If there's a shortcut to my emotions, it's walking. If I want to know how I'm really feeling about my body and my leg, underneath all the daily numbing activities, I walk. But seeing how I haven't walked much in over 2 years, there's a lot that hasn't been discovered.
Today's walk revealed a gem. Not a new one, but one I feel every time I get a new prosthetic leg made: How many times do I have to lose my leg?
My walk tonight was actually good. On my way home from work I clocked how far I walked yesterday: 2/3 of a mile. Given that my goal is to walk a mile, I was quite full of myself and puffed up. I decided to do the same route tonight. It's 3 1/2 blocks to the hill and the hill is one block long. I walk down the hill and right back up again and walk the 3 1/2 blocks back home on level ground. On the walk to the hill tonight I didn't have to stop nearly as much as yesterday. The pain wasn't as bad. Have I already built up some muscle? Murphy made me stop three times to scoop his poop (yes, Murphy is a dog). On the way home, though, the pain came more frequently and so did my stops for relief.
When I had this leg made over two years ago, the intention was to fit me with the most advanced technology known to amputees, the C Leg, the first in robotic legs. But that's just the knee part, the part that attaches to the socket. The socket, made from plastic, fits around my residual limb, conforming exactly (at least that's the intention)to my limb's dimensions and is held on by suction. This is the third socket we've tried over the two years and it still doesn't fit. The pain feels like a vice grip squeezing my limb, gently at first and then the pressure increases so suddenly my only option is to stop.
The fifth stop tonight on the way back from the hill is when I was filled with intense sadness. Losing my leg hasn't been a single event. I've lost my leg many times over the past 32 years. But how did I lose so much this time? Even after the accident when I lost my leg at 17 years old I didn't lose this much functioning. How did this happen?
I have to admit that I've allowed this to happen. If I was able to walk tonight, then I could have been walking for the last two years. I've had a hard couple of years for varying reasons and I can admit now that walking and taking care of my body came last. In fact, my body was hardly considered.
Well, starting yesterday, that's all changing. Not only am I considering this precious vessel of mine, I'm putting her #1 on the list.