If you don't think New York City is a friendly place, trying getting around on public transportation using crutches while sporting an ankle-to-thigh brace. I started using the subway again this week for the sole purpose of getting to school (after missing the first two weeks of class) and I've been surprised about the authentic kindness I've received. I've witnessed individuals tripping over themselves to give me a seat, others holding doors and asking me if I'm ok, and people offering to help me up flights of stairs. I always wonder exactly how someone would help me up the stairs. "Excuse me, can I help you?" "Yes! Can you bend down so I can climb onto your back? Actually, can you carry me while cradling me like an infant? That would be great." It's the thought that counts. New Yorkers can be some of the friendliest people around. If you're ever running late to JFK, bring crutches. Once there, you'll be escorted to the front of the security line and be given priority access boarding. It's like you are a celebrity who has six screaming children under the age of 3.In Here is New York, E.B. White wrote that there are three types of New Yorkers. "There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born there, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size, its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter - the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these trembling cities the greatest is the last - the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is this third city that accounts for New York's high strung disposition, its poetical department, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements...the settlers give it passion...each embraces New York with the intense excitement of first love, each absorbs New York with the fresh yes of an adventurer, each generates heat and light to dwarf the Consolidated Edison Company..." This last group might be the best, but over the past few weeks I think I've been fortunate enough to be helped by all three.
In other news, I've been going to physical therapy in Brooklyn Heights three times a week. When I arrive, I feel like I've stepped back in time to the 1970s. Shag carpets are on the floors, strange flower pictures line the wood paneled walls, and the secretary looks like she hasn't moved from her desk in 40 years. My physical therapist is the lead singer of the Bee Gees and has hands the size of dinner plates. Really large dinner plates that can inflict some serious pain. I've been able to increase the flexibility of my leg from 65 degrees to 90 degrees in about a week but still have about 40-60 degrees remaining before I can fully bend it. I'm finally able to put some pressure on my foot while getting around and I'm hoping I can get down to using one crutch over the next week or two. The most important thing is that I get my leg to completely extend so that the back of my knee touches the surface my leg is resting on. It's important because this is where scar tissue can form, causing the knee to heal in a way that won't allow it to properly extend. I'm given "homework", which consists of mini exercises to do on my own. The pain is intense but it's a constant reminder that I'm on my way to getting better. That's all that matters.