Chico becomes increasingly mobile by the day. I find it hard to keep up. I used to find him reading when I got home. One night last week though, he was sitting in the interior doorway of our mudroom in his wheelchair dressed in his coat, hat and gloves wearing a big grin. He was waiting for me to go visiting neighbors. I had other things in mind. Frankly, flexibility isn't my strongest suit. His insistence on what is only reasonable: a chance to get outside even if it is dark, cold and late, prevailed. He righted his crutches and himself and out we went. With the ice and snow adding an edge of risk, the crutches adding a component of challenge, we moved down the uneven sidewalk and smoother road. Chico labored joyfully down the street. Only one neighbor was home. That one was encouraging.
According to Chico's Physical Therapist (who is a lifeline, by the way) he should be walking and wearing shoes on both feet now. Shoes of the same pair. Walking with his crutches is said to be as good for him-if he works on his form-as swimming. It only lacks the resistance of the water. He works his upper body, does a bunch of PT with bands and things each day and then he is eager to crutch around. He says the best exercise for walking is walking. Alrightie then.
Today Chico told me that on Monday he'll be going upstairs and downstairs alone. Huh. He also took a shower while I went into Bristol to find some shoes for him. He needs those with good treads that he can actually put on his feet. When I got back he said it wasn't so fun to shower with me out of the house. I found later going to Middlebury-which has become part of the Saturday routine-without him wasn't much fun either. We wonder what we lose as we become more independent of each other.
In the late afternoon Chico walked to the market and back with me. He wore sneakers on both feet. I noticed the left one, the one below the brace, had a hole in the toe.
"Yeah. I have my good ones...I think...Upstairs...I'm saving them because I want to be able to use them for running again." [I flash on the plastic bag with running gear in the back seat of the wreck. I remember fishing them out. Are they upstairs? Didn't he wear the right one the first time he transferred to the barka lounger?]
"Oh...What are your running goals? Like short runs, long runs?"
"I'm thinking I'll run in July. Run and walk. See how it goes."
Gratitude, patience, fearlessness.