Monday, August 18, 2014

I wondered how long it would take. Now I know. I am already annoyed with people and I have only been released to drive for 3 days.

Anytime you start your day three miles from the North Carolina/Virginia border, head all the way to the oceanfront, then all the way to western Chesapeake, then back to the border you are bound to encounter a little traffic. Mix in the fact that it is still tourist season and there you have it. Fun times. This area had traffic challenges already. A hot, humid day in Coastal Virginia means thunderstorms by afternoon. That means fender-benders at the very least. Which mean five-mile backups. Welcome to driving again, Frankenfoot. Sorry, buddy.

The first part of the day went so well-- I knew it would because it involved one of my dearest friends who thinks and acts and prays and sees things through a beautiful outlook on life and is always, always, a blessing to be around. So thankful I have this happy memory to draw from!

Even the second and third parts of the day were great. So many sweet people in my life-- I am so blessed. Drawing closer to another sister in the faith is always a comforting experience. I am happy to drive miles and miles to bond with daughters of the King.

But the getting there. Oh, friends, the getting there. When did I become the woman who has no patience for those who never learned their "right of way" laws? Who is this woman who sees the young mother dash across Pacific Ave with her daughter in a stroller and actually contemplates turning around and telling her how precious that life is that she just risked? Who am I now? I know- I am the same person who was always that way-- I just hadn't experienced that side of me since May!

Today was my first official trip to the grocery store. Granted it happened after a very full day-- a very good day-- but still it was my first trip to pick up a few things for dinner. My foot/leg/back all combined to create one giant ache. Swelling like never before. I'm done and just have this one last stop; I can make it. Yes, I am limping, but with the help of the cart I can disguise it as a glide. I've got this all under control. As long as it isn't too crowded.

It was crowded. Since some schools have already started and some will begin in just a few days, many were shopping for lunch box fillers and the rest were just off of work and strolling, zombie-like, in search of having the easiest thing magically jump into their cart with the following requirements: easy to fix, with limited cleanup, yet provide all the nutrition their family will require for the rest of their lives. I remember those days. I feel you, sisters. Be sure to pick up some more Nutella. You're welcome.


Happiness and concern fought it out as I was finally at the check out. I was glad to be there but I realized that I was going to have to let go of the cart that had been holding me up for the past FOURTEEN minutes. But I was home free-- at last I was 'in the process of leaving." That's it, Miss Cashier Lady, ring those things up and yes, plastic will be fine. I know, the environment will turn on my grandchildren for my selfishness, but right now, it's fast and I don't care. I will own that burden and apologize for it later. Right now, keep bagging.

Except not. Because Miss Cashier Lady wants to carefully examine my bottle of fizzy water to see  if contains Aspertame. Honestly. The line is seven people deep and she wants to know if it has artificial sweetener so she can know whether to give it to her son. AND SHE IS LOOKING AT THE INGREDIENTS AND NOT RINGING ME UP! And this is ok with her. No one on this grocery bag-polluted planet has time for this right now or ever. Smiling and nodding I am just about to blow. And my foot is about to bust right out of the Easy Spirit mule I have it stuffed into.

Then she comes across the Benadryl I am buying, which must have had "Let's discuss your allergies" printed somewhere on the box, because now I know what she is and is not allergic to. Which leads her to wonder if the fizzy water contains food coloring because she's not sure but her son may be allergic to food coloring so she is very careful about that. (which all the time is implying that I don't give a hoot about my own health or the health of my family because I am buying a cart full of chemicals to go home and cook so they can wash it down with fake fizzy water.)

I couldn't bring myself to tell her that I was buying the Benadryl because I may very well be allergic to the internal stitches that are still trying to dissolve in my foot which is why it feels like about a million fire ants are crawling on it. Know why I didn't go off?? Because just a few days ago I had to go and write a post on Facebook about how we need to be good encouragers and spread the love of Jesus as much as possible. Well, my smiling and nodding were as much Jesus as I was able to spread right then and He knows it so typing it doesn't make any better or worse it just keeps it real for you people who read my musings. I did manage a very genuine smile and a "thank you and have a nice evening" that I know were delivered with as much compassion as possible, given the fact that I could not longer even feel my foot.

So you will all be pleased to know that tomorrow I intend to stay home all day. I will not attempt any venture to the store or the oceanfront or the mall or anything. I may be physically ready for it but emotionally I am not.

And in case there was any question, I'm back.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hallelujah: I am now mobile! I can get around on my own- for the most part- with no assistance from any kind of...contraption. Being able to carry my own bowl of oatmeal in my own hands to my own chair was such a joy- I missed the independence so badly. The comfort of being able to be a little more self-sufficient was like meeting an old friend after a long separation. I still can't drive, but I can go up and down stairs by myself. The ability to go into rooms that I hadn't entered in over two months was weird, I have to say.

