I opened the heavy door to the large, brightly lit space. Why, I wondered, are doors in hospitals so difficult to open? Though quiet in the hallway, the room hummed with conversations and activity. I scanned the space looking for Martha, and saw far more than I’d realized I would. She was on the far side, still working with another patient.
I slid to the right into the closest chair, wishing I had brought my book or something else to keep my eyes occupied. Sitting down, I tucked my purse beneath the chair and said a quiet hello to the woman next to me.
Which patient is she here with?
In this room where I sat, waiting to work with a therapist, I had noticed only one other patient with two legs. She was tall, slim, and working hard to use her legs to balance without assistance and walk while holding onto two handrails.
She looks so focused.
Every other patient there was learning to stand or walk with a prosthesis (or two). Every other patient has a wheelchair nearby.
I don’t deserve to take up Martha’s time. What am I doing here?
This was the place and she was the therapist my doctor had decided were best for me as I try to regain strength in my leg.
This place is for people who cannot walk. I’m wasting their time. I just can’t count on my leg all the time. But I can walk- for miles. I just have to pay attention when going down hills and down stairs. But I can stand on my own-for hours. I just can’t play some of the sports I love. But I can do others. And I have both legs, even if one isn’t what it used to be. I just don’t want to be taking Martha away from more important work. So I will work as hard as I’m able to accomplish as much as I can in as little time as possible.
Martha walks over to me, smiling and asks if I am ready to get to work.
Yes. Yes I am.