You will be in an altered state for many moons...

If your Achilles tendon is ruptured, torn, or even simply inflamed with tendonitis, your life is about to change. Mine sure has - so I decided to chronicle these events, and create a place for others to share their experiences, advice, resources and emotions during our journey toward recovery.

Nothing in this blog is meant to take the place of the medical advice of your physician. Follow the instructions of your medical professionals, not me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

16. Dilemmas of a Southern lady

First of all, lest anyone think that I am a crass, unladylike person, I want to post, as evidence that I AM a lady, a photo, taken today with my new camera (thank you, Michael - you excellent caretaker, you!):

These are my feet.  Notice the pedicure (fresh and unchipped) as well as the generally excellent shape of the feet (if you disregard the whole ankle thing, which I do admit rather undermines my assertion that I take great care of my hooves!).  Yes, in spite of all my recent traumas, my priorities are still intact.

Every good Southern gal who spends nine months out of each year decked out in adorable sandals (all of us) will tell you that regardless of circumstances - surgery, divorce, identity theft, you name it - the measure of a woman's character is manifested in the condition of her toenails.  If you see one of us with jacked up toenails, you know that our life is spiraling out of control, and that we are probably not in full control of our faculties.  Or we're a horrible, irresponsible skank.  One or the other.

So - I am about to talk about things often considered unladylike - but when you start to think to yourself, "Honestly, what sort of woman discusses these things in public?" - remember that these toenails testify that I am indeed a lady.

What I want to talk about today is...constipation.  See, no one warned me about this possible complication of my achilles tendon drama and subsequent surgery.  Had I known the possible severity of this matter, I may have seriously considered hobbling around for the rest of my life in return for, errrr, "regularity."

Couple of causes:

1.  Surgery and anesthesia - these often cause constipation.  How I overlooked that pertinent information in the weeks and weeks that I read every website online regarding this surgery, I will never know.

2.  Vicodin (and some other common pain relievers).  Hey - these innocent looking little orbs slow down everything - and I do mean EVERYTHING.

3.  Inactivity - if you do nothing, you DO nothing.  Hmmm, let's see - I went from working full time, volunteer work, art projects (very physical, since most of my projects are murals and require ladders), globe trotting (my kids and grandkids are scattered all over the globe), walking large and undisciplined dogs, attending concerts (the type that involve lots of jumping up and down and dancing in the aisle) - to sitting on a sofa for days and days and days.  It was sort of like this:

4.  Weird food - and no food.  Surgery and then enforced immobility creates a ripple effect throughout your life.  One of these ripples for me is that my diet has changed tremendously in the past week.  When I say "tremendously," I do not mean that the changes have been tremendous, as in "great."  All I mean is that the changes have been SWEEPING.  I didn't realize till now just how much my intestinal fortitude depended, apparently, on eating a Subway salad nearly every day.  That ain't happenin' - in fact, not much eating at all has been happenin'.  I guess that anesthesia, and then other meds, must be serious appetite depressants.  Oh, that and the fact that I am probably burning a total of 300 calories a day right now.

When one relies on others to bring food to the sofa, there's really no telling what may show up at one's fingertips.  Personally, I hate asking other people to do anything for me, so usually when Michael has said, "Honey, are you hungry for anything?" I've either said, "No, not really," (which we all know REALLY means, "Yes, quite,") or "Well, what's easy?"  To which he's replied:

"Ummm, how 'bout some olives?"
"Well, there are some apples in here."
"I guess I could get  you some more cottage cheese, but I don't see how you eat that crap."

OK, I'm exxagerating.  He's actually COOKED dinner nearly every evening (and done a fine job of it), and even when he simply brings me a sliced apple and cheese, he arranges the slices artistically (which never ceases to amaze me).  But regardless of all his efforts, there's really nothing quite like standing at the refrigerator while holding a bag of Doritos, idly munching while perusing the cornucopia of American abundance - and then acting accordingly and with great abandon.

The end result has been that for the past week, I've eaten a lot less, and what I HAVE eaten is not what I usually eat.  And there you have it - the perfect intestinal plugger upper.

I first began to realize there could be a problem about three days ago, as I slowly emerged from my fog of pain and meds.  No problem - just eat prunes, right?  Apparently not.  And now I had added a handful of prunes to whatever else was accumulating.  So the next day, I ate apples and drank lots of water  - and now I had to get up twice as often (on crutches) and hobble to the bathroom - only to experience more frustration as only one act of a two act play transpired. 

So today - I stood at my pantry door with my leg propped up on my new toy, the knee walker, and with great trepidation, I reached with trembling fingers for my favorite METHOD OF MASS DESTRUCTION - Super Dieters' Tea.

This substance is of such awesome properties that if you drop a penny in a cup of it, and let it sit for a week, the penny will dissolve.  OK, I haven't tested that, but if anything could dissolve a penny, this stuff could.

Here was my dilemma:  What is worse - epic constipation, or being suddenly hit with the exact opposite problem, and having to get to a toilet on either crutches or a knee walker?  Hmmm, these are my only two alternatives?  Life sucks.  But I couldn't take it any longer - I felt like a stuffed sausage.

I made a cup of this elixer of the ungodly, and drank it down before I could change my mind. 

Within three minutes (and this is no lie), I felt a familiar sensation - one that is usually so predictable, and mildly comforting, and one that I usually take for granted - and off I scooted to the bathroom, where I experienced a, shall we say, cathartic moment.  Well, several moments.
Without going into detail, I'll just say this - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Then I realized, with growing horror, that I had just downed a stout cup of the most horrifyingly effective laxative known to man - and that regardless of this morning's events, this stuff was going to - GOING TO - work on me within the next 8 hours or so.

So - now I'm sitting on the sofa again, feeling like this:

Don't worry - when the inevitable occurs, I won't burden you with the details.

I'm much too much of a Southern lady to do a thing like that.

1 comment:

  1. Melanie,
    I am enjoying your blog a lot. I just had achilles surgery 3 days ago and I have experienced many of the same things. After having shoulder surgery a couple of years ago, I found that Miralax is a great laxative and doesn't make you feel like a ticking time bomb. I just eases the process.