As I walk into the hospital, as I do every morning anymore…I see a man sitting in a wheelchair. He’s a younger man, and his leg was taken off just above the knee. The sunshine is shining through the clouds, people are playing golf in the distance, and as I walk up the mad exhales a heart felt sigh.
I asked him how he was doing and he smiled. He chuckled to himself and told me how great he was doing. I asked how he lost his leg, and he explained it was a freak accident and a subsequent infection. He said he was just happy they didn’t have to take the whole thing. I laughed and shared his sentiment. When I asked him why he was there, he explained that he had a sore in his leg, it happens. He explained that since he doesn’t feel his leg, his leg can get cut and he won’t know it. Since he doesn’t know it, it gets infected, then a larger and larger wound develops. Now the would has developed to about 8 inches, and about 3 inches wide.
Wow…to me that sounded like someone sliced him open. He laughed and told my it started off as a small scratch that has now turned into this. Evidently, he has problems fighting off skin infection. So now he comes in everyday to receive infusions and to have the wound checked.
I told him, “No offense, but every time I see someone who has lost a piece of their leg…I always think: Wow, I am so thankful for having my legs, my toes, and my feet. In fact, every time I come to this hospital, I look in every room and say – thank you for my “insert organ or body part here” working great. Then I touch or think about that spot, and say thank you to that part of my body for doing so well.”
The young man chuckled and explained he had to get in.
Two days passed till I saw the man again. When I did, the day was a similar day. Four little kids ran past him and he watched them run by. When he looked up, he caught my eye. I greeted him happily regarding how great ti was to be alive. (Because this is how I speak and greet people.) I smiled and laughed, and then waived me over.
“You know, I have to tell you something. The other day when you told me how grateful you were that you still had legs and stuff” He waited for me to nod and acknowledged we had that conversation. “That pissed me off! Yes, that did offend me. I immediately thought, yes it must be nice to be able to spit that type of shit when you’re walking on two legs. I went through my whole infusion thinking about how I could and wanted to hurt you.
“I left this place in a cab and they dropped me off at my apartment. I looke around and was reminded about what I don’t have as people walked and ran by. I thought to myself – yeah look you walking on your legs, must be nice. As I wheeled myself into my apartment, my neighbor came out crying. Turns out, her grand daughter just got diagnosed with leukemia. Then I turned around to see the cab guy walking up, I left my bag in the car. As he reached down to put in my lap, I saw the 6 inch incision down the middle of his chest.
“See Chad, I have always been happy that I still have my other leg, and the fake leg fits and does well. However, I didn’t realize I wasn’t thankful till you brought it up. I realized that I was glad I had what was left with my legs, but I was ready to hear that. Suddenly, as that man leaned over me I understood what you said. The only thing wrong with me is my leg…not that big a deal considering. Every organ in my body is working. My skin is doing awesome. My life is really where it’s suppose to be except for this leg. I’m not in a hospital, and there’s nothing that’s threatening my life. I have more reasons to smile than I realized.”
What do you have to be grateful for today?