Communion, Forgiveness and Recovery

home.communion

This do in remembrance of Me

Last Sunday, I held the small piece of bread in my left hand, and the tiny plastic glass of ‘wine’ in my right. The pastor recited a prayer, and with my eyes closed, I recalled the last time I’d taken communion. It was at Linda’s funeral, in a Catholic church. No, I’m not Catholic, but I am a rebel. Therefore I’ll be damned if anyone will tell me whether or not I can partake of the body and blood of my Lord Jesus Christ. I grinned at the memory while I chewed and drank. I had to stay seated during communion because my newly mended right ankle was achy and stiff.

The pastor spoke of finding joy in our nearness to God. That happiness is fleeting, but joy is everlasting. As the lesson continued, I began to do my daily ankle exercises. I pointed my right toes as far forward as I could and held them there for ten seconds. I released the stretch and pulled my toes up toward the sky as far as I could. I held the stretch for another ten seconds, repeating each stretch 15 times. Then came the side to side stretches. The sermon progressed and I placed my right foot back on the floor. It didn’t ache nearly as much as it did before I stretched the Achilles tendon six ways from Sunday.

A particular bible verse struck a raw emotional nerve and I began to cry. Don’t ask me what it was about, because I can’t recall it. All I know is it had something to do with paying for indiscretions and mistakes. That once we are forgiven by God, we must learn to forgive ourselves. As I wiped my eyes, Laura asked if I was all right, and I assured her I was. That I was better than all right. That I was forgiven.

After the sermon ended, we made our way to the back of the church. My ankle was stiff as I began to walk, but I noticed that I no longer had any pain. The familiar ache had disappeared! A smile spread across my face and was lit by the morning sun. I walked with almost an entirely normal gait. I felt free for the first time since March 11, 2014. I. Was. Free!

It’s Wednesday night and the pain has not returned. I’ve had a few twinges here and there, but that’s because I had a very intense physical therapy session on Tuesday afternoon. On March 12, 2014 after 5.5 hours or reconstructive surgery on my right ankle, my life changed. I know it will never be the same, but I am assured with God’s grace and love I have recovered.

 

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Five Days Til Touch Down

Woman Walking on Tracks

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

How can it be that I get a buzz from regular Tylenol?
That was the first thing I thought of when I opened my eyes this morning. I was lying in bed with a pillow wedged between my legs to keep my post-surgery ankle from rubbing against my healthy one. Cinders, the devil kitty was lying next to me and she gave me a low growl as I stroked between her ears. My middle-aged body creaked as I stretched and shifted my weight to sit on the side of the bed. Cinders yipped and snipped at me as she bounded her fat self out of her side of the bed. I tightened my core and stood up on one leg. With practiced finesse I turned my entire body around and seated myself in my old friend, a metal wheelchair.
I went through my ritual of morning self-care. Dammit but I sure do love a shower. Leaning against the wall, I stand on one foot and let the hot water run down my entire body. It’s the closest I get to having a lover touch me. You don’t know how much you need the touch of another human until you are incapacitated with an injury and have no prospects. My left leg began to shake so I sat in my shower chair. I washed my face, shaved my legs and washed my hair. Cinders peered around the side of the shower curtain and mewed. I flung water at her and she ran away like her ass was on fire. My laughter echoed on the ceramic tiles. Afterward, I dried off and with my walker hopped back to my wheelchair.
I drank coffee.
Used my bone stimulator.
Did some banking.
Sat and waited to go to physical therapy.
That’s the story of my life these days.
Hurry the fuck up…
And wait….
I’m sick of only being able to wear one damn shoe at a time.
30 minutes of cardio left me sweating like a whore in church, but dammit I felt good! Amelia and I worked my right ankle and foot so hard. I was proud of the fact that we increased the reps of the work out and the size of the ball on the BAPS board. Amelia rewarded my efforts with a massage. We took measurements and found that my Range of Motion had greatly improved in the last month.
Look at me, I can point my toes!
Does that hurt?
Nope, but I’m sure it will later.
She and I said our goodbyes and good weekends. I won’t see her until Thursday of next week. I hope to be walking when I do….Wearing my gym shoes….And pushing my walker.
Tom my usual cab driver, picked me up and whisked me back to my apartment. To my cage, and my perch. Icing my ankle, I zoned out and watched crappy t.v. Cinders the devil kitty, snuggled around the top of my head.
I called Mom.
Shared texts with friends.
Took meds.
Fell asleep.
Tonight, I celebrate that I have five days left in this cage. I’ve learned why the caged bird sings. He sings of freedom. I miss being a biped. I miss going wherever in the hell I want. I miss doing whatever in the hell I want.
I’m finished.
My foot’s on fire.
I laughed while I watched National Lampoon’s Family Vacation.
My Dad looks like Chevy Chase.
I miss John Candy.
And I’m happy I didn’t cry today.
In a private message exchange Red and I chatted about our days. As our convo wound down he asked me, where are you going to walk first? Right the fuck out of my surgeon’s office, I quipped.
I’m spent. Goodnight Moon and goodnight Word Press. This Sparkly Bird has had it!

An Open Window

Window

The Velcro bites into the fabric of the ace bandage that holds the Fiberglas square in place. After a few fierce tugs, the teeth yield to my whims and I’m able to remove the binding. I put it aside, pop out the square and set that next to the bandage. My fingers unfold the cotton and lightly stroke the tender skin that lies beneath. I grin from ear to ear, excited by the sensations that I feel. Heat, heartbeat, pain, and nerve twitches. I tickle the tender skin on the arch of my foot. I feel electricity in my fingertips, as they bring the pale skin back to life. Often, I experience little bee stings around the surgical sites. I welcome the feeling though, it means the nerves are reconnecting.

My tattoo of Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas is hidden by the half cast on my right leg. The cast serves as an anchor, holding my injured leg and ankle in a neutral position. I miss being greeted by her melancholy face when I stretch my shapely legs, as I awaken each morning. My hand slides into the cast, and I caress her face. The skin is flaking, from Fiberglas and cotton that wicks all the moisture from my skin. There’s atrophy in the muscles, already. I try not to focus on it though. Eight more weeks my leg will be encased either in plastic or Fiberglas.

I peer back into the window and scoot the cotton around to find one of the three incisions. It’s still pink, but completely heeled. Excitement runs through me as I realize that the numbness at the site is gone. Replaced with warmth and a pulse. I pinch the skin, just to be sure and realize all of the feeling has returned. Joyously, I grab my ultrasound bone healing system and begin the 20 minute process of stimulating bone growth.

With the ultrasound fastened on the opening in my cast, I depress the on/off switch. The machine comes to life and sound waves seep into my skin. 20 minutes, twice a day and lots of prayers are what help the broken Talus bone stay alive. If it stays alive, it will regrow stronger than before. I may never dance or run again. But the use of the ultrasound may give me a better chance at walking without pain. That’s my main focus right now, putting weight on the right foot and taking a step. Finally, the machine shuts off and I wipe the conduction gel from my skin.

I need to close up the window, but my curiosity gets the best of me. I want to keep touching my skin. Touch is a balm for me, calming my anxiety about the future. Putting the Fiberglas square back in place, I begin to wrap the ace bandage around it. The end of it is fastened back in place with hooks of Velcro into material. I lie back on the couch and continue drinking strong, hot coffee laced with cream and Sweet and Low.

And so begins each day of waiting. Waiting and healing.