Author of Breasts Don't Lie

Posts tagged ‘foot surgery’

An Epidemic of Entitlement

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On good days, I think the world is in transition. On most days, the world is cultivating an epidemic of entitlement. 

Today I put away my handicapped parking placard. I have had one for a year. The placard swung from my rear view mirror through surgeries, non-anesthetized debridements, surgical shoes, surgical boots, 6 different antibiotics, and 7 different types of painkillers. And pain. I have needed it for the pain. Unable to walk more than 100 feet without excruciating pain.

I needed to park close by. I needed to open my car door all the way to leverage out my unbendable leg. To maneuver my sutured arm out. Sometimes I am working with one side of my body. I never realized how much I needed those slashed lines on either side and the wide parking spaces (access zone for loading and unloading) until I couldn’t move my right side (ankle, knee, hip, and elbow) and had to navigate with a plastic, metal, and fabric device immobilizing my body.

If the handicapped space was occupied or a car was parked in the access zone with slashed lines, I did not enter that Starbucks, Harris Teeter, restaurant, or hair salon. Most times the parked cars were without handicap insignia. The business owners lost my business. 

When I would ask about the situation or attempt to get the person to move their car, I was met with hostility and venom.

A woman, illegally parked in a handicapped parking space, coming out of a hair salon, the one below, shouted at me calling me an inconvenience. I HAD HER ASS TOWED.

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 At the chiropractic office below, the receptionist said, “I’m sure they aren’t our patients. What do you want me to do about it?” Well, you could say something supportive or even put up a sign to increase awareness or encourage your clients to FOLLOW THE LAW.

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While parking my car one morning, a woman in yoga class, yes, I take yoga classes, it’s cheaper and more effective for me than physical therapy, asked if I had enough room to get out of my car. She was parked illegally in the slashed access zone next to the handicap parking space. I asked her repeatedly to move. She moved her car 6 inches. No lie. NO LADY I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH ROOM. YOU PARKED YOUR CAR IN THE SLASHED ACCESS AREA NEXT TO MY HANDICAPPED SPACE SO I CAN’T OPEN MY CAR DOOR. She wouldn’t move her car until the police made a visit. Now in yoga class, she sits behind me, smiling, wanting to be friends. I don’t want to be your friend. Piss off.

See I have this handy-dandy iPhone. Click click. Picture taken with license tag. Call to the nonemergency police number. They ask for information. I have tags, make, model of the car on a time and date stamped file.

Don’t ask me to be nice about this. I am not apologizing for needing that space. I am not apologizing for asking you to follow the law. To think about other people. Grow up.

I am happy you are able-bodied but, realize the world is changing. Aging. Getting more knee and hip replacements. Having more surgeries. Needing wheelchair vans. If you live long enough, and I hope you do, you or someone you love will need a handicapped parking space and the adjacent slashed access zone. Don’t park there. The other option is to park there but don’t be surprised if someone dents your car with their handicap van or takes a baseball bat to your entitled windshield. 

Having done neither, I think I have exercised remarkable restraint.

To Bean or Not to Bean

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Life has been surreal – stranger than any fiction I could write. And if you have been keeping up with the FB posts – you know I can write some strange shit.

Like killing off my main character over and over again, diverting a river to hide a dead body (weird but true), maiming someone and having them stumble to the Nile to be dismembered by crocodiles (mild to moderate maiming so they can walk after a fashion), falling in love over a string of red beads (carnelian – I would like a love-inspiring necklace), giving birth (no experience, nada, not even watched it on YouTube), ancient Egyptian love-making practices (very little pornography available – had to make them up except for one often repeated line, “Come to me from behind”), and the importance of animal dung in making a poultice (historically accurate but very eeooogh).

I have researched herbal poisons in ancient Egypt (beware people with large rings), marital rights under the Visigoths (surprisingly good for women), bad cop-good cop techniques (may come in useful), animals of the Alps (don’t go hiking by yourself and avoid lizards spraying toxins like from “Jurassic Park”), flowers loved by men (back to the poisons), sexual hallucinations (got to get me some of these), witch hunts in the Dark Ages (just say NO to the Dark Ages), stoning versus burning (neither thank you very much), and the physical attributes of an ancient Egyptian (dark skinned, small, overweight with pot belly and bad teeth not anything near “The Ten Commandments”).

And deliberated over a bunch of How-Tos/DIY techniques; how to distinguishes Black Henbane from other poisons (always smell what you eat and drink), how to fool someone into thinking they had sex with you (lots of info here), how to cross a mountain during the Dark Ages (you don’t), how wolves hunt (in packs – don’t look them in the eyes), and which is the fastest way to bleed out – puncture bite to the femoral or brachial artery (femoral – easiest to get to – keep people away from your inner thighs).

Whoa those are some strange lists.

I am hoping Saturday was the apex of my own kind of strange. It may have to do with going back on painkillers (no, not the opiate but the inhibitory neurotransmitter type). On the meds, I imagine my brain to have the consistency of not-quite-set Jell-O. For example, if you put your hand in the black box of my mind, you could pull out one of the finely detailed topics listed above but not how to make rice. Been making rice, or more correctly unintentional rice balls, for decades.

Three nights ago, I was boiling rice in a bag – a friend suggested this easy fix. All of a sudden I knew, just knew, we needed some Sambuca to celebrate Saturday night. At least my brain did not call for adding Henbane to the recipe or to go watch a crocodile eat my surgeon, anesthesiologist, and/or wound care specialist.

