Just When I Thought I Was Out...

It looks like, come November, I will be back into the full swing of RA. Again. A new surgery to fix my ankle that may last up to a year with recovery. Of course, why not? The Cancer is just about finishing up, and not to be outdone, my RA said, “ho, ho, ho, ho, a year of cancer? Well, how about this…” So, here I am now, getting ready both mentally and physically for another long medical haul, and I figured I’d share some of this awesomeness and sunshiney mental gold with you, my readers.

Rheumatoid arthritis and The Godfather III?

You all know the saying. “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” It’s from The Godfather III, which is completely apropos on so many levels. First, many people can’t decide whether or not that movie is really part of the saga. Officially, it is, but fans hate it. Well, RA is like that – it can be in, out, official, not official, and depending on the medical expert you ask, real or fake. Also, “fans” well, we definitely hate RA.

The movie trilogy is a classic, been around for years, yet people are still finding new things to discuss. Same with RA, there are new things coming out on a monthly basis and there is no end of discussion. Finally, like the movie, no matter how old it is, it can still draw you in. RA, no matter how old you are, definitely draws you in and your entire life starts to revolve around it.

In need of ankle surgery

As some of you know, my right ankle has been on the surgery slate for some time now and the procedure keeps getting interrupted. First, it was my teeth, then it was cancer, and then I got abducted by aliens. I asked them to fix it but, apparently, I needed a pre-auth before they could use that “ET” finger, so I only got a probe.

What will recovery from ankle surgery be like?

Now, I finally have a window to get the ankle fixed so I’m scheduling it for November. The surgery itself shouldn’t be too big of an issue, but the recovery is going to take up to a year. A year. 12 months. Gone. Evaporated, just like that, at a time when I feel like I can ill afford to lose a week, much less a year. I mean, yes, at the end I will be able to wear shoes like other humans, and no one leg won’t be longer than the other anymore, and yes, I will then only have one foot that’s a dumpster on fire instead of two, but, you know, a year.

A year to recover from ankle surgery?

A fixator device for bone separation and growth

Why a year? Well, first I have to get a fixator device on my leg, which is basically a scaffold, and then each day turn the screw to help the bone separate and grow. Someone asked me if it was going to be painful, and I said, “well, considering the phrase ‘turn the screws’ means to put someone under pressure, and I’m literally doing that, what do you think?” I’m sure it’ll just tickle, I mean, I’m only going to have eight or more metal pins going through my skin directly into the bone, pfft, easy breezy!

A cast and boot to help set the bone

So, that stuffed animal heaven is going to last for six months, then I’ll be in a cast to set the bone for three months, and a boot for another three. That’s 12 months for you math majors out there, which is colloquially known as.., wait for it… a year.

Now is the time for ankle surgery

All of this, despite the back and forth, is more or less moot. It’s not like a have a choice: it must be done, and now’s the time. Even if it wasn’t so cut and dry, though, I wouldn’t waiver – you can’t when it comes to these things, I’ve found. Going into procedures such as this one with doubt is like getting a little bit pregnant – it’s not a thing. You have to believe that what you are about to do is what you want to do, or at least, needs to be done.

It's essential to proceed with intention and purpose

If you’re wishy-washy about it, your mental state will affect your recovery. It’s something I’ve realized after years of RA, but it certainly applies to real life as well. Ha! Real life! I mean, healthy person life. Freudian slip. Go in with gumption and purpose, and it will be that much easier to process emotionally. It’s essential – and just like getting a little bit pregnant, it can be a mess if you do it halfway.

Mentally preparing for ankle surgery

So, how do I prepare? Well, I’ve been in the hospital before, so I know what to bring. Clothes, books, games, snacks, and don’t’ forget the phone chargers. Really, though, it’s the mental preparation that’s the trick. You must know, on some level, that something could go wrong, but also not think about it.

I know, they seem to be opposites, like “McDonald's" and "Healthy Menu,” but just like those 800 calorie salads, you have to figure out a way to swallow it. It has to be something that is known, but not thought about. (Like why Maraschino Cherries are red - look it up.) It takes some practice, but after you have had as many surgeries as I have, it becomes old hand. Like my hands actually feel. Old.

I'm not going anywhere

Don’t worry though, if you’re thinking you will be deprived of my rapier wit, unique humor and singular writing talent, fear not intrepid readers. They aren’t working on my hands, I will still be able to type. I’m like cockroaches, I’m not going anywhere, even if they nuke us. In fact, I might even get that new book I’ve been thinking about done. Or started. Or outlined. Maybe I’ll just think about it some.

Whatever, point is, you’re going to be able to hear about all the preposterous shenanigans that happen during this procedure, as does every time I go through something serious. Maybe someone will use my leg scaffolding as an umbrella rack, or possibly I’ll get magnetized to a moving truck, or could be OSHA will issue a stop-work order on my leg – who can say? All I do know is that wherever the absurdity roulette wheel lands this time around, it’ll be hilarious. Stay tuned, and talk soon!

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