On my very last day at Louisville, way back when I had just had surgery and I thought my life was over, I was told something about percentages.
I was told that after I was back up on my feet my life would by no means be over. In fact, 98% of the things I had done before I would still be able to do.
Wow, 98% sounds like a pretty good number, doe it not? Well, at least until you think about that last little 2%. See, what they just don’t understand is, 2% is a big number for me. There are a lot of things I have done in my life, lots of adventures, lots of exciting things.
Were those great times and exciting adventures going to be in that 2%?
I don’t know, not yet.
I am sure by now everyone knows what a bucket list is. I heard that movie was great, but I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet. Bucket list. Almost a scary thing. The list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.
I don’t have much of a bucket list. Like I said.. Lots of good times, lots of adventures… So not much in my bucket.
On my prosthesis there is a very important component called a socket. A socket is custom molded to my residual limbs, and is the thing that lets me stand on my new legs….
So I have a “Socket List.”
I have a list of things I want to do AGAIN in my life, once I am back on my feet. This is where that 2% really comes into play… Are the things I am about to list for you in that 2%?
I hope not….
My Socket List:
A long time ago I got a wild hair and started volunteering for my local fire department. Providence Fire/EMS is a paid department, but accepts the help of volunteers. I can remember when I first started, they would put me in full turnout gear and make me run around the the the building the station is housed in.
I don’t know what was tougher, the running, or the sniggers from the guys as they watched me sweat my ass off! I did a lot of training in the beginning, and it always seemed to involve sweating on my part 🙂
Being on a fire department can be a lot of work. Fighting fires is not glamourous stuff. It is labour intensive, and is dangerous. But I stuck with it. When the siren went off, or the phone rang, I was there. Believe me, I wasn’t the best fire fighter in the world, but I tried. I am sure I frustrated some of the guys when I screwed up, but they put up with me because I was dependable, I always showed up to help.
Eventually, the department sent me to First Responder school, so I could work on the ambulance as a volunteer. I don’t think this was done often, but again, I always showed up.
On night, there was a fully involved structure fire on Cedar st here in Providence. I ended up on the roof with a pike-pole tearing off roofing. On the ground there was a paid man from the department hollering up, asking if I needed anything.
I thought it a bit humorous that the volunteer was on the roof, while the paid man was on the ground asking if he needed anything. Talk about role reversal! After the fire got under control and I was back on the ground the Asst Chief pulled me aside. Walking down the street a bit away from the fire ground the Asst Chief told me the decision had been made to bring me on as a paid man part time.
I was blown away.
I could go on and on about the time in years I spent serving the citizens of this community on that fire department, but I think you get the picture. I made a lot of friends on the department, I am quite certain I irritated the hell out of some of the guys because I always come across as a “know it all,” and I know I goofed up sometimes. For the irritations, I apologize. I hope all the men down there know I always tried to do my best, and I always tried to help.
My career as a weekend and part time paid man ended when the new mayor was elected. My mother ran against him on the ballot, and he won. The last shift I went in to work on was on Christmas Eve. I was going to work an overnight so one of the full time guys could go home to be with his family.
Another person was found to work that shift, and I was never told. I showed up to work, but was sent home. Could be that it is coincidence that I was pulled off that shift after the new mayor was elected. I was never called in for another shift, and I just faded away from the department. No matter the ending, I was proud to work at that department, and serve my community. I was there for the tornado, and like most every other man there I worked a nearly forty hour straight nightmare. I would do it all again, because it was worth it.
So, that is one of the things on my socket list. Get back on a fire department and at the least volunteer. I don’t care if all I do is hump hose and clean up, I want to serve again! I don’t know if P-Town FD would have me, but hopefully some department will.
2. Search and Rescue
Two of the friends I made at PFD was Lee Jenkins and Monty Hardman. I am still good friends with lee to this day, he comes and visits me on his Harley fairly often. Monty pulled up stakes and moved away on us.
Those two got me into search and rescue work. It didn’t take much arm twisting to get me to join the Webster County Rescue Squad. I had more fun with those guys than you could ever imagine. We did high angle rope rescue, wilderness SAR and water rescue.
On my time on the squad we did several searches on land and on the water. Lee and Monty pushed me forward to get many rescue certifications. Because of those guys I am state trained and hold certificates in High Angle and BSAR rescue. I was eventually made an Asst Chief of the squad over high angle rescue.
So, on my socket list you can add being part of a SAR team again.
One of the things I did a lot of on WCRS was rappel. Every chance I got I was on the side of a tower on a rope. I loved it! I bought all my own gear so the county wouldn’t have to, and I still have it.
Once, Lee and I got the opportunity to train the KY Dept of Corrections CERT team. This is basically the state prison system’s SWAT team. We had a great time over three days hanging off the side of a military base’s training tower, watching as burly prison guards squealed like little girls as they broke over that tower on a rope!
This is something I truly loved to do. So we can add this to my socket list as well. I want to rappel again!
4. Motorcycle Riding
Sitting in a living room of an empty house is my Zuki. If you know me at all, you know I love that bike! I have spent many a weekend burning up the backroads and highways of KY and all it’s surrounding states with my friends. Jenny and Bob, Jim Durnil, Eric Kim-Bro and all the rest I have ridden with.
Kim-bro and I have traveled all over on our bikes. Hell, he sold me my Zuki to begin with and got me back into riding!
I know I can’t ride my Zuki. My knees just don’t bend enough to be comfortable on the foot pegs. Plus, it’s a rocket, I lost my legs already, I don’t want to push my luck!
I think I could ride a cruiser, though. I already have one picked out. So add that to my socket list. I want to freaking ride again!
Many wheel chair bound people still drive. With the use of an automatic transmission and hand controls it is very doable. But, I have a problem..
My little truck that I love dearly is 4×4 mountain goat… With a stick shift!
I have never gotten the thing hung up, it is pretty as a peach, and it is damn near paid for! It is nothing to find a spot and dive off the road and push that 4 high button.. Yea, push button 4×4!
So this one is very simple. I want to drive again… I want to drive MY TRUCK again…
All of these are just a drop in the bucket…ummm… socket…. of the things I want to do again. I cant list everything, but these are some of the things that are more important to me..
Are they in the 98%… or the 2%?
I don’t know, but I am sure as hell going to find out. you just watch me!