I was able to leave North Carolina in decent weather and made my way to Illinois. Being that I can’t sit very long, it took me about 12.5 hours and we stopped often.
I even got a few small Christmas gifts at this neat store I found in Pigeon Forge, called All Sauced Up. I bought packages of tiny hot sauces, bacon sea salt, and syrups – all of the packages were mixed flavors. I made 6 little gift bags out of them, keeping one for myself of course.
The puppies and I were going to spend two weeks with family and friends. I really just couldn’t wait to see my granddaughter; I always see pictures and videos and it simply amazes me how much she has grown since I saw her this past summer. And of course, I really needed a hug from son. Those are always priceless. The first half of my visit I spent with my good friends Lynn and Nick and the later half with my dear friend Meg. The fuel, running around, outings with friends, and Christmas in general put a strain on the wallet but it was a much needed visit.
I did not do nearly as much running around as I usually do when I go home. However, it wouldn’t be a trip home without seeing Jim at Conrad’s HD. Lynn and I shopped while Jim babysat my girls.
I got the opportunity to have lunch with two gentlemen that are putting together a motorcycle related TV show, and that’s all I have to say about that for now.
My dear friend Tim had contacted me before I left NC and told me about a surprise birthday party for his wife Tracy. Naturally I wasn’t going to miss that. I arrived early because we had a sick friend that was not going to be able to stick around to let the guests in. Tim and Tracy were in Chicago for the Kringle Market and when she walked in the door we could tell she was truly surprised. It was a very comfortable evening with some close friends. I love you Tracy.
I made a few visits with friends, my son, and enjoyed not only watching my granddaughter’s gymnastics class, but also spent Christmas Eve with her family. She is such a little hoot. She is quite smart but has a little attitude for sure, but so it is with little ones learning how to assert themselves and be individuals. I was tickled when she pitched a tiny fit to go home with me; made my heart warm but sad I couldn’t take her. And of course her and her Mommy just loved little Sportster and tried hard to steal her. But they had quite a fight since Auntie Lynn wanted her too.
Christmas Day was spent at Lynn and Nick’s with lots of loved ones. We ate way too much, laughed a lot, and shared some cool and crazy gifts. The next day I spent with my son as he changed my oil and we ran some errands. In the evening Meg had friends of her’s over for her birthday and it was nice to finally meet some of her travel club buddies and work people, all of whom I hear about but only had met two of them before. I heard fascinating stories of trips they have taken overseas. It all sounded so far off and far out. For me, this country has so much to offer that I’m not sure if I will ever leave it to see anything else in the world.
The time passed really fast during my visit, with my work in the mornings and the holiday hub-bub, it just seemed to have flown. On the Saturday before I left we held a big party for folks to just come hang out and see folks we hadn’t seen in a while. It was a packed house at Joe’s Bar in Joliet and I got to meet new people and share hugs with old friends. I was exceptionally surprised by something I had wanted so long… Jessica and Munke from Nailmaille came to the party and presented me with a one of a kind, unique, bad ass gift…
FINALLY… MY NAILMAILLE BIKINI – WOOHOO!!! Thanks Santa Mike! Mike Wille is the artist behind Nailmaille Jewelry and though I have never met him in person, I have spoken to him by phone a time or two and we are also Facebook friends, sharing messages and shenanigans. I am extremely excited that I was able to ‘nail’ him down for a date to be interviewed on ROAD Lines on The Road Hawgs radio network. That’s going to be a blast for me.
Like I said, the time really flew and I made my way back to North Carolina on Sunday before New Year. I was supposed to have a leg appointment on Friday and wanted some time to unload the storage stuff from my truck that I got at my son’s house when I was in Illinois. As it turned out, they called Monday to reschedule. Go figure. But I did spend the week putting away the stuff from storage and taking care of some priorities.
In fact, my biggest accomplishment and greatest start to 2015 was making my Virtual Assistant business an LLC. So I am now the proud owner of The Write Hand, LLC. Over the holiday two of my prior clients from two years back have engaged me in new projects. I am very slowly working my way back to full independence and it feels good!!
Just this week I had the pleasure of having an Illinois friend spend the night as he was passing through to visit his sister in Savannah, GA. I was most pleased to have Tim in my home and we were able to catch up quietly. We stayed up late talking and Tim helped man the grill as I cooked a great dinner.
Man oh Man, 2015 is sure starting off nice.
In the next two weeks I’ll have at least two leg appointments and hopefully will finally have a NEW LEG. Paying my 20% for the prosthetic will be a challenge so I need to work my butt off to pay for it. I did go ahead and bite the bullet to get a new foot also. It’s called the RUSH foot. Instead of a titanium unit it will be made of a material that has more flex. The connection from foot to pillion will have a small bit of swivel; not quite like an ankle but better than none. I am really hoping that all the things I’ve heard and read about the RUSH foot are true when I put it on. The goal is have a more natural flexion so that walking on uneven ground, uphill, rocks, etc., will be possible without pain or misstepping.
