Tuesday, August 31, 2010

an amputeehee guide to: living in a state of denial

I've known about this for weeks but have not been able to bring myself to blog about it. I don't even know if I am ready now, actually....but it's a time sensitive issue, so if I am going to say anything at all here, now is the time.

Do you all recall earlier this year when TheMostImportantGuy's dad had cancer surgery? They removed his bladder. Post-surgery was a huge struggle for him because he is diabetic and his blood-sugar went all wacky-wonky during his healing process, so he was in and out of the hospital. Well, okay. I guess he was never really OUT of the hospital, he was only really IN. If he's not been in the hospital "proper", he's been in one of several convalescent/rehab type facilities. I think he was "home-home" for one day, if memory serves me correct...then went right back in because the of the blood sugar stuff.

Well, somewhere along the line, he developed a secondary issue: a sore on his foot that would not heal. It's been months of treatments, testing, huge courses of antibiotics, and meeting with specialists...and guess what today is.

His amputation surgery.

I'll give you a minute to let that sink in.

Was that long enough?

It still hasn't sunk in all the way for me, due to varying levels of anxiety, sadness, and denial about it...so don't feel bad if your mouth is still open. I was chatting online last night with my friend Mouse and sorta dropped the news in her lap just as we were saying goodnight (see? so much denial, I'm not even talking about it---it just sorta "splurts out"). I don't remember exactly what she said (more denial), but while the news was sinking in, she got to the part where she was putting together the flowchart of this crazy little scene, and the myriad of ways this touches all of the involved players. If you really take the time to put yourself into the shoes of each person involved, it's bananas.

As for Dad, he seems to be taking it well. I asked him how he was feeling about it, and he said, "It feels like losing an old friend." If there is something going on with TheMIG on an emotional level about all this, I'm not hearing about it. Maybe he's just downright adjusted to having amputees around by now, I dunno. Maybe it's just old hat. He's been mostly busy with supporting his mom (who seems, from the outside, to be her regular perky self--her own way of coping, perhaps), by helping her with researching stuffs and keeping the financial bits in place.

In my own little corner of this, I feel sad lots, and I worry lots. I hope like anything for TheMIG's dad that he doesn't have to deal with phantom limb issues, or nerve sensitivity, and that he heals well from this surgery. I have all sorts of worries that if his blood sugar went all over the map with the bladder surgery, and if he can't heal from a little sore on his foot, then WTF is gonna happen when they do a surgery to take off his foot??

Other more selfish concerns have me fearing that I will be consulted as "the expert" by the involved parties, and...well...I am not. I am only expert (and that is using the term very loosely) of myself. Our situations are entirely different in terms of age, health, amputations, expectations, and pre-amputation mobility. While I am certain I have a point of view about being an amputee, I most definitely do not have the same frame of reference. I am hoping I can be brave enough to be support for him (because I have been behaving sort of chicken-shit so far), but my way of dealing with my own amputation has been to keep a keen eye out for the humor in all of this, as we all know. I have no idea if that's something he'll appreciate.

Some more technical bits:
They are pretty much removing only his foot, just above the ankle. This is good news in terms of him being able to be fit for a prosthesis. It's more like slipping on a boot, really....and he's only really needing it so that he has two legs underneath him for balance when he is vertical. He's really only standing up when he's transferring in and out of bed or on and off "the can", at this point. It's not like he needs to get to a level of functionality where he will be jogging the track or something. This is not to say that he shouldn't aim for walking again, but since the bladder surgery, most of his getting around has been happening in a wheelchair anyhow....and prior to the cancer surgery, it was only short distances with a walker.

The key thing though, is that once you cannot transfer yourself in and out of bed or around the surfaces of your environment yourself (ie if you need to be "lifted" by someone, for example, to get out of bed and into a chair) this puts you at entirely different level of convalescent care. It dictates what type of facility you can be placed in. It's a big deal. For him it will determine whether or not he can ever come home, or if he would be in more a senior care environment, or in a setting that is more like a hospital.

Another big concern is that because the foot is being removed due to an infection settling in, there is some about whether or not this amputation will take care of the situation, or if it has "settled in" farther than they thought it had. There is also added concern about vascular issues and whether or not the blood flow is good enough for him to heal well. In other words, if this doesn't do the trick, he's going to have to go back in to remove more of the leg, above the knee.
We'd be a matching set.

All y'all out there reading this:

Any healing vibes sent, no matter whom involved you send them to, are greatly appreciated.

TheMIG is up with his mom, and surgery is later this afternoon.
It's probably pretty good timing for me that today is the day I make my rounds at the two convalescent hospitals. Distraction (but connection) from a distance.


InkyW said...

all strong and positive thoughts headed in that direction. i really am at a loss for words, but i am deeply sorry for this turn of events.

Gwen said...

Well, hell. That's just a big pile of suck.

Here, have some healing thoughts and vibes and mojo and any other kooky word you'd like. For all of you.

painting with fire said...

Stressful for everybody! I hope he heals well and that the stream of medical complications quits!

Gretchen said...

Of course you have all my best wishes and I'm busy sending healing vibes and soft support for all involved. I'd say MIG has a lucky star in his life, which would be you. You are the silver lining in all of this just by being your funny, sweet self. Try not to overthink anything and go with it. You know, all that Buddhist stuff. hugs from WI

not supergirl said...

I would hope the surgery is over by now, but I'm sending healing vibes his way, and your way, too. You're right, the implications of this are so different for him. I can only imagine how you might be feeling. I'm guessing a hurricane of thoughts and feelings. All my best to both of you, and the rest of the family involved as well.

~Donna~ said...

Healing and good vibes still headed toward the MiG's Dad.

The Bon said...

Oh frickty. As soon as you're diagnosed with diabetes you start getting warnings about amputation, especially with any foot injury, but it sucks he's dealing with it as a reality. As to healing, the circulation above his foot is likely much better than the circulation in his foot, which should help the healing process. Much love to you all!!

Margaret in Ontario said...

Healing thoughts, coming right up and winging their way westward. Peace to you all.

TheMIG said...

Thanks for the nice words, everybody. Gretchen's comment about my lucky star made me tear up a bit (only a bit!) cuz it is so true. (Side note: I accidentally typed "licky star" above, and ... well, its weird to be tearing up AND laughing at the same time).

It seems the good vibes worked a little TOO well: Dad's surgery got postponed several days due to his blood sugar being too high in pre-op (which we TOLD them would happen unless they admitted him a day early to control it themselves, due to the pre-surgery fasting not being monitored well at his Nursing Home... but that's a rant for another blog). So thank you for all the warm fuzzies but maybe tone 'em down just a bit so that the surgery actually HAPPENS and he just recovers well. THANKS!

Kathy said...

Sending the Dad and MIG's family lots of positive thoughts for good healing. Sorry that you are all going through this. Diabetes sucks.

PS -- I used my Amazon gift card lastnight and got myself the new Jonathan Franzen book and one of the Stieg Larsson books, so thanks!!