A Rough Day

Today was a rough one.

The morning started with Lin and her husband coming over to say goodbye after spending their last night in their house as our neighbors. Today they closed on the sale of that house and Lin's husband left for Colorado. Lin is still here for a few more days with the kids and then she's gone, too.

She brought me this: because she is evil and likes to see me cry.

My heart hurts.

Speaking of her kids, her son was injured in a freak accident at skateboarding camp last week on the day before the movers came. The accident had, naturally, nothing at all to do with skateboarding. Someone threw a gimme cap at him and the brim of the hat caught him across the eye, cutting his cornea and causing a hemorrhage. He's been confined to a dim room and unable to do anything for five days. He goes back to the doctor tomorrow (Wednesday) to find out if he gets the all-clear or if there is still a danger of him losing sight in that eye. If you are a praying person, could you send some prayers his way? His name is Joseph and he is 12 (or he might have turned 13, I can't remember) and I'm praying very hard myself that the worst thing that happens to him is that he had to stay in bed for five days in the middle of summer vacation.

But, you know, back to me: (because this blog is all about me and more me. And then more me. And oh look, ME.) I did what I always do when I get sad. The girls and I went plant shopping (they wanted more vegetables to grow) and then we spent some time planting them. I always feel better when I get my hands in some dirt. I'm sure there is some deep psychological reason for this but honestly, I don't care what it is.

Anyway, I forgot to take pictures because the girls started bickering and Ana did something so uncharacteristically mean and underhanded to Jane that it took all the wind out of my sails. She made me promise not to blog about it, which ALSO made me feel really terrible.

Because, of course, I was already writing that post in my head.

SO, she lost her computer privileges for a week and then we had piano lessons and Jane ate 2/3 of a pan of veggie lasagna (she scrapes the vegetables off but I have hope she's ingesting SOMETHING that might count as a vegetable) and my husband came home and I left to go to my appointment with my foot doctor in Queens.

I am fortified with chardonnay and gummi bears so I can tell you the bad foot thing to which I had alluded here is that my New York doctor examined the series of x-rays that my Austin doctor had taken over the course of my treatment and noticed a marked and rapid deterioration of my heel joint.

It's going to have to be fused, which means more screws installed in my foot, at some point.

Tonight, he took his OWN x-rays (dudes, I've had so many x-rays by now that I could practically generate my own Northern Lights) and showed me exactly what he meant.

It's not so good.

And the REASON it's not so good is that as soon as those bones are fused in my foot, you can start the countdown. Within five years, I will need my ankle bones fused.

Tonight I asked, "And then what?" and he was sort of vague. He said, "Well, there are no good options for joint replacement of the ankle and then it just starts progressing up from there." ( I didn't ask any more because, hello, Fear of CRYING Alert.)

So, it seems to me that since my very mobility is in question, the best thing to do is to put off for as long as possible this next fusion, right? So, we're starting with a full 3D CT scan next week so we know what we're dealing with and to see if we can't figure out a way to slow the joint deterioration down.

Oh, and while we're at it? I'm wearing lifts in my shoes to address the tendinitis in my Achilles tendon that I've developed and the OTHER foot has this very strange dressing on it for the plantar fasciitis I've developed in IT. Because I thought it would be fun to try to figure out how to limp when BOTH feet hurt.

Could my life BE more glamorous?

But seriously, you want to know something? I think I figured it out, this foot thing. When I got the news about my heel, I got really, seriously, hide-the-scissors-before-I-cut-my-hair-myself depressed. My limited mobility over the past year and a half has had an adverse effect on my life. I'm not the active mom I was. I have a limited number of steps in my day and I tend to hoard them. Sometimes I don't go back up the stairs to tuck my kids in back in bed. Sometimes I have to stay home when I could be going on field trips or other adventures. Sometimes I have a momentary impulse to run over those cute young things I see jogging so blithely down the road. It's been very hard. The thought of losing even the mobility I DO have is rather devastating to me.

But I think I understand the lesson out of all this. You know how I always need to try to make some sort of sense out of why things happen, right? (Okay, so sometimes I just make them right up out of thin air. So sue me.)

I think the lesson is that I need to stop waiting around for some sort of miraculous healing to occur before I start living my life again. It's not going to happen. This may be as good as it gets.

