Cuts like a knife.

There is a morning routine that happens daily in my world these days.  I begrudging give up the warmth of my down comforter and the peacefully snoring schnauzer next to me, as I make my way down the harsh struggle of the staircase.  I let the dogs out, grind my coffee beans and invite them to a party in the coffee maker. I retrieve “the bucket” from under the sink, fill it with ice and water and stick my foot in for 10 minutes or as long as I can stand it, whichever comes first. Stretching my heel before and after that god awful ritual. It does help, but I am ready to give that routine up and on February 12th, I will. My newly found surgeon friend (and fellow animal lover, I have learned) Dr. Finnan, will open my ankle/heel up, detach the Achilles and cut out the part of my tendon that has been so naughty for almost two years.  Oh, and if there is not enough tendon after they do the repair in order to reattach it they totally have it covered! No problem at all, just a little snip, snip because apparently you have a little extra tendon in your big toe that is available  to come save the day. Now that is a well designed foot!  It’s like when IKEA puts an extra screw in the bookshelf box with other 905 parts just in case you might need it…oh wait. Never mind, that actually has never happened in the history of putting together any product from IKEA. It’s a strange, sadistic ritual, yet oddly expected when you purchase something there and bring it home to assemble. In the end you are  left weeping in the middle of the room, holding onto that little allen wrench for dear life staring at an unusable piece of lopsided nothingness with it’s bellowing evil laugh blowing right back at you. I am glad the design of our feet is much better than the IKEA bookshelves.

The good news, it’s outpatient surgery. The bad news is it’s outpatient surgery and they will send me back to the comfort of my home with an ankle full of stitches and instructions not to put weight on my right foot for six at least weeks. SIX WEEKS! Ugh, I get panicky typing this. For those of you that don’t know this, I am a pretty independent and few might even argue that I can be a wee bit stubborn on occasion. Even with my nightmare of a knee and my 2% attached Achilles tendon, I manage to not ask for too much help. Steep, scary basement stairs be damned, I will go down on my butt one step at a time. I put my laundry in a duffel bag  toss it down the stairs where the washer and dryer live. The clean laundry is then folded and put back in the duffel bag, hooked on a bungee cord as I  pull that sucker up the stairs once I get myself back up to the landing. It’s like an episode of Woman -Vs- Laundry, or Survivorwoman, except without needing to figure out how to light a fire in the middle of a icy crevasse on a mountaintop in some remote part of the world I can’t even pronounce.

Six weeks seems like a loooonnngg time. I was having a hard time getting my head around it, all the “what if’s” and “how can I manage living alone” pinging around in my land mind of anxiety. Then something amazing happened. Okay, a ton of amazing things happened. Sue Ellen and Catherine said with no hesitation at all they would make the 5:00am trip to the hospital with me on surgery day. My long time friend Bob, who used to be my housemate several years ago, and visits often, even though he lives in Florida. Bob sent me a text saying he was free and if it would be helpful could fly in for the first two weeks after the surgery so  I would not be alone at night, or worry about rotating other friends in and out. I couldn’t believe anyone was willing to come sit with a sick me for two weeks, but that is Bob for you, tried and true, lifelong friend. Bonnie and Linda showed up offering to be there for the surgery too, and then came over with an arsenal of medical equipment you could build a space station with! We did a dry  run of how I would get into the shower safely and be comfortable. They showed me how to use a walker instead of crutches, and still put no weight on my foot, immediately I felt a whole lot better about shower time, thank you so much, loves!  My twin’s (Lauren) mom had a similar surgery at the end of November and she kept a journal for me, of things she experienced and suggestions on things I should know and things she didn’t anticipate, c’mon that is so amazing,  but that’s my Mama Bailey!  Jen, Jessica, Nik, Lora, John, Charmaine, Tony, Shannon and Amy are on call when needed, so are Melinda and Bob (they just don’t know it yet) unless the are reading this…surprise!  My buddy Evan, is building a ramp for me to navigate up my front stairs, which took so much worry from my mind, stairs are not very friendly when this sorta debacle happens. My favorite plumber, sweet Mike is coming soon to add some grab bars to the new walk-in shower. A little icing on the hospital cake is having a great friend who is a nurse, promising to find out who my full surgical team is and make sure they take good care of me, and will be there for the surgery, whew! Thank you A! Lauren and Lindsey are my go to voice of reason when I lose my faith mind and they coax me off the ledge when the crazy talk starts, “yeah but what if I don’t wake up! Michael Jackson took that propofol stuff and things didn’t turn out so well for him!” The list goes on and on, Scott promised me he would be fine at work without me, then some of our extraordinary summer staff stepped right up to help, Danielle and Zach are amazing and will be working with Scott while I am out.  I know it was to make me feel better but Scott even admitted it took TWO of them to replace me! Let’s face it Scott has had to bear the brunt of this for two years, my complaining, my Dr.’s appointments, the tears, the fear, and he is one really great guy and friend. My whole work family is beyond fabulous. I am so, so blessed to work at a place where they just dig in and love you more when something happens and you need a little extra care. So many other folks have made sure I know they are there in a heartbeat should I need them, and of course there is my mom, because I can’t think of a more patient person to put up with cranky me than her! I know I have forgotten some folks and I am so sorry, but I am sure you will read about them as this adventure happens.  It’s been a reminder that sometimes when you are scared and think you’re alone, when something comes up that questions your strength, people are there. When you ask they are there, when you don’t ask they are still there. It means everything. To all the people in my life, whatever I say while I am heavily medicated, I probably didn’t mean it. Unless it’s how much I love you and how grateful I am for you all, then I absolutely mean it over and over again!

I do worry a bit about Tristan. He is very much in tune with me when I am sick, when I am having an RA flare, he knows. He knows before I know, the flares have generally been attacking my hands and a few days before the flare arrives he will lick a specific hand. It’s not just a few kisses, he pins my hand down with his paws, and in a very therapeutic, almost ritualistic way, he tries to sooth my hand with gently kisses. The only other time I have witnessed this from him is when he would sooth himself at night, he would lick each of his scarred and battered paws with such tenderness, you could see him relax and then he was able to fall asleep, this was when he was still new to our home and still very unsure and scared of almost everything. I would watch him, and it fascinated me, it still does. He is a very tender soul and I know having people that might not come over a lot in and out of the house is going to be a challenge for him, but he will be just fine, because he is amazing and never gives up working through it on his own terms. I try hard to draw from his strength and spirit, learning what it means to just fight through the difficult times. We continue to take each step together.

So I will do a weigh in next Monday and then another right before surgery. I am doing really well and I am feeling very good about where I am at. Nothing makes you work hard to get in the best shape possible for someone to slice right into your Achilles tendon and hack away. I remember the days when I used to work hard so I could eat a donut once is a while…

While I am laid up, hopefully I will do more regular writing. I am sure there will be stories to tell, there always are. Maybe we can find some achievements as I work through my recovery that could be a basis to keep raising money for Recycled Doggies to help sweet Lydia until I can stand on a scale again. I bet we can come up with something, right? Writing while on pain meds might not make much sense or might be hysterical. You’ll have to stay tuned and find out.










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