Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Homecoming! - Oct 3


Have a look at the leg! Beauty, eh?

Today, Mark came home. It was a momentous occasion. No, there were no arthritic dogs to woof gleefully and fan their tails like windmills. The pooches are on an extended visit with their grandparents. No, our neighbors weren't here to greet us. One upstairs neighbor expressed sympathy as she grimaced at Mark's exposed leg and hurried by. No, there were no onlookers. Instead, the occasion was momentous in our hearts. It has been hard on Melissa, who has lived with one foot at home and one foot at MGH, at the North End, then at our friend Deborah's house. Perhaps it hasn't been quite as hard on Mark, who has only one foot to stand on. Moreover, he's an inveterate couch surfer.

So we came home. Melissa made 9 trips from the car while Mark cheered from the porch. We celebrated with some crackers and brie cheese and red wine. The homecoming was not without humor. Melissa valiantly attempted to organize the armloads of books, clothes and medical supplies that we had collected en route. At one point, she wanted to recycle a small plastic bin. Mark hemmed and hawed, so Melissa asked, "Are you going to brush your teeth in bed, or are you a man who brushes his teeth at the sink?" The most humorous aspect of this exchange is that Melissa really hadn't intended to question my masculinity. However, this didn't stop me from howling foul play. Sure, emasculate the guy when he's already down!

Something about homecoming has lifted a bit of the fog of placeless existence. We started to think about plans and routine. We discussed which days we might use the athletic facilities at Simmons College where Melissa is pursuing an MSW. Mark praised the merits of iCalendar (it's a Mac thing). Melissa blurted out that she wanted to know when we were going to have a kid... (Whoa! I'm still working on walking).

YES, today has been MOMENTOUS. I visited the Orthopedic Surgeon today. He wants me to work towards full weight-bearing right away! So, while Melissa sat in a lounge at Simmons, fervently trying to catch up on reading, I walked down the sidewalk.

I should explain what I mean by walking. It means using crutches for support and moving slightly slower than your average banana slug. My internal dialogue goes something like this: Engage glutes, now ease weight onto foot - ow, ow, ow - now roll to ball of foot and stretch the toes back, oops, big toe won't bend backwards. Release and push (yeah, right) with toes. People either ask me if I'm okay or hurry past without making eye contact. One old lady asked me if I wanted instructions. I thought she was joking. She kindly demonstrated how to place my foot and move with the crutches. She suggested that I might do better with a walker. Still, I'm walking.

Homecoming. I'm saddened by a well-publicized accident in the Boston papers. A man was driving when a storm grate was flipped up by a semi and smashed through his windshield. Amazingly, he lived. However, since coming home, he has not been able to hold a normal conversation or make eye contact. He and his wife are immigrants from Poland. By profession, she is a teacher, and he an engineer. The American Dream, until... His wife mourned that it almost wasn't the same person coming home.

How fortunate our homecoming is. I am intact. Melissa and I have grown stronger and deeper through this ordeal. If the price of a deeper, more loving relationship between us is one gracilis, a lengthy recovery and a few scars, then I got a great bargain...

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