Sunday, March 16, 2008


Happy Birthday to Me! (a few days late)

Well, it's been a while. I've started to do a post a number of times since the last one, but keep getting interrupted. Every time I've started, things have changed and the posts I began were no longer relevant. When I last left you I filled you in on the fact that I've begun a search for a new position. Unfortunately, the search continues. However, it's moving in a positive direction.

As I had said, Sodexo (my employer), is actively working with me to try to find a solution that will allow me to stay with them. This past week I attended a conference in Phoenix that was focused on networking and professional development. This was a tremendous opportunity for me to meet some very influential people and discuss some options. I'm going to speak with these individuals some more, and will probably put together a proposal for a new position that doesn't currently exist. (I have no idea how to do that! Guess I'm about to learn.)

While at the conference I attended a workshop led by the owner of a leadership consulting firm. When he heard my story he asked if I would mind talking to the attendees about my experiences. I wound up giving a 30 minute presentation!

This was the first time that I had traveled for business since the accident. I've gotta admit that I was very apprehensive about this trip. It went well; I'm now much more comfortable with the idea of travelling alone, but it really took a lot out of me! My return flight from Phoenix to Indy departed at 6:50pm on Wednesday the 12th. I arrived in Indy at 1:19am on Thursday the 13th. (my birthday)

I had thought about staying in Phoenix for one more night, but didn't want to spend 6 hours (due to the time change) of my birthday on a plane. Of course, I wound up sleeping until about 11am, but it was nice to wake up in my own bed! I had a relaxing day at home, and then enjoyed a great birthday dinner with the family at Mom and Dad's. I also got all the birthday gifts I wanted, including (but not limited to) a bottle of Talisker Scotch, a very special gift from Madeline, and new shelving units for my garage! (My garage has been a pit since the accident.)

I should not have gotten out of bed on the day after my birthday. (I think I may make staying in bed on March 14th a new ritual!) I wasn't feeling well; this was due to the germs on the airplane and lack of sleep. (I haven't partied like a rock star since my 30th birthday!) I decided that I didn't want to miss my PT session so I got out of bed (big mistake). I was a total klutz from the moment I got up.

First I kept dropping things in the bathroom (it's not fun to reach things on the floor from the wheelchair.) Then I tried to put a leg on without the pin that locks them in place. Then I realized that I hadn't changed my shoes. (Brown loafers and black socks don't go with blue workout shorts!) After I got the shoes changed, I put my left leg into the shorts and then attached the leg (this time with the pin). I then put the right leg into the shorts and tried to put it on, but it wouldn't get into the position to put it on. That's when I realized I had put the left leg in the pant leg that the right leg should go in and also had the right leg in the same place! Had to start the process all over. To add insult to injury, when I finally had both legs in the proper pant legs, and the left leg attached (again!), the right leg wouldn't go on. I could get my limb into it, but the pin wouldn't go into the lock. After a few futile attempts I finally realized the lock was already closed. Once I opened the lock everything fell into place.

Resisting the urge to take everything back off and crawl into bed, I decided to take the chance and leave the house. I had no problems getting to Wishard, but I was about 10 minutes late to PT. (When I first got out of the shower I should have been about 15 minutes early.) From this point things started to take an upswing. I walked on a treadmill at 1.6 mph for 5 minutes, which was my goal. I also showed great improvement in static standing and overall balance. Renee was planning on discharging me, but decided to schedule one more visit to see if we can try the one handed walking trick again.

After PT I enjoyed a good lunch with some special company. The person was so engaging that I moved my Honda dealership appointment back two hours so I wouldn't have to end the conversation. Then I went to the Honda Dealership and took a nap while they did some maintenance on my car. I thought I was going to have to pay for the maintenance, but it was apparently covered by my warranty. (Nice surprise!)

On Saturday morning Mom and Dad brought the new shelving units over to the house and Jamie and I spent the afternoon organizing the garage. Dave and Michelle Wile came over to help too. I can now easily get around in my garage and have access to everything I need (and some things I don't)! So, with the exception of the morning after my birthday (henceforth known as Stay In Bed Day) my 33rd year is off to a good start. Let's see where it goes...

Most of us have days we should have "stayed in bed" but I'll bet not too many of us have the frustration that one in a wheelchair does! Thank you for your commentary on the events of the early morning day after your birthday. It helps to put our "bad starts to a day" in their proper perspective.
Maybe you should contact Steve Hartman and do a segment with him on his "America" series! Yours would be an inspirational story for many more than you could possibly reach on your own. If you haven't seen it, it airs on the CBS stations, CBS Evening News with Katie Kouric on Friday. He has some interesting and amazing stories of people, who like you, have met different challenges and overcome them, or not, but have found a way around them!
Of course, maybe you aren't ready to go national with your story just yet.
Happy Birthday to you a few days late!
Marilyn Becker
It has been a while since I wrote in your blog, I deeply apologize for that, it's not that you haven't been on my mind. I reach out to your blog when I am feeling my most humble in life. Thank you for reminding us how much we take for granted. It's not that we feel sorry for you but that we rejoice in the way you carry yourself. A constant reminder of what someone can do when they put their mind too it. A constant reminder of what role God plays in our lives. If he wanted us to have a bad day 24/7, I'm sure he could arrange it.

Happy Birthday my don't look a day over 21. I know that will cost me.

Have a great Easter with your family and friends.

I love ya,
Don't you just love days like that? Glad it morphed into a much better birthday celebration.
Happy birthday, happy vernal equinox, and hope you have a blessed Easter.
Happy belated birthday wishes to you, dear Jeremy! So sorry I've been very errant in keeping in touch, no excuses from my end. I read your blog when I get a chance to go on the computer, and it's so great to read how well you're doing. Life goes on in hippieville over here, my son is getting mouthier and mouthier as the days and months go by. he's got a big mouth. I have to watch what comes out of my mouth. Hope to speak to you soon. Take care.

lots of love,
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