Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Second Act

By his mid sixties, Collin had traveled many of life's winding roads.  The majority, like his decision to become a financial planner, were guided by the delicate hand of fortune.  The only job offered to him after college became his singular passion.  His financial wizardry allowed for both comfort and acclaim.

So it was with great irony that Collin awoke one morning to find himself swallowing the dust with his face smashed into the cold pavement.  The night before, he epically celebrated his retirement with family and friends.  The envy of the crowd, he was leaving the game with decades of life left to explore.

But destiny was a fickle mistress.  Once Collin drank freely from her sparkling trough, now he would learn to live with drought.  The first thing he felt upon awakening was a strange numbness over the left side of his face.  He tried to get out of bed but his right arm refused to move.  His right leg felt like a tree trunk.  When he lifted his head and called out to his wife, she came running from the bathroom.  He was slurring his speech.

A few hours later, Collin sat helplessly in the stroke unit of a local university hospital.  He listened morosely to the irritating beeps and clicks of the machinery surrounding him  His limbs may have been dead, but his ears were crystal clear.  There were no medicines to fix this predicament.  There were no financial formulas or tax shelters to hide under.

Collin's path had taken a nasty detour.


Just a few weeks after his famed retirement, Collin found himself in the fight of his life.  Each day started the same.  He woke up at seven and showered before starting the relentless therapy schedule.  Physical therapy before lunch, occupational and speech afterwards.  The pace of the rehab facility was brisk.  Every spare moment was filled with a physical obstacle to stumble over. 

As with most conquests, Collin was doing better than expected.  He was using a walker, and was ready to try a cane.  While his body ached and was overcome by exhaustion, his mind was suffering the most.  The intense decline of his physical acumen contrasted the clarity of his mental processes.  There was no nice way to say it; he was bored.

It was therefore quite natural, when he heard his roommates wife mention their financial distress, to offer advice.  He perused the hospital bills and financial statements voraciously, glad to be flexing a muscle that had been lying dormant for what seemed like centuries.

It took a few hours, but when Collin explained to the man and his wife, he felt the rumblings of power well up in his chest for the first time since the stroke.  It was not only the knowledge obtained after years of financial planning, but also understanding the physical devastation of disease.

For once, Collin could offer his clients more than just sound advice, he could walk a day in their shoes.


By the time he finished rehab, he not only acquired much needed strength and dexterity, he had also embarked on his next voyage.  Armed with knowledge and real life experience, Collin had become a patient advocate and financial liaison.

The bumps in the road had left scars.  And those scars marked his body like his limp marked his gait.

He would celebrate his imperfection as he journeyed down a new road.

It was time for the curatin to rise.

Act Two was about to begin.

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