The picture is about four years old. My kids were going to a prom. Not together…just to the same prom.
I came across something I had written when those two kids were little, about 17 years ago, to be exact. I decided to post it here.
On February 8, I had surgery. I had a severe bunion removed on my right foot. I have known that I needed surgery since last September, but I have been putting it off for two reasons. The first reason is the obvious one; who wants to have surgery anyway? The second reason is a little more complicated.
I knew the post-opt process would be far more stressful than the actual surgery. The surgeon told me in September that I would be in a cast to my knee, and on crutches for six weeks. That didn’t include the physical therapy I would need, and re-entry into the walking world after the cast came off. I constantly wondered how on earth I would ever be able to care for my 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 year old children in my tri-level house while on crutches!
I have now been in a cast for three weeks, and I am still wondering! I have learned, however, that life can be very interesting while on crutches. I have also learned some very valuable lessons.
The week before surgery was an extremely busy week. I diligently stocked the freezer with casseroles, meatloaf, frozen vegetables and even a few Banquet Pot Pies. I loaded the pantry with canned soups, fruits, macaroni and cheese mixes, and a couple of cans of Chef Boyardee.
Every dirty article of clothing was washed, dried, folded and neatly placed in its respective drawer. I ever tackled the perpetual stack of clothes on the ironing board. I cleaned the house for the last time, and I somehow managed to take my kids to their aunt’s house for a couple of hours so I could have a little time alone on my last walking day before crutches!
The day of surgery arrived at last. My house was ready, my kids were ready, my husband was ready and I was ready; or so I hoped. My mother had rescheduled her day off, so that she would be home to watch my kids on the day of surgery.
Brittany and Jacob arrived at Grandma’s house with a few favorite toys, three newly rented videos, 15 books freshly checked out from the library, a bag of donut holes and a couple of goodies that I had tucked away in their bags as a surprise.
The surgery was successful. The anesthesia left no ill effects, so my husband took me home. Then the fun part began!
My husband, is a letter carrier for the USPS. He had 6 weeks vacation time saved, however, we didn’t want him to use all of that time chasing after two small children, keeping up with the house, and caring for a fixer-upper wife.
The plan we devised was for him to take off work for the first 2 weeks, then he would work half days the remaining time. That would enable him to arrive home at 9:45 am. I figured I would be able to care for Brittany and Jacob during those few morning hours. After all, that was their calmest time of day.
It actually went relatively well, after the initial adjustment period. We even managed to have quite a bit of fun, as soon as we all became accustomed to so much together time. We all definitely learned some interesting things during this time.
Brittany and Jacob learned more about patience and helping out. They learned that no matter what happens to Mommy, they will be taken care of. They learned, too, that Mommy looks very funny hopping around trying to find the crutches they had hidden.
My husband learned that he can run a household and how demanding the job can be. He realizes anew how important my being home with our children really is. He also discovered how painful it can be sleeping with a woman with a cast on her leg!
The things I learned are unlimited. I now know how to go to the grocery store and use an electric wheelchair while Danny and the kids follow along with the cart. I can take a bath with my leg hanging over the side of the bathtub so as not to get the cast wet. I can now make a bed by crawling over it rather than walking around it. I can adequately iron while sitting. I can prepare meals and load the dishwasher while balancing on one leg. I can even hobble to the mailbox, as long as I take along a plastic bag to put the mail in.
I have acquired the knowledge that there is no excuse to keep you from changing diapers. I found out that being on crutches gets you out of helping with dishes at other peoples’ houses. And I learned that instant mashed potatoes really do taste just like I remember.
Probably the most unexpected piece of information I gleaned from this experience is that I can drive our mini-van with my left foot if I have to. And I had to!
One morning I woke up with pink eye in both eyes. My husband couldn’t drive me to the doctor’s office this time, because he had to stay home with Brittany. She awakened nine times during the night…throwing up. The only available appointment the doctor had was “in 45 minutes”. What else could I do? I wonder if it is illegal to drive with your left foot?
Th most important lesson I learned was how much I enjoy caring for my family, and how fortunate I am to have a husband willing and able to take over the running of the household if required to do so. But then again, I have three weeks left!