I spent the weekend in the hospital. I was supposed to go in for laparoscopic surgery to have my gallbladder taken out. However, when the surgeon got in there, the gallbladder was so inflamed (and had been so for so long) that it had attached itself to my upper intestine.
So they had to open me up fully and I ended up being in the hospital from Thursday through Sunday.
That means that I now have a 6-inch slit across my belly just under the rib cage on the right side (which is where the gallbladder sits). Right now I also have a drain poking out my side. I’m progressing and the pain is manageable.
But my motions are pretty severely restricted. I am moving very slowly and very carefully, and there are a lot of movements I simply cannot do at all.
Like bending down to pick up stuff.
Yesterday I dropped my breakfast banana. What to do?
Well, just pick it up.
[For the photo, I re-enacted it this morning.]
My belly muscles on the left side are still intact, so it was a piece of cake to use my left foot, grab the banana with my toes, and raise my foot enough to grab the banana with my hand. (Talk about monkey-toes! Ook-ook!)
I’ve been using my left foot and toes a lot. I’ve used them to pick up the toilet seat. (Did you know that household toilets seem to be about 4 inches closer to the ground than hospital toilets?) I’ve used them to open and shut our dishwasher (at least on the bottom part of the door).
It helped that I generally tend to use my feet in that fashion around the house, so I’ve had practice. But if I were locked into shoddie thinking there would have been nothing I could do.
The other thing I’ve really noticed is how much I use my bare feet to grip the floor. If I really need a firm stance (to make up for not having useful belly muscles on the right) I find that I can kind of grab the floor with my toes. Yes, the floor is flat. But between the really good feedback from my soles and the flexibility of the skin there, the toe gripping gives me a firm attachment and gives me a good base to stabilize my body.
That’s proprioception at its finest.
My medical difficulties started last August. Between then and now I’ve had a couple of trips to Emergency Rooms and a whole slew of doctors’ visits. None of them have made me put anything on my feet.
This includes seeing a cardiologist and having a heart stress test (walking/running barefoot on the treadmill), a urologist, a gastroenterologist, having an enteroscopy, seeing my surgeon in advance, having pre-admissions testing, getting admitted to the hospital, and spending 3 days in the hospital recovering enough to go home.
Most folks were simply curious about why I was barefooted.
Yes, there were a few who wanted me to do something different. For the heart stress test, one of the nurses wanted me to put on those stupid hospital cloth booties, for my “safety”. I refused (for my safety).
Can you imagine trying to walk/run with your feet sliding around inside those things?!? So I refused . . . and so the nurse went to check with the cardiologist. Who said “fine”. And the heart stress test went fine, too. (The old ticker’s in pretty good shape, and we eliminated that as a cause of my problems.)
During pre-admissions testing I had one nurse who wanted me to put on those booties because there might be sharp things on the floor. Where? And if there were, would a cloth bootie stop something sharp? Of course not. So she backed down, too.
It was funny that none of them could believe that I just didn’t have a pair of real shoes hiding in my back pocket. “You don’t have any shoes with you?” “Well, no. And I’m not going to wear any.”
In the end, though, when I told them (even just the curious) that not wearing shoes really helped my back and knees, they all got it and quit bugging me.
Let me add one more medical anecdote. About four years ago my mother broke her ankle and got MRSA (antibiotic-resistant staph). I accompanied her to a lot of doctors, including a specialist in MRSA. I did so barefoot. The specialist never said a word about my bare feet, and never expressed any concern that it was somehow dangerous.
Yet, in my lawsuit against the Fairfield County District Library, they brought in a nurse who knew MRSA. That nurse basically said that MRSA was everywhere, and the judge said that was good enough to justify the library’s shoe rule, even though I had testified about the MRSA specialist not expressing any concern at all.
They see what they want to see and ignore the rest.