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To Be New&Different创造崭新的别样人生

(2009-12-30 22:09:41)





分类: 网摘
How to Be New and Different
In April, 1993,I was asked to interview and write about a woman who lived in a small town in Minnesota. So during Easter vacation, Andrew, my thirteen-year-old son, and I drove across two states to meet Jan Turner.
Andrew dozed most of the way during the long drive, but every once in a while I'd start a conversation.
"She's handicapped, you know."
"So what's wrong with her? Does she have a disease?"
"I don't think so. But for some reason, she had to have both arms and legs amputated."
"Wow. How does she get around?"
"I'm not sure. We'll see when we get there."
"Does she have any kids?"
"Two boys ― Tyler and Cody ― both adopted. She's a single parent, too. Only she's never been married."
"So what happened to her?"
"Four years ago Jan was just like me, a busy single mother. She was a full-time music teacher at a grade school and taught all sorts of musical instruments. She was also the music director at her church."
Andrew fell asleep again before I could finish telling him what little I did know about what had happened to Jan. As I drove across Minnesota, I began to wonder how the woman I was about to meet could cope with such devastating news that all four limbs had to be amputated. How did she learn to survive? Did she have live-in help?
When we arrived in Willmar, Minnesota, I called Jan from our hotel to tell her that I could come to her house and pick her and the boys up, so they could swim at our hotel while we talked.
"That's okay, Pat, I can drive. The boys and I will be there in ten minutes. Would you like to go out to eat first? There's a Ponderosa close to your hotel."
"Sure, that'll be fine," I said haltingly, wondering what it would be like to eat in a public restaurant with a woman who had no arms or legs. And how on earth would she drive? Ten minutes later, Jan pulled up in front of the hotel. She got out of the car, walked over to me with perfect posture on legs and feet that looked every bit as real as mine, and extended her right arm with its shiny hook on the end to shake my hand. "Hello, Pat, I'm sure glad to meet you. And this must be Andrew."
I grabbed her hook, pumped it a bit and smiled sheepishly. "Uh, yes, this is Andrew." I looked in the back seat of her car and smiled at the two boys who grinned back. Cody, the younger one, was practically effervescent at the thought of going swimming in the hotel pool after dinner.
Jan bubbled as she slid back behind the driver's seat, "So hop in. Cody, move over and make room for Andrew."
We arrived at the restaurant, went through the line, paid for our food, and ate and talked amidst the chattering of our three sons. The only thing I had to do for Jan Turner that entire evening was unscrew the top on the ketchup bottle.
Later that night, as our three sons splashed in the pool, Jan and I sat on the side and she told me about life before her illness.
"We were a typical single-parent family. You know, busy all the time. Life was so good, in fact, that I was seriously thinking about adopting a third child."
My conscience stung. I had to face it ― the woman next to me was better at single parenting than I ever thought about being.
Jan continued. "One Sunday in November of 1989, I was playing my trumpet at the front of my church when I suddenly felt weak, dizzy and nauseous. I struggled down the aisle, motioned for the boys to follow me and drove home. I crawled into bed, but by evening I knew I had to get help."
Jan then explained that by the time she arrived at the hospital, she was comatose. Her blood pressure had dropped so much that her body was already shutting down. She had pneumococcal pneumonia, the same bacterial infection that took the life of Muppets creator Jim Henson. One of its disastrous side effects is an activation of the body's clotting system, which causes the blood vessels to plug up. Because there was suddenly no blood flow to her hands or feet, she quickly developed gangrene in all four extremities. Two weeks after being admitted to the hospital, Jan's arms had to be amputated at mid-forearm and her legs at mid-shin.
Just before the surgery, she said she cried out, "Oh God, no! How can I live without arms and legs, feet or hands? Never walk again? Never play the trumpet, guitar, piano or any of the instruments I teach? I'll never be able to hug my sons or take care of them. Oh God, don't let me depend on others for the rest of my life!"
Six weeks after the amputations, as her dangling limbs healed, a doctor talked to Jan about prosthetics. She said Jan could learn to walk, drive a car, go back to school, even go back to teaching.
Jan thought about that ― about being a new and different person ― and she decided to give the prosthetics a try. With a walker strapped onto her forearms near the elbow and a therapist on either side, she could only wobble on her new legs for two to three minutes before she collapsed in exhaustion and pain.
Take it slowly, Jan said to herself. Be a new person in all that you do and think, but take it one step at a time.
The next day she tried on the prosthetic arms, a crude system of cables, rubber bands and hooks operated by a harness across the shoulders. By moving her shoulder muscles she was soon able to open and close the hooks to pick up and hold objects, and dress and feed herself.
Within a few months, Jan learned she could do almost everything she used to do ― only in a new and different way.
"Still, when I finally got to go home after four months of physical and occupational therapy, I was so nervous about what life would be like with my boys and me alone in the house. But when I got there, I got out of the car, walked up the steps to our house, hugged my boys with all my might, and we haven't looked back since."
As Jan and I continued to talk, Cody, who'd climbed out of the hotel pool, stood close to his mom with his arm around her shoulders. As she told me about her newly improved cooking skills, Cody grinned. "Yup," he said, "She's a better mom now than before she got sick, because now she can even flip pancakes!" Jan laughed with tremendous happiness.
Since our visit, Jan has completed a second college degree, this one in communications, and she is now an announcer for the local radio station. She also studied theology and has been ordained as the children's pastor at her church. Simply put, Jan says, "I'm a new and different person."
Jan may not have real flesh-and-blood arms, legs, hands or feet, but that woman has more heart and soul than anyone I've ever met before or since. She taught me to grab on to every "new and different" thing that comes into my life with all the gusto I can muster... to live my life triumphantly.










简又告诉我,还没到医院,她就昏迷了。她的血压降得很低,以至于她的身体机能几近衰竭。她得了球菌性肺炎。这种病曾经夺去了提线木偶创始人吉姆•汉森的生命。它的一个灾难性的副作用就是激活了人体凝血系统,从而导致血管堵塞。由于瞬间她的手脚都失去了血液供给,很快她的四肢就形成了坏疽。入院两周后,简的胳臂必须从中前臂处截肢,她的前臂和小腿不得不从中间被截掉。简说就在手术前,她哭喊着,“ 噢,天哪,不要!失去了胳膊、腿,和手脚,我可怎么生活呀?再也不能走路了。再也不能吹小号、弹吉他、弹钢琴,或是演奏其它乐器了。我再也不能拥抱我的孩子或是照顾他们。噢,天哪,千万别让我依靠别人照顾而度过余生!”截肢六周后,等她的伤口完全愈合,医生告诉简可以给她做修复术。这样简就可以重新学会走路、开车、重返学校甚至继续教学。

第二天她又试用了假臂。那是一套由缆索、橡皮条和人造手组成的简易系统, 并由套在肩膀上的带子来控制。通过肩膀上肌肉的运动,她很快就能随意开合她的“手”,来捡起并握住物体,穿衣服和吃饭。





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