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How are you calibrated?

April 18, 2019

I admit, I have a soft spot for Travis Mills. There's so much about his story that's inspiring. From the sense of duty that drove him to serve his country, to the personal courage he's shown in facing the obstacles resulting from that service, to the generosity of spirit evident in the foundation he created to help other veterans struggling with their own obstacles. And the fact that he's a Mainer makes me all the prouder.

 

One of the things I admire most about Travis is his view of the physical challenges he and other veterans and their families face. The word he uses – and I think it's fantastic – is "recalibrated." He and other amputee veterans like him are not damaged; they're not crippled; they're not disabled; they're recalibrated. It's such a perfect description for dealing with the radical (physical) changes of an injury like amputation: your bearings are off, you need to adjust, and once you do, life's journey can proceed.

 

I have had the wonderful fortune of treating many such "recalibrated" people throughout my career. People who, faced with devastating injuries or illness, have chosen to look at it not as a roadblock, not even as a fork in the road that forces them to change their direction, but as a pit stop, a temporary delay during which they adapt to their new conditions, learn how to operate in them, and continue on their journey. Their example offers lessons for all of us in how to deal with hardship. And I am grateful to all of them for it.

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