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Sunday, January 05, 2014

This Year is Off to a Funny Start!

I debated about posting about the crazy situation I have found myself in at the beginning of the year and some of the challenges I've had over the last few weeks. However, something really crazy happened the other day, and the story is just too good not to share--especially now that I'm laughing about it.

Some of you may know that in late November I had my Gallbladder removed. One week later, I had microfracture surgery on my left ankle. (I wore a hole through the cartilage on the joint, and this is supposed to encourage growth of new fibrocartilage--you can't regrow cartilage, but this other stuff is almost as good.)

I also decided, since I was getting my ankle taken care of, that I would also go ahead and have foot surgery on the top of both feet to remove a bony bump that was hurting when I wore any closed shoes. Might as well...right? I was kind of on a roll...and it was something that I have needed to have fixed, and I was going to be under anyway.

As soon as I had the ankle and foot surgeries, the Gallbladder removal surgery became a distant memory. Recovery on the feet and ankle have been much more involved. I can tell you...the nerve structure in your feet is much more intense. I'm supposed to be off my left ankle for 6 weeks non-weight bearing, in a removable brace. I have a "walking shoe" on the right foot, and get around but I have to alternate between crutches and a knee scooter (whichever is more convenient.) Some days my right foot stays numb most of the day...other days it's wide awake with the most intense burning feeling (even the sheets bother my feet when they "wake up" on fire like this.) My left side has stayed mostly numb through all of this. Though the numbness bugs me, I much prefer it over the burning. I pretty much try to stay off my feet, when it's burning.

So basically, I'm a mess right now.

Now that you have the background story...I'll get to the funny part...

Last week, I crutched my way into the kitchen to get something out of the fridge for my youngest son. I stopped at the fridge. I hunched over on my crutches, balancing precariously on one foot, with the rubberized tops of them wedged under my underarms; so that I could free my hands to open the door. (Before all of this...I wasn't thinking it would be hard to use my hands...after all, that's a functioning part of me at the moment--kinda forgot they would almost always be crutching.)

As soon as I got the fridge open, a gallon of milk lunged out onto me, then the floor.

As I tried to put the milk back in the fridge, I realized there wasn't a lot of useful space in there at the moment. (My dear kiddos have been troopers helping me out by clearing the table and putting things away--not necessarily how they should go...but I'm so grateful none-the-less.) So I attempted (while balancing...remember) to pull a few things out to make room for the milk.  Then a jar of homemade cinnamon spice pear jam, (a gift from a dear neighbor that we couldn't wait to try) literally JUMPED out of the fridge and onto the floor.

Imagine, glass and sticky jam everywhere!

Yup...I was starting to get frustrated! So I called to my oldest son for HELP!!!

He's 11.

He quickly came to the rescue. (They have been so good to me over these past few weeks.) I asked him to grab the Swiffer from the laundry room. He was back in a flash, but didn't grab the wet pads.

I sent him back in and called to him, "it's in the Tupperware-like container." (We call any plastic container in our house a Tupperware container, though we may only have one or two pieces of actual tupperware.)

In the laundry room, he saw the "tupperware-like" container of loose flourescent lightbulbs (we just went to LED in parts of the house.) Then he dashed into the kitchen with them.

Confused a bit, I said, "I guess you don't know which container I'm talking about..." then I proceeded to make my way over there...trying to avoid glass, milk, and sticky jam blobs on the floor. In more ways than one, I felt like I was playing "hot lava monster;" a game we used to play as kids and avoid certain things on the ground so we didn't "burn up."

As I rounded the corner of the laundry room, I excitedly told Talon, "There they are! Right there on the dryer."

Talon said, "Okay, Mom...I'll grab them."

Then it happened...just when I thought it couldn't get any worse...

It did.

Much worse.

Talon said, "let me put the lightbulbs back on the shelf." Apparently, they came from the top shelf, and so he got up on his tippy toes, and tilted that tupperware at just the right angle, so that he could get the edge of the container to make contact with the edge of the shelf...

and then...

one by one...

Lightbulbs started dropping out of the backside of the tupperware onto the tile floor.

You can't script this stuff!

In disbelief, I bit back a flood of tears.

How was I going to clean this up too?

My laundry room is the size and space of an awkward closet.

