This time next week, I will be laid up on the couch watching TV….hopefully on my way to a pain-free left foot! I’ve done physical therapy, cortisone shots, sensible shoes (uugghh), plantar fasciitis inserts, stretching, resting, icing, essential oils. Now it’s time for the big guns — plasma rich platelet injections. And while they are down there, I’ve asked them to throw in a bunionectomy. I’m hoping that the most painful part of the whole deal is the fact that I have to arrive at the surgery center at 6 am. YUCK!!!
Oh, and if your foot fell off after bunion surgery, please don’t tell me.
As I sat in the doctor’s office this morning for my pre-op appointment, I started having flashbacks to the hospital. I don’t know why my mind does this. I had to use deep breathing and tell myself, “That was then, this is now. Chandler would want you to get your foot fixed so you can do all the things you love without the pain.” It’s the medical stuff that gets me. I was in that office voluntarily. I will enter that surgery center next Monday voluntarily. What echoes in my brain is — Chandler didn’t volunteer for what he went through. He had no idea this time last year that in about two months, he would be hit by a car and end up with tubes and needles and stitches, and….
The nurse asked if in the past two weeks I’ve had feelings of sadness or hopelessness. It’s part of their routine. I just said, “No.” She doesn’t need to know.
So then I had to go to the lab for bloodwork. I threw a big huge fit in high school when I got my blood drawn for a tonsillectomy. It had to have been embarrassing for my mom. I seriously screamed and kicked and flailed about. That’s how much I hated needles, and the idea that someone could force me to have one poked in my arm to suck out my blood was simply unacceptable. I wasn’t going to let them get by with it easily.
Then a few years later, I had kids. Needle, schmeedle.
Still, having my blood drawn is not my favorite thing. I won’t sign up to do it for fun and leisure.
Today’s blood draw was difficult in a different way. My mind insisted on flashing images of Chandler and all the needles, and I wondered if he was scared. Did it hurt? Of course, it hurt. I had to mentally walk myself through getting this simple blood test done.
I am trying to be gentle and kind with myself. Trying not to force anything that I’m not ready for. But sometimes I feel like I just need to say, “NO! I will not let these images settle in my mind right now!” “NO, I will not turn away from doing something I need to do because past trauma is threatening to overtake me!”
This is on a day-by-day, case-by-case basis. I may be faced with a similar situation tomorrow, and my heart, soul, mind, and body may adamantly proclaim — “You are not ready for this. Take it easy.” I will be prudent to consider their wisdom.
This evening, I went and put new solar lights on Chandler’s bike memorial. The old string of lights is getting a bit dim. Fingers crossed — after tomorrow’s day of sunshine, the new lights will shine brightly as night falls. As I was sitting there trying to figure out what “S” and “F” meant on the “on” switch of the light string, someone knocked on my window. I was ready to cuss out anyone that was going to reprimand me for pulling over to the curb. It was a friend saying he had seen my car stopped by the bike. He helped me figure out what “S” (steady) and “F” (flashing) meant and then helped me string the new lights on the bike.
Tonight….lots of tears. Chip and I talked about Chandler. The missing is a physical ache in our hearts. I told him about my flashbacks at the doctor’s office. Our minds are processing this very differently. At the same time, we have a completely synchronous experience and understanding of this — losing Chandler is the worst thing, and we will never be the same.