Well, the Olympics are over and the Paralympics begun! I’m having my own quasi-one right here. My strokes are strengthening: The Crutch, The Hop, The Shimmy, The Crawl, and of course, The Teeth. Today, the obstacle course was:

1) Crawl to the bathroom because I’ve learned having fallen too many times on crutches without first having coffee.

2) Try to make coffee, hopping on one leg with coffee items in teeth. This move is called “The Stork.”

3) Crawl on the floor to mop up the coffee grounds that dropped when the right leg got too exhausted

4) Pick up dropped spoons with right toes and get it to hand while leaning on crutches

5) Swing in double axle lunge move on one foot to pick up yet another dropped crutch

6) Splash bird bath. Glasses fly off face. Shimmy on one leg to retrieve glasses while dodging dangerous wet puddles all over the floor.

7) Cry trying to put my underwear on jumping into it on one foot, then balance through the leg hole.

8) Crawl to the door to get the mail. Carry mail and NY Times in between teeth back to the coffee.

9) Drop mail – another lunge balance on right leg and mail back in mouth and stuff the newspaper in my pants. Cry.

10) Try to get computer over to table with hands on crutches – gently balancing, one inch at a time. Realize computer uncharged. Leap to grab power cord. Drag to hand and mouth.

11) Vault to the phone ringing across the room where I had just been. Just miss it.

12) Hop to freezer to get ice because all the leaning to the right on one leg now hurts my back.

13) Boobs hurt from all the hopping.

14) Hop to chair. Put up throbbing foot. Exhale.

Record Time: 2 hours

You think this doesn’t qualify for an Olympic event? I’m as breathless as if I’ve run two miles after this workout. And while I’ve fallen roughly four+ times when the crutches have given way, or slipped out of my hands, bawled from frustration at trying to carry anything, I am grateful. This too will pass – this window into being an old person, this longing just to walk is . For the Paralympic athletes, this is permanent and still they muscle through. Hats off!

My friend Walter has given me the nom de guerre, Crutches McCripplestein. My BF calls me BoneSpur Beth. What flare!

Everywhere I go is an adventure where complete strangers reaching out, eager to tell me their gruesome and curdling war stories of shattered bones and fractures, screw and plates, limps and hobbles. I was told all day, as I backward crab-crawled into the ocean waves, and crutched through sinking sand, how brave I was to venture out. Most people would be in bed. Hmm, where I should be I grumbled. But, I met true courage: Yesterday, a bold and life-seared, battle-won black woman at the Annenberg pool and I bonded. Years before as she was raising a two-year-old, she slipped. Her ankle had broken and her foot was dangling backwards. She said, “My body told me somethings was wrong. So I fixed it.” She set her own foot back in place. At the hospital, the head doctor demanded to know which genius doctor had set it — it was perfect! The nurse shook her head, no doctor, she did it herself.

Now that’s courage.

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