There were some ups and downs. I drank the gross medicine. This was not the main attraction, though. At the end of the day, I was still a cripple. I had 3 young kids- there was plenty to do.
My progress, while significant, did not erase the physical challenges. I was still walking (well, sort of) though I was confident that no one spent as much time as I did, focusing on each step to ensure that I would not trip and crack my skull. Running, hiking? Hardly.
Yep, I suppose that you could get swept away by all of the nonsense and sink into a cesspool of depression (based on interactions with many of my contemporaries, I can attest that this is so). The good news: I was, and am, generally optimistic. Sure, I get as melancholy as the next guy from time to time, who does not? For the most part, I remain enthusiastic.
By now, my mobility had degraded, and I came to depend on a $25 Goodwill wheel chair for the longer hauls. I had not fully surrendered, though, and was thankful for the walking I could manage. True enough, it was not elegant, but a handy tool for stairs, or leaping out of the car for a quick errand. In early 2009 I bought a secondhand titanium wheel chair. Talk about a renaissance. I wheeled most everywhere- to the library at lunch; a few blocks for a coffee- all easy. While not walking, it was a fair substitute. An understatement. After several years of near reclusive immobility, it was fabulous.
A reasonable person might ask: why secondhand? A solid machine like I wanted was going to cost at least a few thousand dollars. I had spent a couple of years trying to get my health insurance to pay for an ultralight chair, with no success. I guess in the overall scheme of things, and knowing what I now know, it was not much money. But at the time, it seemed like a ridiculous sum. Besides, there were principles in play: as I read the insurance company criteria, it was impossible.
Aggravated as I was, eventually, the insurance boys wore me down, and I acquiesced to the unthinkable: I gave up. Not totally. As I do, I looked for another angle. I had been working with some guys that I knew in the mobility business for many years. While they mainly fabricated adaptive solutions and sold electric scooters, from time to time I would see a manual chair in their store. I asked them to help me find something used.
About a year or so later, I got a call from Larry. He had come upon a used TiLite titanium chair. “Did I want to come over and have a look?” It did not fit me so good, but it was light and it rolled out well. We argued the price a bit, and called it a deal. By Spring, 2009, I was nearly a full-time user and took it everywhere; it has gone across the country several times, and served me well in Central America, Asia and Europe. It was a huge boost to my independence. I emphatically recommend it.
 Jim and Larry at Quadratek Mobility (no longer in business), Ventura, CA. I miss these guys- I’d refer them to anybody. They are great.