When I arrived in Maryland, he had just gotten out of the hospital. He had spent the previous five weeks moving from intensive care to the rehabilitation ward. He was in emotional and physical shock, detoxing off some powerful painkiller medications, and facing the fact that the construction business he had spent the better part of the past thirty years building is probably doomed.
Today, he is laughing, balancing business accounts, making one-legged man jokes, and facing the future with the determination he's always used to overcome life's obstacles. He understands, as best as anyone can at this moment, that he is only at the beginning of a series of major life events. Removing his right leg is not the end of a painful journey, it is the beginning of an adventure he expects to be filled with pain, excitement, loss, and discovery.
Those first few days out of the hospital were critical for him. There were things that happened, which were so incredibly personal that, lacking a wife or girlfriend, only a close friend of thirty-five years should witness. And, that only a life-long friend could understand, could know when to stay close and when to back away. For me, it was a wondeful experience to have the opportunity to be there for him.
Tonight, I'm back in Illinois with my family. My arrival was filled with hugs and kisses. It is good to be home!
In three months, he'll get a prosthetic leg and be out of the wheelchair. My daughters (10 and 7) have never met my friend, Mac, so I think that a trip will be in order!
He will be fine. Thank you for wishing him well during his recovery. Your prayers and kind thoughts make a wonderful difference.
PS: I penned a cartoon strip of my daughters while I was away. I expect to digitize and post it in the next week or so. "My girls" loved it. It will be interesting to see if you do too.