Friday, January 22, 2010

An historic day for Xena!

Yesterday was Megan’s first full day with a pair of crutches in the house. She sucks at them. She said that she has already fallen a number of times but knows she’s going to get better and better with time. I watched as she gingerly stood up with them and moved slowly forward. She was under strict parental orders not to use her crutches when they weren’t there but she was anxious to show Heidi and I how good she was doing. She maneuvered through the kitchen with Heidi shuffling closely beside her. Megan laughed and told Heidi she was freaking her out and to move away and give her some space. I quickly took a photograph and she hobbled back into the living room with its plush soft carpet. That was a good thing. I turned away for a split second and heard her say, matter-of-factly, “Ohp, I’m fallin’.” That was followed by a muffled thud and immediate laughter. She was one inch from her wheelchair when it happened. She knows she’s going to fall many more times along the way and she’s ready for it. For her entire life, she has been able to use her legs to regain her balance when she has stumbled, but now, her lower right leg and foot are gone so her body has to relearn how to protect itself. Incredibly, just two months after the accident that almost claimed her life, she was able to stand and put her weight on her shattered and subsequently repaired left leg. One reason that she is so unstable she says is that she feels so tall. She hasn’t stood up in two months. The last time she was walking upright was at the shipyard moving along a catwalk just before being crushed by the shifting concrete.

We all settled back down in the living room and Megan took Heidi and I on a brief guided tour of her ravaged legs. She started the tour at her upper left leg skin grafts, passing the area where she had seen her bone protruding from her skin when she was pinned by the 30 tons of concrete. She moved from there over to her upper right leg, which was the destination for the skin grafts, down past the staple and stitch scars to “Shorty” (as she lovingly calls her stub) and we listened while she described the way that they folded over her damaged skin to close up her wound. From there we switched legs to her lower left leg where at regular intervals there were drill holes from the screws that were inserted to hold her bones together. The final stop on the tour was her left calf. They had taken half of her calf muscle and actually twisted it around and up to the side of her leg where a huge hole had been. The relocated muscle will take a while (up to a couple of years) to get used to its new location and the divot where it was taken from will eventually fill in with new muscle. It was an exhausting tour of the complete carnage that was inflicted upon her and in true Megan-style, as a tour guide, she knew the route well, and delivered her narrative with enthusiasm and humor. How was that possible, just two months away from almost losing her life? I am amazed yet again, and I think I’m going to be feeling this way a lot as I continue to follow Megan along on her recovery.

I really think that she will be running by this summer. Keep it up Xena!

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