Relationship Tests

Turns out, when you’re recovering from major ankle surgery (my second, on the same ankle, thankyouverymuch), you aren’t really in the mood to write or blog. Or sit up. Or talk to people. Or pretty much anything else. Well, for the first few days at least.

After that, there isn’t as much of an excuse, since the pain was managed 1000 percent better this time around, and I wasn’t nearly as high on painkillers. Which in some ways is disappointing, because there were some GEMS that came out of my mouth last time when I was all hopped up. Two quick examples just for giggles: 1. I told my mom I was growing out my bush, and 2. I growled repeatedly on the phone to the person I was dating at the time, and then laughed hysterically as if it was the best joke I’d ever told.

None of that this time around. Which I guess I should be grateful for, since I live with my boyfriend now and I’m not sure I trust my Percocet-addled brain not to instruct my mouth to say something potentially detrimental or wildly embarrassing. So on that front, we’re good.

It’s been about 2 weeks since surgery, and I’m doing really well – but my aspirations of writing some of my most hysterical and pithy blog posts while on painkillers turned out to just be a fantasy. Oh well. I have something new to write about now anyway. Relationship tests.

Scantron TEST blocks and pencil.

No, not pen and paper or fill-in-the-bubble tests. Although side-note, remember Scantron forms?? And the stress of making sure you had the right kind of pencil? #2? How many numbers of pencils are there? Is my sparkly mechanical pencil a #2?? No, not those kind of tests.

And not those stupid “tests” men and women sometimes like to throw out early on in the relationship either; because no you CANNOT judge me based on what I order on the first date, whether it’s a salad or a burger so rare that it’s still mooing. Or if I’ll sit through a Sunday of football without complaining or just walking away (I won’t). Or if he remembers that obscure flower you love that you happened to mention in passing on the first date (he won’t).

No, I’m talking about real tests of a relationship – moments in time when you face an obstacle you weren’t expecting, and how you cope/communicate/handle it together speaks volumes about the relationship. Depending on the magnitude of these tests and obstacles, some relationships are still standing on the other side – some aren’t.

Well, when I scheduled this surgery, I inadvertently scheduled a relationship test on the side. SWELL. I don’t think I can use my doctor’s note to get out of this one. Nope, not when the surgery in question basically renders me useless for a full 6 weeks. 6 weeks of being completely non weight-bearing and rolling around on a little scooter/walker. I can’t really carry things. Or do stairs. Or get in and out of a car easily. Or run back into the bedroom to grab my phone. Or get comfortable to sleep. Or get comfortable at all, really. I’m on my back most of the time with my legs up, and not in the fun way I prefer to be. Speaking of which, I almost forgot. I also can’t really have sex easily either, at least until the stitches come out.

Now, I know it will get better. We’re only in week 2, and the first couple weeks are the worst, with instructions to basically lay around and have my foot up and iced pretty much constantly. Lay and ice. Pee. Lay and ice. Pee. Lay and ice. I’ll get the stitches out soon, and that will make a big difference. But for another month, I still won’t be able to put any weight on it for fear of snapping the giant metal screw that is holding everything precariously together right now. So that means another month of still needing to ask for help with the most basic things and I can tell you right now it gets old. On both sides, I imagine. It sucks.

But I am choosing to look at this little relationship test as a growth experience. A way for us to grow and learn more about each other. I sound so zen, don’t I? Well, I wasn’t a week ago when we were ready to tear each other’s heads off, and seemed to find something to fight about every single night. 750 square feet starts to feel pretty small then, especially when one of you physically CAN’T leave, and the other one can’t leave without being a jerk who abandoned the crippled girl just days after surgery (sorry dude).

So if you’re not ready to talk, you stew. You stew in 750 square feet, and you feel trapped. Which is what we both did, for awhile. Until we couldn’t take it anymore. And then we talked. And really tried to listen to each other.

Which is really the key to every successful relationship. That and sex. But at that point in time, only one of those things was physically an option, so we opted to talk. And I’m so glad we did. We talked for a long time that night. And the night after that. There was some real truth being served, from both sides and I think we both needed to hear it.

We learned a lot about each other, and how the other deals with different situations. How we each react to stress and what we need from each other in those moments. I mean after all, we’ve only known each other a little more than a year. Long enough to know we want to be together, but not long enough to unearth every nuance of each other’s personality. Especially under atypical circumstances. So this really did turn out to be a great learning experience for us, and I’m actually grateful for that.

I’m not saying we aren’t ever going to fight again – we will. But we can walk (or roll…. or hobble) away from this experience knowing we have the right freaking pencil to pass the test – we know how to talk through these hurdles and really try to see things from each other’s perspective. We’ll have to remind each other of these things at different points for the rest of our lives because we’re human, but that’s what interpersonal communication is all about.

Oh, and when you’re all talked out, I’m happy to report that a little creative positioning on the edge of the bed and a concerted effort not to bust your stitches can get you the other half of that equation we all need to get through a rough couple days with your honey. <sighs happily>

Percocet Is My Frenemy

Well, it’s official. I have scheduled surgery for next Wednesday. Apparently the only time available was at 7:30am with check-in at 6, which means I have to get my tired, anxiety-ridden ass up and to the surgery center at an hour I like to pretend doesn’t exist.