Most of the glass was behind the door. Actually, that was really stupid to say...because all of the mess was behind the door, as there is only a doors width between the washers and wall. Even a little less, because the door comes into the room at a 45 degree angle--making it even smaller. (What were the builders thinking???) As you can imagine, there's very little standing space in this room...let alone kneeling room. (which I'm not really capable of right now either, because if I were to get down on my hands and knees--it would literally have to be only my hands and knees touching the floor. I would have to raise both feet up...due to the pain on the right side, and the non-weight-bearing and 90 degree angle boot on the left...)

I was so grateful my son didn't get cut. My laundry was piled up on the floor and glass integrated into the clothes as well.

This was an insurmountable mess for me and my kiddos, and for a moment, I panicked.

My husband was out of town on a trip, and wouldn't be coming home that night...or the next. I couldn't leave my house with a room full of shattered glass.

So I walked away with Talon, who brought the Swiffer pads into the kitchen. Together, (really mostly him, with me directing) we got the kitchen floor taken care of. Fortunately, the glass in there did not break into a million little pieces like the lightbulbs did.

Perched from my knee roller, I kneeled with both knees (feet dangling over the side) and picked up the glass pieces, one by one; while Talon came back over the mess with the mop.

I get points for doing knee-roller-yoga, right? I'm sure my doctor would have been thrilled seeing me in that precarious situation. Not.

Meanwhile tiny little pieces of glass sat scattered all over the laundry room floor.

So I called on a very very good friend. Actually, I posted more like a "distress signal" to my neighborhood Facebook group page; and Shana called me to say that she was happy to come over and help. I was thoroughly embarrassed and humbled that she would come to the rescue on something I should be able to take care of myself (in a normal situation.)

She swept, vacuumed, and mopped, every last piece off the floor, and shook out all my dirty laundry. (most embarrassing)

I was so very grateful! My little neighborhood in Lehi, Utah; is the bestest ever!

Through all of this, I have had so many friends, and family come and take care of me. I can't even begin to thank them enough! They have brought in meals to my family, helped rotate and fold my loads of laundry, driven my kids to and from lessons, cleaned my kitchen, helped me with bored kids by taking them to their homes, and so much more.

My husband and kiddos have been doing double duty as well by covering for me on the many things I just can't do right now, and those things that aren't easy.

They even come to my rescue when glass hits the floor.

Thank You...each and every one of you, who has helped me through this strange time! Just 3 1/2 more weeks to go! Then I'll start being able to bear a little weight on my left side.

When I am whole again, I will appreciate that it's a privilege to do my own laundry and wash my dirty dishes. I look forward to it!

Have you ever been on crutches? Share your story with all of us!

****Updated to add:****
For those of you who were concerned about the burning in my right foot, I took it easy for a few days and kept off of both feet, unless I had to get up. That foot is doing MUCH better--almost no pain. The intense burning has gone away. It happened almost overnight--to which I am extremely grateful! The numbness in that foot is now just limited to the area from my big toe to the incision. I feel like I have turned a major corner!

For others who have had foot surgery... I turned this corner at about the 3 week post-op mark (so if you've randomly hit my blogpost looking for answers on your experience with post-op foot surgery pain, this is how my experience has been going so far. If you have concerns, it's always best to ask your surgeon or a doctor who specializes in pain management.)

My left foot has been doing better in many ways too. Less pain (no fire), but it likes to retain water and balloon up when I keep it down. It drives me nuts, so I try to keep it up as much as I can (which is frustrating, because I can't do my design work in that posture, it's all wrong.)

When I went to get my stitches out on Monday, my surgeon assured me that foot surgery can take a long time for the nerves to calm down after the trauma; and that everything I was experiencing was typical for this stage post-op.

I then started to remember about when I had sliced my thumb, a few years back, with an X-acto knife like a true crafter, and got 10 stitches in it. My thumb felt like it was on fire much the same way. At night,  every time I bumped it into my pillow, I would go through the roof and wake up with a shriek. (My husband would laugh because it was my pillow after all.) I don't remember how many weeks it took for the burning to go away, but I do remember it took about 6 months for all the feeling to come back to my thumb. Now that thumb is perfectly healed. Hands and feet are extremely sensitive with the complex nerve system in it. I'll keep you posted on the progress.

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