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The Soldier and the Squirrel introduces children to the Purple Heart

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and Rocky the squirrel with his backyard friends. This story began as a

blog during my first year in bed after my incident. With much

encouragement, it is now a book and has been placed in the

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Please watch the video

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« Spun From Gold | Main | Montage Art to Regain Coordination »
Thursday
Oct172013

The Story

The valet stood with legs braced to the breeze unfolding the tinfoil gently from his boiled egg. It could have been hard or soft, I did not dare to ask.

But it made me wonder what the story of the egg must be. I imagined his wife boiling water for the eggs just-so. A lot of eggs. Enough for a week of parking other people's cars much nicer than his own. Maybe she soaked them in cold water after they peaked. Or did she scoop them out with a spoon and let then balance ever so gently onto a towel - or into a bowl for the fridge?

I began Day One of the CRPS Pain Program today. A new story of my new life. Much like the eggs that balance on a towel after being boiled - now set to be cooled and protected in foil.

I am now noticing, as I venture out into this world, the reflection of eyes upon my skin that burns just enough to let me know that eyes are there. I am learning as I venture out into the world as a woman in a wheelchair - that people must wonder what my story is. I am young-ish. Yet my chair interrupts a normal interaction. Being in a wheelchair, people often-times don't quite know how to react. Kind of like an albino guinea pig in the room. I would have said elephant but that was so cliche. Chinchilla came to mind. Then gerbil. But you know - that whole Richard Gere thing. Just can't shake it.

I am the albino guinea pig. Which is why I have Reggie. Dachshunds are bread to chase rodents. Now he chases me. Reggie sits on my lap throughout the day, secured around my waist with a safety harness so he won't go flying if I hit a bump in the road. Learned that one the hard way. He is the star of every waiting room. He lays next to me during therapy and offers a random kiss with a breath that could actually kill a possum. But most of all, he bonds me to a world more foreign than before. Before my story took its turn. I now must learn how to fit into a world not made for me. But is filled with millions of beautiful strangers every single day who make life on my own possible. Most everyone I run into is kind - they open doors, and they love my dog. Not a bad start to a process that is the greatest challenge of my life.

Day One of treatments was the most physically challenging effort I have had - except for giving birth to my son who decided to stop for a shot or two of tequila at the bar on the way out putting labor right up there with opening a hundred-pound 'handicapped' door.

For so long now, I have done only one excursion per day as that is all my pain levels would allow. Since my ketamine infusions and starting Dr. Joshua Prager's Pain Program through UCLA, I am now seeing four doctors a day. Every day. For four weeks. Some days I have three appointments. But if you'd asked me just three weeks ago if I would be out in the world from eight in the morning until four in the afternoon I would have thought you silly. But with Ketamine Infusions behind me, a team of the finest physicians guiding me, and Reggie chasing me, who could go wrong? This is what I tell myself every single day. Because I must envision that I am not a fragile egg anymore. I can't be. The world is to big. The sidewalks too crooked.

Healing is about more than just making appointments and showing up each day. It is about reframing life with a silver-foiled frame. The good news is I have a pain psychologist every day who I can cry to - and let my tears find their way to Reggie's nose. He will kiss my salted cheeks and I will call it love. Because together we are building our own story. Our own little egg, wrapped tenderly in foil with layers we will peel back gently until the rest of our own little story is revealed.


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