So, by golly, I need to get off my kiester and start using the muscles I do have. My feet have not really affected my stomach muscles-- hello! There's no reason I should be working out the muscles there or in my arms or my back or...um, my BRAIN. I've been ON HOLD for over a year now. It's time to be a Jamaican bobsledder--I mean, did THEY give up just because of a little thing like a lack of freezing temperatures? It's time to stop making excuses and to start making some progress.

And you know what? On my way back from the doctor? I saw a guy on a Harley wearing a Broken Spoke T-shirt. Clearly, that's a sign that I'm on the right track.


DK said…

"Ya mon?"

"Ya dead?"

"No, mon."

A good philosophy of life, really.
They've got artificial hips, artificial knees - what the heck is so hard about an artificial ankle? Get a third opinion.
Lynn said…
I know a little about that whole "not knowing you're rubbing salt in the wound" thing. Been there, done that, really wish I didn't have the T-shirt.

And I know a little about that reduced mobility thing. When I broke my leg line dancing about a year and a half ago [and didn't find out for two months], I had to resort to a cane, which brought about some rapid and startling changes in how I was perceived by strangers.

It forced me to slow down. It forced me to consider my actions, literally as well as metaphorically. It forced me to admit that I have limitations. It brought the concept of "the new normal" into the forefront of my mind. It made me more willing to stop and rest when I needed to, to say "no thank you" occasionally when asked to do something, and to pace myself better.

I also learned the difference between being healed, and being cured. Overall, I think the whole experience was a blessing for me. [But that's *me*.]

I agree with your conclusion: keep moving forward, deliberately, joyfully, if more slowly than either you or I would like.

I remind my friend Greyhound Woman that direction is more important than speed.
Tenna Draper said…
OMG! You watched that movie? I saw it at the theatre YEARS ago!

Praying for Lin's son--good grief! How is it that little kids get hurt so bad!?

So, um, how close to pooberty is your daughter (the *uncharacteristically mean* one)? Sounds like one of *those* bad days--know what I mean?
hokgardner said…
I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. But I think you are right on the money about needing to do things now.

Take care of yourself.
Miri said…

The Ana thing? I am sure she is just as sorry as can be, and teaching herself how bad it feels to be rotten to her sister.

Praying for your neighbor's son. Please update us.

The ankle thing? I say this hoping it will help and not rub any salt: My FIL had his ankle fused ten years ago and reports that he is pain free. He is out on tractors, building barns for us, very very active. Maybe not the same thing. I want to encourage you, so I hope that does.
Lovely post, Barbara.

My best to Lin's son. Youthful powers of recovery will, I strongly suspect, favor him, too.

I'm so sorry to hear about your foot and am so encouraged by your attitude. Must show to my daughter. Do try a little bit of everything your doctor says you can try: elliptical trainer? spins classes? rowing?
Unknown said…
oh that sux on the foot thing. I agree tho, get another opinion, just make sure and triple sure there is no other way.

and yeah, you gotta live now, whatever way you can. yoga is a great way to exercise the rest of your body, just avoid poses that require pressure on the ankle
Unknown said…
I've got one word for you - Pilates -

Go. Live!
MadMad said…
Wow. It's funny to hear you describe yourself as inactive, because I always think more stuff goes on there in one day than I could even dream up for one week! Your life always seems full and happy to me, and I don't think you ever sound like you aren't appreciating it! (Even on the days I'm reading it, thinking, that poor woman! you always seem grounded and happy.) I'm so sorry about your foot - I hope there is a happy resolution somewhere. And I hope that poor boy is OK; I live in terror of freak accidents...
Jolly Roger said…
I am so, so sorry about the ankle (ouch!) - hoping for a tiny (ankle-sized) miracle to appear for you. And Lin, sorry about her and her son too :(

But I think you're on to something with 'regardless of screws in ankles, keep living :)"
ckh said…
I'm sorry to hear about your ankle. What works for me is to imagine someone who has it worse than I do and I stop feeling so bad.

My neighbor just found out his cancer is back and it's not a pretty prognosis. I got off my own pity party pretty darned quick.

I've been feeling sorry for myself these days and can totally relate to immobility and my stomach getting the wrong kind of workout (eating more, not situps).

Sometimes there is no message but just that life happens. We could benefit with taking small steps in enjoying the present instead of dreading the future unknown, but we mourn what we lose, even if it's a part of ourselves. And life goes on. At least if we're lucky.