Help Needed

I would love more than anything to be able to continue giving my talks. I feel as though it is a perfect merging of what I love to do, what the world needs, and what I am good at. It fills me with a great sense of purpose.
However, I could really use some help with finding other organizations that would benefit from hearing my presentation. If you have any suggestions or connections to places that might be willing to host me, I would be very grateful!
You can always send an e-mail to: wendy.thruhiker@gmail.com

I would also love to add to my list of testimonials! If anyone would like to add theirs to my website, please e-mail me or list one below.

Finally, if anyone has any ideas for a second presentation I could offer, I would love to hear them! I am open to any suggestions on topics people would like me to speak about in the future.

Thank you all so much for your help!! I deeply appreciate it!

Six Year Anniversary

The first day of spring, March 20th, was my six year anniversary of starting my Appalachian Trail thru-hike. I normally don’t think of this day (or my AT hike) as a big deal. Lots of people hike that trail. And I rarely think of moments from that particular hike, as I have better backpacking memories from the trails I hiked after that one. But I started thinking about what I have done since that day that I took my first steps in Georgia… I have backpacked approximately 5,500 miles, began a serious yoga practice, became certified to teach yoga, have been teaching for the past three years, chose to leave a job I had spent a majority of my life unhappily in to pursue my inherent interests, created a successful presentation that I have delivered 40 times to date (to over 1,100) people, written over 600 pages on my experiences on the trails, and have started to explore my artistic side. I feel as though “most” of my life has happened in these last six years (in terms of me stepping into my own power and not living as others have expected me to). And yet, it feels like I have done so little in this time! For more than 2 of those years, I have been “unemployed” and living well below the poverty level. For much of this time, I have felt stagnant and have been struggling tremendously in many ways. I have suffered from numerous injuries, been continuously internally sick since my second month of my Pacific Crest Trail hike, and recently had to have knee surgery (as a result of listening to my yoga teacher instead of myself), ending my hopes of attempting to hike the Continental Divide Trail this year. Although I have experienced most of my best life moments in this period, I have experienced some of my hardest, as well (the thread of which seems to be continuous). Thinking about all that has happened (and all that has not happened) within this seemingly short period of six years makes me feel as though I am living in some sort of time warp! The Appalachian Trail feels like such a distant memory- like it happened a lifetime ago. How could I have done so much in this relatively short period of time and yet feel as though I have hardly done anything at all?

Real Time Update

This past week has been emotionally very difficult. I haven’t been able to get the Continental Divide Trail out of my head, no matter how many times I tell myself it’s just not possible this year. I’m still experiencing the same kind of sharp pre-surgery pain in my inner knee. I felt it about 6 or 7 days after surgery and I still can’t do any kind of hip opener (which makes 25-30% of a yoga class off limits to me). (I also can’t yet put my knee on the floor or on my arm, which eliminates another 20% of postures, but those will become possible once the surgical injuries heal). The sharp inner knee pain occurs when I am simply sitting, sometimes standing, sometimes walking, and always when I try to bend and externally rotate my leg. This pain is worrisome. I told my surgeon about it during the 30 seconds I saw him 2 weeks after the surgery. He quickly dismissed it. “There were sharp instruments in there!”. Every time I go to my physical therapy appointment, we spend at least 10 of my 30 minutes going over my pain symptoms (the same thing every time!). On Tuesday, I asked him if that sharp pain was normal. “Ummmm… Ahhh.. Nnnooo”, he said looked down at my chart. I first saw him 2 weeks ago for my initial assessment. He pressed down on my quads while I tried to fight against his weight. Both of my legs are weak from not being able to walk or move much for the past four and a half months, but the surgery leg is particularly weak. It fell right down. He tested the side strength and the hamstring strength, as well as my adductors and ankles. It was clear I needed to do a lot of hip strengthening. He gave me four exercises to do at home and I saw him again the following week. “Should we test my strength again?” I asked. He said it takes 2 weeks to gain new strength. Fine…
It’s also clear my injured knee has no stability and no ability to track. It wobbles all over the place whenever I try to bend or straighten it the least bit.
And yet, it’s been really hard to get rid of the belief that I can gain enough strength in the next month to start the CDT. (The planning time is another issue…). Every time I see my PT, I ask him if it is possible (he defers me right back to asking my surgeon), and what would happen if I tried to do it this year. (He thinks I am putting myself in the position of needing a full joint replacement very early in my life if I put too much stress on my injured knee. I guess this is a good time to say that this is not a far-fetched possibility. My mother had a double knee replacement when she was 49 ). After the PT or surgeon tells me it’s not a good idea, I say, “Fine. Okay. I won’t try. It’s too late, anyway.” But when I return home or go for a short walk, I think, maybe I can still do it! They don’t know what it is like to thru-hike! Only I do! It’s the only thing I really want to do! Now is a good time- it’s a low snow year. Who knows what it will be like next year? I don’t want to wait a whole year and then likely have it delayed for another year or two after that. The one question that I get asked at EVERY one of my talks is “What’s next? What trail are you going to hike now?”. If that is the question that ALL of those people ask me, they must know that that is where I belong. I don’t want to spend another year stagnant, in the exact same place. I really want to go somewhere!

