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Christmas may have passed, but . . .

The call I received today was the equivalent of stumbling on to my parents’ pre-Christmas hiding place and seeing the new bike that awaited me when the day finally came.

My prosthetic is ready!

Next Wednesday, I’ll be fitted with a new right lower leg, and of course, I assume that I’ll just be able to take off on two legs and resume the physical activity level I’ve enjoyed for six-plus decades. I wouldn’t be me if it weren’t for these kinds of oversimplifications, we all know.

But it does mean I’m measurably closer to resuming a degree of independence I haven’t had since summertime. My right foot was amputated due to numerous bone breaks and eventual infection, all a result of diabetic neuropathy.

I haven’t driven a car since early September, nor have I left the house to go anywhere on my own except to meetings at City Hall down the street, or to Tara’s, or to Brett Salon to get a haircut or Mary’s Mountain for a cookie – all accessible via motorized wheelchair. Main Street Theater is on that list as well, and Family Tree Furniture worked well for some quick Christmas shopping.

My “zipping up and down” Main Street has become a bit of a joke around home, as Laurie has been forced to admit that even my present condition can’t keep me completely tied down.

But next week begins an entirely different journey. Of course, I realize it’ll be nothing like hopping on the new bike on Christmas morning.

I can only assume the once simple act of putting one foot in front of another will be a learning process likely dotted with miscues. First with a walker, then a cane, then who knows?

Every major step of this process has been! Learning to transfer to the recliner, the bed, the toilet and the shower have all been tests of will.

But you know what? By slowing down, thinking about each move before I commit to it, acting deliberately, and yes, falling properly (like I once did in football and basketball), I not only survived but became somewhat proficient.

A wise older relative once counseled me that how guys start to lose their spark as they hit their senior years is that they often run out of things to look forward to. The challenges become less frequent, boredom sets in and, yes, even Christmas mornings begin to lose the magic and wonder they once held.

Now it might be said I created my own predicament through diet and blood sugar issues, not enough sleep, and other factors, like risk-taking. But despite all that, I’m not short on challenges, things to laugh at and things to look forward to.

Let’s bring on that peg leg! I think the day might even be worthy of an eye patch, puffy shirt and pirate hat.

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