I didn’t mean to go 3 months without writing a blog post. It’s just…you know the thing about juggling glass vs rubber balls? How glass balls, if dropped, will break or shatter, while rubber balls will bounce back? I guess you could say that I had a lot of balls in the air, and this blog…well, it was rubber.
That’s not to say that life has been bad or anything – it hasn’t. I’m 3.5 years post spinal fusion, and I’m doing really well (knock on wood). I finally joined a gym this year, and I’ve continued to be active. The kids are doing great, and our family of four did a lot of traveling this year: skiing in North Carolina, swimming with dolphins at Discovery Cove, hiking in Joshua Tree National Forest. We snorkeled and paddle boarded and roller skated and lots of other fun stuff. 2019 was shaping up to be a pretty great year.
Then in early August, my husband badly injured his right knee. While it wasn’t a catastrophic injury, it was an extensive one, and he was in a quite lot of pain. We knew pretty much from the get-go that surgery was imminent.
Vic’s knee surgery was on Halloween, nearly two months after his injury. He ended up needing three separate procedures (all done at the same time): ACL reconstruction, repair to a torn meniscus, and a microfracture surgery to repair a large piece of cartilage that had broken off and had been sort of floating around his knee for two months (yikes). Each procedure has its own recovery protocol. All three at once is…well, a lot.
He was sent home with a hinged knee brace, crutches, and toe-touch weight bearing restrictions for 6 weeks. This meant that for 6 weeks, he could not put ANY weight on his right leg. He had to wear the brace at all times (except in the shower) and for the first couple of weeks, the brace was locked at 180 degrees – no bending it at all, except during physical therapy. He was also in a lot of pain – pretty miserable stuff.
After my spinal fusion in 2016, Vic was my full-time caregiver, and now the roles are reversed. I’m always talking about how spinal fusion recovery is difficult and slow, but in some ways, Vic’s recovery has been even more so. Sure, I couldn’t bend, lift, or twist – but he can’t drive! I was driving short distances and returning to a somewhat normal routine (albeit slowly and awkwardly) by 3-4 weeks post-op. But Vic has spent the better part of the last 8 weeks stuck at home. He’s had to depend on me for even the smallest things, which I know is frustrating. Being a caregiver has its challenges, but I’d choose it over being the patient in a heartbeat. I’m pretty sure most of my spinal fusion friends would agree.
So…what have I been doing for the last 3 months that’s kept me from writing a blog post? Well, I’ve been driving. A lot. Most days I spend 3+ hours in the car. I also spend way more time in the kitchen than before. Typically I don’t do a whole lot of cooking. I try hard, but let’s just say that Vic didn’t marry me for my talent with a frying pan.
He’s always done a lot of the cooking around here, and he also does a lot of meal prep for himself. I knew I’d have to make dinner every night while he was recovering. But during my mental preparation for his surgery, I sort of forgot about breakfast and lunch. Suddenly I was responsible for preparing three meals a day, which is no small feat for the culinarily-challenged like myself.
But that part has had some benefits. I’m a lot more likely to sit down and eat lunch (which I usually skip) when there’s someone at home to sit down with me. I’ve definitely gotten more efficient at multitasking in the kitchen. And – dare I say – my cooking has improved. The other night, one of the kids actually mistook my cooking for Vic’s because it tasted so good.
Okay, you might be thinking. But that doesn’t add up to a full day’s work. Why no writing? And you’d be right. If I’d wanted to, I could’ve carved out some time each day to write. But between Vic and the kids and the appointments and the house and the bills and the LAUNDRY…I just didn’t have the mental space or energy for the blog.
And I don’t just mean writing blog posts. When people write to me, I always try to respond thoughtfully and to specifically address each person’s unique circumstances. But my mental resources were sapped, and my inbox just kept getting fuller and fuller. (Even now as I write this, the thought of my inbox exhausts me.) For this, I apologize. If you are one of the people who’s written to me personally or commented with questions on the blog, please know that answering you is important to me, and that I’m in the process of slowly working my way through my messages.
So what’s next? After the new year, Vic plans to go back to work (he’s been teleworking for weeks), and the kids, of course, will be back at school. My day-to-day routine should, to some extent, return to normal. And when that happens, I hope to put some time and TLC into this woefully neglected blog.
Until then…have a Happy New Year, and I’ll see you on the other side!
P.S. There’s no deep or hidden meaning to the title of this post. “A Long December” by Counting Crows just happens to be one of my favorite songs, and it seemed to fit.