Rev Gal 3 Dog Mom writes for this Friday Five,
“A friend had foot surgery recently. Shortly before her procedure she posted on Facebook that she’d never been on crutches before, and asked for tips on how to manage. That put me in mind of my own “down” times, and some of the necessary things I learned from them.
For today’s FF, share with us five things you learned about coping with such a situation. These can be practical tips from the perspective of one needing care or one giving care, or maybe some personal insights gleaned from the experience. Or, anything related, like a humorous situation that resulted.”
It was the trip of a lifetime–our twenty-fifth anniversary trip to Germany. Three weeks beginning in Munich visiting friends and ending in Frankfurt. A really special trip. And, like many of my RevGalBlogPal sisters, I readied myself for the trip with a pedicure. I wanted to be decked out from head to toe for our silver anniversary. I was so excited about the trip and so thrilled with my fancy toes, I didn’t even notice the little cut on the big toe on my left foot.
What I did notice was that every day my left leg swelled up. In Munich I thought it was just from the walking. In Leipzig, I explained it away with the heat. (It was bloody hot in Europe that summer.) In Dresden, I bought a bigger size sandal. By the time we got to Berlin, I was soaking my left leg in ice every night. The only way I could get through the days of museums and monuments and historical sites. “When we get to Kassel,” I said to myself—“When we get to Kassel, I’ll go to the doctor.” But even when we got to Kassel, I saw the sights instead. It was on a day trip to Tubingen, when I couldn’t even walk up to the town wall, that it finally hit me. I was sick. I needed to be in a hospital. I was so sick, I couldn’t even walk up the stairs to the train platform.
By the time we got back to Kassel, my husband and I both knew something serious was going on. Our friend rushed us to a hospital. She translated as they scanned my leg. No clot but something just as scary–“Ersipilis”, they said. “Ersipilis gone septic.” Actually, they said that in German. I was rushed off to ICU, put in a room with two German Frauen and a Turkish woman, and hooked up with an IV. Still I had no idea just how serious things were. Not even when my doctor said, “If it goes higher, we’ll have to cut it off.” I thought it was just a burr or a thorn I picked up as I plowed through the brush at Buchenwald in search of the site of Deitrich Bonhoeffer’s cell.
I was in a feverish fog. I slept. I pushed away the food they brought to me. I went back to sleep. Then, the second night, late in the night, I felt the soft touch of my mother’s hand brush across my cheek. I woke up. I felt I was in flame. I stumbled out of bed and hobbled across the hall to the nurses’ desk. Three nurses were standing there.
“Ich bin zu heiss,” I screamed to them. Jabbing at the air with my finger, I then demanded, “Sie mussen einen Arzt anrufen.” They felt head, they took my temperature (drei und vierzig), and then rushed me back to bed. Cold compresses, a shot of anti-fever drug and worried looks. But still I did not understand what was happening. Still I didn’t know just how sick I was. Still I didn’t know how my mother–dead over a year–had saved my life. I knew I had I high temp–I could feel that–I just didn’t know how hot.
The drugs worked, my temp went down, I was transferred to a different room a bit farther away from the nurses’ station. But still the docs came both morning and night. Still they wore worried faces when they approached my bed. And still I tried to figure out what 43 degrees celsius translated to. I couldn’t then and still can’t remember the formula for translating celsius into fahrenheit, so I combed the weather reports in the International version of the Herald Tribune–hoping to see 43 degrees celsius listed side-by-side with its fahrenheit equivalent. That never happened. I never knew how high my temp had gone that night. I just knew, deep in my bones, that my mom had saved my life that night. The take-away: she’ll always be there when I need her. Even until the end of my days. A ministering angel by my side.
What are the five things I learned in all of this? 1. My Mom will always be with me. 2. My husband is a trooper and a stalwart companion. 3. If you need to be hospitalized, go to Germany. 4. You can put things off, but not forever. 5. The only thing better than one glass of Sekt on a hot day is a second glass of Sekt.