On balance…

Fezzik: You just wiggled your finger. That’s wonderful.
Westley: I’ve always been a quick healer. What are our liabilities?
Inigo Montoya: There is but one working castle gate, and… and it is guarded by 60 men.
Westley: And our assets?
Inigo Montoya: Your brains, Fezzik’s strength, my steel.

Westley: I mean, if we only had a wheelbarrow, that would be something.

Inigo Montoya: Where we did we put that wheelbarrow the albino had?
Fezzik: Over the albino, I think.
Westley: Well, why didn’t you list that among our assets in the first place?

I can wiggle my finger, too. And even better, I can wiggle the toes on my left foot, which I haven’t been able to do for almost two years. Just like Westley, I’ve always been a quick healer, and I surely am grateful for that.

I’m eight days out of spinal fusion surgery and full of super-strength titanium. So far, the only  new superpower that has revealed itself is excellent posture, but I think, as our heroes discovered in The Princess Bride, my assets outweigh my liabilities. I’ve been home for four days, which is in itself an asset. The Husband arranged two weeks of vacation/work-from-home time so that he could be with me last week at the hospital, as well as this week at home. Another huge asset: we both have jobs that allow us the flexibility to take this type of leave with no financial or professional fallout. I’m sitting in a big comfy chair in a beautiful windowed corner of my living room with a summer breeze blowing through. I can get up by myself, I can walk about half a mile (I’m working on increasing my distance every day), I can take a shower, and I can stay awake all day (although right now, that feels like a superpower). People are calling, sending flowers, cards, and notes, and they’re stopping by to visit. A great support network is a critical asset.

The liabilities are manageable: I have two long, deep incisions, one on my abdomen and one on my back. (If you want the gory details, Google “anterior lumbar interbody fusion.” I also had a bonus procedure: posterior discectomy along with the insertion of additional hardware from the back). The surgical wounds present challenges for nearly every sitting and reclining position. I fear that as they heal, the scars will present ongoing challenges for bathing suit selections. Admittedly, that’s a small liability. My activities are limited by doctors’ orders as well as overall fatigue and weakness: no bending, no lifting objects more than two pounds, no twisting, no driving, no swimming, no bathing. It’s amazing how many items weigh more than two pounds. For someone who’s accustomed to a high level of independence and daily productivity, these are indeed liabilities. However, they are short-term issues, just like they were for Westley, who regained his strength in time to save Buttercup one last time.

It’s possible, I might be bluffing. It’s conceivable, … that I’m only lying here because I lack the strength to stand. But, then again… perhaps I have the strength after all.
[slowly rises and points sword directly at the prince]

So, watch out, everyone. I’m on the way.


5 responses to “On balance…

  1. Lauren,
    You are definitely the Dread Pirate Roberts in disguise!

  2. Brilliantly written.

    And I just hope for the best for your healing!!



  3. Yea! Keep wiggling. Does chicken soup weigh more than two pounds? What’s a henway?


  4. Lauren: so glad the surgery is behind you (literally and figuratively) and was successful. happy to go bathing suit shopping with you when you are ready – for next summer!! be well, lots of love coming your way from Ellen & Michael xoxo

  5. So happy that you had a successful surgery! Blessings to you as you heal.

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