Last week, someone I know hit a milestone on their blog, something that normally makes bloggers take notice and take time to reflect on that milestone in writing:
First 100, 500, or 1,000…
Even the platform here on WordPress will give a notification that looks like an award when these little events come along. Awfully kind of them. It’s even become some sort of thing to host a virtual party to promote yourself as a celebration:
Hey, I just liked you,
and this is crazy,
but I hit 500 followers,
so come over for some virtual cocktails and we can promote our personal brands together!
I don’t think anyone here is surprised that I don’t fit into what is considered normal. This is post 161 and will surely add more likes to the 1,500-something total I’ve already received within my 10,738 total views… weird numbers. It’s not those numbers I’m focused on today.
Today I’m amazed that I’ve lived with one foot for a year.
I don’t know where the time has gone and how I got here. I mean, I know how it happened but I don’t know how it happened that I am where I am today. I certainly didn’t envision myself being where I am now, but at the same time I never expected to be so changed that I’d end up where I am.
One is a number that doesn’t even remotely begin to capture what today is or what it means to me. It’s a wholly inadequate and impotent number in the face of the vastness of what this last year has been so instead I’m focusing on days and that number today is 366.
Still an odd benchmark as far as digits are concerned but what those odd digits say is so much more to me than any other random digit related thing I could be celebrating.
It’s been 366 days since Frankenfoot and it’s toe tribe with Frankentoe, the chief, were put out of my misery.
I remember day 2 having someone bring a walker into my hospital room hoping they could get me to stand but I didn’t just stand I started walking down the hallway one step at a time.
When I was still in the hospital, the physical therapists would come by once a day to torture me. “Roll the wheelchair to the end of the hallway,” they’d say, or hop along with the walker, or swing along with the crutches. My room was the last at one end and there were close to 75 doorways between that room and the elevators at the other end of the hallway. It was completely overwhelming to look down that hall because I swear every time I’d start it was like a horror movie where the end of the long hall suddenly does that weird zoom and creepy, dead looking twins are suddenly seen standing at the other end humming. I could barely find the strength to get to the loo at that point and those people wanted me to go down and back? It was too much for me to overcome in one fell swoop so I stopped focusing on the evil twins but instead focused on just getting to the next doorway, and the next, and the next, until I would look up and suddenly realize I was finally at the other end of the hall.
That’s how I measured and approached the recovery.
One small step at a time, one small milestone, one day at a time, remembering that it was the tortoise that won that race.
I don’t have to get to the end of my journey each day, I just have to get to the end of that day and if I am a little bit farther along than I was yesterday then I am winning.
When I got up this morning, I’d already gotten past the first 365 days so I thought on my milestones:
I figured out how to do high heels with arm crutches because flats everyday makes Gwen a dull girl.
I started a blog sharing with my uncommon honesty the challenges, musings, and emotions I’ve discovered glinting off the different facets of my new life.
I figured out how to control a wheelchair and ride it like a bat out of hell on a windingly hilly, cobbled riverwalk like my own personal rollercoaster. No more than 3 inches between me and a canal filled with filthy water and probably a dead body? No problem.
I had 8 surgical procedures and spent over 50 days in the hospital.
I’ve taken roughly 2,192 anticoagulants not including the IV anticoagulants we used for those 8 surgeries and can finally say I’ve been a year without signs of major clotting anywhere in my body.
I reconnected with old friends I thought I’d lost but hadn’t, and I lost other friends I thought I’d keep forever.
I rediscovered myself and the ~Ness I was missing for so many years.
I started writing again.
I’ve taken a road trip by myself and lain awake on more sleepless nights than I can count, but not regretfully awake, peacefully so.
I broke down a pair pointe shoes since the beginning of April with my one foot and had to buy a new pair because of it.
I left everything I know to be a patient recovering alone because the alternative was to not heal.
I’ve learned that I’m far stronger and far more resilient than I ever thought I could be.
Sitting here at the end of day 366, I’m happy. I don’t know why everything needed to happen the way it did, but I wouldn’t change a thing about the last year because of who I’ve become as a result.