My dad had his leg amputated above the knee on Tuesday.
If you’ve been reading this blog for at least a year, you know that it almost happened last September. In fact, they saved it at the very last second. So we’ve had a year to adjust to this.
And again, if you’ve been reading, you know that my dad has been in the hospital at least 7 times in the past 14 months. In some cases, for weeks at a time. This is mostly because of that leg. So, we’re all kind of over it, including my dad. It was time for that leg to go.
Still, it’s a major change for my parents. It’s not like he can just pop on a prosthetic after he heals. Like everything with my dad, it’s a little more complicated. This is a major life change for my parents, especially my mom. And they had to postpone their trip to meet their granddaughter for the first time. That breaks my heart.
But I have to tell you – I wasn”t expecting the day to go as well as it did. After talking to the surgeon, we realized that this really is the best thing for my dad and it will improve his health so much in the long run.
The surgery took less than two hours. I left for a little bit after it was over, and when I came back, my dad was awake and alert and smiling.
“You look amazing!” I remarked. “Have you lost weight?”
Everyone cracked up, including my dad and his pals. We talked. We fed him jello. I let him squeeze my hand when he was in pain. He teased my mom about buying a replica of an 1800’s musket when he got home. I promised to smuggle another hot dog into the hospital. He wondered if he would hallucinate about bears again, from the morphine. (He did.)
This is my family. We are a funny people. We get by.
It’s a terrible situation to be in and an awful way to spend a day, but I couldn’t have asked for a better way for it to happen, or a most positive outcome and outlook. I didn’t expect to leave the hospital with a smile (or not cry AT ALL that day, go me) but that’s what happened.
And that’s when it was okay to spread the news.
This time around, I didn’t really tell anyone what was going on beforehand, except Jen and some Facebook friends who could pray for him (and thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for that).
No blogs, no fretting status reports, no twitter, no nothing. Not until I had a silver lining to report. Last year there were so many surgeries that almost happened but didn’t and I freaked out about everything. All it did was get me worked up and stress my friends out, too.
Last March, when both my parents were in the hospital and the grown-up part of my brain kicked in, I learned a lot about how to handle these situations. Most of all, I learned that I CAN handle them. And like I told my brother, we survived and adjusted when Dad lost his eye. We survived and adjusted when he started losing toes. And we’ll survive and adjust to this.
Justin was out of town the whole time this was going down, and I didn’t tell him about it until after it was over. I know he’d be there for me if I needed him. But this is all still so new and so perfect and so happy. That’s why I wrote about him last week, instead of everything else. He’s the bright spot in my day, and I want to be the bright spot in his day, too.
While I know Justin will be there when I absolutely need him – and the same is true for all my friends, especially Jen – I want to carry as much as I can on my own. I’m comforted by the fact that I can, and I’m discovering that things aren’t as heavy as they seemed – or maybe I’m just stronger than I thought.
Aside from God (if you believe it like me), nothing will get you through life’s rough spots like confidence in your own strength and a hell of a sense of humor. I’m trying to create a mindset that is as tough and positive as possible.
I don’t know if I will ever be as strong as my mother and father. I’m also not sure if I will ever be able to smile and laugh through situations like the ones they have faced. But for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m finally getting there.
After all, I’m learning from the best.
PS: I am 4 months smoke free today!!