This past summer I had foot surgery, I’ll spare you the details. My post-op treatment required my left foot to be weightless for four weeks, followed by six weeks in an air boot. I had prepared for this as if it were an impending nuclear disaster; freezing dinners, stocking the cupboards and closets with all the necessities, cleaning, washing sheets and the dog, along with the yard work. I was prepared.
Or so I thought. I was not prepared for the outpouring of love from family and friends; bringing me food, offering to run errands, stopping by to visit. My husband was the knight of kindness (I could get used to this). He took care of me and everything else. I will save you the details of the showering episode.
I had a kneeling scooter which was so much better than crutches, except when it came to stairs…those had to be climbed backwards on my butt (excellent workout for the triceps). More importantly, I will never look at a disabled person the same way again. We have a long way to go to make our environment friendly to those with a disability: exterior doors are too heavy (very few have automatic openers), stairs still rule, so that rules out the disabled, uneven surfaces can pose a huge problem, and what happens in the winter? I can’t even imagine getting around in snow and ice.
The other thing that surprised me was the kindness of strangers. Near the end of four weeks I ventured out in my car with the scooter in the back. I went to the grocery store, a guy across from me in the parking lot came over to lift the scooter out of the car. At the bank a young man did the same thing and then waited at the teller for me to finish and then escorted me out the car and put the scooter in the back.
Before you think I had some sort of fantasy recovery, let me tell you a few tales of the dark side. I am weirdly controlling– this was news to me since I pride myself on a good dose of self knowledge. But I was unaware of just how deep my controlling went. My husband made the bed, great, right? No, all wrong. I sat in the chaise lounge of our bedroom with my foot elevated, staring at this bed gone wrong. Anyone else would say the bed looks fine. I couldn’t take it any longer, I hobbled onto my scooter and began to re-make the bed. In the course of bending over to tuck the top sheet tight (the tension has to be such that there is not one wrinkle, I know–stop laughing) I fell off my scooter, landing on my (you guessed it) left foot, with the scooter gouging the top of the nightstand.Oh, there was pain in my foot! I also worried the little screw the surgeon put in my toe bone would now be displaced (Lucky for me that didn’t happen). And yet, I didn’t learn to let go of anything. I couldn’t stop seeing all the little things I do everyday being done differently, and which, I felt had been done wrongly.
So now I’m working on my controlling behavior…oops, gotta run, I just noticed my computer needs a good swabbing between the keys with a Q-tip.