Perspective in a Big Way

 (Heather vonBargen)
I underwent foot surgery on June 29th to remove a hereditary bunion. Hereditary sounds somehow better than self-inflicted by wearing high-heeled shoes. It gives me some degree of comfort to remember my grandmother’s foot and to have something in common with my mother. I strongly prefer bare feet or flip flops. If I thought my footwear caused the “deformity” my orthopedic surgeon is fond of calling it, I would honorably own up to it and use it as an occasion to remind my fellow females that wearing sexy shoes can have a decidedly unsexy and painful outcome.

I am in my second of twelve weeks of recovery. In the hopefully long scheme of my life, a blip really. On occasion though, time feels like the sands of time are stuck in the hourglass, unable to continue their journey bottomward. Perhaps due to our Florida summer humidity. What an amazing opportunity for perspective. The surgery right before mine was a double amputation of both legs. I have much to be thankful for. As I struggle to get out of my borrowed wheelchair I am simultaneously grateful to the friend who lent it to me and I think of the vets who return from duty wheelchair-bound. One of the first nights, when the pain was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, I swear to you that I thought of folks “way back when” who suffered agonizing surgeries without the blessing of anesthesia or pain killers. Perspective yields gratitude.

My husband has been wonderful taking care of me and helping me perform the most elementary tasks. I could not imagine doing this without him and insufficiently express my gratitude. My girlfriends- the “casserole queens” brought us dinner for an entire week and much-needed cheerful company. I think of those who have no one and the despairing isolation they must feel. As I develop arm muscles using crutches, I remember my father who has had several major surgeries. I regret not flying up to care for his most recent one and rest assured I’ll be there for the next. Unable to drink and drive my knee walker or maneuver on crutches (not to mention mixing with Vicodin) I am happy to wake up without a headache the morning after a fun time with friends. Speaking of my spiffy red knee-walker, I am thankful we could afford to acquire it since insurance will not cover it and it is really quite helpful.

Don’t let me mislead you. I’m no saint. I’m jealous when my husband plays golf. I look wistfully at my pool and wish I was swimming. I’m mildly vexed to write this without my thesaurus as I am unable to reach it now. I wish I could run up and down the stairs in my house at will. And after a particularly bad fall on my Knee-Walker, I crumpled on the floor and cried in self-pity. Then I remembered my grandmother’s upcoming back surgery. Consciously reminding myself to find perspective makes this situation more bearable. I wrote an Italian phrase on my crutches and cast, La Vita Vola. Life flies.