Bill asked me the other day — probably after I’d asked him if he would pleeeease go get me another cup of coffee — if I regretted my decision to have surgery.
“If you knew what this was going to be like, would you still elect to have your bunion removed?” he asked.
It’s a good question. While I anticipated the inconveniences that would come with not being able to put any weight on my left foot for a month or more, it really has been quite an experience figuring out what I can and cannot do. I have discovered that I am able to accomplish a lot more things standing on one foot than I thought I would. Almost always, when things seem insurmountable, I can figure out a way to manage the task. I just have to think smart and not take unnecessary chances. For example, I was able to grab my cast iron Dutch oven successfully by moving the lid separately from the pot. There was probably still a 70/30 chance I could drop the pot onto my good foot, but I didn’t.
Prior to the surgery, I warned Bill that he was going to have to undertake some of my chores. Making the bed, for example. In a pinch, I could probably make the bed. Still, the idea of hopping on one foot or dragging my scooter along with me while I straighten sheets feels impractical. It’s not always a matter of whether I can do it, but just how much easier it would be if he did it.
I have learned why people with walking disabilities demand handicapped parking spaces, and why they get angry if people abuse the privilege. I wouldn’t care if the handicapped space was on the other side of the building. What is important to me is that there is room for my BFF to be placed by the car door so that I can hop on my right foot and swing my left foot onto the scooter. Oh, and going up a ramp is helpful also.
In an earlier blog post, I mentioned that a friend of mine broke her kneecap and was in a thigh-to-ankle cast for months. There’s no question that her woe was much greater than mine. One of the things she told me, however, rang true. Her husband had been ill, and she had been caring for him. Suddenly the shoe was on the other foot (ha ha ha). He became her care partner, and they had to get used to those new dynamics.
The same is true for Bill and me, of course. I take care of a lot of things for him, and now it’s his turn to return the favor. He does so willingly, I’m happy to say. Of course, he usually needs a nudge because he’s not used to the new chores.
“Hon,” I’ll say to him each night. “Would you please fill up the coffee pot with water for tomorrow morning?” He will cheerfully fill up the pot. But he won’t remember the next day. Still, I care for him and he cares for me.
Winston, however, still looks at the knee scooter as a death machine, and I don’t believe that will change any time soon.