The doctor removed my 20-odd surgical staples on Wednesday. For those of you who asked, it was no big deal, feeling something like a minor pin prick for each one.
Although I consider it a milestone, this, of course, does not end my recovery. The doctors and I discussed the eight or ten questions I'd brought with me, adjusted some medications and when I expressed my frustration with the slow return of energy and simple capabilities, the surgeon reminded me that this will take, overall, about six months before full normal activity resumes.
Not that there won't be noticeable progress toward that goal as the weeks go by.
If you don't count my ride home from the hospital on 29 June, until Wednesday I hadn't been outside since I checked in at the hospital on the morning of 20 June – more than three weeks ago.
That doesn't mean as much to me as it does to many people who like to be out and about every day. I like being home. Even so, I saw the trip to the doctor on Wednesday as my debut outing after this gigantic assault on my body, mind and spirit.
Among the extraordinarily kind friends and neighbors who are helping me out these days is Cathi Lutz who had volunteered to drive me to the doctor appointment on Wednesday.
She kept by my side as we walked to her car and was there in case I faltered as we navigated from the parking garage to the elevator and through halls to the doctor's office. I've been walking and balancing well at home so I did this without the walker and it went quite well. But I was happy to have Cathi for backup.
The doctor's office had phoned in a couple of new prescriptions so on our way home, Cathi offered to stop at the pharmacy to get them and I realized I was pleased to further extend the outing – excited to be out of the house and/or medical situation after so long.
When I said this to Cathi, we both laughed that the destination of choice (or, necessity for the medication) was – wait for it: Safeway. Go ahead, you can laugh too.
As always in these weeks since the surgery, I am paying for the change in routine today (Thursday) with a near complete collapse of energy. It happens this way every time.
According to the doctors, I am doing well but this is the way it is for awhile. I wish I could buy patience at the pharmacy as easily as a pill.