Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Ten days later I am still sitting with my leg up. Actually, I got doctor's permission to hobble around for a week and then she rescinded. Back to crutches and bedrest for my foot.
What I find amazing is how much an incapacitated foot impacts the emotional center of the brain. I am tired, lazy, bored, and depressed. I am tired of not being able to walk the dog, go shopping, stand in the laundry room on two feet folding laundry. Tired of not being in charge of cooking and cleaning and chauffering kids around. Tired of not chasing them down to nag or say goodnight. Tired of not being able to just go out and see the world comfortably, in a vertical position. Tired of shoulders hurting from the crutches.
And it's not just present tense. Because I don't know how much longer I'll be this way, I am already tired in the future. I can't get excited about making plans, like seeing old friends or setting up workshops or whatever. It's like I'm stuck in a void in time and space, watching from a different plane and noticing for the first time just how the foot is connected to the mind.
I know (or at least I hope) that this is just temporary, but it gives me new insight into what millions of people endure in times of illness or old age or both. Being unable to move and do the things you want to do is infuriating and depressing, so how do people do it for months and years on end? Poor Aunt Dottie used to get "stuck" where her feet just wouldn't move when she wanted them to. Later, she was in a nursing home in her final years and got to the point where she couldn't even speak. But what we never knew was what was going on inside her heart and her brain. Was she a vegetable who didn't know any better, who didn't care? Or was she trapped inside her own body, wishing she could claw her way out to see the world again, feel the sunshine on her skin, listen to the train's whistle? Could she remember those trips to Hawaii? The sewing machine humming as she pressed the pedal beneath her foot? Was she longing to once again feel the cold fingernail polish against her nails? Wishing she could go on those five mile morning walks, just once more, on her two healthy feet with her friends at her side?
I promise, yes PROMISE, that when I get my foot back again I will savor the steps I take, through the wet sand and surf on the Big Island or along soft pine-needle blankets on Cascade trails or even on the moving walkways in Ohare International. I will be thankful for how quickly I can get dressed in the morning and for how many times I have to trudge upstairs to wake up my son for school. I will gladly go out in the rain to take the dogs for a walk and I will sign up for a yoga class and show up every time.
How beautiful my sandaled feet will be once more! What strong foundations for me. They connect me to the earth and they move me where I need to go. They give me my life. Oh glorious foot, I can hardly wait for you to get better because then I will regain my energy, my joy, and my freedom.