This is a follow-up surgery to the incredibly painful ankle surgery I had 18 months ago. When my heels tried to kill me. Seriously, it wasn’t even a good story – I was wearing 5 inch wedges for a wedding, and rolled my ankle on loose carpet in my condo. Cracked my left ankle and subsequently FELL on it, breaking two bones, dislocating it and as they discovered in surgery, tearing every single freaking ligament.

melanie wedding

Because I don’t go halfway on stuff, people. Go big or go home. So I literally destroyed my ankle and had surgery early last year to put it all back together with the help of a mental plate and 8 screws. Recovery sucked. I’m hoping it’s not quite as bad this time around – turns out somewhere over the course of “healing” in the last year and a half, I tore a major ligament again and some of the metal screws are coming loose. My screws are loose. Literally.

So I am hopeful this will alleviate the pain that never really went away, and make it easier to you know, walk. Live my life. Little stuff like that. You can expect some Percocet-induced posts once I have had a chance to get through the initial recovery.

Speaking of, I decided I wanted to share a little story with y’all today – the story of me and my Percocet adventures. Percocet and I have an interesting relationship. I would say Percocet is my frenemy. There were days when I didn’t know where I would be without it (like those first days after surgery when I couldn’t even see straight from the pain) and there were days when I hated it more than anything (like when I hadn’t pooped in 5 days).

It was a catch-22 actually – one of the things they stressed after surgery was the importance of managing the pain, but that meant high doses of painkillers, and let me tell you – there are trade-offs.

Because there was such extensive soft tissue damage (I’ll spare you the details – reading the surgery report made me throw up in my mouth), I was experiencing much more pain than I would have if it was just a bone break so I was in desperate need of the drugs. But taking high doses is not only hard on your liver, but it constipates the hell out of you, and makes you physically sick sometimes. Try getting to the toilet in time to puke when you just had major ankle surgery, are high on painkillers, and uncoordinated on your crutches. Keep in mind, I broke it in the first place because I’m so clumsy to begin with!

Anyway, a stressful situation like that could use some comic relief and it came in the form of my frenemy, Percocet. I was staying with my parents during that time, and my mom was usually the one who was home more often. Anyone who has taken painkillers knows that while they do help with pain, they make you a little loopy and loose-lipped as well.

So let me paint you a picture. I’m sitting on my parents’ couch, ankle elevated on their recliner. My mom is sitting across from me and we’re just chatting and hanging out. This was beyond that first horrible day or two so I was in a much better state for conversation. She had already had to help me with a makeshift shower situation, help me get my pants on and off those first couple times and help me to the bathroom the first time, so she’d probably seen more than she’d care to at that point, but hey, what are moms for?

We were essentially talking about that exact point, when my Percocet drenched brain decided to volunteer the following information. TO MY MOTHER.

You know, I’m not always like that. Down there. 

She just stared at me blankly. It could have been over then. But OH NO, Percocet and I weren’t done.

I’m talking about the hair. I don’t usually have a bush. It’s a new thing I’m trying. He (the guy I was dating) likes it… maybe it’s a generational thing, something older guys like more. He is in his forties after all. I used to go Brazilian but that shit hurts… so it’s better this way. It’s kind of nice. I think I like it. I feel all… womanly.

Let that sink in for a second. I just said that to my MOM. My thoughts just poured out of my mouth in one big rambling mess and I don’t even think I fully comprehended how awkward that could be for her, even after the words were hanging out there in the air, trapped in time like they were in a cartoon bubble.

My mom looked at me for a second, probably trying to process what had just happened. And then she just laughed. There are a lot of reasons my mom is awesome, not the least of which is that in this moment in time, she laughed.

Oh yeah? I can’t imagine ever doing that – what your generation does. I’ll just never understand it.

No? You’d never get a Brazilian, Mom?

<more laughter> Listen, I’m in my sixties, I’m not about to start something like that. Besides, I’ve never gotten any complaints.

Well, OK then. Go Mom.

I can’t tell you exactly how the rest of the conversation went, but it definitely continued. Me, laid up at my parents’ house just sitting with my mom and explaining that my boyfriend liked a full bush, and how convenient that was since I was in no position to get to the salon anytime soon.

Eventually the Percocet faded. That relationship disintegrated. My ankle started to heal. But that conversation with my mom? It’s burned into my brain FOREVER. We joke about it, and honestly, it’s probably one of the best things that could have happened at that point. We both needed a good laugh.

This time around, I won’t be staying with my parents. Since Gil and I live together, he will be able to help me out so I can actually stay in my own place. I’m pretty curious to see what comes out of my mouth this time, and even a little nervous – I mean, imagine all those crazy things you think but would NEVER say out loud to your significant other. I wonder what will make its way from my brain to my mouth. That Percocet, I tell you… she is a sneaky bitch. Stay tuned – it should be interesting.