Those who adapt, survive and thrive
Published 1:50 pm Friday, October 9, 2020
I had no clue I was going to be out of commission for as long as two weeks.
After my foot surgery last Thursday, I knew I would be wearing a boot and would have to lay low while I was still taking strong medication, but it never occurred to me that once the pain level was manageable, I wouldn’t be able to drive.
Thankfully, my mom and my colleague Vicksburg Post photographer Courtland Wells have provided me wheels this week.
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Wearing this so-called air cast has put a crimp in my lifestyle and inhibited my daily routines.
While I was bemoaning the obstacles caused by wearing the boot, I remembered back to a time when I would have loved to have had a removable air cast.
After graduating from high school, I underwent a life-changing back surgery.
A surgeon used a Herrington rod combined with bone fusion to help correct my scoliosis.
Near the end of a two-week hospital recovery, they took me to a casting room where my whole body was wrapped in plaster.
I still remember the warm, wet gauze-like material being wound round and around my torso.
Once it got hard, I felt like a turtle trapped inside a shell.
I had to wear this body cast for nine months, and the first three were spent flat on my back unless I was eating or using the lavatory.
For the remaining six months, I was gradually allowed to increase my time of sitting, standing and walking.
It was a long nine months in which I was forced to figure out how to do a lot of things differently.
One of the most challenging was how to bathe.
There was no lounging in the tub. For the first few weeks while getting adjusted to the weight of the cast, it was warm wash rags and baby powder to stave off greasy hair.
As I got a little stronger, mom rigged a bench that overhung the tub so she could wash my hair, and with a hand-held shower sprayer, I could clean off my limbs.
To keep the trunk of my body clean, every few weeks mom would have to sew an ace bandage type wrap to the bottom of the one already underneath the cast and then shimmy it up through until the old one was completely out.
In addition to figuring out how to stay clean during those nine months, I also learned how to crochet while lying on my back.
Also, I learned the importance of monitoring my diet. In a hard plaster cast, there is no room for the waistline to expand.
Wearing the cast then, and now the boot, reminds me that sometimes we just have to figure out how to work around trials.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, this year has certainly had its challenges.
I was talking to a friend of mine discussing the disruption COVID has caused. She said one of the teachers at St. Aloysius, Dawn Meeks, had a Charles Darwin quote on a sign hanging on her door.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
I think the quote sums it all up quite nicely.