One of the perks of working for the university is one class per semester tuition free. Today was the first meeting of my class.
I decided to take advantage of this benefit and enrolled in Anthropology of Women before I knew I would need surgery. I thought it would be a great opportunity to see if I can make school work with the rest of our life before I decide whether to apply to a masters’s program. I still think so.
But, today, even more exciting than sitting in a classroom as a student for the first time in 10 years was how I got myself to class and what I was sitting in.
My class meets across campus from my office and a coworker was concerned it may be too much for me and my separated pelvis to navigate with the walker. She suggested asking the Student Health Center if I could borrow a wheelchair for class
I borrowed the chair and hung my backpack straps from the handles. I shifted myself into the blue seat, this one more suited to my frame. And I set out to push those borrowed wheels that seemed to drift to the right all the way across campus to my classroom. Our office’s student worker came along and helped me when I got tired after a very slight hill (at least it is very slight when walking). I got the the elevator, backed myself in, and found my classroom one floor up. I did it! I can do this!
And the class was everything I hoped it would be. An enthusiastic professor, engaged students from a variety of backgrounds and an incredibly interesting topic. I discussed my impending absence with the professor and will complete readings and a two page paper while I’m gone.
We’ve got a plan and I will be able to do this, too. (I’m going to talk with the assistant dean that oversees the Master’s program this week, too. I think it is important to keep moving toward that goal. A blizzard doesn’t stop time and neither does an injury.
After class I wheeled myself all the way back to the office. It felt like a long time, but was really only about 10 minutes if both clocks were set the same. I will be able to manage for the semester. Especially if there isn’t much snow before winter break.
My arms felt the work, but I could have gone farther. Honestly, it felt good to really use some muscles. I haven’t been able to really workout – I’m talking sweating and gasping work out – since about Christmas. That was eight months ago. I was kind of impressed that my arms weren’t jelly. Maybe that manual breast pump I use at home is doing some good. (The electric one stays at my desk at work. It was too heavy to lug up and down those 27 stairs.)
I do hope the pain medication in those first two weeks of Phase 2 won’t keep me from doing my coursework. I have taken my pain medication every day this week. It helps a lot starting about 30 minutes after I take it. And it really does help the pain quite a bit for basically 45 minutes to an hour. But I have to wait four hours between doses.
I don’t expect a cure all. Diastasis symphysis pubis is a substantial disruption of my pelvic stability. And before this I had NO CLUE how much I use my pelvis. When something is wrong, the body is designed to say so. I’m convinced this cycle of “get a little relief” and then “feel it all, worse than before” is why I stopped asking the midwife for more and more pain pills. Big picture, does it really make a difference?
Three nights left of this stage. Two more work days. One more class. Then Phase 2 and the road to real health.
My son is seven months old tomorrow. Seven months. More than 30 weeks! My pelvis has gotten better, stopped getting better and gotten worse over those weeks. It has been hard. It has made me cry. It has made me realize what I have and what I need to be happy. It has made me miss fun things and become best friends with my heating pad. And it has helped me understand what I am capable of. What me and my guys can handle when we have each other.
Phase 2 will last half as long as this has. (I’ll face 10-12 weeks in a wheelchair and at least two weeks in physical therapy.) That means I already know I can do it. I’ve pushed hard for twice as long already. I’ve dug deep into my soul and found a way to keep going. Keep smiling. I can do it.
We can do it.