Reflections on Being Temporarily DisabledNehemiah Salo
As many of you know, I slipped on the ice and suffered a knee injury in early January. By the latter part of February I was on crutches and I remain dependent on them for the next few weeks.
The good news is that I am clearly on the mend, making improvements each day. As of yesterday I have started a process of weaning myself from the crutches. I have another 12 weeks of rehab but could be walking unaided in 3-4 weeks. I am ecstatic about this positive turn of events.
I want to thank many in the college who have asked about my status from time to time and have genuinely rooted for me. Know that the positive energy has clearly helped me stay focused and positive and is helping me to heal.
It has been interesting to observe the reactions of people seeing a middle-aged person on crutches. Some don’t seem to know how best to react in seeing me. I particularly get interesting looks from people when Alaska Airlines carts me through the terminal in a wheelchair. And yes, while not always easy, traveling for business can be done. I have been on several trips now with crutches on airplanes, in taxis, and staying in hotels.
I think what has struck me the most is how a set of crutches connects me with other people, particularly those that have had injuries that required long rehabilitation and recovery. I have heard many personal stories about multiple surgeries that required months, and sometimes years, to fully resolve. And if it was a leg injury, how long the individual was on crutches (sometimes for months!).
Being dependent on other people has been probably the most difficult thing for me. It is humbling to be carted through the airport in a wheelchair. My wife Fran, has waited on me without complaint, to do things like iron clothes, move a glass of water from the sink to the table, or go to the store for me, all things I normally do myself. And in the office, my assistant Stacy Mohondro, has done much the same for me, including scheduling many doctor and physical therapy appointments around a packed schedule and somehow, making it all work.
I anticipate 100 percent recovery within the next 3-4 months. Paradoxically, I feel very lucky. I will treat winter here on the Palouse quite differently. My faith in others has been re-affirmed. Most have rooted for me and I am grateful for this support.