Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'm still here

....and a little embarrassed by my lack of attention to this blog, after going on three months without so much as a "Hi there."

I can't really explain it, either. Certainly life has gone on and things have happened, good and not so good.  I think I went somewhere for a while, far away from creative thought or sharing mode, and it was not especially good.

But I'm here now.  And in a completely different mode. Let me tell you more...

Living on one foot 

After a misstep last spring and nearly six months using an ankle support, I finally was able to see an orthopedist about the pain I had when I walked much at all, even with the orthotics I've used for five years and in my 'comfort' shoes. Crippling pain, folks, hobbling along with a cane on some days, my left leg feeling wooden from the knee down.

Turns out I have severe arthritis in the joints there, compounded by a severely flat foot, fixable through surgery called a triple arthrodesis. So we began to plan, with surgery finally scheduled for Dec. 27.

I will say that we were prepared: the first time I've ever had the luxury of actually anticipating the surgery and recovery period. I read health message boards, researched the procedure, figured out what medical supplies would help, and began freezing soups and stews and casseroles. Friends lent me a bedside commode, a transport wheelchair, a shower chair. We got toilet rails and in lieu of crutches, a knee roller. I practiced using just one foot to get into the shower (not doable, but it works in the big tub), to get off the toilet. 

Although this was 'elective' surgery, the alternative is literally crippling, and I'm just not ready or willing to go there. So in my mind, there wasn't an option. Even though I wanted to go through with it, I found myself gradually getting more anxious, more afraid -- and that mindset likely had a great deal to do with my not blogging

Finally I reached out to a local healer friend who works with energy and reiki and asked for help -- and it made a HUGE difference almost immediately. On her advice and with her help, I turned my focus inward, concentrating almost wholly on me -- something I have almost never done for very long, and always still trying to juggle the other commitments and relationships I have had. This time I found other, easier ways to handle existing commitments and completely backed out of others, and came home to my honey, my cats, and myself. And focused on increasing energy, positive energy, in myself and in that wooden leg.

It worked, really well. And going into surgery, I felt positive about my recovery, positive about the surgery, and actually was walking better than I had in a long time. I could feel the leg again. It was connected to my body, and I felt whole. The morning of the surgery, I was ready, I was calm, I was positive.

I confess to an unreasonable fear of general anesthesia, which I always have come out of (and have never been told that I had difficulty with) gasping and groggy and grateful that I am still alive. Although I'd hoped to do a spinal block along with a local nerve block and thus remain more or less awake, it turned out that one medication I'd taken the morning of the surgery negated that option for safety concerns, and under I went, after only a little meltdown, and indeed, I came out groggy and gasping. But within a few hours, I was coherent and without pain and so, so grateful.

That's where I am now. 

I am two weeks post-op and spending much of my time in Tony's recliner with my foot propped above my heart. There has been only minimal swelling, almost no pain**, and I am not stir-crazy. Indeed, that inward focus continues, and I'm contemplating spirit and prayer and quiet and purpose and just learning to BE instead of DO. I'm leaving other people's business and conflicts to them rather than offering opinions (unsolicited) or help (which I am in no position to give). For now, that is what my work is supposed to be.

**The nerve block did not wear off for 30+ hours, and when it did, it hurt. I spent one night in the hospital taking pain meds and using the nifty pain pump, but was so nauseated that I regretted all of the meds. Since then I have taken the strong stuff sparingly (it has such nasty side effects) and have used just the occasional Tylenol to ease discomfort. But what I had been told was a hugely painful surgery (involving screws and cutting into bone) has turned out for me to be nothing more than a few aches and twinges (nerve regeneration causes some leg jumping and zingers, but it's not so much painful as it is frustratingly random). 

Grateful. Beyond. Measure.

Time for the recliner now. 

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." Albert Schweitzer    


1 comment:

mxtodis123 said...

Oh, I am so sorry to hear about your mishap, but am certainly glad to hear you are on the mend. As to the arthritis, will you still need to walk with a cane? Know that my prayers are with you for an extra speedy recovery...And, please do not apologize. You have been through a lot.