Thursday, October 14, 2010

Number Eight

Yesterday found me at American Fork Hospital for my eighth lifetime surgery. It was my fourth foot surgery. It's my fifth walking cast. Including my two hand and elbow surgeries during the last two Christmas vacations, it's my seventh time doing what I call "tricky bathing." It's my fourth surgery during our almost six years of marriage and my sixth surgery since I've been at Snow Springs (teaching can be hard on a body!). I wonder how many more surgeries I may endure in the future. I keep thinking of Kevin, a regular hiker on the cave trail, who has a pace-maker. He's had twenty-six surgeries in his life and he looks young, strong, and healthy! Therefore, I will attempt to count my blessings. Also, I included this picture because according to the nurse, my "toes have TERRIFIC color!" I had to laugh. The yellow iodine or whatever is "terrific." She was just glad they weren't blue from the cast being too tight.

First of all, I have this darling husband. I've mentioned this before, but if you really knew him and knew how much he dislikes anything medical, you would really realize how hard it is for him to go through these things with me. He's a total trooper. He fixes my ice bags, refills my water, runs to the pharmacy, brings me the traditional post-surgery milkshake (he totally detests pumpkin pie milkshakes--sad to have post-surgery traditions in such a short marriage, eh?), and answers my every whim. He made Baked Potato Bar for dinner last night. Delicious! And he continues to sleep in the same bed with me, not knowing if he's going to get kicked by a plaster cast...or not.

I want to say a word about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that God is real and that He is my Father. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He is my Savior. He sacrificed and atoned for me. I feel so INCREDIBLY BLESSED as I think how smoothly everything went yesterday as with my previous surgeries. I have no pain (very typical for me). I have not taken a single pain pill. I'm not trying to be tough and I'm not trying to prove anything. I simply have NO pain. Zero. Zilch. Zip. If I had pain, I would totally take the medication. I believe this is part of the priesthood blessing I received before the surgery. I had so much angst about this surgery because I know what it's like to be in a cast for weeks on end. I can't drive until the cast comes off. I have to rely on so many other people. It's all very humbling. But the Lord compensates by taking away the pain. I could probably handle quite a bit of pain, actually, but for some reason, I'm not called upon to suffer the usual post-surgery discomfort that a lot of people do.

I'm very grateful for my job! I love the children I teach. Someone suggested I do lesson plans for two weeks, take some serious time off, and just put my feet up for awhile to heal. Well, I can't. First of all, the doctor said I can teach on Monday. We have fall break today and tomorrow so I only had to miss one day of work for this! K has to miss two days to babysit me. Secondly, I don't want to do two weeks worth of lesson plans. It was hard enough to take time off for a honeymoon! Most importantly, I believe that being with the children will help me to heal. They will make my days go by more quickly. If I were home, I would probably be sad and mopey. And let's not forget health insurance! Because of my job, I have great access to excellent health care. This surgery (tarsal tunnel release) set me back $75. That's it. And do your doctors lean over you and smile and call you "Sweetie?" Dr. Tom and I "go way back" as he likes to say. He's cut me open four times now. When the nurses at the hospital tell me about Dr. Tom doing their surgeries, they talk about it with such reverence--like Dr. Tom is the end-all be-all for foot surgeries! How lucky am I to have someone with so much experience and expertise? So lucky!

I'm grateful I have a walking cast. I don't need crutches, or a wheelchair, or one of those foot surgery scooters that I see people kneeling on. I can walk. Dr. Tom says I can begin exercising again two weeks after the cast comes off and I should be snowshoeing by Christmas.

A little added bonus to surgery this time was the blue paper shorts. Along with the cloth hospital gown, they gave me a pair of paper shorts to put on. So nice! Why didn't somebody think of this before? The podiatrist doesn't need to see my bum, right? I made, Tisha, the nurse anesthetist, laugh heartily as she was tapping my hand and doing everything else in her power to conjure up a vein. I asked, "Are you the Vein Whisperer?" She said she was indeed. Once they inserted the IV, I declared, "I am no longer responsible for my behavior during the next 24 hours." When they wheeled me out of the hosptial to the car, I said, "What great hiking weather!"

When Dr. Tom came to talk to us in the recovery room, he said he found something interesting. My nerve was compressed in THREE different places! Usually it's just in one place. He said sometimes he gets in there and he thinks, "Well, perhaps this surgery was a bit premature." However, in my case, the surgery was totally necessary and he said I made the right choice by having it done. That was the thing I was worried about (am I jumping to surgery too quickly?). I fasted, I prayed, I studied scriptures, I visited three doctors, I went to the temple twice last week, and I exercised faith. Oh, and I shed a lot of tears! Interestingly, the clear answer did not come until after the surgery.

Technically, I'm still under the influence, so I'm not sure how spiffy this blog post will sound, but I just had to record a few of the blessings while they are fresh in my mind. Dr. Tom said the nerve looks good, so we'll see how things turn out. Sometimes, the nerve looks dead and never recovers. The Lord is good to me and so I thank the Lord. All is well. For now anyway. :)


  1. Not another surgery!! You poor thing- but I'm glad you have a great hubby to take care of you.

  2. I'd recognize those toes anywhere - they have the classic family "look"!

  3. Your toes look great! I love your shelf, too! It about killed me off to do lesson plans for my foot surgery...and I had Jane sub...2 of the 7 weeks I was laid up was Christmas break! But, my faculty chose me to be their Christmas project! So, the 3 weeks before Christmas, everyone signed up in pairs to bring me and my mom dinner during the weekdays!!!

  4. I remember when you went through that, Ann! And I remember the faculty bringing you dinners on a rotating basis! One of the silver linings is realizing how many people are standing by to help you whenever you need it. It's so comforting.

  5. Jo, I was just re-reading your post. The intro to your third paragraph hit me the other day, but I couldn't put my finger on why. Today - it came to me! You sound just like C.S. Lewis there, when you said, "I want to say a word...". That sounds just like something he would say!