Ok, day 7 since the surgery. Every once in a while I’m struck with the odd and somewhat enjoyable sensation of having absolutely nothing to do but sit in the chair with my foot in the air. The rest of the time I’m about ready to crawl out of my skin. I’m getting much better on the crutches, learning how to swing through. We have even devised a way for me to do the stairs so we can sleep in the bed. I offer my undying gratitude and apologies to every physical therapist and exercise coach who has had to listen to me whine thru lunges and squats.
However, the inactivity is wreaking havoc with my sleep patterns, and I think the stress is making both of us a little cranky. Shannon is doing an amazing job of caretaking me, but when I try to do too much or go too fast his concern comes through to me as disapproval. This morning while instructing him on how to cook breakfast (too much, you think?) he rolled his eyes and I did my best imitation of stomping off to my chair. We are being careful to talk about it and apologize frequently.
I have had a lot of surgeries in the past 12 years, all to address my body’s uncanny ability to produce excessive bone growth and dissolve connective tissue, and I am eternally grateful that the one thing that ails me is such a focus of medical research and innovation. I have had both knees and half a shoulder replaced, and my lumbar spine is held together with a series of plates and screws. We are blessed to have some of the best orthopedic surgeons in the country in our area, and my results from all of this surgical intervention have enabled me to stay active and productive.
But all of the other surgeries have involved activity as an essential part of the recovery process; lots of physical therapy for the knees and shoulder, lots of walking for the back. Use it or lose it. This foot surgery is the opposite, sort of “Don’t use it or you will loose it.” Lots harder for me.
So, here I sit. First follow-up is tomorrow. I expected to go full bore back into my life as usual. But I think for at least the next month I need to slow down and figure out other ways of doing things. Ways that worry Shannon less, ways that cause less stress on our relationship. I need to find more ways to work from home, ways to work in the chair instead of at the desk. Ways to do a little work in the yard without major forays into the vegetable garden. Ways to let go of the drive to be always busy, so that I can heal well and be a better partner for our next big adventure together.