I was born with the gene for bunions. You know, those knobby bumps on the inner side of your feet, that grow and grow until your walk becomes a waddle? My mom had them on both her feet, and when she died at eighty, she couldn’t walk without hanging on to store counters or chair backs (she resisted a cane until her seventy-eighth birthday).
I don’t go into this decision lightly. During my first surgery, I ended up in a cast for eight weeks, and a boot for nearly four weeks longer. Not only must my foot be broken and stapled (and pinned) together again, the toes have to be realigned with my newly repositioned big toe. I guess that’s why it’s taken four years for me to get my nerve back to repeat the process.
Besides the complexity of the surgery, there’s the fact that I choose to use a wheelchair as my mode of mobility. Most people can use crutches, but I’m a crutch dropout. I’ve never been very coordinated, and age has not improved my inconsiderable skills. Ditto with the “knee scooter.” That was marginally better for me, but my toes throbbed as they hung over the back of the knee rest. Add to that that you have hand brakes to coordinate, and I’m a disaster. I didn’t like ten-speed bicycles because of the hand brakes.
So, for eight weeks, I will be wheelchair-bound. I’ve done it before, and found that I was surprisingly mobile in one. I can roll into the kitchen, and then stand at the sink, or heat my tea on the stove. When I get tired of standing on one leg, I can plop into the chair. Since I live in a one-story house, this is an exceptional choice. I can tend to myself without relying on anyone, unless I want to go outside. It is a decision that works for me.
I don’t like the idea of slowing down my lifestyle, another reason why I’ve procrastinated on this surgery. You have to think before you do anything, so that you don’t put that foot down by accident. Using the bathroom is like planning a battle strategy! I have always admired the coping skills of people with physical challenges, and this surgery gives me new insight into a small part of what they face on a daily basis.
My husband will have to do the laundry, since the machines are in the garage (I won’t miss that job), and he’ll have to do all the errands, plus some of the cooking. I see the doctor a lot during those eight weeks, so hubby will have to maneuver me in and out of my chair, and the car.
It will be a hardship on both of us, but the end result will be wonderful. Since my first foot, the right foot, was a total success, I thoroughly expect the other one will be. I have no pain with the right foot, merely a little numbness around the toes, and I can walk ten-to-twelve thousand steps a day. Only my left foot gives me discomfort. I look forward to years of new mobility that my mom never knew.
I can honestly say, I’m not looking forward to this surgery. Who would? But, to give myself new freedom, and the ability to wear cute, flat shoes? I’ll gladly go the distance in my wheelchair and walking boot. Add the fact that my younger son will be getting married next March, and I want to be able to dance with him, and you’ll understand why I’m biting the bullet next week. By then the cast, the wheelchair, the cortisone shots, and the unwieldy walking boot will all be distant memories. I’ll be ready to make new, completely mobile ones.
Have you had a life-freeing event such as mine? Tell me, to boost my morale!