B was told at her one year check up last August to "go live her life" by the physician who put her shattered ankle back together with his surgical prowess.
And so she has gone forward to live her life. She has adapted, as all living beings must, to the imperfections and limitations of an injury, long healed, yet a constant reminder of what has been.
When she climbs out of bed for the day, she has learned the habit of stretching and rotating her ankle as much as possible within her limited mobility. This is in hopes that she won't feel shooting pains in her ankle when she puts weight on her foot.
B has learned that she can't walk as far, or as fast, as others do. She realizes she will never run again and her snowboard will likely be sold next fall because she can no longer use it.
There is, ever present, the understanding that a double shift at work will cause moderate to severe pain and swelling by the end of her work day. A single shift may only cause a chronic ache which, ironically, makes it a good day.
She knows that buying shoes is problematic because one will always be tighter due to the deformity of her ankle. As summer comes, B sees the long jagged scars in different areas of her leg and she winces at times at the thought of wearing summer clothing that will expose them to view.
And yet, B perseveres making accommodations as necessary. She continues to "live her life" ... as her surgeon recommended with a finality born of knowing there is nothing left to be done to "fix" that which cannot be fixed.
B is doing well. She has finished part of her clinical work in order to officially graduate although she has already attended graduation. (She marched with her class nearly 3/4 of a mile from her college to the football stadium where graduation was held. She wore flat shoes and her limp was pronounced by the time she arrived, but arrive she did with a smile and level of pride that could only rival my own !)
These days, her ankle still swells upon standing and overuse, yet she doesn't let it stop her. Pain is intermittent but controlled for now. Her surgeon has continued to stress that the pain will likely worsen as arthritis becomes amplified.
In August, she is "officially" a college graduate. A long road but she's on the right path...and for that, I am happy ! :-)
B had surgery a few weeks ago and has since had her re-check. The report this time is no follow up appointments necessary until September. The doctor wants to keep track of increase in arthritis and possible need for more surgery.
She has learned what she can, and cannot do, at this point. Limitations.... a very new concept to the 20 something. But, it's not slowing her down in her pursuit of her dream.
Even though her clinical placement location scheduled for March canceled on her, she held out hope that something else would come along and it did. B's hopes have been de-railed so many times through this, her final year of school. The ride has been far from smooth thus far, but she's learning how to go with the flow of life and that's important too.
Clinical placement is planned out a year in advance to give students ample opportunity to find a suitable location, yet due to her accident, subsequent recovery and cancellation of her original placement, her's has just finally been put into effect one week before she is due to start.
B needed a miracle. Looks like she got one !
I haven't written in some time and just now realized that is the case. Since the holidays, we have gotten B into physical therapy several days per week and she has been back to see her surgeon several times.
Although she is doing very well and making progress with her flexibility and strength, she is developing arthritis in her ankle already that may impede her progress. We hope not, but it's there nonetheless.
She is scheduled this week for another operation to remove some hardware that was only meant to temporarily hold her bones together. Now that she is walking on her own, this needs to be removed to give opportunity for better mobility.
B is nervous this time. She is walking without crutches, has not used her wheelchair in a month, and last week bought a car so she can drive and be more independent. Her fear is of having any type of set back with the impending surgery.
Sigh. A long road with so much more to do to keep her on her chosen path. She leaves in another month for 6 months of clinical work to graduate from college with her master's degree.
Each day is a new one......and if we have learned nothing at all, we have learned to take each day as it comes and expect the unexpected. So as we approach her months of clinical work and impending graduation, we do it with a great deal of hope, faith and a bit of trepidation.
I've waited for what seems like so long to write the words, "on the mend". In the beginning, we were told of complications which might not allow this to happen which has made this a long 3 months.
I spent yesterday in the hospital emergency room being re-hydrated with IV fluids after being ill for a couple days and was deeply saddened by thinking that I would not be able to be at my daughter's 12 week check up with the surgeon. Today was the day to find out if she could, finally, walk on BOTH feet.
Weak, but determined, I made it to that appointment and I listened as the doctor told her to "walk, walk, walk". We discussed a plan for her physical therapy and any future complications that may arise, but the high point was when he said that she could wear both shoes and wean herself from her crutches as she got stronger.
The wheelchair I was blessed to find that afforded B freedom to attend classes and be part of the world, now will receive a good clean up (snow, dirt residue) and find a new home in storage.
