Thursday, February 4, 2010


2 a: something (as an instrument or apparatus) used in performing an operation or necessary in the practice of a vocation or profession
b: an element of a computer program (as a graphics application) that activates and controls a particular function
c: a means to an end

I've had lots of help to get me through the last two weeks. I've used some big and small tools to get me through preparing for and recovering from my leg surgery. While I truly hope no one reading this ever has to go through anything similar, if you do, here are some tools I suggest you acquire:

Buffy The Vampire Slayer DVDs - OK, so I guess you can pick your TV series of choice, but I must say that Buffy has many merits. Upon re-watching this series, I am struck anew by Joss Whedon's genius. This series is about friendship, good vs. evil, what it means to grow up and what a healthy relationship looks like, amongst other things. It also offers the strongest female protagonist ever on a TV show: a character who is sexy without being sexualized and strong emotionally as well as physically. But even if - for some bizarre reason - you pick another TV series, a set of DVDs are great for those days when you're not tired enough to nap, but not awake enough to read.

One Caring, Involved Husband - I'm not sure where you can go to get one of these, but you'll find it invaluable. (I found mine at the library, but I make no promises about what you'll find when searching there.) My dear husband has not only done his job, but mine for many, many days now. He's put children to bed, washed dishes, sorted laundry, served meals, vacuumed and played nursemaid to a wife who has been alternately thankful, frustrated, in pain and weepy - sometimes all of the above at once. I don't know how I could have survived this without him.

Rolling Office Chair - "Why?" you may ask. This odd accessory has been found in my bathroom since my first stressful post-op shower. That first day, I needed the chair nearly immediately. I was able to dry my torso, then needed help with my leg and, frankly, needed a rest. A chair with wheels was great for pushing myself around the room with my leg fully supported. Whether I was drying my hair, reaching for clothes or brushing my teeth, I used this chair.

Helpful Extended Family - My mom came up to help immediately following the surgery, allowing J to focus his time and attention on me instead of feeling spread thin between me and our girls and staying with me during the day when he needed to return to work and I was still groggy from anesthesia. My sweet sister-in-law has picked our girls up from school, washed laundry and cleaned out our refrigerator.

Many Loving, Sacrificial Friends - My friends have brought me food, driven my children to and from school, washed my clothes, cleaned my house, listened to me, brought me books, had lunch with me and taken my children overnight to preserve my sanity on the third snow day in a row. I suppose our family could have survived without all of this help, but we would have been less healthy, more wrinkled, more stressed and generally less well cared for. To say that I will gladly repay each and every one of them - and friends still unmet - is an understatement.

Trays, Trays, Trays - When your leg is in a brace that makes it impossible to bend your knee, bending over is a problem. I needed trays to hold my books, trays to hold my plate for eating, trays to hold the laptop and keep the weight off of my legs. J bought two new trays the weekend after my surgery. At the time, I thought this might be an unnecessary purchase. I was wrong, he was right. They've been immensely helpful.

Three Kind Daughters - Silly as it sounds, I was worried about how I would manage to make my coffee every morning when it was hard to stand for more than a minute or two at a time. A was quick to volunteer for this task and she has joyfully brewed my coffee for me each morning before leaving for school. She's also been incredibly gracious about sharing her bed with an invalid mom who hangs out there during the day while she's at school (though I suspect her hospitality is partly linked to the fact that my presence in her bed means she doesn't have to make it every morning). B has helped out by vacuuming and K has done anything she can think of, including serving me a lunch one day that consisted of oyster crackers, tortilla chips and two Reese's cups.

Travel Coffee Mugs - These handy vehicles have allowed me to enjoy A's brews each morning, no matter how much I jostle their contents as I hobble from room to room.

Books - It should come as no surprise that I needed books - lots of books - to make it through recuperation from surgery. I need books all the time, healthy or not. But it helped to have just the right kind of book - one that was easy to read, compelling and engaging. Blessedly, I found this time and again with Broken for You, Beautiful Creatures, Understood Betsy and Manhood for Amateurs.

A Blog - So maybe this one's not essential, but it has helped me maintain some semblance of sanity, provided an occasional distraction and given some of you the opportunity to encourage me ... and that's something worth having. Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

aimee Guest said...

nice shannon. i picked my husband up at church, at the time he had long hair, a british accent and was carrying an ewok but that's another story. can't identify with buffy, but might i suggest some Friday Night Lights..hee, hee. Of course, I have that book on hold(mumble, grumble). hang in there. i really like k's thoughtfulness, she was so sweet with the crackers the other day considering she didn't even know me and still wanted to give us things. "um, what's your name again? i want to give you something, come here."