I feel very stalled in finding new places to give my talks at. In the last couple of weeks, I have contacted or re-contacted about 50 libraries and universities and got only one response. I feel as though I am failing and that I have to find another way to try to make a living very quickly. I wish I could leave everything behind and hike for another five months and figure that all out later. But on Friday, I officially let go of that idea. I know that the first 90 miles on the CDT aren’t even on a “trail”- that you have to find your own way through the New Mexico desert from point A to point B, and that uninjured people are feeling a lot of foot and leg pain from the uneven terrain. My spirit thinks I can do that, too, but the reality is that my body can’t perform in those conditions at this point. It’s time for me to create something new- to find a sustainable place in the regular world, where I can survive until I am able to hike again. It’s time to come up with another idea for a second presentation I can offer, figure out a way to get people to realize that my talk is not just for people interested in hiking, and time to write my story down.

Post Surgery Day 6: A knee starts to appear and my sickness returns

(Monday, February 16)

It was -3 degrees in the morning, with a -30 degree wind chill- the coldest day in a decade! I had no desire to get out of bed and was glad I had chosen to have my surgery during the most brutal month of the year. I doubt many people would have come out to my talks on the 12th and 17th anyway. Reports of collapsing roofs took over the news. Most people had leaks in their homes. And it was being reported that it would take another month before public transportation would be restored.
My knee was still locked in a semi-bend and I felt like a prancing horse whenever I tried to gingerly walk on it. Before my surgery, I had asked for exercises to strengthen my quads. One of them was a wall sit. The nurse said I should do 10 reps of 30 seconds each, with a 15 second rest, 2 times a day! Given that I had only 6 days before surgery, that would mean I had time to do a total of one hour of wall sits! I actually ended up only doing it twice. I wondered how many people actually did those! I didn’t think the instructions were all that smart. They didn’t leave any resting time!
Since I was growing bored with sitting on the floor, tightening my quads 90 times and holding for 5 seconds each, I decided I would rather up the intensity and get my “exercise” over with faster. I decided to try a wall sit. I don’t know why I didn’t take my socks off first, but I managed to stay for 2 minutes before sliding down onto my bum and resting on the floor for a bit. I thought that was pretty good for not even a week after my surgery!
My intestines started to hurt in the afternoon and I did not feel up to doing any more of my exercises. I spent the remainder of the day on the couch.
By midnight, I saw a knee starting to appear, however! Signs of progress! I could see the kneecap bruising turning yellow.
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My intestines never calmed down, however. At 2 and 3 in the morning, I was still awake in my bed, unable to sleep because of the pain. Just before 4, I got up out of my bed as quickly as I could and vomited. Ugh! Not again! Fortunately, I didn’t feel as weakened as when this happened in early January. I felt thankful for that! I returned to my bed and tried to rest. Two hours later, I vomited twice more. It was now 6am and I had not yet gone to sleep. I’ve been having a really rough go of it these last several months!!

Post surgery day 5

(Sunday, Feb. 15)

