Recovery Firsts

The last few days have marked some exciting recovery milestones!

  1. I drove a car.
  2. I wore pants.

Drove a Car

Okay, I hear you thinking, “What, is she 16?” I know, I know; it’s been almost two decades since I’ve gotten excited about driving. But on Friday I drove for the first time since my surgery, and I did feel excited: It marked my farthest excursion from home since we got back from California!

Unfortunately, my incision sites are right where the lap-belt part of a car seatbelt goes. Add in the bulk of a jacket or two, and you’ve got a recipe for some incision discomfort. Which I did, indeed, experience. Not as uncomfortable as before, but not such that I’d want to go for a nice long car drive any time soon, either. Continue Reading >>

The First Steps

As I recover a bit, I’ve started walking more. Each time it hurts at first, but as I keep going, the pain usually subsides somewhat, leaving behind uncomfortable tugging at the incision sites. There’s still some kind of glue or something over the cuts, which may contribute, but I’m guessing I’ll feel some tugging until the scar softens up.

Last Monday the nurse practitioner who saw me at the vascular clinic said to walk for 15 to 30 minutes every two hours. So far that’s been more of an aspirational goal, but the last few days I did get out twice: Once midmorning and once midafternoon. Midmorning on Saturday I walked to Benji’s school, as a test; and on Sunday I walked to Brickyard Park & Ride, again as another test. Continue Reading >>

Passing Time

As a culture, we sure do value efficiency. Why do a thing slowly when you could do it faster? At work, we constantly tout efficiency as one of the major selling points for many of the new features: “Do this task faster and more efficiently than ever!” (No, we never use exclamation points. Never.)

But there’s no recovering efficiently. I learned this when I was recovering from pneumonia. The first time I got pneumonia, in December 2016, I tried to push through to resume my normal activities as soon as possible. Months later, I still coughed and struggled. Continue Reading >>

Recovery Continues

At this point, things aren’t changing much. As time progresses, I find sitting up easier; I can walk a little farther each day; I need slightly fewer painkillers; I nap a little less. So I guess we say, “Progress is being made,” and leave it at that.

Yesterday Ian, Benji, and my parents flew to California for Thanksgiving with my sister, brother-in-law, grandmother, and other family. This left me all day to spend quietly by myself.

I started by watching The Irishman, a movie I had heard about and wanted to see. It’s 209 minutes long, though, so I didn’t expect to ever actually carve out time to see it. I was wrong. Continue Reading >>

Surgery Recovery, Days 5 and 6

Tuesday was rough. The plane was delayed coming in to San Jose, and I got super tired waiting. I hadn’t been upright so long in a while! Finally Mom got some blankets from the airline and I made myself a not very snug spot to stretch out on the ground for a bit.

Once we got on the plane, though, it went great. I’m flying first class all the time now. Ha! Warm moist towels, beverages in real glasses, actual breakfast on real plates with metal dishware, the flight attendant greeting us by name, on first, off first, tons of leg and luggage space… Yep, definitely could get used to that for the future. Continue Reading >>

Acknowledgements

Over the last week, I’ve written a lot about my firsthand experiences. I myself have ridden a real emotional rollercoaster, flying through anxiety, outright fear, relief, exhaustion (lots of that), pain, sadness, guilt, and hope. But in the end, I get a fresh, pain-free, working leg and the hope of the rest of my life that way. I’d give a lot for that.

But the questions is, what would other people give for that? Because I’m not the only person impacted by this decision.

In deference to my family’s privacy, I haven’t said a whole lot about the impact to them. But I think it’s time for me to acknowledge the toll the last two weeks has taken on my family, and the likely toll that will continue until I’ve fully recovered. Continue Reading >>

Surgery Recovery, Day 4

Monday we had two goals: Visit the vascular clinic to get signed off to fly home, and go for a drive in the convertible with the top down.

We achieved both goals: A nurse practitioner looked at my wounds and deemed them “good” — she remarked on the quality of the closure stitching, so I’m guessing it was done well. I have no basis for comparison, but Dr. Lee said he tries to be careful. What I can say is that it’s hardly bled at all, the edges are clean and not at all red, and it’s not tender to gently touch around the incision area — all signs of healing well. Continue Reading >>