I feel like I say this almost every day but today was a BIG day!!
We started the day off bright and early. We knew we had to be out front of our apartment building at 1030 for a tour of the White House but we wanted to make sure we had enough time to practice walking with our new prosthetics. We had to make sure we allotted enough time for the prosthesis to shrink Taylor’s sockets down, since he is losing volume in his thighs. Plus the prosthesis needed to add the knees! Knowing this whole process can take a lot of time, we set our alarms with plenty of time to spare and lets just say Taylor didn’t have any problems getting up with morning.
He popped right up, we did our hour worth of morning cares and heading over to the MATC. The prosthesis was in and out of the room trying to get the legs ready for walking status. You should have seen Taylor’s face when he walked in the room with two X2 (the name of the prosthetic legs with knees). It was truly like a little boy on Christmas morning. He was leaning forward in his chair, examining every aspect of his new toys!
Both the prosthesis and the physical therapist warned him that it is common for him not to immediately have a fluid motion. I know Taylor was thinking, “Yeah, yeah, yeah let me try them out already”. But the prosthesis and therapist were right. The first few times down the runway it was not a natural, fluid motion at all. There were several people trying to give Taylor pointers; pushing and pulling his hips and thighs to guide him in the right direction, but I could tell Taylor was getting frustrated. He just wanted to get in the groove of cruising with knees. The prosthesis grabbed his computer and adjusted the settings within the legs; he said the feet sensors were set too heavy for Taylor’s weight. After several practice runs, Taylor began to look better and better. I could tell he felt more comfortable too. I may be biased but the last few practice runs, I thought he looked awesome!! I will upload a video and you can tell me what you think. Keep in mind this was his first day in his prosthetics with knees and he probably has 20 minutes total in the books for these particular prosthetics.
PS He bypassed me. Taylor is now taller than me…
After basically forcing Taylor to take off his knees we headed back over to the apartment building to wait for the bus that was going to take us to the White House. There were several other wounded warriors that were going to the White House tour. Once we arrived at the White House we were assigned a tour guide. It was really interesting to hear the stories behind the different furniture, dinning wear, and the paintings on the wall. So many fun facts! When the tour was coming to an end, all the tour guides started rounding everyone up to take a group photo.
This is when the second big event of the day happened! One of the escorts pulled Taylor, Claire, Juli, and myself aside. She asked us to step into a side room. As we waited with anticipation and curiosity for the reason why we were separated from the group, President Obama and Joe Bidden walked through the door. I was still slightly confused on what was going on. President Obama joked that he should start looking into getting us a cot for the White House, since we were just there a few weeks ago. He then said he had something for Taylor and pulled out the Purple Heart award. Obama pinned Taylor while Joe Bidden read the award presentation. The pinning was quick and informal, the way Taylor would prefer. That is not to say it was not tear-jerking. It brought everything to a head once again.
The day was filled with milestone, like I said it was another BIG day! If we could change one thing about today we would have had Dan with us. Wish he could have been right next to us watching Taylor walk with knees then seeing him award the Purple Heart!!