Can I begin to say how truly grateful I am ? To see B's face when the doctor told her to walk..... to watch her put her other shoe on...... to see her get out of her wheelchair and put both feet on the floor and walk, albeit gingerly, was an experience that humbles this mother's heart.
I consider it the most precious Christmas gift I will receive this year.
Today marks a new day in a new chapter of B's "book". After several semesters of research, she and her partner finished and gave the presentation that is a pinnacle of their 5 years of study. Much as a Master's thesis, this dissertation depicts the subject they have researched and were able to document in a clear, concise presentation for the instructors, other students and the general public.
Of added importance, is that B did it while upright. Not from her wheelchair, but with the aid of her crutches she stood at the podium and gave her speech.
Proud? You bet I am. As she should be of herself. Tremendous progress was made today. In more ways than just one.
It's hard sometimes to see the blessings behind the trials and tribulations of life. For instance, I have been sick for over a week and it's been an effort to do the minimum of what I need to do. Yet, if I pause long enough to reflect on something other than how I feel, I realize that there's still so much there to be grateful for.
I still feel like "my cup runneth over" with some serious stuff I don't want. And I definitely question the saying that God only gives us what we can handle. But my reality is that as I massage B's leg each day and work out the scars that have formed over her injury, I get a birds eye view of her healing process. And I am constantly in awe of the mixture of ingredients that go into that healing process.
Taking note of it reminds me of how different things looked nearly 3 months ago. I have the pictures and memories to go by, but each day that we get from the day of B's accident and subsequent days of pain, trauma, surgeries becomes a day that I can be more readily aware of just how blessed we are.
My daughter will be here to celebrate Thanksgiving with me this year. I will see her beautiful smiling face at my dinner table. It doesn't get better than that.
..........The journey that is. Why is it that a vacation flies and other portions of life do not? I guess it's the watched pot effect..... watch it and it takes forever to boil, but walk away and do something else and it's boiling before you know it.
It seems "our" journey for B's recovery has been tremendously long. I thought it again today as I unloaded her wheelchair, accessories, and bag after bag of school things from my car for what seems like the millionth time. My back does a bit of complaining from time to time and I watch the weather in dread for the day when snow makes everything more difficult.
No complaining here, mind you. It is what it is after all. We can't change what can't be changed. So we do the best we can with what we have to work with. Progress is being made each day, albeit slowly. She can wiggle toes, and flex her ankle. These are far from being small victories. Indeed, they are huge.
And so, I choose to divide the long road into do-able chunks that I can manage. We have a routine and we are actually getting quite good at it. The shower no longer takes 2 hours to complete start to finish and other "operations" are much smoother as well.
So again, no complaints. Just a pondering of why a watched pot never boils. Or so it seems.
In two days it will be 2 months since B's accident. We saw her surgeon today and she had x-rays of her leg. She insisted her crutches had to come along (even though she was in a wheelchair) for that point in the conversation where the Dr. said she could walk. Her plan was to leave the hospital on her own two feet.
It came as no surprise to me when the Dr. said that her x-rays and her leg itself looked good, but that he wasn't going to allow her to try to walk for another 6 weeks.
The Dr. continued on with the potential for so many more problems in the near, and distant, future. But she no longer heard him at that point. He said all she didn't want to hear already.
Although she tried to stop it, the tears came once more beginning with the slight quiver of the lip. I needed only to touch her leg softly and they began to fall.
No minor disappointment to a college student working hard to finish up her Master's year in the health care field. With intensive clinical work impending, and now postponed, her graduation this year also hangs in the balance.
As we leave the office, I tell her, "you're still going to get there....just by a slightly different route."
Strength in adversity.
Difficult situations and decisions are, in large part, what makes us who we are.
B: You'll get where you're going. I can't tell you how I know. I just do.
Tomorrow B goes for her six week post-surgical check up. She will have x-rays and the surgeon will assess her leg. This morning, I encouraged her to try small ankle rotations. She did and the look on her face when she succeeded was priceless.
Her excitement is contagious to some degree. She has the heart of a young person where goodness abounds and tomorrow will bring nothing but the news she wants to hear.
I, however, am optimistically reserved. I have wished so many times that I had x-ray vision and could see through the now-healing skin and see what the bones of her leg are doing to KNOW what's taking place beyond the surface.
I have also been preaching patience to B through the past couple months and have needed to remind myself of the word from time to time as well. Patience is what I need tonight........patience and a few deep breaths to hold me until we see the doctor tomorrow and get the results.