Negotiating the stairs is a little tricky. In order to master them on two feet I, once again, consulted my PT friend. I was worried that she would get annoyed by my questions; I felt like I needed to somehow "work in" the need for her professional opinion and instruction. (in reality, nothing is further from the truth- she totally answered all questions with joy) 
The conversation, texted I think, went sort-of like this.
Me: How are you?
Her: Fine, you?
Me: Fine. Sold two more tickets for the Simulcast.
Her: Great!
Me: So I may be able to go up the stairs! (I am so subtle!)
Her: Awesome. Up with the good, down with the bad.
Me: Thanks!

Well, it wasn't exactly like that, but almost. "Up with the good, down with the bad." Because I am a klutz and a visual learner, I also relied on YouTube. And while I am in the mood to type, let me say this about YouTube PT instructions: Hey, why don't you use people who are actually INJURED on there?? How about putting a person on there whose foot is wrapped up like a football and has four incisions and a rod and they are on mind-altering drugs to dull the pain and cause blurred vision? How about that? Let's see that instead of the clear-headed semi-professional athlete assisted by the calm voice of authority in pink scrubs. The therapists all look like they just did another marathon last week and they are clearly full weight-bearing and not struggling with any kind of impairment. On a good day, I could pop up and down the steps on one foot. Even with the obvious healthy person giving the instructions, the mantra from both, it seems, is in agreement: begin the ascent of the stairs with the good foot, and the descent with the bad one. 

Sounds simple enough. I begin my trek upstairs with my Good Foot. You know, the non-surgically altered, beat up, swollen, tender, red and pathetic one. Since so much of the pain has subsided, I have to remind myself to do this. It's pretty easy to remember if I look down: it's the one with the post op shoe on it that is about a size and a half too big now that I no longer look like I have a cartoon foot. I have to be careful of it because it is such a big shoe (they wanted it to extend over the rod and I thank them so much for that).  So, gathering up my bravery, I whisper my mantra to myself: Up with the good. Up with the good.

Up with the good.
Reminds me of Scripture, you know? I think of Paul's letter to the church at Philippi. His brothers and sisters whom he loved so much were in conflict. They were hurting, angry, and in need of kind guidance. In Philippians 4:8, Paul writes, "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." He may have just said "Up with the good," except Paul was a lot more eloquent. So as I climb my stairs one at a time, I let my good foot lead the way. And I offer my bad foot that same kind guidance. I know there are still things that I cannot do. But I am careful not to dwell on those things. I think of the good, the right, the "honorable and true." I make sure that my footing is sound and sure before I move forward. I don't want to place myself in a precarious position, for I can't afford to waiver or fall. A few days ago I forgot and almost took a step up with the "bad foot." It scared me! I wasn't sure what would happen and I sure didn't want to go against my doctor's orders.

Don't you want to be like that in your walk with Christ? So afraid to go against the Father's wishes and commands that you shudder in your step when you get off the path?

When I get to the top of the stairs I am so relieved. I did it. I followed the directions and I am able to continue on my way effectively. Had I not "done the right thing" I would be unable to function properly; I may suffer a setback and end up worse off than before. Up with the good.

Now to go downstairs. Why is going down something so much more difficult? If going up is like multiplication, going down is long division. (and now you know how much I dislike math) Standing at the top of the stairs and looking down is ominous. Gravity seems to want to pull me down faster than I want to come. Oh, sure, back when I was doing this by sliding on my bottom it was a piece of cake. (it's cake actually that gave me the extra padding that made me able to do it so well on my bottom!) But now, standing there with the Big Shoe and all, Mr. Gravity wants to mess with my head a little. He phoned his friends, Doubt and Confusion and they are here for the party. Then I remember: Down with the bad. Down with the bad.

Just as God's Word manifested itself to me going up the stairs, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I need to "put down the bad." Again Paul's writing speaks to me from the book of Colossians this time. Chapter 3, beginning with Verse 5 reads:  "So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.  Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world.
But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.  Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him.  In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all of us."

Down with the bad.
I plant the foot that has been through so much firmly on the step below me. As I hold on to the rail, I bring the strong, sure foot alongside it. One step at a time. I make sure to pace myself and not to go too fast or to get ahead of myself. Or worse, to get ahead of God. I rely on Him to set my path and I would never want to stray from it, even though I sometimes do. But every time I ask Him to, He guides me back to the right direction and I can continue to try my best to do His will. Before I know it I am at the bottom of the stairs on solid, even ground. Praises go up!
I know that in time I will be able to walk up and down stairs normally. I will, Lord willing, continue to heal and to become stronger and more confident. But I hope I will remember "up with the good, down with the bad" as I continue to grow in Christ. I want to be reminded to put aside the things that do not honor my Savior and I want to ponder the things that bring Him glory. I want to be the woman He created me to be, and I want to hear that kind, gentle voice guiding me to "set my sights on the realities of heaven and to think about the things of heaven and not of the earth." I want to remember all of these things, even when I can finally wear matching shoes!

Why I Choose to be Southern Baptist

These have been tough days for those of us who call ourselves “Southern Baptists.” I won’t go into all the details. I don't think it’s S...