I HAVE TO

If it wasn’t for moving I could have had surgery today.

My surgeon schedules operations only on Wednesdays and Fridays. Today, he’s fixing someone else. Maybe several other people.

My turn will come in 15 days.

Days are as important to me now as they were when the little guy first was born. On his third day I thought the fact he “wasn’t born yesterday” was tremendous and over used the phrase to the point of annoying my husband. But, hey, I couldn’t get out of of bed without help and couldn’t get a foot off the floor or in front of the other without leaning on something, so the humor was useful.

I counted the little guys days in the hospital as his body worked to break down the billirubin (about 50 hours all together in the hospital) and I watched him from a reclining chair.

I counted his weeks with wonder at his growth and hope that the binder, walker and “taking it easy” were putting me back together.

Now, I’m counting down to Phase 2. To a surgery that will force my pelvis to be stable again. That will make me set of airport metal detectors and add at least six screws to my 12 ribs, two kidneys and one bladder.

I’m counting down, even looking forward, to the wheelchair that will be my legs for at least 10 weeks. If it means less pain I will welcome it, the adult potty chair and whatever else is thrown at me with open arms.

I use heat on my back to help me relax enough to fall asleep. There are six pillows behind me and two under my legs most nights. Sleeping flat is not possible. I used to be a side sleeper, but I can’t stand to be on one side – either side – for more than about a minute. Over the counter pain relievers don’t even take the edge off, so I gave up on them long ago.

At first I had a prescription for Hydrocodone. But I was told it could make the little guy sleepy, so I didn’t take it because he was already lethargic and we needed him to be awake enough to eat. I started taking it again when he was in the hospital and not allowed to eat. I took it until the prescription ran out and got another one. For about two weeks I took it. I was able to force myself to do more, but the pain was always there.

Although it is much easier to get around than it was then, the pain is mentally much more difficult to deal with. Then it was part of everything – every step I knew would be nearly unbearable. Every movement. Today, there is a persistent ache and burning, but it is consistent most of the time.

It is when I think I am normal that it reminds me with a jolt. When I try to stand on one leg, especially if I don’t move my knees together first. Or my stride is too long, or I’ve walked too far, tried to move something with my foot, twisted without thinking — you get the idea.

The walker has helped me in these last few weeks because it reminds me I’m not normal. I have had fewer of those zingers since July 30 than I had in the previous month, for sure. But I worry that it has made me less of a fighter.

Much of this has been a mental game. I am stronger than this pain. I have to pick the little guy up off the floor because I have to change is diaper. I have to make it down these stairs because I have to go to work. I HAVE TO has been a mantra of sorts for me.

But in a small way, the walker says “no, you don’t have to. You can lean on me.” And I don’t know that is good for me right now. Yes, I’m going to use it until surgery because I know it helps me get through my day physically. I guess the mantra can come back after surgery when I will HAVE TO get myself from my bed to a wheelchair, from a wheelchair to the car, from the parking lot into the office and around the zoo (I’m sure we’ll still go on adventures during those 10-12 weeks).

I HAVE TO get better because my husband and son deserve it. And so do I. We deserve our active, healthy, vibrant life back. And I’m confident we will have it.

Phase 2 starts in 15 days. I will count them down. I will be ready.

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