That Sinking Feeling


Ya know, I’ve been stalling on writing this particular blog for awhile. It’s not every day that you have your right leg removed and I thought the occasion should warrant some extra *something*. But really, I got nothin’. It’s been a long two year fight getting the Powers That Be to come over to the winning side and agree that the rest of me was much better off without a certain unspeakable appendage. The last two weeks in the hospital, because I apparently needed to be ill enough from it to fight for my life, has been something I dont ever want to replicate. But it is done. Finally.

Lots of people are asking me if it’s sunk in yet. It sank in 10 years ago when my podiatrist told me that once a diabetic loses a toe the inevitable stop point was a BK (below knee) amputation. I’ve been preparing for it ever since. Hell, I’ve been lobbying for it over the last 18 months as the artist formerly known as my right foot became less and less functional; more a source for pain, clumsiness and ad nauseal doctor appointments than anything that served a purpose to me. The clincher was a month and a half ago when my orthopedic/prosthetic guy fitted me with a Gump-style brace that looked to the casual observer like an actual post-op prosthetic and forced me to walk straight again for the first time in years. It was a taste of bliss to be able to walk with confidence again, and I just knew that an actual, fully functioning foot and ankle were going to be my only future solution, whether I was born with it or not. A chance encounter with a guy looking for beer money because he was a gimp turned into a 15 minute long chat, complete with step by step visual aids on what I could expect over the next 6 months and how much easier everything is now.
By the time I leaned over to my buddy in my backyard, shivering with a 103˚ in sweat clothes during an 80˚ day and asked if he’d mind dropping me by E.R., it was all over but the nonstop fever followed by 4 straight days of hourly vomiting. I was done. Ready, willing and able to get on with it.

Tomorrow is my expected release date. Apparently a bevy of elves has been hard at work at my house, cleaning it from top to bottom, rearranging things and installing gimp stuff. I dont think I will ever be able to wrap my head around just how much I am loved or by how many. The leg, no problem. Comprehending the love people closest to me (with a radius of 50, it seems) express towards me – that’s too much.
Right this minute my idea of bliss involves a freshly lit cigar on my back deck, throwing Jake the Ball and my girl by my side, laughing our asses off. Come to think of it, not much has changed at all. Has it sunk in? Just fine, thanks.

17 thoughts on “That Sinking Feeling

  1. Neil your such an inspiration…from the first time I met you…thanks for all you have given me back in those years of my need when my family seemed to forget me…and you were there for me. I know lots of years have passed and we both went seperate ways…..but please know that not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and all that you gave me…I know you probably don’t even realize how much it all ment to me. If I can do anything at all for you my friend just please let me know…XXOO

  2. I’m glad to see that you are near the end of this particular journey. You’ve managed to navigate thru the various pitfalls of illness, lameness, frustration and insurance obstacles to come out virtually unscathed with your dignity intact as well as most of your parts. Not to say that there aren’t some possible psychological scars to show for the journey but at least you’re still Neil the councilor, Neil the boyfriend, Neil the confidant and most of all to all those who love you, Neil the friend. As for myself, I’m just glad that you’re here at all. Take care my friend and know that you have my continued good wishes for your health and happiness.

  3. BROUGHT tears to my eyes.” Lettin the LOVE in my friend” ,Good stuff, hits us right in the middle of our heart. Gods true gift to us. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. XXOO

  4. your continued strength, honor, integrity, and mad twinkle inspire those of us who love you to be just a little bit more. i relish the new adventure we have a head of us and i’m grateful to be walking this path with my best friend and lover.

    *snuggles n kisses*

  5. Wow Neil, you are amazing. You have such strength. While you have been facebooking, I can’t believe you kept up with my World Series status updates. It has been years! Am I ever going to get to see you in person! Sending my love your way.

  6. We all have bad cards dealt to us. Some hands are tougher than others. Real manhood, if there is such a thing, is in how the hand is played. I have the most profound respect for your life and the way that you have played this incredibly difficult moment. My prayers are with you. I look forward to many more years of your good influence on a world that too often is content with living in the dark.

  7. God bless you Neil, Thank you for being present in my life.

    … you are a profound teacher and an exemplary student.

    ~your friend – Jeff

  8. I got a lot of medals for bravery. Right now I feel kinda like Im rethinking what a hero is.

    You lost a leg bro, but you got balls that clank like church bells when you walk. respect..Stevo

  9. You are an inspiration my friend! I knew from the moment I heard you speak of shotguns, Mexico,& illegal activity I had to be your friend. You travel in my heart always, Neil, and I’m honored by the unconditional love you have always shown me… relax and let all the love wash over you & continue to lift you up!

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