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A humbling lesson from… Walmart December 23, 2008

Posted by Marc Troeger in humor, life, Marriage, Patience.
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Image from pt’s Photostream: http://flickr.com/photos/pmtorrone/150955293/

My original thoughts about this foot surgery was that I was going to be out-and-about within a few days, resuming my normal activities, albeit a little slower, but without much hindrance none-the-less. When I went for consultation prior to my surgery, Dr. Snyder stated that it would be 6-8 weeks before I could even begin to resume any normal activities.

double_diamond“Bah! I’ll show him!” was the first thought that crossed my mind. I’m a guy who climbs small mountains (novicely), skis down double-black diamond slopes(haphazardly), participates in 24 hour mountain bike races (recklessly), runs marathons (averagely), rafts wild rivers (carelessly) and, bottom line: just can’t sit still (expertly). I was not going to let a little foot surgery hold me down!

Walmart made me think differently.

First off, let me throw a disclaimer out there. I am not a fan of shopping at Walmart. While there is nothing morally wrong with low prices and cheap, Chinese goods, I prefer to shop locally, supporting businesses and services in my hometown and the surrounding area. There are times, though, that the convince and availability is to tempting. Besides, I’d been stuck in the house for 4 days straight and when my wife (a nurse by profession and a bulldog by years of caring for others) felt I could join her to pick up a few things, I jumped at the chance. I was more excited than Ernie is when he knows he’s going for a walk. Her only requirement was that I ride in one of the little, electric, mobile shopping carts the store keeps at the front door. “A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G! Just get me off the couch!”

My pride got the best of me as I walked through the doors of the mega-mart and saw cartthe little cart. It suddenly became a symbol of immobility and, to me, getting older. “ There’s no way I’m riding in that thing!” I insisted to my wife, as I leaned on my trusty, mountaineering pole I was using as a makeshift support. “I am not riding in that thing. No way! I can manage with my trekking pole (I refused to call it a ‘cane’)”. My wife looked at me with those bulldog, caring eyes and then smirked one of those nurses smiles when patients refuses to take their medicine.

“Fine.” was her reply.

Hobbling along, I relished being back with humanity, enthusiastically saying hi to people I didn’t know. I was drinking in the chatter of people and stimulated by all the commerce taking place. At that moment, life couldn’t be better.

It was 10 minutes into my jaunt, halfway to the back of the store, near the frozen food section that something didn’t feel right. Swelling of the foot… pain… a little dizziness… “Bah!” I said, I’ll manage. Five minutes minutes later… nausea and a bit of a sweat formed on my upper lip. I met my wife’s eyes. The nurses smirk was there.

“How are you doing?” she asked, with those bulldog, caring eyes.

“Uh… I think I’m going to go sit in the car.” I said.

“Fine.” was her reply.

Waiting in the car, I sat gloomy and embarrassed. It became clear to me that this recovery would not be as swift as I anticipated. “Six to 8 weeks before you can resume normal activities.” Dr. Snyder’s words reverberated through my head.

My wife got to the car, stowed her purchases and climbed in the driver’s seat. There were no bulldog eyes or nurses smirk. She leaned over and gave me a gentle kiss and a caress.

“How are you doing?” She asked.

“I’m fine,” I replied.

Staring out into the dark night as we drove off, I realized I missed my couch, knowing that it was my symbol of patience and recovery.

-marc

Every Adventure needs a sidekick… December 21, 2008

Posted by Marc Troeger in life.
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Meet Ernie, my sidekick during my couch adventures as I recover from foot surgery. Ernie is named after the famed Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton. Ernie’s a two-year old long-haired dachshund and very easily lives up to his namesake.

Any chance Ernie gets, he’s right along side of me, willing to take part in any of my daily adventures, from jet skiing, to kayaking, cross-country skiing and even riding along in a backpack when I go mountain biking. The benefits of the small, little guy is that he can go just about anywhere… and he rarely says no. But size does not matter to him. He usually forgets that he’s one quarter the size of most dogs with whom he plays.


To be honest, I think Ernie’s just as challenged with this couch-bound adventure as I am. He does not quite understand why I can’t join him in the yard, chasing balls and sticks or running the geese out of our back yard. He’s constantly bringing his favorite toy to me, wanting me to chase him down and wrestle it away. While I think he’s disappointed at the restrained attempts I make to play, I believe he understands and patiently waits.

Ernie’s taught me a few lessons about life over the two years I’ve had him. Having been a bachelor only until last year, I’ve learned almost as much about commitment, dependency and the need to let others in my life, as I have from my wife (Oops… I’ll make up for that comment in a future post!).

Don’t forget, this journal is about change, and the changes we can make, no matter our situation. Epic Change is one of those that is trying to make that difference. Check out the Epic Change widget at the top of the page.

Join with me as I work to make that difference… even from my couch.

-marc

The Couch Journals begin… December 21, 2008

Posted by Marc Troeger in life.
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The Couch Journals begin…

For those who know me, I’m normally a pretty active guy… And although I’m no Conrad Anker or Sir Edmond Hillary, I tend to enjoy the more adventurous side of life, which means that a sedentary lifestyle isn’t quite my style. But, on December 19, I underwent a bit of surgery on my feet to correct a hereditary bunion problem (thanks for that gift, Mom!) with my feet. While most bunions can be managed without surgery, mine is a case of bunions gone terribly bad. This required some cutting and shaving and repositioning of the bones, along with a few screws to hold it all together. I’m happy to say the surgery went well, but I am now required to be completely off my feet for a week for a swift recovery.

Recovery meant that I ended up stuck on the couch with my foot propped and the rest of me in a reclining position. Included with this are all forms of entertainment including TV, the internet, DVDs and many books, magazines and blogs to read.

The first half-day of marooning went well, but very soon it got real old. The second half of the day, I got very restless and even started feeling sorry for myself. “Enough of that!” I finally said. Even in this predicament, I am still far more fortunate that others around the world. It was then that I decided to see how much of a difference I could make, even from my couch… and so, the Couch Journals began…

While my secondary goal is to provide a journal of the general observations of couch living (from a not so couch living sort of guy), my primary goal is to see how much of a change I can make. And I am doing that through my little campaign for Epic Change.

Epic Change is a small non-profit that uses donations to provide interest-free loans to local partners to finance many community improvement efforts around the world. They then work with the recipient to repay the loan by collaborating with them to share their stories. In a continuing cycle, they”pay it forward” by recycling repaid loans to help fund Epic Change in other communities. It’s really a self-sustaining gift that keeps on going. Read their mission statement, and the values. http://www.epicchange.org.   They do make difference.

To be honest, I have no idea how much I can raise while I am couch-bound. I hope to be surprised. Please note that 100% of whatever comes in goes to Epic Change. Check out the giving widget on this page. Give as little as you want or just be aware of the opportunities you have to give when you are able. And if anything, you can join me on my latest adventure… from the couch.

-marc