Skip to main content

Surgery Chronicles: Hard Feelings

I'm one and a half weeks out from my second foot surgery, and, by all important measures, I'm doing well. But boy has the past week been difficult. In the first few days post-surgery I was in a pretty good mood; the surgery had gone well, I was in the excellent care of my mom, and I had made it past the last major hurdle of this months-long event. All I had to look forward to was recovery and progress and gradually returning to my normal life, whatever that might look like.

But even though I've gone through this process once already, it's still just as difficult this time around. There's the constant worrying about this weird feeling or that new pain, the accidental step in the middle of the night when I forgot which foot was injured, and the agonizing wait time between appointments. Now it's compounded by concern over whether I'm taking good enough care of my first foot. Did I ruin the surgery when I stubbed my toe falling off an exercise ball? Am I using it too much, too little? These are the thoughts that occupy my mind when I'm lying around, trying to rest, but wanting only to be busy so I can tune out those thoughts in my mind. I have to remind myself that this is just a period of time in my life, and a relatively short one in the bigger picture. I will get past it. At the same time, I don't want to just try to bypass all these days; they matter, too.

And although I'm sure people tire of checking in on me, I'm always so thankful to receive texts/calls/visits from loved ones. I still need it. And I still need to be better about reaching out when I need to hear from someone. I was pretty good about that prior to the first surgery: I sent out an email to family with all the surgery details and landmark dates and requests for check-ins. I didn't do it this time, and I guess I have felt a little forgotten. I feel selfish saying that, as everyone has plenty going on in their own lives, and even I took this second surgery lighter at the outset, thought it would less of a big deal. This ain't my first rodeo. But all the difficult and mixed feelings are still there. Gratitude for everything that has gone right and for everyone who has been supportive, fear for everything that could go wrong and for being forgotten, joy at surprise fruit deliveries and comforting words from my nieces (anything "nieces," really), anger at myself for not being perfect in my recovery, and boredom in waiting for time to pass, when I can't seem to do anything productive.

I do have an advantage this time around that keeps me from going too stir-crazy: I can drive. It's not comfortable to drive more than a few miles, as having my foot in a down position makes it swell more and therefore ache more, and wherever I go my foot needs to be accommodated (i.e., if I go to a restaurant I need an extra chair to prop it up on), so it just isn't practical to be flitting around town all the time. Plus, I'm on crutches and can't do certain things like open doors and get through them before they close on me, or carry things, like a cup of coffee from the register to a seat. But still, I feel a little more liberated and less helpless if I were to run out of, say, toilet paper. (That's everyone's fear, right?)

Continuing to work full time is helpful for my sanity, even though I'm not in the office. I have video meetings and phone meetings almost daily, so I'm still connected. I'm fortunate to be able to stay home to take care of my foot the way I need to for the best recovery while still making meaningful contributions to my organization. This gives me purpose throughout the weekdays. But I think I'll be glad when fully remote working is over, though. There are definitely pros and cons to both working at home and working in an office. I think an even balance of both is best for me.

As for just daily living, I'm able to do most things for myself, thanks largely to my handy scooter! I always find joy in preparing food, so I spend time making healthy meals, old recipes and new. I pre-made some carrot ginger soup before surgery, and my mom made a batch of split pea soup while she was with me. Soups always feel healing to me (even in the swampy heat of July in Florida). Also, before my mom left, she made a simple cabbage slaw from the Anti-Inflammatory Diet book I bought prior to the first surgery, and I devoured it.

I continue to make it myself. I also eat lots of greens, legumes, root vegetables, squash varieties, anything cruciferous, and all the fruits. And lemon and lime juice along with fresh herbs on everything. I avoid nightshades, though (tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant, peppers...), and meat and dairy and sugar and alcohol (for the most part). But I can't just eat all the time (try as I may), so here are some shows I've been devouring, too:
  • Turn - an AMC show that follows the lives of a somewhat historical spy ring during the Revolutionary War, and a great period piece, which I'm always a sucker for
  • Offspringa charming Australian show about a young female obstetrician and her often awkward, sometimes disastrous attempts at relationships, as well as her convoluted but loving family story
  • Ozark - I'll just say that if you like Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, and/or Breaking Bad, you'll like this show
I'm counting down the days until my next appointment (nine), when I'll be able to have the dressing removed and will spend the following two weeks transitioning off of crutches to just walking in a boot. But I'm also trying to be present in each day that leads to those milestones. It's hard.


B.o.B. said…
Lee you really should be proud of yourself. This is A LOT to go through and you're handling it really well! I'd be eating pizza every day while crying watching Bad Girls Club. LOL (We also love Ozark!). In any event, I'm sending you healing thoughts and know you'll get through this. You're a tough lady. You got this.
Lee Davidson said…
Aw, thanks, friend! That means a lot to me. And I gotta say your picture of recovery is kind of appealing! Miss you and hope you're well :)

People Liked to Read...

Surgery Chronicles: I Exhale

I've really been holding my breath with this recovery, more so than the last one for some reason. After getting past the three-week point (which was two weeks ago, when I started to write this), I felt a little more at ease. Since then I've been changing my own dressing daily and slowly weaning off of crutches so I can now walk around in the boot—hands-free! I'm still a slave to icing and elevating as much as possible throughout the day. But the very best part? There's no other foot left to do. After this, I'm done, done, done. I can start to return to a life not defined by sitting and waiting and feeling confined and limited and trying my hardest to heal but having little actual control over any of it.

I wrote in my last post about the difficult emotions I'd been having throughout this second surgery recovery. I think I underestimated the psychological toll I would take doing one foot right after the other. And while there was a feeling of elation after gettin…

Surgery Chronicles: 12 Weeks and Progress

I'm now more than 12 weeks recovered from my second (and final!) foot surgery, and life is starting to feel a little more normal. When I last wrote an update, seven weeks ago (still blaming Irma for all of my delays), I had just gotten off of crutches but would wear my boot for two more weeks. I've been out of the boot and walking in shoes for just over five weeks. The constant discomfort I've felt in my foot from swelling is finally starting to wane. I work in the office now, I do my own groceries, and I even attended a work conference recently, which meant lots of walking at airports and the conference hotel, frequent standing, and few opportunities to elevate and ice. I was very concerned about how my feet, particularly the left one, would endure. And while it wasn't comfortable, I made it through, no worse for the wear in the end.

I joined a new gym/community center recently, with a new and beautiful outdoor pool, and I'm so happy that I'm able to use it n…