My New Left Foot

Getting ready.  Getting it on! Walking! I hear the 2001 song, “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” was it?  Suitable I think for the Grand Duke of Delusion to stand up and walk. Ron was the good person and my PT for my first tender steps. 

I spent the morning familiarizing myself with the Rehab Hospital. I’m up in 525, with a bed near the window and the cool air. I found a garden in our courtyard, which I plan to visit regularly. I have lived experience with the central buildings of the HSC since 2001, and can still get lost.

Digression: Remembering the mistranslation  in “Under the Volcano;” the Consul reads, “Do you like this garden which is yours? We evict those who destroy!” I begin to imagine what the biblical story could be if Adam and Eve where lost in Eden for all eternity, with an out-of-date map and nobody but the snake to ask for directions.

My appointment was at 3:00 pm. I had no need of transport because I  could actually find my way to the main gymnasium. This time putting the liner on with that imposing screw at the end of it was easier than my first time, as was getting my stump firmly in the socket. 

Entry level prosthetic is all manual, mechanical and uncomplicated. Ron expects I’ll be walking with the aid of a two-wheeled walker by Friday. I’m staying over this weekend, their suggstion, my choice. Reminds me of staying over a weekend or a holiday at the MCI when everybody went home, except me and the students from Hong Kong.

Digression: Did not happen very often, because in the early seventies I could easily hitch hike the 75miles to go home Only once did I get picked up by a paedophile. By then I understood what they where and the damage they could only make worse. So I agreed to a meal at Burke’s diner in Morris while he was making some not too subtle hunts, maybe he was too tired to drive the rest of the way to Winnipeg, maybe he would take a room.

I worked out my escape route, leaving the table to go the washroom. No I didn’t need to crawl out the window, it was posssible to exit by two short hallways so I just deked out the one he couldn’t see. I bolted, and found a place that was safe until I was sure he wasn’t following me and continued ny journey. 

I’ve a fondness for large empty institutional spaces, a school to meet or be with my parents, the near ten years I made  University Centre my second home, and hospitals. Every fall three years running I had a fifth floor bed in the Msercordia’s children’s ward, with a view of the river. This weekend I intend to ply my trade as the Minster of Empty Spaces,  here in rehab, and read in the garden where I won’t have to get my hands dirty.


My Daily Fog: A Key to Everything

I wish sometime I could believe there is a key to open everything in the universe. Well ok, make that smaller…a key to open every lock that needs  unlocking, a key to lock every lock that needs locking …even smaller. A key that opens every lock, starts every car or van, by some high tech oogly boogly. Specifically my locks, my van. 

So this mornng everything but the kitchen sink all packed for rehab camp, just behind the wheel…no damn key. I go back to my apartment, enlist a search party, all hunting my van key. Finally I send everyone home, and make one last tour in my wheelchair (for all of this mind). Sliding a van door closed, I spot the key, just in front of the rear tire under the van within reaching distance, and dropping distance too.

Note to self; get a lanyard, make a copy of the key too for heaven’s sake. Just like I remind myself everytime this happens, and it happens more often than I like to admit, but when you enlist your neighbours, hard not to admit it, and this is not the first time I’ve drawn attention. This search made me an hour late. I’m never late. I take so much pride in my timeliness, I don’t wear a watch. Never have.

Freud said there are no accidents. So reassessing ….. did I try to sabotage going in for rehab because I’m accustomed to my lfe in a chair, maybe  I’m afraid I won’t be up to the challenge of walking again, afraid of falling. Maybe it’s like banging your head into a brick wall, because it feels so good when you stop. The adrenalin in  the panic, and then the  rush of relief, because as always, what I am searching for is always in the last place I look.




Victor Enns reads and writes poetry and fiction. Afghanistan Confessions, poems in the voice of Canadian soldiers, was published in 2014, boy in 2012. Lucky Man (2005) was nominated for the McNally Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year award.

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