I met Alex during my stint at Kennedy Krieger inpatient rehab. Alex had gone in for surgery to fix a chest wall abnormality called Pectus Excavatum, which can affect breathing. He woke up from the surgery unable to move his legs. 4 weeks after the surgery through sheer will power he moved a toe.
Deciding he was going to walk again Alex worked every day, willing his legs to work again. He continued to get stronger every day, with his therapists doing less and less work. He moved from walking in the parallel bars, to walking with a walker, to crutches, to walking with canes, eventually walking independently.
I met Alex near the end of his stay, at the point where he was still using crutches. I found his progress amazing, since it hinted at the progress I might make myself one day. We compared similar hospital stories and experiences, swapping stories with the other older patients. He left inpatient fairly soon after I got there, showing the promise of escape in my future.
I ended up meeting Alex again when I switched to outpatient. He had just switched from crutches to canes. He offered me his old crutches since he would no longer be needing them. These are the same crutches I still use when I go to the pool (though they have been beaten up a little bit since then). I'm grateful for the gift which let me progress to the next level of mobility. Thank you Alex.
Incidentally Alex was the one who inspired me to get flame covered canes. His pair of flame canes made him look like a comet compared to my snail like pace.
So here's another story that there is hope after a traumatic event. As when I first met him, Alex's story is a sign of things that could happen to me as well. I remind myself that everyone's journey is different but that doesn't mean we can't look to where others have traveled.