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Surgery Chronicles: Halfway There?

Earlier this week I had my three-week follow-up appointment. I'd been really looking forward to this appointment because (1) I hate not feeling reassured in every moment that all is well, and I had to wait a whole two weeks to get that reassurance, and (2) this appointment would hopefully be the one where I could remove all my bandaging for good and get permission to start weaning off the crutches and try walking just in my boot.

For the most part, that was the outcome. Although, my doctor wanted to put one light layer of dressing on, until today, when I had permission to remove it and finally wash my foot after three and a half weeks! l need to make sure to keep the incision site clean and apply neosporin and bandaids daily. Shape aside, which is lovely, my foot is pretty gnarly looking. The skin is all hard and wrinkly from having been swollen and then shrunken down, and also from the amount of time it was bandaged up. Now that I can look at it, I don't really want to. I know it's perfectly normal in its current state—I made sure to ask—but I have this irrational fear that it won't change and become normal normal. Of course, I'll always have a scar, but I knew that going in.

As for the crutches, I did get permission to start walking around the house without them, but in public I'll still need to use them. That's okay, because as I've said before, the public is scary. And while I was excited to get the all-clear for boot-walking at home, I was simultaneously terrified at the thought. I'd been so very careful  for three weeks to not bear weight on my foot, so I couldn't quite make the shift in my head that it was now okay to step with it. I eventually did, although at first I clutched and clung to all the walls and furniture I could grab, in place of the crutches. Now, though, I rarely use crutches inside my home, except as a reacher for things I'm too lazy to get up for. I still like to keep them nearby, just in case. If I've been up and about too much throughout the day, my foot will hurt a little, and I know it's time to rest. I haven't really felt fidgety until this last week, I suppose because I've gained a bit more mobility.

Because the average healing time for this surgery is six to eight weeks, and I'm at three and a half, I figure I should be halfway there. I like halfway points. When I used to run, back in the day, that's what I would set my mind on for long runs. Because I knew the hardest part was over, and the very next step I took after that halfway point meant I was on my way to finishing. It didn't mean finishing would be easy, but I knew it would happen. That's about how I feel now. My mind is focused on finishing out my recovery.

What I'm Watching/Reading

  • I watched the latest season of House of Cards, but I found it a little blah. The characters are still good, but the story just wasn't as engaging as prior seasons. It's one of those. 
  • I finished watching the original Twin Peaks series, but I honestly can't tell you what happened. It sort of became background noise when I was doing other things. There were lots of plots and subplots that were hard to follow, as well as very disturbing dream sequences. But I do know who killed whatshername.  
  • In the Facebook comments to a previous post, I got some good recommendations for books. My dad suggested All the Light We Cannot See, and while I'd considered it before, I never bought it because the page count was too high. I still do that. But then a friend happened to have it and brought it over when she made dinner for me one night, so I decided to crack it open. Although the setting is bleak—Hitler, Nazis, war—I'm really enjoying the writing and characters, so I'm gonna stick with it. I just need to reach that halfway point... 
  • I also saw an article or review somewhere about a book called Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit. It's a collection of essays and had a low page count, so I got it to read on Kindle. I thought it might be a little funnier than it is, but it's a little too true-to-life and dispiriting to be funny. But it's certainly relatable and, in some ways, validating of my own past experiences that left me questioning whether really I was stupid. 

New Tricks

  • I'm exercising now, which I'm glad to be able to do, despite my limitations. In the first two weeks I didn't have the energy to do much except what I had to do to get through the day. Now that I have more energy, I want make sure I keep my strength and some level of fitness. I mostly do mat exercises that target my core (I don't have a ton of options). I recently got an exercise ball, and I'll be experimenting with that. Wish me luck. 
  • I can shower without hanging my legs outside the tub. It's still a seated shower, but at least I can get my whole self into the tub. This is a milestone I've looked forward to since my first awkward tub shower. 
  • The fact that I can make food is not new, but I continue to make new meals that make me happy. This one was based on a recipe in Thug Kitchen and adapted for what I happened to have in my kitchen:
Yellow split peas with sautéed carrots, ginger, and onions in kale boats.

Visitors

I'm super grateful to continue to have these. Even though I can live pretty independently now, I can't go out a lot, so I get a little isolated. And weekends are particularly hard because I don't have work to occupy myself with. (But sometimes I work anyway, just to do something.) My dad recently came to stay with me a couple of days and get together with my sisters and their kids for an early Father's Day. So I got to be around lots of family last weekend, which made me happy. I have a friend from high school—the only one I've actually kept since hight school—coming to visit this weekend. And I know I have a visit the following weekend from my mom, who will take us to my nieces' dance recital. Having these things to look forward to keeps my mind settled, whereas I'd otherwise be worrying about what to do, how to occupy my time.

Family time in my sister's garden. I'm overseeing.

And of course I see people when I have my follow-up appointments. This last one was particularly special, for lack of a better word, because I had two different rides, my sister and a friend, which is the way it had to work out to accommodate schedules. I'm so grateful to have the unwavering support I do from some family and friends. I can't say it enough.

After my next follow-up appointment in 11 days, I hope to be reporting that I'm done with crutches and my foot is more normalish.

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