This is going to be difficult to write, and no doubt hard to read, but every now and then a little tightrope walk does me good. Please stay with me, if I fall into the canyon I have nobody to blame but myself.

A firefighter from a neighboring city lost his hand last month due to an infection. http://www.turnto10.com/story/26059373/newport-man-survives-flesh-eating-bacteria  He is an amazing human being,  a Rescue Lieutenant and by all accounts a great guy. He is optimistic in good spirits and getting on with his life, not bitter or disillusioned.  He hopes to get back to work. He is one in a million,  which brings me to my point; what about the other 999,999?

wheelchair at shoreIn my travels as a Rescue Lieutenant I have seen lots of disability. The people that I have come across who are missing limbs or have lost mobility face an epic struggle every day. Most are cranky, angry and not  just a little bit resentful, but put their best foot forward and get on with their lives. It is a difficult existence, and completely misunderstood by the rest of us who like nothing more than a nice feel good story about the person who “can” so we can tell our disabled fellows who “can’t,” or as we see it, “won’t” all about the heroic person we saw on the news.

It’s got to drive the people struggling to put on their socks nuts. You don’t have to be heroic to be a hero. For some, just getting through the day is the best they can expect. That being said, the people who manage to keep dancing after losing a leg, or go back to their unit after having their arms and face blown off are absolutely deserving of our respect and admiration.

But so are the people who are simply getting by.

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