It had snowed another couple of feet overnight. When I finally looked out my windows, I saw that no one had cleared a path in front of my door. How was my neighbor going to check on me? After I ate my breakfast, I put my boots and coat on, made my way down my steps for the first time, opened my front door, and saw this!
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I decided I better grab my shovel and start getting to it, since no one else was! It hurt my back more than anything, since each shovelful had to be heaved over a 9-10 foot mountain of snow on either side! Eventually, my landlord showed up. “I thought you were bed-ridden!” he said. I felt like it would be good to get a bit of exercise and the fresh air felt nice. After I finished, I made some hot cocoa from scratch!
Joyce came by for a visit and sat with me for a bit. “Somebody shoveled out your door,” she said.
“I did!”. I had invited her and her husband to my housewarming party when I first moved in many, many years ago, but they didn’t come. In all these years, we said hi to one another when we saw each other out, but this was the first time we had spent any time together and got a chance to learn a little about one another. Joyce said that she could tell we were kindred spirits just from glancing around my apartment when she first stepped in. She brought my mail up and I opened a letter from the hospital. It was my pre-op instructions that the nurse forgot to give me! They were mailed the day AFTER my surgery!
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When Joyce left, she said, “I like visiting you!”. I was thankful for her check-ins, but surprised and disappointed that no one else had come by.
My calf continued to hurt. My exercises were already starting to become boring. I started doing 30 reps at once instead of 10. Every day, I was supposed to do 90 of them!

Post Surgery Day 4: Another tough one!

(Feb. 14)

Sleeping in my bed was better on my back and neck, but it was still tough not to be able to move my legs. My mood had sunken back down again. I felt very tired and couldn’t find a reason to get out of bed. I seemed to be settling into a pattern of feeling good (or bad) every other day. When I finally got up and tested my ability to bear weight on my surgery leg, I noticed that my calf hurt a lot! I probably strained it by trying to see what I could do on it when it was still too swollen. One of the indications for a blood clot is tenderness in the calf. I was supposed to keep an eye on that (as well as my body temperature) and call the hospital if I noticed anything. I was pretty sure the strain was caused by me, though.
I managed to do my physical therapy sets (I hate having to do them three times per day instead of all at once!), but spent most of the day sleeping. I did not feel good!
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Post Surgery Day 3: The Reveal

Despite not sleeping much due to loud trucks removing some of the snow in the streets all night long in preparation for the next big storm, I woke up in a surprisingly good mood! This rarely happens, and when it does, I often have no idea why, but I feel thankful. It was another uncomfortable night on the couch, but my knee wasn’t in too much pain, so I only took Tylenol for pain medicine, along with the aspirin for blood clots. I wasn’t sure if Tylenol helped to reduce the swelling or not, so I decided to rotate it with ibruprofen. My better spirits allowed me to try putting weight on my surgery leg today. It felt better than yesterday!
After breakfast, it was time to unwrap the bundle and finally see what it looked like underneath! Wendy said I could do this in the afternoon. I figured that 1pm was a perfectly fine time.
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I hadn’t realized that my entire leg was wrapped with ace bandages! It was a good thing that this thing was coming off because flexing my foot was causing the bandage to dig into the skin of my heel.
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My ice pack (which only keeps it cool at best).
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Why are my legs such different colors?
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My surgery leg was locked in a semi-bent state due to the swelling. This made it very difficult to attempt to walk!
I took my first shower since the surgery, and it went very smoothly!
Then, I looked at the exercises I was supposed to do. No one told me when I was supposed to start them, but I figured that now that the bandages were removed, it was a good time to do so! I noticed that I still smelled like iodine! (Erik told me that I would smell like the hospital for a long time!)
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They only gave me these few simple exercises to do for the next 2 weeks (before I saw my surgeon for a check in). My knee was so swollen and stiff that I didn’t know how I was possibly going to be able to bend and straighten my leg! (my paperwork said it should be bending normally within 3-5 days!) I started with very small movements. They told me that I was going to lose a lot of strength after the surgery, but I couldn’t really understand why. I was only incapacitated for a few days. I tried the leg raises and my injured leg shook so much. How had it gotten so weak?!
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On the floor, tightening my quads.
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By the end of the night, I was able to do this! I felt proud! I decided to see what else I could do… Chair pose, check! Chair pose with a twist, check! Lunge, check! Wide straddle forward fold, check! Stand on my injured leg and raise my good leg into the air (kind of!). I felt satisfied. I decided to bring my couch pillows to my bed and sleep there for the first time. It was a good decision!

Post-Surgery Day 2: Much Tougher than Day 1!

