So it’s been a little over a full month since my “Whoops I broke my leg and need surgery” surgery! In honor of all the piles of My Little Pony models that I built during that first week of awkwardly sleepy and painful surgery stupor, we’ll pepper this post with all sort of Pony Gifs. And maybe Sailor Moon will sneak in too, who knows?
During that time, I’ve learned some valuable Very Special Episode-ish life lessons regarding surgery recovery and life with one un-steppable leg, which I present for your consideration today!
1. Small things tend take about 2 to 5 times longer. When you don’t have any sort of a broken/unabled body part, appreciate that you can do these small things every day. Even something as simple as taking a shower by yourself or being able to carry a mug of water more than 2 feet because you’re hobbling on the good leg. I’m looking forward to being able to grab the mug I want from the higher-up shelf.
Getting out of bed most mornings right after surgery
2. Orthopedic socks are evil and frustrate me. I have a genetic Weird Thing called Factor Five. The simple explanation is that I’m more likely to have blood clots from a health standpoint. It’s not a terribly severe thing from a daily standpoint – normally, I take a baby aspirin a day, make sure I get up and move about 2 hours or so, and bring it up to new doctors during visits (The emergency room had a field day with this, I assure you). However, to keep my blood from being upset about me not moving as much when I first left surgery, and to lessen swelling that stuck around for a while on my ankle, I was given orthopedic socks to wear. The first set was annoying. The set I got after my follow-up visit is equal to a tiny angry gremlin clinging so tight to my leg that it leaves thread impressions. But swollen ankles and blood clot possibilities are more evil, kids!
3. Stairs are essentially like those super-big bosses in video games. You know the one. You’ve almost beaten this level, you think you have it this time. You go after that boss monster, and it beats you up each time. Then you have to grind for experience points for in order to best them. (I’m still in the process of leveling up when it comes to the three flights of stairs between me and the outside world )
4. Not being able to help out with small things will quickly make you feel useless. You have to remember that you’ll be able to help again eventually so you don’t feel so useless. Devour any and all the little victories, like figuring out you can carry your boxed lunch in a tote back back to your seat. (I’m so freakin’ clever!)
5. Pain pills knock you on your butt harder than a train. It’s nice when you don’t have to use them as much and/or can lessen the dosage. The first 2 – 5 days that I had pain pills I distinctly remember floating in and out of sleep without meaning to at all hours of the day, and the awful feeling of pain when I woke up after they wore off. I’m happily down to a half a pill at bedtime, with maybe one more during the day if my leg is being a jerk.
6. If you watch Daytime TV, you buy a lot of yogurt, laundry detergent, furniture, and go to boat shows. No, seriously: What the heck? It’s like every commercial break, they want me to get some yogurt. Actually, that reminds me that…
7. Greek yogurt has buckets of protein with minimal chewing. This works out excellent for mornings when you’ve awoken and nobody’s available to make you breakfast, so you need to grab something easy when you hobble to the kitchen. Again, use that clever tote back trick to escort the yogurt to your seat while using your crutches!
8. Dang, medical science has gone crazy far. Ladies and gentleman, I broke my lower leg in multiple places, yet I never had an actual cast after surgery – more like a big pile of soft things wrapped around my leg (a “soft cast” they kept saying), and a whole bucket of gauze and tape. On top of that, TITANIUM ROD IN MY LEG. I’m like 2 steps behind Robo-Cop. Maybe. Guaranteed Bionic Woman material here. Speaking of tape….
9. There’s such a thing as tape-burn apparently. In addition to the Weird Thing of Factor Five, my skin is more on the sensitive side than most. I have to use sensitive body wash and not try any super-wacky lotions. Apparently, you can get the equivalent of a sunburn if you’ve had super-strong tape stuck to your legs for several days, peely skin and all. And after my skin had finally chilled out from being itchy from when the tape was there!
Cool off my sad legs, Sailor Mercury!
10. Accept any and all help graciously. Multiple friends, family, co-workers and church members have sent all variety of well-wishes and items to help out whenever possible. My mom stayed for two weeks, TWO(!) to help out with house chores, making food, and my general ‘man moving around is hard after surgery’-ness. (Although, two separate snow storms did keep her staying put). James has been the best husband ever despite all the crazy things, like needing to give me a prescription shot in the stomach (Another one of those WACKY things cuz of Factor Five, kids!) after I found I couldn’t do it when my mom went back home. Various dinners/lunches/snacks have been dropped off or delivered and were super tasty. I also made it a point to rub all my Get Well cards on my leg for extra Get Well Luck. (Okay, maybe not that far).
Power of Friendship!
This week, I get to start on physical therapy, which I’m sure will be another adventure entirely that may or may not include me swearing a lot as I finally put real weight on my leg (intentionally) for the first time in a month. I’ve done 50% weight on it a little bit each day since my recent follow-up, but I’m pretty sure physical therapy is going to work me a whole lot more. Whatever lets me get back to besting stairs and reaching mugs again is fine by me.
Physical therapy will probably result in more snack eating.