More than a few years ago, and at the same time it feels like last week, I was lying in a hospital bed recovering from surgery (actually I thought I was dying but that’s a minor point at this point).
I was just beginning my road to recovery.
And having to answer the question, “Did it work” or “was it successful,” for those of your in the healthcare field.
I have to be honest. I’m never sure how to answer this question, especially since a lingering quad strain came into the picture.
Did it work? Yes.
Was it successful? Yes.
All major goals were met and there have been no complications as direct result of the surgery.
But did I get everything I wanted out of the recovery process? No.
I was warned that one of the outcomes of surgery would be uncovering weaknesses that were, in a sense, hidden by my miserable malalignment (yes that is indeed an actual medical diagnosis) and boy were they right.
Sometimes I feel like I have monoplegia instead of diplegia. Which you think would be a good thing but it’s more like my right leg feels more like an added after the fact limb (maybe like a prosthetic?).
Sometimes I feel like I have hemiplegia, because my arm is hell bent, sometimes literally, on trying to compensate for my leg.
I wish I didn’t have to stay in an AFO, never mind even go as far as to get a second one made. Sometimes I feel so defeated by this one fact alone, but it’s really just accepting reality.
I’ve had to adjust to taking prescribed medication on a daily basis. I’m amazed how hard it is to remember to keep up on refills and orders for more refills, for just one medication.
I have more trouble with some of the most basic things, like climbing stairs, kneeling, putting on my shoes easily, etc., than I did before.
But I’m not in nearly as much pain as I was pre surgery. That alone is worth its weight in gold. Yes, I do still deal with pain on a daily basis, but I rarely shrink back at just the thought of running into the grocery store for 5 minutes. I still hate going to the grocery store, but it’s a pet peeve thing.
So when people ask me if “it worked” of if I’m “better” it’s not an easy answer.
It depends on what your definition of “worked” is. Also I will never be “better,” assuming by “better” you mean “cured.” I started my life with CP & I’m going to end it with CP.
I didn’t have the recovery process I envisioned. But it could’ve been a lot worse. The surgery itself could’ve completely backfired no matter how much hard work I put into the recovery.
Although, if I’m being honest here, I do wonder what would have been possible under the original plan. Where I’d have as much PT as my body could take and my outpatient post-op care team was well coordinated as my pre-operative and hospitalization teams. I was facing an uphill battle even if I had had the best possible circumstances so when things didn’t go, and wouldn’t be going, as planned I started to panic.
The recovery process may technically be over but I’m still figuring things out, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the in-between.
Most importantly I’ve seen what it takes to get what you want. It’s not always easy but it’s worth it, one-hundred times over.
The road to recovery is a lot like closure. You want it and work towards it but it never ends up being how you pictured it so you just keep going, because there’s always more road to travel ahead.