Biographical Non-Fiction posted January 25, 2019

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Based on a true story

Can Do, Sir

by Earl Corp

Write about an inspirational quote Contest Winner 
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

While I was in Germany a sign hung in battalion headquarters. The quote on it had a big impact on my life.

 “The soldier who says he can and the soldier who says he can’t are both right.”

It guided me through the next 12 years of military service and following my discharge. The real test came in December 2010 after being struck down by a spinal abscess.

I woke up in a hospital in Pittsburgh not knowing my wife, not knowing who I was, and not being  able to walk any more. Only 57 percent of the people get off of the table. In fact, they lost me on the table.

 A doctor told me I’d never get out of a wheelchair.

 “You wanna bet,” I replied.

As his words sunk in, I remembered the sign. I vowed to myself  I’d never say, “I can’t.”

Which I damn near did three days later.

Before being sent to Greenville for rehab they sent me to the physical therapy suite. There I learned just how disabled I was. I had zero balance or muscle control. At that point rehabilitation seemed daunting and overwhelming, something I couldn’t do. 

I cried, then I got mad. I was going to show these bastards what I was made of.

 “I can.”

When I was moved back to Greenville the real work began. I was transported back and forth to therapy in a wheelchair.

Just standing up for any period of time made me break out into a sweat. Balance wasn’t easy, but I had to get some back to negotiate the steps into my house. I was taken to a stairwell to practice. They didn’t think I'd be able to do it. 

“I can.”

I climbed the rail like a mountain climber on a rope. Eventually I could go up and down 12 stairs twice.  An allergy to an antibiotic shut down my kidneys costing me another month in the hospital. Oddly, I walked without any devices when I dreamed.

Water therapy was God’s way of saying, “You can.”

I left behind the wheelchair and moved on to a walker 90 days after leaving the hospital. A year later, I was on forearm crutches. At every point I was told this is as good as it gets.

“Nope, I can.”

At the three year mark I was driving again and working as a news reporter, all on crutches.

“I can.”

A year later, they discovered I needed new hips. During rehab they said I might not need any devices to walk.

“I can.”

I decided I would walk in 5k races and collect enough T-shirts to make a quilt, there was a doctor in Pittsburgh I needed to show it to.

“I can.”

Two years later, I had walked in 54 5ks. Came in dead last in 50 of them, but I finished all of them.

“I can.”

T-shirts are at the seamstress and doctor’s appointment made.

“I did!!”

Writing Prompt
Do you have a quote sitting on your desk at home or at work that has great meaning to you? How about on your wall or in a journal? Write about one quote that has made a difference in your life and tell us about that (250-500 words).

Write about an inspirational quote
Contest Winner



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The quote really drove me throughout this ordeal. I am a blessed man, I never became bitter or gave up. I had great family support. I was on Percocets for four and a half years. As soon as the pain was gone so were the pills. Every day on this side of the grass is a gift and I thank God for it.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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