I sleep on my side and have been sleeping with my knees curled all the way up into my chest since the end of the PCT. Sleeping on my back with my legs elevated and straight on my couch was extremely uncomfortable! My neck hurt from trying to turn it the little bit it could from side to side. My mood was much more somber the next morning. All of the fanfare of being in the hospital and receiving well wishes from people who responded to my post on Facebook was over. I was now left to myself and the void felt huge. Sometime after 11, I decided to try to stand up. This time, I didn’t feel like I could bear weight on my injured knee. It had swollen up overnight and was very uncomfortable. I looked down at the other end of my apartment and saw my crutches next to the door where I had left them yesterday. What in the world were they doing all the way down there??! How was I going to be able to get to them now? I tried hopping, but quickly realized that wasn’t going to go so well. I ended up clutching every wall surface and piece of furniture that I could until I finally got to the crutches. Since I ended up next to the kitchen, I decided I might as well make breakfast. Preparing it wasn’t too difficult, but bringing it to the couch was an entirely different matter! It’s simply not possible to be self-sufficient when you can’t use three of your limbs! I tried putting both crutches under one arm and carrying a cup in another, but I was confused about which arm to put them under. Then, I had to return to the kitchen for my plate… A few steps turn into an eternity when needing to travel this way. If I couldn’t bear weight at all, I don’t know how I would have managed this. I also needed to dump out the water in my “beer cooler” and refill it to ice my knee. I’m not sure how, but I managed to do it!

It’s funny how everyone quickly disappears the day after a big happening. Once people offer their few words at a time of loss or tragedy, they seem to forget that you exist at all and may be needing some words of comfort more than ever. I took another pain pill, along with my aspirin and tylenol and looked over the instructions I brought home from the hospital. I noticed that it said someone should stay with you during the first 24 hours of surgery. That certainly didn’t happen! Every hour, I was supposed to flex and point my foot about 10 times. I looked at the other exercises and wondered when I was supposed to start doing those.
Later in the day, someone posted on my Facebook page, “Let the rehab begin!”.
I wanted to shout, “No…! There will be no rehab beginning anytime soon! Look at my leg!”
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The whole bundle was visibly much bigger than yesterday! I regretted posting that I was doing great after coming home. That was the easy part.
It was becoming more burdensome to always have to lie on my couch the same way so I could elevate my leg. It wasn’t easy to eat like that, look at my computer, or do anything.

My neighbor Joyce stopped by around 4. She couldn’t stay because she was going to the movies with her sister, but she brought me some cookies she made. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have them because of the gluten. She didn’t have any experience with gluten intolerance and asked me if this was something recent for me. Just since the PCT! She asked me if I needed anything at that moment. I told her I was having trouble bringing my food over to my couch, but that I was okay for now. She said she could stay longer the next day, but that I could call her husband when it was time for dinner. She said he is very good at taking care of people. I decided that it was easiest if I just did it myself.

Later in the evening, after a nap, I got hot and decided to get up and get something to eat. As soon as I stood up, I felt faint. By the time I made it to the kitchen, I felt like everything was becoming black, and a feeling of nausea swept over me. I quickly hobbled to the bathroom. Not this again! I couldn’t believe this was happening! I stood in front of the toilet, but nothing immediately happened. I decided I would lie on my bed for a few minutes. My ears were ringing loudly and wouldn’t stop. After a long while, I decided to stand back up and make my way over to the couch. Fortunately, the wave passed. Had I vomited, I would have had to call someone for help. Being sick and being on crutches is a bad combination!

I spent another uncomfortable night on the couch.

