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Sunday, June 26, 2011

You Do It to Yourself, You Do...

This blog will be posted some time after it was written due to an outside directive to not talk about my living donor experience until after I have donated.  If you are reading this, it is because I have completed the donation process.
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Late May 2011,

I'm about a week away from the "kidney thing". I have about three to-do lists on the go-work things, home things, life things. I seem to have an uncontrollable urge to plan and execute complicated meal menus-I think its my form of nesting or stress relief but it leads to more cleaning and dishes so it's a bit counter productive. I also have somehow added extra "out of the ordinary" activities to my plate like volunteering to speak not once but twice at Momentum, a non-profit organization, about marketing and product placement tactics. And I have a big presentation due to the CFO at work-my first as the new eCommunications advisor for the bank. Oh and we got a second dog last week (two dogs under 2 years old!). And she needs to go to an hourly class once a week, starting this week, (at 8:30 PM!!) to improve her leash reactivity. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Quite possibly.

One thing I never anticipated in all of this is how unfocused I would be in the week or so leading up to the surgery. It's not so much that I've been distracted of thoughts or worries about the surgery or its outcome. Sure there has been a little bit of that. But what I have noticed more is how unable I am to keep my mind on any particular task without jumping to another within five minutes. It's one thing to be a little side tracked for a morning but a week, especially a week you need to accomplish a lot in, is a bit much. By early on this week I was so overwhelmed it wasn't even funny.

Sometimes in life when you are in a place like this, with truly too much to do in a little bit of time, unusual things happen.  These things, in the long run, help you out, save you from yourself. In my case, it was my foot/ankle. A couple of days ago I was putting away leftovers from one of the elaborate meals I had made and took a regular step towards the fridge with a bowl of potato salad. "Sproing-pa-pop" went something, somewhere, deep in my left ankle/foot.  Sharp shooting pain ensued. "Ow" I yelped, wondering how it was possible to hurt my foot taking a simple step. Charlie looked up surprised, and quickly rescued the potato salad from my clutches, lest I drop it. "What did you do?" he asked.  I shrugged...I couldn't explain what I had done to my foot but it hurt like hell every time I put weight on it.

I stayed off of it most of the night, sure that when I arose the next morning it would be fine.  Except it wasn't.  In fact it was more tender and more swollen.By the end of that day at work, I could barely walk and it was double the size. Walking the dogs was next to impossible (with two of course skipping a daily walk is not a good idea) Charlie suggested we go to a walk-in clinic or emergency. But I didn't want to. I was terrified that it would somehow delay the upcoming kidney donation either because I'd need to take drugs I wasn't allowed to take or worse, I had done something that would make me immobile. Because getting up and walking soon after surgery is so key to better healing, I thought they wouldn't do the surgery if I wasn't in tiptop walking shape. What if it got worse and I couldn't do the surgery? I thought about how many people would be disappointed. What if I had wrecked everything simply by carrying a bowl of potato salad across the kitchen?

I somehow managed to solider through a pre-op appointment without the program coordinator noticing I couldn't really walk. I hid out at work and avoided leaving my desk for the same reason. I even attempted to walk the dogs one night to prove I was okay. I don't know why I felt like I needed to hide it from everyone but I did. It hurt a ton but I was going to try to keep that secret safe with me. I quickly realized though that in order to get through this, I had to get some rest which would mean trimming some of the items off my to do lists.The fact of the matter is, I really couldn't do some things physically. As much as it pained me to admit I couldn't I accomplish everything I wanted to on those to do lists especially some of the things I really was looking forward to like the speaking engagements, I felt a sense of relief. I was able to get the really important (for me personally) stuff done and done well. The other stuff would have to wait.

I still have no idea what happened with my foot. It seems to be getting better. Maybe it was one of those "all in your head" things that the brain does sometimes to protect you from yourself. I guess there is no way of knowing.  I still feel a bit guilty about the things I wont be getting to this week but I'm hoping that this falls into the "everything happens for a reason" category.

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