Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"It Takes a Village"

  Like that famous quote by Hillary Clinton, "It takes a village to raise a child." It takes a village to do a lot of things. When I look back over the last two and a half years, I begin to realize just how many people have been involved in my life and helped me to get where I am today.
  At first, being  the independent  and autonomous person I always prided myself in being, it was difficult  for me to accept help from others. Believe me when you are forced, by a medical catastrophe, to accept help you have a decision to make. Do I try to do all that needs to be done alone or do I do the sensible, logical and sometimes easier method of solving my medical issues by allowing others to help me? This assistance doesn't just come from medical professionals, help financially through monetary contributions from family and friends, state and federal assistance and most importantly emotional support ,are all needed.
  Early on, after losing my right leg, I knew I would not allow this loss to define me as a person. I would not allow myself to become bitter, jaded or sad. I didn't want that for myself and I knew that being bitter, jaded, and feeling sorry for myself would isolate me from those whom I love.
  By not accepting my situation, not seeing it for what it is, would create a wall around myself, a wall I was unwilling to build. It has taken a long time for me to realize that those who help me do so because they want to contribute to my well being. My family, friends and a myriad of professionals have given so much to me and enriched my life immeasurably. It has been tough for me intially to accept all the help that has been offered. Part of the reason it has been so tough is that I know it is impossible to ever repay all of the help that has been given to me through the loss of now, both of my legs.
  If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a loss as great as I have, do yourself a favor, allow and accept help from others. Your family, friends, and professional contacts want you to be as successful in overcoming your adversity, what ever it may be, as you want for yourself.
  It has taken tremendous focus and determination for me to get as far as I have and I still have a ways to go.  As overwhelming  as it may seem at times, I always try to keep my eye on the ball, set attainable goals and strive to reach them. It would have been virtually  impossible to have accomplished what I have so  far, without a lot of help, support, and encouragement from others. It is important to me that I acknowledge the wonderful assistance, in all it's forms, I have received from others. I try to show my gratitude to those who have made my life, a life of grace, dignity, quality and purpose.
 I was at a prosthetist's appointment the other day, there were five professionals there to assist and explain things to me. There were two of my regular prothetists, both of whom I admire and respect, two gentlemen from the company that manufactures and distributes the computerized knees I have been blessed to receive, and an observer from Japan.
 We all worked together in harmony for a common purpose, to help me regain my mobility through the proper use of both of my prosthetic limbs. This was a two hour appointment of instruction, observation, demonstration, and helpful critiquing. As I was leaving the meeting, I said to my primary prosthetist, it takes a village to learn how to walk.
  Upon further reflection of what had occurred at the appointment, I was touched in a way that is hard to explain. Some may say they were just doing their jobs, but in my opinion you would be wrong. They did much more than just their jobs, they gave me encouragement, hope and self-satisfaction, something you cannot put a price on.
  So you see, allowing others into your life, those who seek to help you, greatly enriches your experience and ultimately your life.
  I am grateful beyond measure to everyone who has helped me in any way and I will continue to have those feelings.
  The appointment the other day is just one example of people working in tandem to achieve a common goal, fortunately that goal was me. There are a host of other examples of aid I have received in various forms and at various times.
  Hillary was right, "it does take a village," a village I am thankful to be a member of, now and always.

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