The Next Chapter

My poor, pitiful, atrophied leg.

View from the 50-Yard Line

Today marks one month since my initial heel surgery. I was originally told that I’d have to stay off my left foot for 6-8 weeks, erring more on the side of 8 weeks (and hopefully no more!) so I’m counting this as my halfway point. I can see the goal from here. In fact, it’s not impossible to actually make a field goal from the 50-yard line.

Progress is definitely being made. While my stamina still hasn’t completely recovered yet, people who see me on my crutches comment on how well (and quickly!)  I maneuver. I’ve learned how to “waddle” from one room to another carrying a plate of food or glass of liquid. I’ve started driving myself places now (like my Coumadin Clinic appointments – Tuesday’s result was 1.9. Woohoo! Almost there!). And look how nicely my incisions are healing (I promise, these aren’t nearly as nauseating as the first ones were!):

I suppose the thing I’ve noticed most about myself during the past month is how much more intentionally I do things now. I touched on this in my “Slow Down!” post, and tempo certainly is part of it. But “intention” is probably a more descriptive word. I watch where I place my crutches; I think through the path from point A to point B prior to setting out, making sure I’m aware of all that “journey” will entail; I rest up before beginning (and often take my merry old time during the preparation); after taking the time to weigh the pros and cons I sometimes decide NOT to go at all. Now, I’m not talking about intensive overseas trips, here; I’m talking about whether or not to fetch my phone from the other room or determining if I REALLY need to go to the bathroom now or if I can wait until later when I can combine that “trip” with another one I’ll need to make (like fetching my phone from the other room at a time when I’m expecting a call).

Early on in this ordeal I was cautioned not to be a hero and that advice has frequently echoed in my head. I don’t have anything to prove; I’m not going to win a trophy or tournament by pushing myself harder or faster than is wise to the goal. In fact, that could actually end up biting me in the butt! This is not something I concerned myself with when I was young. So, the BIGGEST thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve started to think and act like an “old person!”

I’ve told some folks that this whole thing seems surreal to me, like I’m telling someone else’s story because these types of things simply don’t happen to me. Does that mean that this is an anomaly … or is this the beginning of more eventual hospital visits and surgeries, and general health problems? While I certainly hope these things are kept to a minimum, it’s probably not unrealistic to think that this IS the start of more of this type of thing.

So, in light of this, the “50-yard line” takes on another meaning: assuming I live to a normal ripe old age, I’m roughly halfway there. I can look back on the last “50 yards” and see how that played out – fairly healthily. But what does the second half look like facing forward? And, perhaps more importantly, what intention is needed for me to make it as healthily as possible to the goal post?

Doctor’s Orders (really!)

Normally on a person’s first Coumadin Clinic visit the people there spend a good bit of time counseling the patient. A large part of that deals with what foods to avoid so as not to cancel out the effects of the Coumadin OR to enhance the effects to a dangerous level (i.e. make the blood too thin).

One category of food that is a natural blood thinner is alcohol. While a little imbibing might not be a big deal, obviously a Coumadin taker wouldn’t want to go overboard with it. Of course, this is especially true once you’ve got your blood regulated to the thinness they want. If, on the other hand, your blood is still really THICK and not anywhere near where they want it to be, some intentional imbibing might not be so bad.

On Tuesday when I had my first Coumadin Clinic visit, she had just gone over all the dos and don’ts and everything else required during that initial appointment, when she checked to see if my blood results had come back. They had … and that’s when we discovered that my blood hadn’t budged — still 1.1.

I didn’t miss a beat. “Listen, I’ve got a bottle of wine at home that apparently needs to be opened tonight!” She sort of grinned and said, “I can’t tell you no. We REALLY need to get your blood thinned out.” Say no more.

So, on doctor’s orders, I had two glasses that night and one on the next two nights. When I went back today for my second visit my blood had risen to 1.6. That’s more like it! Consistency in what you eat is also important when on Coumadin. So I think my task is clear for the next six months.