Friday, September 9, 2011

Ugly Shoes and Surgery


On June 4, 2010, I entered the out patient surgergical center in Sierra Vista, Arizona. I was the first scheduled sugery that day, and all the pre-op was quick, pain-free, and relatively painless. The nurses were all friendly and chatty, which put me at ease before I was wheeled into the operating room. My doctor had chosen to use a spinal block on me during the procedure and I would be awake the WHOLE time. I had an IV and I believe I was slipped a "little something" to take the edge off, but no one came forward with that information.

I am sitting, yes that is correct, sitting on the gurney with the back of my hospital gown open when one of my nurses puts her hand on the back of my head and slightly pushes it forward. Okay, now I am feeling a little panicky... The anethesiologist tells me to hold my breath and to stay very still. Does the vision frozen in time come to mind? I felt the "stick" he described and whooooooooooooooossssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, my toes began to go numb. A few seconds feeling from the waist down. The nurses rolled me over on my stomach, propped my upper half up on a lot of pillows, and it was "SHOWTIME!" I heard it all. Country music on the radio, conversations between the doctor, the nurses, and the anethesiologist. Every so often, someone would come to the head of the table and ask me how I was doing, was I feeling anything, did I need something, etc... I heard something like a Dremel tool cutting the heel spur off and sanding some calcium deposits off as well. WHAP-WHAP-WHAP! I heard and felt the pressure of the doctor pounding the pegs into the bottom of my foot. Dr. Chou, the anesthesiologist and I started a dialog, but I really wish I had taken my IPOD with me. It would have helped pass the time. Before I knew it, I was rolled over onto my back and wheeled to recovery with my foot in a splint and three nurses to hover over me. The feeling came back to my legs and waist and before I knew it, it was time to go home.


Meg was terribly patient and helped me so much during the first two days. She got up with me at night when I needed to go to the bathroom, helped me figure out a way to shower in a lawn chair (no, not yard, in the walk-in shower), get dressed, and more. She returned to Quincy on the third day and from then on, it was just Bosco and me to handle the details.

I spent many hours in our recliner with my foot elevated. I watched hours of old Malcolm in the Middle re-runs, Ballykissangel on PBS, and all the Glee series. I learned to crochet, shopped on-line, and received visits, flowers, and delicious meals from a lot of really thoughtful friends. Sue Gibbs cooked our dinner, visited with me, and even dead-headed my geraniums. Judy baby-sat me when Bosco went out-of-town or played golf, brought me zuchinni bread, took me to the movies, brought me Kenny's home-made shrimp lomain, and checked on me daily. Carol Huddleston brought me her special chicken salad twice, Denise Cox and Siboney brought me an angel figurine, Elsa Obregon and Patty Chambers emailed me regularly, Bev Enriquez brought me flowers, took me to the movies, took me to lunch, and called daily. Cynthia Bohmfalk brought me flowers, entertained me, and took me to Dairy Queen. Sandy Thomas emailed me, took me to lunch, and brought me a wonderful book to read and enjoy. And Vicky Merritt and Jill Forsythe connected me with a wonderful source of freedom, my knee scooter!!


The knee scooter honestly made two weeks of splints, four weeks of casts, and four weeks of a cam-walker boot actually bearable. I would put my left knee on the "seat" and push the four-wheeled scooter across the floor/pavement/grass/rocks/any surface to get where I wanted to go. At first, it was a little scary because it turned sharply, but after three falls and a hole in my bedroom wall, I was "scooter-savy." Nothing aside from mud could stop me! Bosco and I loaded that "puppy" in the Nissan or the truck and we went to Pinetop for our annual spoiling at my sister-in-law's cabin, Tucson to see our new great-niece, Carlee, the doctor, movies in Sierra Vista, shopping, TAP training in Phoenix, my nephew's wedding in Houston, and Elephant Butte Lake. It caused a lot of stares and I received a lot of questions. At the airport in Phoenix I was subjected to an invasive "pat-down search" in security, but I did get to lead all the wheel-chair ladies onto the plane. (I received handshakes, a few high fives, and two cheek kisses from my "peeps" in the handicap waiting area.) I even presented at the New Teacher Orientation as well as the beginning of the school year professional development on the scooter. It was a little weird looking, but it worked!


During my last doctor's appointment, Dr. Kuchar announced that it was time to lose the boot and start physical therapy. Okay, for over ten weeks, I had not walked or put any weight on my left foot. I tried to walk, but was horrified to discover that I was unable to work both my feet. It seemed so easy, but in addition to an incredible amount of pain, I literally could not lift my left foot in sync with my right. I was really freaked out!

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