I have someone to introduce you to. He’s been in my life a while now and some people have known about him, but I’m ready to introduce him to the world.
Kenny is the name I’ve given to my personified surgically-repaired, bionically-elevated, titanium-indwelling, left foot. He’s been through a lot over the past year. Injury, fracture, surgery, non-weight bearing, atrophy, bone loss, and now rehabilitation. He is a persnickety old man who is set in his ways, takes time to get moving in the mornings, and fatigues easily. That’s the tough news, the good news is, he has a full-time live-in caregiver tending to all his needs.
Spoiler alert: it’s me.
An inordinate amount of my time each day is spent tending to Kenny, planning out what would suit him best, massaging him, cleansing him, and making sure he does his assigned physical therapy exercises. He tends to be lazy and in need of a cheerleader. He is teaching me a lot, not just about his needs and particular nature, but about perseverance and the importance of honesty with others.
Kenny does not hold back when he is feeling tired or overworked or undervalued. He speaks up and shares his feelings with me. Kenny does not over schedule his day or attempt more than he is able. He has reasonable expectations for himself and when he’s done, he’s done. Kenny is the epitome of the adage “slow and steady wins the race.”
As I accepted my role as Kenny’s full-time caregiver, therapist, and counselor, I realized that I would need people in this journey with me as well. I need perseverance and others to cheerlead me in hard times and the valleys of life. I need to be willing to share my feelings and not sugar-coat what is actually going on. Kenny tells me when he is in pain; he doesn’t hold it in or hide it, and nor should I. I am trying to be honest when I’m not doing well or could use some support. I need to clear my schedule and have appropriate expectations for what I can accomplish these days. After all, Kenny takes priority over many other projects that used to fill my time.
We had a rough start of our relationship, Kenny and I, but we’re growing to know and appreciate each other better. I hope to have adventures together in the future and be able to move a little faster and freer. I hope we learn to trust each other more and don’t grow resentful of the bond we’ve been forced into. We will be linked for a long time, so we need to both find a way to make this journey the most defiantly joyful it can be.
Kenny may be persnickety, but he has many good qualities too. It’s my job to find, appreciate, and encourage those aspects.
If you have the pleasure of meeting Kenny, say hello and give him a gentle “low-five.” He really likes those.