Home Sweet Home
Today marks the 10th day after my amputation surgery. After 5 days at the hospital I was deemed healthy, strong, and independent enough to handle myself (thank God - it only took 40 years to get here:-) . Pain was under control and besides the fact that I now only have one foot, all seemed satisfactory.
Adorned with love and care, my beloved Sonja and my parents had nurtured me every day with highly nutritious fresh vegetable/green juices, protein rich smoothies, and hearty breakfasts - all homemade and delicious. Avoiding hospital food was high priority. If any of you had the unfortunate experience of extended stay in a hospital and had your share of bedside catering food you'd know what I'm talking about. Although they try their best, hospital food is not designed to aid your healing. In fact it may slow it down and even cause unwanted complications. Nutrition has been a focal point on my journey and continues to be one. Food is medicine and what we fuel are bodies with has direct effect on our wellbeing.
I have been a vegetarian for almost 15 years in total (with a few diversions along the way). Nutrition has played a major role during my healing process. This is a subject worthy of its own space so I will address it in detail later on. For now I would say that I have fully embraced the saying - "you are what you eat".
So with a full belly, an official signed hospital release form, supported by my trusty crutches and a bandaged residual limb (what an odd name - I want to find a different one, something nicer...), I head to Home Sweet Home! There's nothing like Home, your bed, your space, your things, your family. No more hustle and bustle that hospital life provides... just peace and quiet.
My beautiful daughters came over, this was the first time I had seen them since my operation. The youngest had no issues what so ever with my 'new appearance' and just cruised through as if nothing changed. It was a little different with my eldest, she was anxious and afraid, not really sure what to expect and how it will all look like. Eventually she got over her fear and once we hugged, everything went away. Dad is the same Dad, nothing has changed, just one foot missing but everything else is absolutely as it was.
The next day, I suspected that a local infection may have reared its ugly head right under the incision line at the front of my stump. It didn't look good at all, the edge had turned black and it looked like the area didn't receive any blood supply. So here it is, all started amazingly well (I even received the dubious title of "fastest amputee recovery the hospital ever had") and as soon as you think everything is 'on track' - you get a reminder that life just doesn't work that way.
Was I concerned? Was I afraid of possible complications? You bet! This came after I did my best to be proactive and reduce chances of infection as much as I could. Did this infection happened during surgery? maybe. Did I want to blame someone, maybe it's my fault, the doctor's? It doesn't matter! The question was: do I react to this from a fearful, scared place or do I take a deep breathe, reconnect, and trust that it will be ok. Now, don't get me wrong, this is not 'wishful thinking' 'lovey dovey' everything will be ok, just stay positive mode. No, this is a serious medical condition that requires medical attention ASAP! I immediately scheduled an appointment with my surgeon for the next day and now had to wait. And here they are, all the daunting thoughts came rushing in: what if it's a serious infection? Will it spread? Will I end up at the hospital again? Will they need to intervene, why did this happen? So as I breathe deeply, I decide not to react from an unconscious place, but respond from a place of awareness and connection. Will it make the infection go away? I doubt that... Will it allow me to get some sleep tonight and handle this differently - I hope so! Once again I'm tested (like we all are all the time) and the more frequent these moments reveal themselves, the more practice time I get.
It seemed like the longest night and even longer day until we arrived at Dr. Viskontas office. He opened the dressings, looked at it from all angles and then said "I've seen this before, it's not ideal but not too bad". Indeed the area hasn't received enough blood supply and some of the skin will come off, but overall it should be ok over time. Whew, what a relief - thank you.
Then night time arrived and next set of challenges arrived, throughout the day my nerve pain levels continued to increase substantially, phantom pains, shooting pains, burning pains - the whole enchilada! This came after I made a huge mistake where I decided to reduce my pain medication drastically by half and not use any nerve pain control meds... A big NO NO!
Ok - lesson learned - got back on all my prescribed meds and hope for the best. In excruciating pain I lay in bed, now is the time to use some of the techniques I learned and practiced for so long. I began my pranayama breathing and really concentrated on the leg and directing pran in and out. I noticed a subtle shift in pain levels, more focused and isolated.
From that point on I drifted between pranayam, mantras, meditation and sleep for 5 hours. Over time I was able to observe the pain from outside my body and the experience was beyond words.
I was able to isolate each nerve and had a conversation with each one. Mainly I tried to explain to these nerves what happened and describe our new condition. I tried to connect and work on new nerve endings in my stump and shift them from firing all the way to the foot which is no longer there to stop closer to the new stump edge. This combined with pain killers and the new nerve control medicine did something. Pain levels were substantially lowered and I felt energized.
It held well throughout the day, but as night time approaches I can feel one of the nerves is still out of control and shooting pains are back in that area, well another talk is in place.
Will keep updating soon
Be well and all the best