The past two weeks have been a time of deep change for me. I had taken my prosthesis home with joy but discovered I was afraid of it. Part of this was the natural struggle involved in learning to put it on right and move around with the help of a walker. Part of it was the feeling of a strange new weight on my left leg that made even sitting a new experience (when I crossed my leg it felt like I was lifting twenty pounds though the device weighs only five).
But none of that was the real problem. During the months of waiting, I had established a comfort zone that involved a lot of laying in bed with occasional forays in my wheelchair. But now the future I had prayed for had dawned. The excuses that I couldn’t do this or that were replaced by reality. If I didn’t do something it was because I chose not to try. The weight of that responsibility lay heavy on me.
For a while, I used the prosthesis only occasionally preferring helplessness to opportunity (breakfast in bed is nice!). I now realize it’s easy to adapt to the familiar no matter how miserable it might be to the point where we resist even a glowing future. But pushed by family, friends and the staff at dialysis I am slowly emerging from my cocoon. Today I’m walking a lot more but more important I put my prosthesis on first thing every morning. I feel part of me is missing until I do. It’s an amazing device with titanium strength and a hydraulic ankle and heel which rolls along better than the legacy flesh and blood versions. I’m proud of it. In fact it’s no longer a device to me, it’s now simply my left leg and that future I feared is step by wobbly step opening before me.