Recovery: Week Four

 

Cast number two. You can even see my straightened big toe as well as the wheel chair and walker that are my constant companions!

 

As a number of you know, I’ve been sidelined with foot surgery to address a foot infection and orthopedic problems in my right foot. The surgery took place four weeks ago today. Since then I’ve had my foot in a cast, actually now two casts, have been on an intravenous antibiotic, and not allowed to put weight on the right foot except on the heel as I transfer from one seat to another. Thought I’d share some random musings that describe something of how I’m doing:

  • As far as I can tell, everything seems to be coming along fine physically.  The swelling as gone down a good deal on my big toe and the bottom of my foot.
  • I’m tolerating the antibiotic (the only med I’m on) and we’ve gotten the routine down of doing daily infusions. Fifteen more to go. Eating two yogurts a day helps with the digestive side effects–a holding action at best. It has affected blood counts, which they watch through weekly blood draws.
  • I’ve described this as a process of going slow to heal faster. I do have a few exercises the physical therapist has given me to keep muscles in my right leg from atrophying, but aside from these, it is a matter of keeping my foot up and waiting. That gets tougher as the weeks go by, but all that I’ve heard says that trying to rush things only prolongs them. My motto has been, “one and done.”
  • I’ve thought about a verse that I read today at various times, Psalm 46:10 that says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” I’ve needed this word at various points in my life as I’ve taken too much upon myself and trusted God too little. This may be one of those seasons. It is certainly a time for stillness, and I have had to trust God’s presence and work in situations where I cannot be physically present. I need to think about what this means as well for when I am back on my feet.
  • I’ve been sitting and watching beautiful autumn days, clear blue skies, and falling leaves from my front window. I love being out and working in the yard in this kind of weather but have had to leave this to my wife, and a wonderful high school student who is our next door neighbor. That’s been one of the toughest things.
  • There has been a lot of time to read–right now I’m reading biographies of J.C. Ryle and J.R.R. Tolkien, an account of Roger Williams and the idea of freedom of conscience, and as I wrote about recently, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. The latter is a fascinating study of temptation, of the voices tangible and in our heads warning “you could destroy all you hold dear” and the allure of the forbidden when married love has grown prosaic. And 180 pages in and Levin and Kitty still haven’t gotten together!
  • I’ve been practicing the choral parts in Part One of “Messiah” along with my friends in Capriccio. Not sure I will get to join them on a December 11 performance of this work but I want to be ready if I am able, and if not to sing choruses like “For Unto Us a Child is Born” is wonderful preparation of my heart for Advent and Christmas to follow.
  • I’ve been looking for words that don’t just add to the competing “echo chambers” of discussion around the election. Mostly I’ve decided at this point to refrain and listen and pray, something that does not seem to be happening much. I’m grieved that protests have sometimes turned violent although I have many friends who have been part of peaceful ones. I’m disturbed at attacks on ethnic minorities, immigrants, and LGBTQ persons. It feels to me a bit like the turmoil of the late sixties or the spring of 1970 around the time of the Kent State shootings.
  • Rather than safety pins or Facebook statements, I’ve begun to reach out personally to friends who voice fear and anger. It is not explanations or arguments that are needed but simply to convey, “I care.” I’m also wrestling with the deeper question of what will I do if their safety really is in jeopardy and a Facebook post or march is not enough. I struggle for some, such as those friends who are ethnic minorities for whom this is already an issue whenever they encounter law enforcement.
  • I’m working from home. We’ve been having people come to me, as our whole team did a couple weeks ago for meetings. We had a full house but got some good work done. I’ve been on hours of video-conferences, including a very exciting symposium this past Saturday where Christian graduate students and faculty from eight campuses met online to talk about how we may have better conversations about faith and academic life.

I see my doc on Tuesday for a follow up, and if all goes well, I have two more weeks off my feet. Then I can begin putting weight on my right foot. Not sure what the re-hab process will be like from there–one of the things I’ll talk with the doc about this week.

I’ve been blessed most of all by a wife who has taken great care of me. If you remember, pray for her, because all this has meant an extra load on her. The friends from church and others who have brought meals have been a blessing and it is all good! A son, daughter-in-law, and pastor who have helped with groceries, transport, and getting to doctor visits have been such a help. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers a number of you, even those I don’t know personally, have sent my way. They mean more than you can know.

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