We live in a 1970s, split foyer house. We all know the type - the tuck-under garage leads into the basement. A flight of stairs leads to a landing and a front door, and another flight of stairs takes you up to the main living areas.
During the three days pre-surgery, I was forced to sit on my behind and scoot backwards up the stairs (while lifting myself up with my arms). Similarly, I would sit and scoot down the stairs when I needed to go down.
When I got home, just a few hours after surgery, I knew there was no way my noodle arms would pull my body (complete with a new cast) up that mountain. So, I crawled on my hands and knees up the stairs while Husband followed behind carrying my crutches. How pathetic I must have looked to my teenaged sons as I reached the top, and then laid down on the living room floor.
We had picked up my pain meds on the way home and I promptly took my first two Nucynta and crawled into bed, vowing not to leave the upper level of my house for at least a week.
I can honestly say that the first three days went by in a complete drug fog. "Don’t miss a dose - keep one step ahead of the pain", was repeated to me by friends and relatives.
At first it was nice. It was like existing in a warm, fuzzy cocoon. I had no interest in food, TV or conversation. I would set the alarm on my phone for every four hours, take a pill and fall back to sleep. I was relatively pain free, except if I went beyond my four hour time limit. If I did, a gnawing ache would start in my foot and calf.
The day after my surgery (Thursday, May 24th) was the last day of school for my boys.
When my children were born, my husband and I made decisions with our careers so that one of us would always be at home with the kids. The plan was that I would go back to work full time when our youngest went into first grade. But, plans change.
Our youngest is a special needs child, who has endured years of surgeries and physical therapy. He needs someone to guide him through life’s obstacles.
The upside of not working full-time is that I have always been able to volunteer for, and attend every school and extracurricular activity that either of my boys have been involved in.
As an eighth grader, Son14 would be leaving the Middle School.
Plans had been in the works for months for the eighth grade class graduation ceremony and picnic. I was to attend with him because he had chosen to go swimming for his activity. The park was a block away from the pool, and I needed to be there to both transport him and supervise him.
I would then get to see him cross the stage and get his diploma with his classmates.
My ATR prevented my from attending that day, but luckily there are two parents in this family.
Husband is usually at work for these milestones. Although I regret missing this special day, Husband was there and got to experience it with him.
Some time during Thursday night, a weird thing started happening. At first it was just a little twitch of my fingers. Then I would get the "Falling off a cliff" feeling when I was going back to sleep. Eventually, my entire arm (or worse yet, my bad leg) would flail out uncontrollably.
On Friday, when my entire body started jerking, I roused myself enough to do some internet research. Myoclonic jerks (which could lead into seizures) were happening to me as a reaction to the pain medications.
The pills were promptly put in the back of the linen closet to be taken to the Police Department during their next ‘unused prescription drug drop-off’.
It took three days for the twitching to completely stop. When I came out of my fog (Sunday), I sent my husband and kids to a movie and I took my first real shower since my surgery.
It was a three step process. 1.) shave un-casted leg in bathroom sink 2.) get on my hands an knees and hang head over the side of the tub while washing my hair with the handheld sprayer. 3.) Go to tiny stall shower in spare bedroom and prop myself up while actually getting clean.
It was a two hour process, but I finally felt awake and alert (and clean) again.
The next days were full of milestones:
Monday, May 28 - cleaned the bathrooms (the floors were cleaned by me sitting on my tush. I scooted around the floor with a bottle of spray cleaner and a roll of paper towels). I also made it to the lower level to do laundry. Although I was still sitting and crawling up and down the stairs).
Tuesday, May 29 - Put in contacts, did my hair, and put on make-up. Son17 had a eye appointment and I got to leave the house!!! (He bundled me into the back of his car while he drove - I wasn’t up to that yet.) This was followed by FroYo at Orange Leaf.
Wednesday, May30 - I have mastered the stairs!! I can remain upright and use my crutches to get both up and down. The boys and I then went to my workplace and went shopping. I drove my car, but had to use a mart-cart to get through the store.
These days were full of learning experiences for my kids also. I am amazed that there has been no complaining. Son14 unloads the dishwasher, cleans the kitchen and has vacuumed. Son17 takes care of everything else while Husband is at work.
Thursday, May 31 - Thursday is special and gets it’s own entry. It is my first post-op visit to the doctor and things are going to change for the better.