We had a great two weeks with Erin's parents in London, Normandy (Bayeux and D-day beaches) and Paris (via Chunnel). I had been to all, but it was fun to see it with the others. We had a full week in Paris and I fell in love with the city for the first time, really: other visits had been on tours, where I was working. Hotel breakfasts were great, lunches in brasseries were fun, and dinners in cafes and restaurants were often exquisite (I had some of the best foix gras of my life). Dang. Patti got to go up the Eiffel (after a three-hour wait) and Gene got to see a match on center court of the French Open at Roland-Garros. Erin's plan and guiding worked beautifully and we had a minimum of drama (except when she drove back into Paris from Normandy and had to negotiate the Mother of All Roundabouts, the Arc de Triomphe). And I got to see the Musee D'Orsay for the first time: gorgeous re-do of an old train station and a killer collection of Impressionist painting.
I got around quite well, really. I abandoned the walker in Green Bay and took just the Lofstrand crutches and a traveling wheelchair. I was in the wheelchair for longer, smoother surfaces and in museums and the like, but I negotiated cobblestones, curbs, stairs in stations and brasseries (both for toilets) with confidence, if not aplomb. And while the others were out waiting for the Eiffel, I walked alone from the hotel two Parisian blocks to a great Italian restaurant, where I enjoyed not only the food but speaking a language that is far more comfortable for me than French (everyone there was Italian).
All of which is to say, by way of condition report, that I am using crutches solely (which is only a problem getting up out of chairs without arms), and can even carry coffee from the kitchen through the dining room to my desk using just one crutch. I have never had a fall--akhbar Allah--so I have made considerable progress in the six months since my post-surgical wheelchair days. The next steps are one crutch, then a cane, then nothing. I hope to walk unassisted in the New Year. My physical therapy is going well--they are all pleased, in fact have now reduced me from three days to two days/week--and many who haven't seen me in a while are surprised by my improved mobility.
Not bad for a guy who has had a severely wounded spinal cord, is technically an "incomplete paraplegic," and who attains the biblical three-score-and-ten in two months.
Children, Woman and Dog still love me. Things could sure be worse.