Something I would like people to take away from reading my posts is this… We see Olympic athletes, folks dancing with celebrities, pop-stars, etc., that have amputations and we think, “Oh it must not be so hard to function once you have a prosthetic.” This is not necessarily the case. Technology, most particularly for legs, is for sure amazing. If one has enough money or some killer insurance that pays for everything, then sure maybe one could do dern near anything. Yet there are so many amputees in the world that remain in wheelchairs or on crutches because they don’t have the means to pay even a portion of the costs. Add to that, one having physical damage that simply won’t allow full range of motion or strength. There are many many reasons and scenarios why not all amputees are living the high life as if they never lost a limb at all.
I also have an MRI coming up for spine damage. That scares me a little but I’m not going to freak out just yet. The lower spine issues have only gotten worse since the crash. And, I will be scheduling a surgery to remove some extra bone from the man-made femur. In short, when they formed the femur with my own bone and marrow, mixed with cadaver bone and a growth hormone, the material oozed through a screw hole where the plate joins my real upper femur and the man-made bottom portion of the femur. This is a normal occurrence and can often go untreated. However, in my case that piece of bone growth is exactly at the wrong spot. It is practically center of the femur, right where the leg rests on most standard chairs, the seat of my truck, and right at the top of my prosthetic sleeve; so it gives me a great deal of pain. But hey, the good part is that bone did exactly what it was supposed to do, thus created me a strong new femur which allows me to keep my knee. Had this surgery not worked and the bone not grown right or had my body rejected the material, I would be in line for an above knee amputation.
I’m putting together my 2015 show line-up for ROAD Lines w The B.R.O.A.D. (TM) on The Road Hawgs network. In particular, I’m putting together some stories of amputee motorcyclists for an article that will come out in February, in-line with a four part series on the Live Call-In radio show. And lastly (I think) I have finally started the outline for my book. That’s going to be one heck of a chore in itself. Between actual work, trying to market my business, and dealing with medical stuff, I fit in the Road Hawgs stuff, this blog, and now I’m going to up my load by trying to write a book. A lot of the content is already here, on this blog. I have to put in the behind the scenes stuff that didn’t get published to the web; like hard times on the road, days I questioned my journey, and stuff that folks might not want to hear on the web because it is sort of a buzz kill. But in order to tell the whole, the true story, and to emphasize that this dream did not come easy; it has to be done. I also have to rewrite it in a manner conducive to a book, where as here, I write to you all as if it were a letter to a friend.
As if I don’t have enough to do… One more piece of exciting news is that I, along with some lovely ladies from Facebook in various parts of the country, have started an organization called The SOX Program. Our mission is to have YOU donate your odd socks and slippers so that we can send them to amputees in places such as veterans’ homes, children’s hospitals, etc. This idea was born from a post I put on Facebook some time ago. My friend had given me a silly fun sock that was useless to her, as the other went missing. We already have folks sending socks/slippers and our website is up. Due to cost, it is currently being hosted on The B.R.O.A.D. (TM) website, but you can use the real address that will get you there; and please share this website, consider sending us your odd socks and slippers that are still in great condition, or make a donation that will help us with our website, post office boxes, and postage. No more reason to throw away the odd sock because the dryer ate one or that odd slipper because your dog ate one. (Note: We have not yet setup post office boxes, so if you wish to send your items, please reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Warming the Toes and Hearts of Amputees
Here in the mountains of Western North Carolina the temperatures have finally dropped such that I don’t have the doors open anymore and I’m burning my fireplace regularly. The good part is that it doesn’t last very long and the days still back up to livable temperatures where the eyeballs and snot don’t freeze. These pictures do no justice to my piece of heaven on earth. We had a pretty significant rain storm last week and as a result the mountains came alive with waterfalls. These pictures were all taken within 6.5 miles of my home. The drive was spectacular the following day. The girls put their heads out the window as we drove, the kayakers were in their glory, and the sound of rush water for miles was so serene that I really wished I was camping along that route.
My Heritage is put away for now and I miss her. She will be getting some new tires at some point this winter. For me though, I am now extremely cautious about riding in inclement weather. There used to be nearly nothing that would stop me from riding, but with physical issues and still some spooks in the attic, I err on the side of over cautious.
Well, the journey I had for the early eight months of 2014 was exceptional and I miss being on the road, but you all know that it was a challenging accomplishment in so many aspects. I do so appreciate all the support and encouragement I have received from all of you and many others. I am getting some great things accomplished that will serve me well. I’m enjoying the beautiful mountain I have chosen. I love having my BB Girl back in my life full-time and I’m getting one heck of a kick out of Lil Sportster. I’m looking forward to a few trips this year for speaking engagements and riding with veterans, ladies, and friends.