. (Luckily, I've had some inspiration, so I'm not going into a detailed description of how this goal was achieved.)
Last weekend I went to a few holiday parties. The first was a gathering of my high school best friend's family. Mark and his wife Lauren came into town on Friday night and our friend Kelly Clements took me over to see them on Saturday. The wheelchair stayed in the car while we visited with the Hatfields for a couple of hours and then headed to our next party in Crawfordsville.
A few weeks ago an ex-girlfirend from high school reached out to invite me to a holiday party at her house. Several of the "old gang" was in attendance. These were people that I had met in junior high but hadn't seen since we graduated in '93 and went our separate ways. (There were also several people I had never met but look forward to seeing again next year.) It was touching to me to see the concern in their eyes as I walked into the house. However, in a short time the concern changed to acceptance and we moved around the house from time to time to escape the raucous noise of the children. My old friend Kevin quickly took on the role of chair holder and crutch keeper as I moved from place to place. Kelly (who is like a sister to me) was my driver for the night. She also nominated herself my wife for the night as she inevitably would ask if I needed water whenever she saw a beer in my hand and insisted that I rest when I was on my feet a lot.
The remainder of the week has been extremely busy as Mark and his Mom dragged me around town. They seemed to find new ways to test my skills. Walking at different restaurants, sitting in and standing up from a recliner, walking at a couple of bookstores, and my first trip to the mall. The majority of the time we left the wheelchair behind, although, we did need it at the mall due to the long period of time I was on my feet. During the college years Mark and I grew apart and I lost my connection with his family so it has been very special for me to have them involved in my recovery.
I returned to the burn unit yesterday for a follow up with Dr. Sood. The staff was overjoyed to see me walking around in the waiting room. Other than going from the building to the parking garage I walked the whole time. Dr. Sood was happy with my progress and doesn't need to see me until April.
To cap the week off Mark took me to Wishard for therapy today. I hadn't been there for a while so the receptionist cried when I walked off the elevator. Mark and I went straight to the parallel bars where I started to practice walking with one hand. Renee joined us after she finished with her previous patient. When she came around the corner she grabbed the crutches and asked me to walk down the hall. When she noticed my pants she let out an expletive and then rolled them up so that her new patient could see my legs as I walked by, and understand what a feat it really is. (This is actually one of the reasons why I prefer to wear shorts; I also find that people are more careful around me when they see the prostheses.)
The therapy visit ended with a walk from the parallel bars to the elevator, standing in the elevator as it descended from the fourth floor to the first, and then from the elevator to the exit door a long way down the hall. As I approached the exit door it occurred to me that I had never made it that far before. We've attempted it many times but I've never gone the distance. I was ready to sit when I got to the door, partly because it was raining outside and I didn't want to add wet pavement and puddles to my list of obstacles, but also because I was getting tired at that point. I wasn't completely out of energy but, with the rain and all, I didn't see a need to push it. However, that walk, and the week of running around with Mark and his Mom really opened my eyes to how much improvement I really have made. By the way, it's now Friday morning, so I guess I'm late again, unless, of course, you're on the west coast. Merry Christmas!
As we celebrate the miracle of Christ's birth this holiday season, we will keep in our thoughts other of God's miracles - no small one is the miracle of you, Jeremy.
It impresses me the most Jeremy that you have looked at your obstacles with an open mind. Because putting your mind into doing something will only help you heal and move forward.
Your celebrating Christmas with family and friends this year, that in itself is one major obstacle you have mastered. I'm so proud of you.
Some people would look back on the year 2006 as a turning point or a year filled with regrets, sorrows or a joyous occasion. I look at the year as a year filled with more promises of what tomorrow will bring...I hope you will join me in that conclusion.
You have never left my thoughts or prayers and that will continue my friend...
May you have a joyous Christmas and a safe new year celebration. Now, go pee in that special bathroom of yours...had to get that one somewhere in this blog.
Merry Christmas and happy new year,
It's amazing to hear how far you have come since October of 2005 and I'm sure you are an inspiration to others at the Rehab Center who are working on overcoming their personal obstacles for whatever the reason.
In all seriousness though...last year we were all very concerned about your survival and this year we were so overjoyed and blessed to welcome you into our home. Those who already knew you were amazed, and those who didn't know you were moved to tears when they finally put two and two together (Oh THIS is the guy we've been praying for!).
One reason why I started "THE CHRISTMAS PARTY" (yes, its worth the caps) was because I was tired of seeing my old friends at only weddings and funerals. The year after Harmony died I decided we need to celebrate LIFE.
It's a noisy time, sometimes raunchy, full of children's laughter, and goes from one end of the spectrum to the other. Pagan, Baptist, amputees and realtors (hahaha)...but it's life. We welcome you with open arms of course, this year and every year.
Violet (and Matt and the boys)
What can I say. You have come such a long way from this time last year.You truly are an inspiration to us all.You have a very Merry Christmas and continue to reach all of your goals for for 2007.
Love your friend
The miracle in progress continues to make HUGH strides forward.We are so excited for you and pray that God will continue to hold your hand.Merry Christmas to you and your family from
With all our love,
Betty and Bill Lusk
WE'll always think about you with love and admiration take are my friend
Ana & Manny
I hope you remember me - we played together alot as childrem and your parents are my godparents. Its Elizabeth (Knarzer) Bitz. I was fortunate enought to see your parents several years ago when we were in Indy, but missed you and Sarah. I remember hearing about your successful job and travels. I looks like you have been put on a different road this past year, but are finding success still.
My mother called after your accident to tell me what happened, and I want you to know that after crying I prayed for you regularly. I never did get this website though so that I could stay updated. I was happy to receive it in the Christmas letter from your parents.
You are truly blessed to have been carried through this ordeal and it looks like you are handling it so well. What a miracle that you could enjoy Christmas with your family this year!
We are living in Louisville now (my husband Doug, daughter Madeline, and son Lukas). When we get up to Indy I will have to contact your parents and set up a visit with you and Sarah. By the way, you may not know that Sarah's Madeline was born a year to the day before my Madeline. I am sure they would have lots of fun together just like all of us did as kids.
May God continue to strengthen you in your recovery.