Waking early on this Wednesday, May 13, 2020, Hannah and I walk the trails in the woods behind the First Parish Church in town. It will be Hannah’s last walk for a good while. As we walk among the beeches and oaks still not leafed out in mid-May, Hannah is subdued. It’s not the bunion surgery, but the two months of rehab that mellows her mood.
She’s been through long rehabs before with her busted leg from a water skiing accident and another time when her leg was punctured to the bone after falling into a California ravine. She knows what’s ahead. There’s no sugar coating this recovery from serious surgery.
Though the others were emergency surgeries, the bunion surgery is “elective,” but oh so necessary; you see, the bunion is compressing the toes on her right foot in a damaging way.
After showering as required before we leave for the Scarborough Surgery Center, Hannah’s spirits lift. She comments that she’s so lucky to even have the surgery since it’s been postponed before and could have been delayed until the late summer or fall because of the coronavirus.
The 45-minute ride from home in York to the Surgery Center goes smoothly as fewer cars are on the Maine Turnpike due to the Stay at Home order by Governor Janet Mills. Originally, I was told that I couldn’t come into the building to be with Hannah, but just yesterday we learned that I can be with her as well as during her pre- and post-op.
Though we come with our homemade masks, the Surgery Center expects us to wear their paper masks. In no time, we are whisked to pre-op. The words warm, professional, and personable describe each of the nurses and doctors that prepare her for surgery. Hannah is at ease, and so is her Uber driver.
Highly recommended, Dr. Juris of Portland Foot and Ankle comes in to mark her right foot with a sharpie and then initials it as well. Hannah is hooked up to a bag of electrolytes; to this IV will be added the anesthesia. We are told that she will be in a fog throughout the operation and not remember a single thing from her hour on the operating table.
As they wheel Hannah to the OR, I return to the waiting room to take on my role as the Town Crier texting pictures of the dancing lady of my life to family and friends across the country.
Just as they said, Hannah remembers nothing of the hour long surgery. When I see her in the post-op room, she is her usual sunny self. In a protective hospital sandal, she will use both crutches and a walker for the time being. In five days, we return to see Dr. J, when it is likely she will be fitted for a walking boot.
The numbing medicine in her foot and the general sedative through IV fluid have not worn off by dinner time. She’ll take Naproxen to reduce the pain over the next few days. To deal with serious pain, she has Oxycodone, a narcotic which scares the shit out of me. But trusted nurses tell us how important it is to stay ahead of the pain. Maybe a half tablet before bed, maybe a whole one. Hannah’s tough. The pain is pretty damn tough, too.
Hannah v Pain. We will see what the weekend brings.