Notes From the Couch

I've been spending a lot of time on my couch these past few weeks, which is not as much fun as you might think.

And I haven't really written about it because I don't really want to talk about it.

Well, that and the fact that I'm afraid if I talk about it, I'll have to, you know, DO something about it.

But okay, here's the thing: I think maybe I have to DO something about it anyway.

Is that perfectly clear?


Okay, let me try this again. Remember how almost TWO YEARS AGO, I had to have my foot essentially rebuilt due to the fact that I was born with some really deformed bones that no one ever discovered until I'd done too much damage to be fixed? And how even the rebuilding of said foot wasn't really all that successful if you count success as me being able to walk without pain? And how I found a great doctor here in New York who discovered that I'd been producing scar tissue at a truly alarming rate and gave me a series of steroid shots that really calmed that old scar tissue right down but, oops, caused me to grow this weird, bloody membrane over the retina in my right eye? Remember all that?


But my foot?

Is bad.

Is really, really bad.


It's so incredibly painful that I cried twice in front of my children on Saturday.

Which led me to make a momentous decision: I'm going to have a second surgery to clear out the scar tissue.

My doctor mentioned that this is an alternative to the steroid shots when I saw him last but the idea of recovering from another surgery makes me want to go back to bed for, well, EVER.

So, I, ever brave and ever true, managed to put a call into my podiatrist at a time when I knew he wouldn't be in the office. Because I'm all brave like that.

And then, because I was really in denial and trying to prove that I'm fine, darn you, FINE, I removed the old wallpaper in our spare bedroom and painted it. (Painted the room, I mean, not the torn down wallpaper.) (I may be in denial but I'm not DUMB.) (Much.)

Only now, I'm too gimpy to walk upstairs and take a picture of it.

So, um, yeah, here I am on the couch, waiting for office hours at my podiatrist's office, which won't be until Tuesday.

And yeah, this makes me not only gimpy and a coward but also not very bright.

I'm leaving the comments open but in the words of the sign posted on one Jane Cooper's bedroom door: Remember, no scolding!


hokgardner said…
Oh Barb, I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. Perhaps the surgery will do the trick.

And Ella left a fun sign in her window, facing out for the world to see -
Barb Matijevich said…
You know, I can't shake this feeling that it's JUST A FOOT. How bad can it be when there are people dealing with Fibromyalgia or Rheumatoid Arthritis? But it just... I don't know. I've never felt pain like this. It grinds me down to nothing. I have a really high pain tolerance and I just can't bear this.
Katie said…
Tisk, tisk! I will only scold the fact that you didn't add alcohol to the equation.

And honey! I have Fibro and most days it about kills me to walk but I don't have to have surgery...that's a big deal! You go, be brave, you get that foot better. (cuz, yes, I talk real good too):)
Mrs.Q said…
Oh, darlin'. Sending you so many good thoughts. You're not a wimp. You're very, very brave. Hang in there! (And - yeah, I'm with Katie on the alcohol thing. I think you deserve that much, at least!)
Ann in NJ said…
Hopefully, surgery will leave you with less pain. Even if recovery is awful, there's the promise of better in the future. And don't discount chronic pain. Even though you may have had worse, having it ALL THE TIME really does wear you down.

Hang in there. Feet are underrated - it's hard to get around when they don't work right.
ccr in MA said…
I am not here to scold you. I am here extending wishes that it will all work out well, and soon. Keep knitting!

Cut yourself some slack. It sounds like a real problem. Do the best you can in the moment.
Anonymous said…
Can I help? At all? in any way? You take care of yourself. Please.
Anonymous said…
Oh, that really sucks. But not as much, I fear, as shots to the eyeball, right? And... You don't want to get to the point where you're an old curmudeon like Gregory House; although, I suspect you may be just as amusing... if not more. I think you've made the right decision.
Stefanie said…
Come on, Barb! You are super Barb, and no surgery is going to get you down and keep you there! You are going to rise above absolutely everything and become 100% of the Barb you know you can be.
Lynn said…
No scolding from here. Please tell Miss Jane that I love her sign. I wish I had had one on *my* bedroom door when the girls were teenagers.

Pain is exhausting. I spent the better part of a month in bed, back in 2001, when my gall bladder was revolting. [Take that any way you like; you won't hurt its feelings; I have four tiny scars that remind me it won't ever do that to me again.]

And two years ago I broke my leg line-dancing and didn't get it diagnosed for two months. So I walked on a broken leg for two months.

Neither of them the kind of pain that you are going through, right now, but enough that my sympathy can kind of crab-walk over in the general direction of empathy.

You are officially not-a-wimp. And there is nothing wrong with crying when you are in pain; in fact, it's part of the healing process. [I learned when the children's father was in chiro school that the tears you cry from joy are chemically different than the ones you cry from anger, or grief, or fill-in-the-blank.]

So those tears are a blessing. Have the girls bring you a box of Puffs and something to throw them in, and let that be the least of your worries.

As for the wallpaper/paint thing? Good for you. The world would say that it makes no sense to tackle a project like that when you are feeling sick and frustrated. The world would be **wrong**.

Creativity is an analgesic that beats alcohol and industrial-strength pain relievers, every time. At least in my world.

But you might have fewer side effects if you chose to knit, rather than paint, unless you knit with your toes...
Oh, Barb, I have every hope that the surgery will benefit you. It's not just a foot. I was cooped up last week in Texas because of the high cedar count and it made me awfully cranky. I can't imagine what I'd be like if my mobility were threatened, if I had a cloud of pain around me all the time. Even a slow recovery is worth it if it means the pain goes away or diminishes enough so you can at least hear yourself think.
MadMad said…
Aw, man, hon! How did you keep this a secret?! I'm so sorry; that is terrible. I am afraid of surgery, too, (heck, i won't even have my brown spots dealt with, and that's just lasers!) so I totally understand, but I think if you're in that much pain it's probably the only answer.
Annabanana said…
Ok, only a little scolding about your making less of your pain - it is not JUST a foot! It is the foundation of your whole body! It is that which makes you able to move about the world freely and easily. Losing that mobility is HUGE, and doing whatever it takes to get it back is essential. You are amazing, and I have all confidence in your healing powers - you heal me with your writing all the time. LOVE and HUGS to you!!!
Vicki said…
No scolding, Barb, just sympathy. I have chronic problems with both my feet and me and the doc have been limpin' along for the last several years trying not to think about surgery. You're very brave to bite that bullet and get it taken care of.
Karen said…
Ditto to all these other wonderful comments, and (if I could I would be) sending chocolate.
Heidi Malott said…
Bless your Heart! I say go for that surgery. This all makes me think of my husband when he had back surgery to ease extreme pain and it didnt help. He was so disappointed to still be in so much pain. He was young and couldn't fathom having another back surgery. He had so much scar tissue built up. He had a 2nd surgery and it did the trick! He has been so much better. Sending a prayer for your health! Heidi
Mokihana said…
Oh Barb... I pray the surgery will give you freedom from all pain. No scolding from this end, just concern.

I hope Edward is cuddling with you for comfort. With that tail!
Karen said…
Good luck! My mom is in a similar predicament with her back and is still trying to hold off on another surgery. I know how hard it must have been to make the decision to go through with the surgery and I hope it fixes everything.

Oh and what's your wallpaper removal technique? I am going to attempt our bathroom soon and need some good advice.
Jeri is said…
Gosh, don't be silent about these things. You've got a lot of friends and supporters who care - even though they don't know you. I've never felt serious pain, hope I never do. You must be very strong to tolerate this for as long as you have, and you'll be able to tolerate whatever is in store for you down the road. See the podiatrist. Maybe even see another podiatrist to get another opinion. Then do what you feel is best. Yeah, it's your feet. Big deal? No. We need our feet, they are essential to us for walking, running, climbing, getting pedicures, wearing the cute flip flops in the summer. God gave us two of them, they're the only ones He will give you, so care for them. And while you're at it, be sure to be easy on yourself, too. And don't just sit on the couch feeling this all alone, blog about it. Remember, we strangers care!
"Just a foot?" Oh, geez, the pain has addled your brain. Hopefully, the second surgery will make things much better. Chronic pain is very debilitating, to body and spirit.

And, as far as silver linings go, recovering from foot surgery translates into lots of knitting time, doesn't it?
Candi said…
Hey Barb - just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you and sending lots of prayers and best wishes your way.

These types of things are just no fun at all, but sometimes we just gotta go through it in order to get to the other side of it.

Be easy on yourself!
Anonymous said…
A friend sent me your blog one day when I was underwhelmed at work, and I've been a dedicated reader ever since. We have a couple of things in common, and I find that I can draw great strength from the courage you often don't see in yourself. I too miss Austin, and am constantly trying to come to grips with a diagnosis involving ankle pain that will easily take over and define my entire life if I let it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your realism, your humor and your honesty. Best wishes on your journey to health!
Pain is pain no matter what part of the body it's comin from. You've hung in there for 2 years, sometimes you just need more surgery to make it right. I enjoy your posts, they make me laugh, and I appreciate them even more knowing what your'e going through.
Anonymous said…
Pain in the feet is sooo hard to ignore and to deal with. I just hope the doc an help you soon.
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said…
Barb - It just sucks. Foot pain is not like other pain. I have my first ingrown toe nail at age 48 and I'm telling you, it hurts. There is just no way to get away from the pain with every step. I can't even imagine how much you must be hurting. Hang in there. Do what needs to be done and don't be too hard on yourself.

On another note - I really do want to know how you decide to organize your knitting needles in the end!
Miri said…
Isn't there something about great art coming from great pain?

Not that it helps any.

Love ya.