Monday, August 12, 2013

Today is Elaine's 62nd birthday. We promised her last year, that next year would be a better birthday. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. We are certain that next year will be! It just has to be! Elaine has spent the last week basically in bed. She is restricted to her bed for another week and half. She gets up and hobbles around, but she is in tremendous pain. As many can probably relate, foot surgery is a nightmare. We don't have a timetable as to when she will be feeling better, or out of pain. The one thing we do know, her foot looks much better! We had a birthday celebration at their house tonight. Nurse Fred, and Elaine's stomach, have finally been given a reprieve from giving her blood thickening injections in her abdomen. His duties have not stopped though. Fred has to change her bandages and clean her wound every morning and before bed. We were there tonight to watch it, and were able to peek at her foot. We never doubted Elaine's pain, but after looking at her foot, you understand why she is so miserable. She has a giant incision from where they put the metal plate in and fused the joint, and shaved the bunion,  as well as another incision on her second toe where they shaved the bone that was growing. It is swollen, but it is straight. You can see when she takes a step, that she is able to bend her knee now too. Although she can't bear much weight on her foot, you can see that she is more stable and balanced. It helps Elaine know that this will all be worth it in the end.

I marvel at the connection my parents have and their undying love and dedication to each other. Throughout their lifetime, they have been through some major health scares and the most devastating thing anyone could experience, the loss of a child. I have watched first hand the hell they have been through the last 19 months. Elaine and Fred have worked tirelessly to explore every option, and both been committed to getting Elaine better. Elaine has worked harder than any person I know, and has experienced setbacks that aren't fair or deserved. Fred has been by her side every single step of the way, holding her hand, encouraging her, beating down doors looking for answers. He has battled prostate cancer during this whole ordeal and hasn't complained, always gaining strength from what Elaine is going through. The saying goes, "God doesn't give you more that you can handle." I think they are at their  breaking point and need some good luck to swing their way. Its easy to say how lucky they are to have each other, that they are both alive, that they are in a position to afford health care.  All of that is true, but the one thing that gets them through each day is the love that they share for each other. Over the last 7 days, I don't think a night has passed where they have slept for more than 2 hours straight. Elaine's coumadin level is bouncing around again for no reason at all. Fred's having the worst leg cramps he's had in years over the last month.

As I looked at my mom tonight at dinner, my heart just broke for her and for all the pain she is going through and has gone through. I gave my dad an extra big hug tonight, knowing his heart is breaking watching the love of his life in so much pain. We all believe that the end result, which we hope and pray will be sooner rather than later, is going to be a better life for Elaine. So, it wasn't the birthday Elaine planned on. It wasn't what she ever thought turning 62 would be. There is no stronger woman or man on the earth than Fred and Elaine. We have so much love, respect and admiration for them. In the words of Alice in Wonderland, it was a very unbirthday to Elaine this year, but we know it will get better!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Another Hurdle Cleared

After bearing with the pain for far longer than any of us could and dealing stoically with the delay caused by an unexpected fever last week, Elaine was back at the doctor this morning for a surgery on her foot to fix the bunion on her left foot. For those of you who didn't know about this, Elaine has had a bunion on her foot for some time. More recently, it has developed into a truly debilitating condition. She was having all kinds of trouble even walking around. Eventually, she actually cut a hole in her shoe to give Chester (her name for the bunion) some space and give herself some relief. The time arrived when the home remedies were not going to solve the problem bringing us to the events of this morning.

As usual, she handled the pre-op with grace and maybe some slight embarrassment as Fred felt the need to show the entire medical staff how he dances and sings whenever Elaine is feeling the blues. Everyone was impressed. The surgery was an apparent success. The doctor was able to realign Elaine's toes, install a plate to make sure they stay there, and get her home all in one day. The image below shows Elaine's new hardware.


She was in good spirits in post-op and looking forward to a major reduction in pain. We want to take this opportunity to once again say how proud we are of Elaine and how impressed we are with her pain tolerance and toughness. Elaine continues to prove just how amazing she is. We know that she will work hard through her rehab over the next couple weeks and that there is another light at the end of another tunnel that she will fly right through.

(There were plans to do some work on her left shoulder, but the doctor decided to wait until the foot is fully healed before working on another area.)