Random Acts of Kindness (7.23.2015)
I got back on the train today for the first time since my surgery last month and experienced many blessings. The last time I'd gone downtown on the train was the week before my surgery, to volunteer at Imerman Angels, a cancer organization that provides mentors for those with cancer. I had some concerns about my residual limb (a bump and a bone fragment that shifted out of place), and had called Dr. Ertl’s office last Friday, and left a message. I got a call back from Dr. Ertl’s wonderful nurse, Michelle, that Dr. Ertl would be in downtown Chicago this week and I could meet him downtown to have a look at my leg. I was able to meet him this morning downtown at Palmer House. (this was truly ironic to me as the last time I went to Palmer House it was to see my original surgeon, Dr. Lyddon, who salvaged my leg).
I got off the train at Union Station to walk to Palmer House, and ran into a genuinely nice person I know, Jim. I serve on the Western Springs Plan Commissioner and Jim is the Chairman. I enjoyed a great conversation with him as I walked to Palmer House, & Jim to his office.
I got to Palmer House, and met with Dr. Ertl. Dr. Ertl is the kind of guy you could sit next to in a bar, have a great conversation, and he’d never tell you he’s a world-renowned trauma and amputation surgeon. You’d just think what a great guy. Dr. Ertl looked at my residual limb and said I’m ok to get fitted with my temporary/first prosthesis next month. We’ll take care of the bump and bone fragment after I’m in my first leg in an outpatient procedure. This was good & bad news, as once I get my leg I don’t want to turn back. Dr. Ertl & I talked again about what I did before my accident, running, dance for 15 years, playing golf. Though it will take awhile, running is attainable, and golf... Back to reality, first goal is walking!
I walked back to Union Station and got back on the train to return to Western Springs. And if you are wondering, yes this was more walking/crutching than I’d done in entire weeks. I was very tired when I got home. After the train left Union Station there was an announcement that for 3 of the stops (which included my stop in Western Springs) only the front car would let passengers deboard, so anyone getting off at those stops needed to go to the front car. I knew I couldn’t safely walk to the front car on a moving train. I looked around for a conductor but didn‘t see one. A lovely woman sitting across from me saw my obvious disability and looked at me with concern. I asked her if she could see a conductor. She told me she didn’t see one either, but would go find one, which she did. I told the conductor I couldn’t make it to the front car & he made sure I was able to get off the train from the car I was on. The kind lady who helped me almost missed her stop in Brookfield by helping me! I’ve experienced so much kindness from family & friends and this random act of kindness from a stranger-well, I have another angel in my life. I am grateful to her and didn’t have a chance to say much more than ‘Thank you so much!’ before she had to get off at her stop, so I didn’t get her name. And also a thank you to ‘Kel’, the Metra BNSF conductor who helped me with a smile.
As a neighbor used to say when I’d thank her, ‘We’re all in this together’.