, , ,

On day six after foot surgery I finally decided to chance washing my hair. Despite the gruesome look of my bruised toes, and the prospect of standing for fifteen minutes. It was as if there is some kind of inverse force telling me, if I couldn’t wash my feet, I needed my head to feel clean at least. I was told under penalty of a fate worse than death I must not get my bandages wet under any circumstances. The nurses encouraged me to get a shower chair if I had to, but this just wasn’t possible given the arrangements of our daughter’s shower over a tub. She insisted I didn’t stink yet so a basin bath would do, and a laundry tub wash for the hair. Honestly, afterward I felt like I’d run a mile —before foot surgery of course—I couldn’t run six metres at the moment! Feeling a fresher version of my self I promptly had a short nap. My, how easily the stamina dwindles.

Can you see Leni the nurse laying next to me…always next to or ON me!

Don flew home to Alice on Monday due to a previous medical appointment and a work commitment. I shed a tear or two, feeling bad to not be able to support him more, bad to be a burden to our daughter, and bad to be beating myself up over it all. The plight of many a wife, mother, and only partially evolved feminist. This morning Don sent me the schedule of both our medical appointments and travels upcoming for the next six weeks or so. It’s a bit daunting given at the moment I can only barely walk myself to the loo or make a cup of tea.

We had planned an overseas trip in mid-June for four weeks. Before Christmas it seemed entirely doable. Even after the decision to have ‘easy’ removal of bone spurs, it seemed relatively unambitious. But as the reality of the foot surgery evolved and suddenly Don’s very high PSA test results came back it is looking rather implausible. He has had two tests repeated, at the request of the Urologist, and has scheduled an MRI for May 2 here in Adelaide, after which we get me home again and he flies back to Adelaide prior to a scheduled biopsy under general anaesthetic here on May 9th. At his insistence I will not try to come back here with him for that due to the big question of how much walking I can do, or even if I will be back in my own shoes by then. He doesn’t need to worry about me and I don’t need the pressure of trying to support him while doing the best thing for own recovery which is estimated to take 8-10 weeks. That will only be week 3. Our daughter is here and says she can, and is willing, to get him to hospital and home again and deliver him to the airport the following day so that he can fly home for an injection into his eye while still recovering from the shock of waking up nearly blind in one eye from wet macular degeneration in November. 

It’s a lot for us both to take in.

Don was away when I had to come to Adelaide. While he has used the washing machine a time or two, he’s mostly just pulled out finished clothes or towels to hang out for me. He wasn’t confident about initiating the process, so I left this for him and gave him a little laugh in the process. He tells me he has done the first load and all went fine.

Meanwhile there is the mundane and…moments of levity that ease the tension…like the day when Don and I were openly discussing the various complexities and travels between Alice and Adelaide to have tests and treatments, and whether or not we needed a hotel or to stay here with Allison…while she was finishing getting ready for work. Don peered around the corner and asked Allison if she had heard all of that and quickly she replied “Welcome to your new home!”

Wednesday was a week since the surgery. I started a few floor exercises the physical therapist said I could do since they don’t put pressure on my feet but enable my spine and core to stay somewhat fit. I have to be careful getting up and down to not twist the feet too, but so far so good. My back has arthritis in it and so the lack of movement and exercise the last 7 days has done it no good. It felt better after just one session on Tuesday and is behaving well after a subsequent three.

Allison was busy multitasking, washing a load of towels and working from home one afternoon. I told her if she clears the dry stuff off the air dryer, some of which is mine, and sits it here beside me I will fold it and she said ‘I think you overestimate the amount of folding I do with things’ to which I replied ‘I think you underestimate the amount of folding I do with my things!’ She’s a little more emancipated than her mother.

The main reason I started this blog, over 12 years ago, was to share at that time what it was like to be away from home and going through cancer treatment. I have continued to share my thoughts and experiences over the years because it is part of my purpose in life, as I see it. I have always sought to leave things better than I’ve found them, help when I can, appreciate the small stuff, and be grateful for my life. Sharing my experiences without self pity but with insight has been my goal. Not all of us are built to be global influencers but we all have the capacity to make the world a little better.

I don’t write to feel sorry for us. We are not sorry for ourselves. We all go through difficult times, and honestly, in hindsight this may not seem difficult a few years from now for we may face much worse challenges. We have seen the end of life for parents and loved ones and it never seems particularly easy, though we have also seen plenty of opportunity for better moments along the way. 

There’s some joy afoot, and we continue to seek a share. There will be more.