Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 13 seconds


Happy Day

There I was slaving away doing some menial labor on a Saturday afternoon. I just spent four hours digging a large hole to fix a plumbing problem and filling it back in. I had switched gears after a large glass of water and was onto my next task, when a fellow in a motorized wheelchair came cruising by me.

He paused to watch me swing my pick at some nagging volunteer rose bushes, and then asked how I was doing. “Pretty good,” I said, how ” ’bout you” “excellent” he said, “It’s all a matter of perspective.” That is when I took a closer look. He was obviously a high functioning quadriplegic, who had a break down pool cue between his flaccid legs and a big smile on his face.

I wiped the sweat off my face and he proceeded to tell me that he had died 24 years ago. “No way!” I said, “Yah, I’m on borrowed time man.” I realized he had just come from the bar and I asked if he was a pool player. “Yup it’s my physical therapy. I do pool therapy 7 days a week.” “That’s a lot of swimming,” I chuckled and we exchanged some pleasantries. Then he shoved the little actuator forward as he motored off wishing me a great day and I reciprocated with “back at ya!”

As I shouldered my pick and took a few more satisfying swipes at the roots, I wondered if I took care of him in his time of need all those years ago, I reflected silently how precious life really is again. I was reminded why I do EMS, and how fragile the human body is.

I have never been shy about getting dirty or working with my body in a physical way. I believe it is pretty darn amazing that I also find pleasure in it. I figured out that when I am in the groove, that I can almost completely ignore the distraction of pain. Oh sure, it takes longer to recuperate than it used to, so I try to be more careful. It dawned on me, while taking another dose of ibuprofen that thankfully, all my aches and pains will eventually go away.

At this time of giving thanks, called Thanksgiving, while hanging out with family and friends, I’m taking stock of the strength and physical abilities I have, and am making plans to make the most of them in the new year. That is my perspective, what’s yours?

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