2008. I’m enjoying life. In 2008 I’d been a chef for 26 years. I could have chosen a plethora of careers but decided on being a professional chef, or glorified cook depending on the address of your employer, because I absolutely love traveling.
After high school, a stint in the military and during college, I thought it over and went straight to the culinary world. I was taught to cook at age 8 by my grandmother, it started with biscuits every Saturday morning. Cartoons were playing on the kitchen TV whilst I watched Granny make her biscuits from scratch. Soon after that first month of watching her, the TV was never on again while she was teaching me how to prepare food from scratch,
I never really “loved” cooking, as some/most chefs will tell everybody who listens to them go on and on and on about their love of cooking. I didn’t love cooking for total strangers who on most nights didn’t have a clue what actually goes into preparing that magnificent dish they just scarfed down as if the restaurant was on fire.
I have a spectacular talent for cooking and I have a vision for making new dishes, but love cooking……..No. I did however have an idea that cooking would get me into traveling, which I did and do love.
So cooking while traveling the world over, was my calling.
In 2008 that all came to a screeching halt.
I was in an American city in the Midwest, just arrived for a new gig in an upscale chop house that served overpriced steaks, overpriced chops and overpriced dinner checks. I had been working there for 3 weeks when the great flood of 2008 hit this city. That chophouse was flooded closed. Never reopened. I was officially unemployed. I was not too concerned.
One of the things I adored about traveling for my career was the newness of each city I’d work in. I’d arrive, visit the new restaurant and immediately start exploring my new temporary home. Walking is/was the very best way to learn a new location.
Driving is cool when you know your way around and know exactly where you want to go…….Walking is the absolute best way to learn your way around a new place. The best way to discover all the great things about each new place you live.
I LOVE walking my way around town. So imagine my shock and surprise when my leg/thigh was as swollen as a small oak tree trunk, upon waking from a deep relaxing sleep one July afternoon. It was literally the size of a small oak tree’s trunk. I went into an ER a few days later, yes, it took me a “few days” to get time away from the kitchen before going to the ER.
It appears that all this walking I love doing gave me a blister which got infected and could not heal like a normal blister would heal, due to my diabetes. Had I been healthy and not a diabetic, this blister would have burst, healed and end of story. Being diabetic means no wound or sore on the lower extremities ever heals in a normal fashion. Diabetes slows or stops the flow of blood, which makes healing near impossible if you do NOT manage your diabetes.
So, on a warm July afternoon I was diagnosed with type two diabetes. I knew what diabetes was but I did not know about diabetes. Here’s something I did know, for certain, I was not about to stop my life or change how I lived my life over diabetes. How wrong was I going to be about that, in the long run.
My trip to the ER for this swollen leg was an eye opening moment. A revelation if you will. The doctor informed me, after doing blood work, that I was diabetic, had type two diabetes and was going to have to make some lifestyle changes to live a rather long and healthy life,
I had no intention of making any “changes” and as far as I was concerned, my life was completely healthy. Already. My Granny used to say to me, when I was hard headed and didn’t listen to her…. “hard head makes for a soft ass.” I never knew what she meant, AND my ass should be like cotton, due to my hard head…..but it’s not that soft at all.
Ignoring my diabetes diagnoses got me this……
In case this image escapes you, it’s whats left of my once healthy lower leg. I now have a stump where my leg below the knee, including my size 13 foot, were once located. NOT listening to the doctors way back in 2008, and ignoring my diabetes, brought me to my current position, which is on my ass or in a wheel chair….. until I get fitted later this month for a prosthetic limb. Then I’ll be learning how to walk, all over again, like a newborn.
Hard head makes for a soft ass.
NOW I know what that means.
This is my very first installment in a series of blog posts about my journey from able bodied man to….. amputee. A Below The Knee Amputee. All because I was hard headed, refused to accept that ignoring my diabetes diagnosis was stupid, and thinking I knew better than the doctors.
Do NOT Be Me.