Learning to Walk Again
"The willingness to fall and the ability to fall ‘just right’ are invaluable".
You probably don’t remember your first steps. It’s part of the collage of “firsts” that moms and dads want to record and remember forever. We struggle to stand, wobble, tumble, and then start again—and finally, we walk. Once we can walk, we take it for granted until we can’t walk without difficulty, on our own, or at all. The only people who remember learning to walk are those who have had to learn a second time.
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have shattered bodies and lives. An estimated 3,100 soldiers have been killed by IEDs, and some 33,000 have been wounded. With advances in medical technology, more soldiers than ever survive explosions. Some 1,500 soldiers came back from Iraq and Afghanistan as amputees, leaving one battle to take on another: learning to live without a limb. It’s a heart-wrenching journey of courage that speaks volumes about the resiliency of the human body and soul.
If you have two good legs, it’s impossible to imagine what it’s like to stand on and walk with artificial legs. An artificial limb can’t really replace the real thing. It’s about learning to walk again. Ask any soldier who has been through this or the physical and occupational therapists who assist them—they’ll tell you that key to learning to walk again is learning to fall.