Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What I’ve Learned

_MDS2142 It’s been one week since my surgery to remove a Morton’s neuroma in my left foot. How am I doing? Much better now, but it was truly an awful week. When I wrote at the end of this post about Jackson barfing in the car, I had NO idea how bad the week was going to get. Jackson got sick at both ends, and I joined him with my own special mixture of medication-induced illness. His lasted much longer than mine: a good five days.

Now that we have come through that trial and on to “relative” health, I am sharing the priceless lessons I learned this week.

  • I have learned that Zofran (an anti-nausea medication) is a MUST when I take any sort of heavy duty pain medication. Of course, I didn’t learn that until more than 24 hours post surgery. (Ouch.)
  • Spending the last week off my feet, I learned how fast I speed normally through life. Lately, when I DO walk, I limp along slowly. I realize I need to slow down, although I’d like to walk a *tiny* bit faster than the old ladies at the store.
  • I learned a lot about friendship. I was homebound and lonely; desperate for companionship. I realized I don’t often give the gift of companionship to my friends when they are down and out. If I don’t give that to others, how can I expect it in return? But, OH! When it was given to me in return by some friends who came to visit, I cherished it and saw it for the true gift it was.
  • On the sidebar of friendship, I learned how humbling it is to be the receiver of something I can’t possibly pay back. I had three meals delivered, and got a lot of practice saying thank you. My close friends know me well enough to realize I will NOT be making a meal in return, so they know these meals are truly a gift from them. I felt so loved by their cooking!
  • I already knew this, but just got a refresher on this lesson: I need my husband! He has overextended himself for the last two weeks (Jackson’s surgery, Thanksgiving, and my surgery). He is the only person who will clean up puke with me at 2am, and I am grateful to him for battling in the trenches by my side.
  • I learned that it is okay to skip a few days of shaving my legs.
  • And in that same vein, I learned that regular baths don’t cut it for me. I haven’t showered in a week and have had to bathe instead. I can’t wait to shower again!
  • Watching the sun set on that first night after surgery, while curled up in the recliner, I realized how grateful I am for modern medicine. I am glad I live in a time when ailments can be removed and corrected, medicine can be administered to minimize pain, and sterile environments are available.
  • Walking around with one foot in a bandage and the other in a regular shoe, I finally have a use for solitary socks who lost their partners in the laundry. I can’t put a sock on the bandaged foot anyway, so matching doesn’t matter!
  • I know what it’s like to have people stare at me. When I limped through a store or the lobby of the doctor’s office, people broke eye contact as their gaze slid down to my foot. It was an odd feeling to know they were checking me out.
  • “Next” time I have foot surgery, I should not walk around the house without a shoe on the “healthy” foot. I need to wear a shoe of height equal to the post-surgical boot that’s on the injured foot. Walking crooked can really throw your body off kilter, which makes all kinds of other body parts hurt. My back has been thrown out of whack, and my left leg now has a sciatic ache constantly coursing through it.
  • I learned that I should polish my toes with a bright color when I have surgery on my foot. Flesh colored polish has a way of making your foot look dead when it’s covered in iodine.
  • Since this all happened the first week of December, I learned it’s OKAY to let go of some Christmas traditions without the world crashing to a halt. We have less decorations up this year, less daily rituals, and more focus on the traditions that are meaningful. That’s an unexpected byproduct of surgery!
  • Lastly, I was reminded that I can dig deep when stuff hits the fan. This hasn’t been the hardest struggle I’ve ever faced, but it has been a very trying week. I remembered that the human spirit is resilient, God’s presence never leaves us, and the sunrise can be a reason to rejoice.


Julie said...

Beautifully written! I love your honesty and also you are the one person I know besides myself that will not be cooking wonderful meals for others.

donna said...

Wow....lots of life lessons to put in the vault this week. Your foot looks very painful. But I'm glad the surgery was a success and hope you are back up and running soon!


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