Surgery Day: Part 2

I found myself being pulled up and out of a deep, deep dream state. I was somewhere far away (I want to say it was the Continental Divide Trail, but my memory of it faded too quickly, so I can’t be sure). When my eyes finally opened, I could tell I was no longer in the opeating room, but in the recovery station. Wendy was bustling about. And someone who I could not see was on my right, shuffling papers. I didn’t care who it was. I was too tired. I felt thankful that no one was telling me to wake up or to do anything. They were just letting me be. “Is it all over?”
“Yes! You did great!” Wendy said.
It all seemed so natural to me, unlike the way in which I was awakened after my jaw surgery. I remember them having me count down before the surgery and then, as if no time had passed at all, a woman was telling me to wake up in the operating room. “It’s all over,” she said.
“Nothing happened yet,” I responded.
“Yes, it did. You’re all done.” I felt extremely confused.
This disorienting, disconcerting feeling flooded back to my mind many times in the week prior to my knee surgery. I was not looking forward to experiencing the same loss of time, again. Fortunately, this time was much, much better. (Erik said then when I had my jaw surgery, they had to put me under a much deeper degree of anesthesia so I wouldn’t wake up with them sawing into my face.) Knee surgery is not nearly as invasive.
I looked down at the huge bundle that was my knee and let out a small laugh. “It’s that big?!”
Wendy said she thought she would put some ice on it.
“Okay”.
The man to my right thrust some glossy papers in front of me. I realized it was my surgeon. He was trying to show me some photos of what had taken place. I told him I couldn’t see anything without my glasses on. He sighed and withdrew the photos. “You’re not going to remember any of this anyway.” He told me the surgery went well- that he removed a large part of my meniscus and shaved down my kneecap. He said I could bear weight on my leg as I felt comfortable. And then he was off. I heard him tell someone that Checka couldn’t get here any earlier than planned.
When Wendy came back, I said, “It’s a good thing Dr. Jolley isn’t a nurse.”
She asked me if my knee was hurting. “Something doesn’t feel comfortable. I don’t know if it is the ice or what.” She said she would give me some pain medication through my IV.
“Thank you.”
I felt comfortable dozing off. Every few minutes, however, a cuff around my bicep squeezed tightly and I was jolted awake. Can’t a girl get any rest around here? Jeez! I remember that they put something similar on my lower legs after my jaw surgery which kept waking me up, as well. I noticed that I had several blankets over me, and was amused. To my right, I could hear the nurses talking to Milan. He must have had a similar surgery, as me, since we got out at the same time, I thought. Later I heard a nurse telling him to check on it every time he peed or “dropped his drawers.” Okay, maybe not… I started to feel hungry, as well as tired. I heard Wendy offer Milan some crackers. When she asked me if I wanted anything to drink, I chose cranberry juice and told her that I was hungry, but couldn’t eat the crackers she had offered Milan because of the gluten. She got on the phone and asked for something gluten free for me- crackers or a brownie or something. I perked up at the thought of a brownie! She soon returned with three chocolate chip cookies for me!
I was so tired that I didn’t even care that Checka wasn’t there. I just wanted to rest. When I asked for my glasses and saw the clock, I said, “It’s 11:20?”.
“It’s okay. It’s easy to lose track of time after surgery,” Wendy said.
Another woman came in and told me that it was time for me to stand up. “Stand up?! It’s only been an hour! I’m tired!” I said. She said I needed to stand so I didn’t get blood clots. Then, I could rest in the recliner. I was okay with being in the recliner, so I agreed. Checka arrived just then. The other nurse said that when Wendy returned, they would move me. I explained to Checka that my nurse was named Wendy, as well! Wendy brought a print out of exercises I was supposed to do. “You should start these today”.
“Today?!”
“Just the first one.”
“Okay.” I guessed I could manage something simple.
She also told me what I was to take for medicine at home. Checka was nodding diligently, which I found funny, because she wouldn’t be with me then.
I was worried about being exposed from behind when I stood up, but I think someone might have held my gown together. Someone swung my legs off the bed and Wendy helped me up with the crutches to lean on. I touched my injured leg down and was surprised I could lightly rest it on the floor! Wow! Look at me! They helped turned me around and Wendy said that I was a rockstar! (Checka has also called me that, so it must be true!). “Do you think I can walk 3,000 miles beginning in April?” I asked Wendy with a big smile.
“I think you can!” she replied.
I asked Wendy if she told every patient that they were doing great. She said she likes to be encouraging even if they aren’t. “But you really are!”.
Checka was surprised I wasn’t acting loopy. I shook my head as if it were totally normal to be functioning regularly on pain meds and anesthesia. Then, we immediately started talking yoga- the move that caused my tear, and what the purpose of doing such a thing was, and why a teacher would have us do it. We talked about the competitive nature of some teachers and what I disliked and liked about some of the ones we both knew. I didn’t feel like being so coherent and rational so soon, preferring to just be and rest, but Checka and I never see one another, so this was our only chance to talk and catch up a bit. Wendy would check on me every now and then. She brought me some pain meds in tablet form. Checka gave me a Kind bar that she had brought for me. I ate one of my cookies and asked for more cranberry juice.
After awhile, Wendy brought over the “beer cooler” that I was supposed to ice my knee with.
“I’m supposed to take that thing home?”
“Yes. Here is how it works. You fill it to the line inside with water and the rest of the way with ice.”
“I don’t have ice at home.”
“Well, you better get some!”.
You hold the canister below your leg to drain the cuff, and place it higher to refill it with cold water.
She brought my two pink bags of clothes and said I could change.
“I don’t want to go home and be all alone,” I frowned. “I wish I could stay here with you!”.
Checka fished my things out of my bag. “I hope my pants can fit over this thing!” I said. Fortunately, I wore some looser fitting yoga pants. I quickly put on my underwear, while she found the rest of my clothes, thankful that I had chosen someone I felt comfortable enough to do that in front of. Checka helped me put on my pants and socks. I was having a hard time reaching my feet without the ability to bend my leg and wondered how I was going to dress myself alone at home. She then gave me some privacy to put on my top.
Wendy wrote down when I was to start taking aspirin and had Checka go down to the pharmacy to get my prescriptions. Unfortunately, they were extremely busy, so she had to wait a long time. I took out my book and started reading until I felt too tired. Then I watched Wendy do something and thought about how different my outlook on life would be if I had had someone like her in it. I realized how completely I had been denied a basic right of life, and knew I wasn’t at fault for feeling sad or depressed as a result.
As I continued to wait for Checka, I felt a bit anxious, knowing she was probably feeling stressed. She had to teach yoga that evening, and had to drive nearly an hour back to her house after bringing me home. There is never enough time away from the obligations of life to just sit and rest- even when you’ve just had surgery.
Wendy’s replacement finally showed up to relieve her for a lunch break. (The traffic was still extremely heavy in the area!). I told Wendy that I would write down my website in case she wanted to come to one of my talks. As she walked away, she told me that she was envious of my independence. “I wish I could be like you, but I can’t.”
“Really?!”.
“Yes.”

