Monday, November 23, 2009

The Frankenstein Foot and Matters of Mobility

Three days post-surgery and I am really sick of dragging around a humongous foot that weighs about as much as a bowling ball. How can one little bunion cause so much trouble? Okay, make that one “major” bunion, according to my surgeon, which necessitated taking a wedge of bone out of my metatarsal so it could be folded back into where it once was, freeing the tendon in my big toe so it could spring back at attention, and taking part of the knob off the knuckle of my second toe that had developed from being shoved down the line. Doc suggested that I shouldn’t have waited so long to have it taken care of. I should’ve listened.

But there has never been a good time to do it. Who can give up a month of being able to put both feet on the ground? And then another 4 weeks of wearing a clunky boot? Not I? But now I’m wishing I had done something about 2 years ago so I wouldn’t have had such extensive work. All of you with bunions out there: heed the warning. Don’t let it get ahead of you!

I’ve ditched the crutches. Ten minutes after returning home from the surgery, I was loping across my kitchen and they got away from me and I went down, like a slo-mo film, doing a tuck and roll so as not to injure the foot. Now I’m using a “scooter” walker, with a padded seat, so I can put my knee on it and propel myself along with my good foot, which is actually kind of fun until I run into a door jamb.

And although I haven’t had any significant pain in my foot – God bless nerve blocks! -- just about every other muscle in my body aches like the devil from having to compensate. My pecs are gonna be something to behold when I’m done, as will my gluts, but right now, what I wouldn’t give for a whole body massage to work out the knots in my shoulders. My left calf will probably be gorgeously shapely, but woe to the right one, hidden under layers of wrappings and unused.

And then there’s the inconvenience. Take now, for instance, after I finally got myself situated in front of the computer, my right foot propped on a stool, my hot tea prepared, my square of dark chocolate sitting beside it – and I realized I’d forgotten honey for the tea. Will I haul myself up off the chair, prop myself on the scooter, wheel all the way down the hall into the kitchen – why does it seem like a mile away? – just for a teaspoon full of the sweet syrup? Nope. I’m going to make do, which goes for a lot of other things in my life right now. It’s a “making do” life, having to figure out easier ways to do just about everything I took for granted before.

As my doctor predicted, at the end of the month I will fully understand what it means to be handicapped. I’m fortunate. I know there will be an end to this. For those with no end, my admiration for you has grown leaps and bounds. It takes courage to face every day. I’m in awe of all of you who manage to not only get up out of bed, but live. Do. Experience. Enjoy. I’m certainly appreciating the small stuff, such as having a husband who will pick me up when I tumble, make my breakfast, and jump up in the middle of the night to help when my calf cramps.

As I’ve written before, it’s those little moments in life that bring happiness. And right now, this square of chocolate looks mighty good.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Enjoy those small moments.