Sunday, September 14, 2014

Walking the Talk

Slow and steady wins the race. Never be a dirty bird. No, there's no particularly good reason for those phrases to be linked in my head, but I've learned not to question my brain's mysterious ways. They are.

The particular race at hand was the brain aneurysm awareness walk I did yesterday (always good to take my aneurysm out for some fresh air). Now, out of context, a mile-and-a-half walk on Portland's Back Cove doesn't sound like a big deal. However, the context happens to be that this was the longest distance I've strode since my stroke; I raised $500 for a worthy cause; and I achieved all of this more slowly than anyone else on the trail (about two hours), with narey a stop or stumble, aside from a break to remove a layer, swig some water, and scarf down a granola bar. In fact, had it been an option and given enough time (say, all day), I think I could have walked the entire 5K. Maybe next year. To think that nearly four years ago, I was confined to a wheelchair. It actually would sadden me to say, "four years ago," without the "nearly,"  because the truth is that on September 13, 2010, walking 1.5 miles in less than half that time would have been a laughable challenge. In fact, given some training and self-hypnosis (and/or Valium) to ignore the time bomb in my head, I could have run the full 5K course.

The greater context that made this effort that much more worthwhile is best depicted by the picture below, where my teammates Mary, Marc, Donelle, and Jamie (behind the camera) crossed the finish line at my side, with more enthusiasm than I could apparently muster (hey, they had the patience to take two hours trudging 7,920 feet, too!). Not to mention the event organizers who stopped striking tents and packing up gear in order to come out and give this dead man walking a hug. For those who tragically lost loved ones to sudden aneurysm ruptures, I think I represent some level of miraculous hope. That role is far bigger than my little life and somewhat exaggerated by the cane, leg brace, and recently-added sling (obscured here under my sweatshirt) -- my left shoulder still has a tendency to dislocate a bit if I let my arm hang too much. Should I start wearing my helmet again to make it clearer that it's all in my head?

1 comment :

  1. I wouldn't say your "little life" is in any fails to measure up to the role you lead living a life in the aftermath of a brain aneurysm.

    Pressing on with all the hopes and dreams of your family, providing a stable household and putting yourself out there promoting recovery and education; hell just not giving up.

    That's living a life that admirably fills the profoundly significant role that fate has given you.