I recently had another surgery. Yeah, I know. I’m all about these surgeries, aren’t I? If you read one of my previous posts about the bulging screws causing pain in my foot, then I bet you can guess what happened next…
The lovely surgeon took them out. Because they HURT. The swelling had finally gone down in my foot for these little suckers to be sticking out. So, things weren’t going to be getting any better.
HERE’S THE SCREWS
I’ve re-entered the post-surgery malaise of pain and elevation and icing and meds.
It shouldn’t take too long to get back up and around, so they say. I’m waiting it out with bated breath, because lets be real for a minute.
Seeing as I already wrote my Ten Tips for a Woman in a Leg Cast, I thought I would fancy myself in writing a bit more to encourage the poor souls who suffer through such a trial. I’ve found that piece is still reaching many, so I decided with this new refresher course I am currently taking- it was a worthy road to revisit. Life surely isn’t easy when you only have one leg to stand on.
And when you are a mom of two kids?
Dang. It’s hard.
I learned so much the last time I was down throughout the winter months, and having this fallback surely opened up new (and old) wounds that bear the burden of losing that infamous grip on control. It’s a tough terrain of relentless surrender, when you are faced with limits, isn’t it?
I will share twenty hard truths that most people face after foot / ankle surgery.
If you have suffered this unfortunate fate, have hope that this list will someday bring you great gratitude for all you endured and eventually survived. There will come a time, when you don’t remember the vivid details of your healing journey, as I did. I just hope you don’t have to be reminded with another surgery!
1. When the Doctor says to elevate, you darn well do it. Gravity is a beast that can’t be fought, and as the blood rushes down to your broken place- you will surely do what the doctor says.
2. The rest of your body will hurt *almost* as much as the surgical area. I’m only on the fourth day and my hip, back, and arms are trashed.
3. Crutches cause bruising… bad. Scooters are made by the hand of God.
4. Speaking of scooters- riding them resembles the bumper cars at the fair. Your furniture and paint jobs will never be the same.
5. Sleeping is glorious- if the pain lets you do it. Sleep as often as you can- both for healing purposes and even more for your mental well being. It passes the time, and Lord knows the days and nights are long.
6. As you slowly surrender to all control, remind yourself that somehow the other people in your house will manage. It may be messy, and surely not how you do it all, but things will somehow get done. And the big stuff you obsess over? It will all be there waiting for you, when you are healed. Lucky you!
7. Discouragement rules. You think you will have all sorts of time on your hands to read and rest and watch movies etc. But a month goes by, and low and behold- you’ve done nothing worthwhile at all. Your days were spent doing daily functioning tasks that take an hour each, which pretty much fills the entire day. (If you are a mom with kids in the house, this may be your truth. Others may have the pleasure of *maybe* accomplishing more.)
8. You will stink. Bathing is a luxury. I’m sitting here with my hair nicely pulled back by the natural oils from my scalp. Not kidding. Sponge baths are golden. You must lower your standards for hygiene and keep the cleanliness bar low with that dreadful cringe of acceptance. Must haves are deodorant, toothbrush, and fresh panties/socks.
9. When ya gotta go, ya gotta go. Same goes for eating, bathing, dressing, and attempting to get from ANY one place to the next. Plan accordingly. Seriously. Plan AHEAD. These simple tasks are not so simple anymore.
10. If you want to cry, cry. I get it. All of us gimps get it. It’s absolutely no fun to be motionless and hurting. No fun at all. You think it will be a nice break from responsibilities, but you quickly realize that it is so much harder than any workplace you ever entered. Cry.
11. Ask for help. DO IT! I immediately dismissed my friends’ offers for meals and learned the day after surgery that I really, really needed their help. I texted my friend in a fit of sobs and told her “I retract my statement, bring food!” Bless her heart… she did.
12. And about those friends? They are gold. I pray you have such treasures in your life too. Call on them…
13. You may be a bit more emotional than usual… keep yourself in a reality check. I think we can start to dive deep into our victim stance and pity our condition- and in doing so, we can project our anger, sadness, frustrations on the ones we love. Be careful.
14. On that note, find trusted people in your life who know you well enough to allow your emotional voice to be heard. Sometimes ya just gotta let it all out. It helps.
15. Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude. Find it. Your perspective will shift dramatically, when you go digging in the garden of gratitude.
16. There is no comfortable position. There just isn’t. Body parts will surely fall asleep, scream at you, and twinge over and over again. Get over it. You have to. Distract yourself as best you can.
17. Pain meds are a pain, but take them anyway. They will help with the healing, despite the fact that they wreak havoc on our bodies. I hate taking them, but I stick with the inflammatory meds as per doc’s orders. If you must take pain pills, many claim they help. They just muck me up more, so I usually decline. But do what helps you most. Pain meds are offered for good reason!
18. Repeat after me: “This is temporary.” Keep saying it and remind yourself that this is truly a blip in time. I lived through it, and it IS simply that. Winter was a hard season, but spring came- and summer. And I started to limp less and hurt less too. Say it again- “This is temporary!”
19. Healing has its own timeline. It’s a precarious thing, really. You may have the end goal in mind, and then surely it plays out differently than expected. Some heal quickly, others take more time. Honor yours. Your body has it’s own time clock and as hard as it is to accept this, you must. Be good to yourself. Pace yourself. Trust that in time, YOUR time… you will heal.
20. When you are out in public, lighten up. It’s humiliating, isn’t it? I know. You move on those motorized scooters like an invalid, and everyone stares at you. As you knock down a display or two at the grocery store? Laugh! While you keep people stuck behind you as you hobble slowly? Make a joke about it. I remember approaching a 92 year old woman in the store on my mobile scooter as she was walking toward me. I immediately yelled out to her, “You are showing me UP, woman!” We ended up talking for several minutes and hugging each other in the end. She imparted invaluable advice that day…
“Everyone gets all their undies in a bunch about everything. It’s not worth all that stress! Just learn how to handle life’s frustrations, and move on.”
The *moving part* is tricky…
But in time-we’ll all be able to-
You need help and hope while you’re healing. I can offer you both through my book.
For more encouragement read these: