NOT A COMPLAINT, JUST AN OBSERVATION


Fresh Strawberries

I promised not to mention my stupid surgery again but I am a filthy fucking liar because it's all Achilles, all the time around here. (Except for yesterday when I announced tour dates. Am I coming to your town? I hope so!) Seriously, my knowledge level on all things "tendon rupture" is now encyclopedic and I have a PhD in DME.

I'm NOT complaining because I'm lucky to be the best case scenario right now - I have no obligations that can't be fulfilled seated and at home, good insurance, a helpful husband/coterie of concerned friends, very little pain, and, because I ruptured my left tendon, the ability to drive. Apparently this is key. (Bonus - I have a two month pass on cleaning litter boxes!)

For those of you who've dealt with this injury without some of/any of the previous, especially with kids in the mix, please know I am so sorry. I can't imagine how hard that must have been, and I hope this happened in the distant past.

For me, this whole situation is fine material because so much of it's funny... or will be once it's completely in the rear-view mirror.

Until I lost use of the cable that essentially supports half my body, I took for granted simple tasks, like feeding the dogs or pulling an item off a high shelf or walking a cup of coffee across the room. I certainly had no clue how Herculean daily chores such as bathing could be. I spent a week giving myself ear infections by washing my hair in dirty tub water until I figured out how to angle my knee-scooter in such a way that I could navigate over the six-inch entry threshold to the shower.

That was a serious victory.

After my first successful shower, I caught a glimpse of myself in the big wall mirror behind the tub. I was still naked, drying off with one knee perched on my scooter, jubilant in the newfound freedom to rinse in clean water. As I took in the scene and all my reflected glory, I thought, "BBW on DME? This is a REALLY specific type of fetish porn."

Another plus is the whole experience has forced me to be clever in finding new ways to resume daily life activities. (You know, triumph of the human spirit and all.) Because reaching anything on the floor is a crapshoot, I now carry silicone-tipped barbecue tongs; I store them in my knee scooter's attached wire basket.

Shameful, but useful.

For the first week, I avoided the stairs. But I realized I'd eventually need to use my office (and watch the big TV) so I perfected the move I call Baby Army Crawl up the stairs, not to be confused with The Upright Crab Scuttle I execute on the way down. As these moves require use of both hands, I've taken to stuffing anything I need to carry in my clothes.

For the record, Fletch patently refuses to remove the iPad from the back of my underpants, no matter how many times I explain that I'll fall off my crutches if I try to do it myself.

What's particularly unfortunate is the only bottoms I can wear over my CAM boot are wide leg-yoga dealies. Thing is, I bought them all sixty pounds ago, so they're too big and if I carry anything heavier in my pocket than a small water bottle, they begin to slip down when I'm on the crutches I use upstairs. Most nights, I find myself in a race with the devil to get to the TV room couch before I finish pantsing myself.

(No, as of yet I've not allowed visitors; why do you ask?)

(Yes, I do use messenger bags to haul stuff up, but I keep forgetting them in my office. There are literally four of them piled up next to me right now, which is why I had to carry my box of spinach salad tucked under my chin and the fork clenched between my teeth.)

Still, every day I'm discovering what else I can do and that's so gratifying. On Saturday, I figured out how to vacuum the house via scooter and before that, I roasted a chicken Thomas Keller-style. (Of course, poor Fletch had to hear me crow about making a magnificent dinner with "one foot tied behind my back!" the whole night, but I believe it was worth it.)

What's bothered me the most has been losing my fitness trajectory. However, I've since been given the okay to get back in the pool for aqua aerobics, as long as I'm wearing my boot. Woo! The doctor said, "You can't hurt yourself in the water." I chose not to mention how I'd hurt myself on the way home from the opera because I didn't want him to change his mind.

I went to one session last week, but I was still pretty weak and I didn't have the right equipment. I used a bathing cover that while "suitable for swimming" actually "sucked for swimming." Yes, my boot stayed watertight under the plastic, but I had so much air trapped that I could not keep my leg submerged for the life of me. Every thirty seconds my damn foot would burst up out of the water like the splashdown of the Apollo 15 command module Endeavor. Very frustrating on all counts, especially when I was utterly wiped out for the two days following the session.

I returned to aquacize today, with an additional week's worth of rest under my belt, as well as a cast cover with a pump to remove excess air and CLASS WAS AMAZING!

Going forward, I won't take fitness for granted again, I'm sure of it.

(Mostly.)

Anyway, after class, I chatted with one of the nice ladies on my Lose to Win team. Normally, I'd join her in the hot tub, but I feared that in the new air-tight rubber casing, I'd end up cooking my foot sous vide. (My friend Stacey may be the only person who laughs at this joke. I am fine with that.)

As we caught up, I mentioned that the biggest challenge thus far has been trying to maintain my dignity. I told her about how a couple of nights ago, I made these gorgeous chocolate-dipped strawberries for Valentine's Day, thinking said dish seemed vaguely "romantic." That night, Fletch came into the kitchen while I was eating one of the gorgeous, romantic berries. He found me leaning over the sink to catch the chocolate crumbs while on my sheepskin-lined scooter with the barbecue tongs in the basket and sixteen ounces of diet iced tea in my pocket, pants flying at half-mast.

(Happy Valentine's Day, baby!)

That's when I realized the dignity ship has long since sailed.

Still, I'm getting around and my attitude is improving daily. Even though my new physical therapist tells me I'll need assistance walking for the next seven weeks, and despite the knowledge that I could be in therapy for A YEAR before the Achilles is back to normal, I feel good. I'm happy, I'm grateful for my luck, and I'm really pleased that crutches and Baby Army Crawl have given me the kind of squared off shoulders I've wanted for years.

And at least I can take comfort in the fact that I haven't posted MRI jpegs of my rupture yet... largely because the disc is still in my bra.


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