So off to the ABC store, which had moved throwing me into a directional tizzy, to stand before an enormous overly lit ballroom filled with really pretty colors. Sparkling. I got a tad overwhelmed, looked down at my feet to discover, I am standing in a liquor store in my fuzzy slippers. I checked my hair. It had that just napped feeling. Sticking out all over and somewhat matted. Thank goodness all my parts were covered.

“Do you want black or white Sambuca?” I asked my friend.

“Ugh. I’ve only had the white. Black would go nice with your pink slippers … ”

“Did we turn off the rice?”

“Hope so.”

“Okay dokey. We need to get home.” I made an executive decision and grabbed the black Sambuca. Usually I go for the known but on meds I am adventurous!

Back at my house, the rice was soggy in the bag. We got it boiling. Dinner was good. The after-dinner Sambuca proved to be a dilemma.

“One coffee bean?” I asked.

“Three, I think, or seven,” my friend said.

“Gimme that iPad. We’re going with three. Health, happiness, and prosperity. Two out of three?” We looked at my errant foot then added two coffee beans to the liqueur.

“Should we set it on fire?” I asked.

“No I’m sure your foot will get better!”

“Silly Bean. The Sambuca.”

“Let’s ignite it then put it out before we drink it.”

“Or singe our nose hairs … “

“And eyebrows,” he said.

We enjoyed the Sambuca as I explained the next decision point for my almost-completed first draft of the ANCIENT EGYPT book (write on painkillers, edit when off).

“Should she die by fire or by stoning?” I asked.

“Both sound painful.”

“I have the research on how the body dies either way. You know, the timeline for cooking versus crushing. It’s kind of gross,” I said.

“No I don’t know. You did use the Private Browsing setting, didn’t you?”

Oops. Hopefully, my searches have not flagged me for a trip to the police station, with the FBI, CIA or Poison Control. Enough stange/surreal. Maybe I should lower my dosage. Please bail me out of jail if I call you. I’ll make you some rice in those handy-dandy little bags.

Love Is What We Need

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This year has taught me lessons in humility and acceptance.

During this year’s multiple surgeries and procedures, people have gone out of their way to be kind to me.

A person arranged to have my yoga class bring me dinner, sent me notes, dropped by to check on me. What a lovely heart!

I love the person who sent me a Moon Pie for being “wonderful.” Love, love, love her.

Friends have commiserated with me, transported me to and from surgeries and appointments, laughed with me at my crazy outfits as I navigated an arm cast and surgical shoe, and picked me up when I fell over.

People have called to check on me throughout this time. You are my lifelines and I promise to pass this on to other people.

People have stuck by me during the goofiness of my painkiller months. The months were I had to take painkillers to make it through the day – rescheduling clients, putting off reports, and being unable to find names or words. Some days I forgot to shower … oops.

I gave my best reading of my work after falling asleep on a friend’s shoulder. Waking with a start, I stumbled up to the podium, and kind of ad-libbed my way through the piece – but with uncharacteristic animation. Thank you for the applause.

One friend said to forget the written word and just speak from the heart; I was entertaining enough. What a giggle. I’m a card-carrying introvert.

The only comment on my ten-pound weight gain has been, “It fills you out.” Yeah, okay.

The friends who tell me to “Go home, you’re in too much pain” when I limp into the coffee shop have been my tough love and caring ethics committee.

You taught me to take life as it comes and do what I can. Even if it meant sitting upfront at an art opening of my stories matched to images, plotched on Gabapentin and Trammadol, effusively saying, “Welcome to Litmus Gallery. Snacks and wine are in the back.” You came up front to check on me, told me jokes, and repositioned me on the stool when I started to slide off.

It was crazy-feeling for me – I couldn’t imagine how trying it must have been for you. You have come through for me. I am overwhelmed by your sweetness. Thank you.

I could not have survived the carelessness of the medical community without you: the surgeon and wound care specialist have never said how difficult this must be for me after almost six months of digging around in my foot with a scalpel; nurses who did not pass on my requests for pain relief; and doctors who told me not to cry.

I would have ended up in jail without your steadying influence dealing with the clueless: the bloody assholes who use handicapped parking slots for their convenience; people who walk so fast I can’t keep up; and friends who break their promises to help. I know this isn’t personal. This is their stuff.

Good lessons, painful lessons. The lessons keep rolling in. Thank you Universe but I am done. No more. Let’s get on with the living.

I guess I already am.

Words of Thanks

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First thing, I wanted to say thank you for all the lovely personal responses to my last blog. It was frighteningly vulnerable to write such a very personal narrative of what happened the night of Rod’s death.

Each communication – the comments, the personal emails, the phone calls, and the precious spoken words – means so very much to me (even the hate mail). The responses allowed me to put the event in perspective.

This blog will get back to normal (funny, goofy, snarky, honest, at times educational) within a month. I have been out of communication as I slog through medical problems. So far I have gone through a dental procedure and a foot surgery. The last surgery is on Monday to repair my arm. It is quite a tickle – I will look like the mummy – appropriate to the book I am writing about ancient Egypt.

I wanted to acknowledge your support through these last two weeks. People have driven me to the surgeries, spent time with me, advocated for me in the processes, and watched stupendously bad, sometimes just plain stupid TV or movies with me. You have bolstered my spirits when I wanted to cry in frustration. You have understood my grumpiness. You have held me when I cried. You have cut me some slack.

People have sent me emails, phoned, and texted without expecting a return communication. I can barely type or write or hold the phone.

Thank you to the members of my yoga classes who have signed up to bring me food. I look forward to being back with you, nourishing you in my way. I miss laughing with you as we pick ourselves up after falling down.

Big hug to every one of you! You confirmed my faith in people and community in a time when the world is a painful place and so is my body.

No matter what else happens in my life, this opportunity to create community will be my greatest accomplishment. Thank you.

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