I was still there when she returned from lunch.
“What is she still doing here?” I heard her ask her replacement. A few minutes later, Checka called Wendy. “Checka, sweetheart!”. I smiled. Two extremely nice people were in my presence, being loving to me and to each other. It was so wonderful! Wendy pulled up a wheelchair. “I need to use that?!”. I expected to walk out of the hospital with the aid of my crutches. I was wheeled past the crowded ER waiting room and out into the cold winter air. We spotted Checka’s car and I stood up out of the wheelchair. “Okay!” I said, feeling like I could get to the car on my own.
“Not, not okay!” Wendy said. “I’m going to help you”.
She said she didn’t know how I was going to get through the big puddle and ice on my crutches. I just laughed. I had been through much more difficult things than that! I got into the front seat, waved goodbye to Wendy, and Checka and I headed for the highway. We talked all the way back. Because of the amount of snow, there was no place to park on the street, even for a moment, so I had her pull into my landlord’s spot. Checka took my crutches out of the backseat and handed them to me. “Do I have to use these? I just feel like walking!”. It felt like it was going to take forever to get to my door that way, especially with all of the ice and snow on the ground. I then realized that putting weight on my leg so soon was probably not such a smart idea. I was full of pain meds and anesthesia, which wasn’t allowing me to assess whether I could bear weight or not. Once we got upstairs, I mentioned that Wendy had suggested that she fill my ice bucket with snow. Checka apologized that she had to leave immediately. I set my crutches against the wall, said goodbye to her, and made my way to my couch, propping my leg up on some couch pillows. Wendy said that unless I was standing, I had to keep my leg elevated and not in a regular sitting position on the floor.
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I felt a bit sad that my company was suddenly gone, but still retained the happy feelings from having had it at all.
After a few hours, I started feeling pain where the incisions were, as well as a general feeling of discomfort from the swelling. I took more pain pills and continued to rest. I wasn’t sure what time my neighbor was going to come over to check on me, so I didn’t want to fall asleep. At around five, I heard someone open my downstairs door and call my name. I slowly got up and hobbled to my door. He handed me some flowers! I knew right away that Erik had them sent for me (ordered from the Netherlands!). Maybe surgery is not so bad after all- being taken care of by someone who calls you “sweetie”, having a friend I never get to see drive me home, and receiving a bouquet of flowers!
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I found a vase and was about to start cutting the stems when Joyce arrived. “Perfect timing!”. She checked to make sure I was okay and said she would be back the next day.
I cut the flower stems, heated up some miso soup, and returned to the couch. I wanted to post my big epiphany from the day on Facebook: “You guys!!… It’s so obvious that I would be happy if I had at least one loving person in my life!”
But I thought maybe it’s best I not post anything while high on pain meds, so I refrained.

By evening, I was surprised that I hadn’t slept at all since I got home (so different from my usual days!). I figured there was no need to transfer to my bed to sleep, so I remained on my couch. That turned out to be a very uncomfortable situation for my back and neck! Ah, surgery.