Week One Reflections

A weird light came through in the picture, but I was in no mood to move and try to avoid it.

Last Friday, I had surgery to repair my foot. The surgeon smoothed out two spots on my bone, removed the compromised parts of my Achilles tendon, and fixed the tear. It was performed at the orthopedic’s facility, which made things more convenient as I avoided the hospital. After dealing with so much discomfort, I was almost eager for the eventual relief surgery promised. 

It always amazes me to spend any amount of time in an operating area. For patients and their families, this is a life-changing experience remembered for the rest of their lives. For the staff, it is (usually) just another day at work. That being said, they were fantastic at making me feel safe and welcomed.

The process of getting checked in was easy enough. No one told me that I would be waiting for an operating room to open, so I stayed in the waiting area for over an hour and a half. This is my only complaint about the process; I wish someone had given me the head’s up as the anticipation almost brought me to a panic attack.

The surgery itself took less than an hour. I went into the operating room at 11 and was home before 1. I left groggy but eager to be heading home. 

The next few days were a blur. I was beyond fortunate to receive a fantastic nerve block. I didn’t begin to feel any pain until the following evening. I spent the time with my “toes above the nose” (as the nurse instructed). Once the pain came, it came on hard. The first few days were spent napping and watching bad TV.

I have a sort of half-cast on that is wrapped in a bandage. I have no clue what my incision looks like. This is unsettling for someone like me, who hates surprises and not knowing as much as possible about something. The cast set my foot facing down, unable to put any weight on it. Currently, this is the most difficult challenge. I cannot do much. Mike bought me a travel coffee mug with a cover and a handle to make my coffee. I use my Hydroflask with a handle to get my water, but beyond yogurt and snacks, there isn’t much I can do to get myself food. Having your eleven-year-old pour milk into your Cheerios and bring it to you on the couch is pretty humbling. Note: Mike adds too much milk for my liking, but Michael’s milk to cereal ratio is important. No one discusses such things, but it is a huge deal.

Love the irony of hobbling around with my “Happy Camper” mug

Once I stopped napping all day, the next challenge involved staying sane during the heatwave. Temperatures reached 104 with the heat index, so sitting outside with a huge cast on was out of the question. Mike put the air conditioner into the living room window. We pulled the light-blocking curtains and sat in the dark, mostly on devices and watching reruns. By Friday, it was affecting Michael. Humans are not meant to live in caves, even ones with AC and Big Bang Theory reruns. Even though we had as many adventures as we could before my surgery, having to sit inside for four days was not at all enjoyable.

Here are my biggest takeaways from the past ten days:

The internet suggested using a hair dryer to blow cool are into the cast. The internet is sometimes a genius!
  • Preparing was a huge help. Having a basket of clothes downstairs made things easier. I packed comfortable clothes but have found I have only wanted to wear cotton clothing, so the workout gear I packed has sat untouched. Also, these are my favorite hang-around shorts. They’re super soft and have pockets. I bought one pair, then ordered two more after they arrived.
  • Having snacks within made me feel more independent. Mike made me a snack center, which was a huge help.
  • I need to do as much as I can to ensure that I heal as quickly as possible because I cannot shower or prepare food for myself sticks.
  • I wish I had purchased shower wipes. I used a wet facecloth, but I wish I had bought actual shower wipes.
  • My husband is amazing. He’s been working all day and taking care of everything at home. This includes taking care of me, cleaning the house, taking Michael to baseball, taking care of Banjo, and a million other things that come up throughout the day. He hasn’t been sitting down before nine each night.
  • My friends are amazing. I haven’t talked to many people about getting this done, but those who know have been checking in and helping out more than I ever hoped. I am beyond grateful.
  • Banjo is beyond happy to have me home for a few more weeks. However, he is pretty confused regarding my refusal to play with him. After trying to engage, he took out all of his toys, made a huge mess, and played with his back to me for a little while.
Banjo was upset that I wouldn’t play, so he took out all of his toys.

The following steps involve a lot of feelings of hurry up and wait. I have my follow-up tomorrow and will hopefully exchange my cast for a boot. I will still not be able to do much walking and rely on my crutches; being able to carry my Cheerios to the couch is something I very much look forward to doing. I won’t begin walking or trying to strengthen the foot for another four weeks.

I know that the process will be long and filled with ups and downs. I know that there will be victories as well as setbacks. I’ve already been told that the earliest I can even think about running is next February. I also know that I will complete the goals I had to abandon this year (Boston Marathon and Marine Corps 50k). Most importantly, I know that this journey will be worth it.

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