Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I was at a prothetist's appointment last week looking at a video on an i-phone of a man and I was marveling at his ability to walk with two prosthetic legs on a sloped driveway, unaided. I asked the sales representative of the computerized knees I have, how he was able to do that? He asked me how long it had been since I lost my first leg? I told him a little over two and a half years. He said, "you are still a novice."

What people don't understand, and what I didn't understand is that becoming proficient at walking on prosthetics takes practice and time. I guess I could compare it to learning to play a musical instrument. You wouldn't expect to play a Brahm's lullaby the first time you sat down at the piano. Similarily, it takes a lot of practice, and practice of course takes a lot of time.

Learning to perform a difficult maneuver takes a lot of patience. Naturally there are times when you will perform better than at other times. This fluctuation of performance is due to a myriad of variables, how your prosthetic limbs fit that particular day, how rested you are, how positive you feel that day and so forth.

Before you even reach the point of being fitted for prosthetics, you must allow your body to heal from the surgery you underwent to have your damaged limbs removed. One thing I have learned is that your body heals itself in it's own time frame. You cannot rush healing. For me, I first try to be thankful and appreciative of my body's ability to heal at all. Focussing on the miracle of the body's ability to heal itself gives me pause and thus patience to allow such a miraculous occurence to manifest.

I have found that being patient in just about every aspect of this journey of being a bialateral above knee amputee serves me best. Wishing things would move along faster, getting upset when things are delayed, getting angry for having been placed in this position, will only lead you down a path of frustration and resentment. It is best, at least for me, to just try to relax and know that over time things will fall into place. My belief in divine order has helped me achieve the patience I need to maintain hope and happiness. These lessons in patience, have taken time and perservence to learn.

I had to have my new left prosthetic leg redone to have a more permanent and comfortable upper section placed on it. Originally we, the prosthetist and I, thought this could be done in a two day turnaround time. After arriving at the prosthetist's office, it was discussed and to insure the best possible quality and fit, it was determined to take a week, not two days. Now I could have insisted on trying to get it done quickly, however, we decided that taking more time and getting a more precise and comfortable fit was definitely more productive than getting the leg back quickly. In the long run, it will save me trips to the prothetist's office for adjustments and in the worse case scenario having to have the leg completely redone. Once again, patience is serving me best in this situation.

I have found that in my life before my limb loss, I could do a lot of things effortlessly. Now, I can still do a lot of those same things but they take more ingenuity and once again more time. Instead of being angry about how long it takes me to shower and dress, for example, I consciously focus on being thankful and appreciative of my ability to still perform those tasks independently, no matter how long it takes. It is easy to get angry about what you cannot do, or how much time it takes to various things, but I have found if I am patient with myself and others I can avoid a whole lot of unnecessary anger, frustration and self-pity.

Learning to be patient, at least in my case, is an acquired skill. Achieving a happy and peaceful life in the midst of seemingly chaotic, insurrmountable odds can only be achieved by having patience with yourself, your situation, and other people.

Before I close this blog entry, I want to be clear and honest about things in my life and not come across as self-righteous. Do I lose my patience? Of course I do. Am I trying to learn to be more patient more often than not? I hope so. Is being patient work? It certainly has been for me. Are things getting better? Most assuredly.

Take a deep breath and relax, you only do yourself a favor by learning to be patient and hence maintaining peace and harmony in your own life. It is worth the effort.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent advice, Glenn!

    PS: I like the shorter paragraphs with the spaces between them--easier on the eyes.


Please leave comments here: