Top 5 things they should have told ME before having surgery.

Posted on May 05, 2016 by Courtney Snell
bike, injury, recovery, run, surgery, swim, training, triathlon, trieverything


I am currently 6 1/2 weeks post surgery and there are definitely things I feel like the medical staff should have warned me about. Everyone is different, I get this, but here is my top 5 “You should have warned me” list. 

#5. No sleep…. to sleep ALL THE TIME. 

The first week after surgery, sleeping was quite a chore. Just as I was about to fall asleep, I would want to turn over, and well, good luck. With my foot propped up on two pillows to prevent swelling, turning from one side to the other wasn’t easy. 

However after the first month, and the fear of rebreaking my ankle while I slept faded, all I wanted to do was sleep. I would wake up with the kids, get them off to school, have some breakfast, and head back to bed. And by back to bed, I mean in bed, “napping”, until the kids got out of school and I was forced to leave my bed.  “Your body will recover faster if you rest”. Yeah, yeah. But let’s be real….sleeping ALL day isn’t healthy for the mind or body. Someone should have told me I was going to feel like a sloth while I adjusted to the crutch life. At what point do you need a “Get your arse out of bed” intervention? A day? A week? A month??? Send in the troops! 

#4. Oh, you thought you were independent? Not anymore.  

The medical staff taught me how to walk on crutches before I left the hospital. What they failed to mention was the fact that my independence was taken away the moment they handed me the crutches. Imagine life with NO hands. Yep. That’s what walking with crutches is like. Need to carry something from one room to the other? Hopefully your husband is free to help. Need to move laundry from the laundry room? Ask your kids. Grocery shopping? Walking up the stairs? Hahahahaha. You are kidding, right?!? 

For the first 3 weeks after surgery, I was fortunate enough to have friends and family help with dinners. I couldn’t stand long enough or move around the kitchen well enough to fix my family dinner. My mom stayed with us the first week to help take care of the kids. Cleaning the house wasn’t even an option. For a stay at home mom, I literally couldn’t do all of the things that needed to be done on a daily basis. Mentally, this was a every tough adjustment. Who wouldnthinknthst I would miss cleaning the house? I must be losing my mind. 

#3. Menopause? On top of a broke ankle? This is a bad joke. 

Back to sleeping. As if turning from side to side and finding a comfortable position wasn’t hard enough, add night sweats in the mix. I would wake up in the middle of the night SOAKED in sweat. Right after the surgery, it was the worst. The first couple of nights, I was so freaked out that I had an infection, I crawled out of bed and took my temperature. Night after night, I would wake up sweaty. It gets old real quick. It is only now, 6 weeks later, that I wake up and don’t feel like I peed my pants or took a shower while sleeping. It’s a wonderful feeling, let me tell you (enter sarcastic tone). But it wasn’t only at night. I would be standing in the kitchen and out of now where, break a sweat. Standing in line at the grocery stor, break a sweat. Sitting on the couch, break a sweat. These sweats weren’t nearly as bad as the night sweats, but none the less, weren’t fun to deal with. 

#2. No matter the task, big or small, it feels equivalent to climbing Mount Everest. 

Think about how many times you walk from one room to another…how easily you walk to the bathroom, get a drink of water, fill your car with gas. Everyday tasks that we complete without much thought. Someone should warn you that crutch life will make these everyday tasks feel impossible. It would take me 10 minutes to get up, hobble to the bathroom, and hobble back. Not to mention, I would break a sweat and need to sit for a minute to recover afterwards. Grocery shopping would literally take ALL of my energy for the day. How in the world did I go from training 1-4 hours a day, to this? Even 6 weeks later, these everyday tasks are still challenging. 

And last and most important….

#1. I have the most amazing and supportive friends and family. 

This obviously is something I knew before my injury, but I can’t yell it loud enough from the mountain tops. With all the challenges and negative feelings that came with my injury, I was flooded with text messages, phone calls, Facebook comments, and visitors that made even my hardest days so much easier. For three weeks, we had friends and family help with dinners. They took time out of their busy schedules  and money out of their pockets to help us. I had friends help me find doctors, medical equipment, and gave medical advise. There were random text messages that stopped the tears from rolling down my face. Friends would stop by just to say hi and make sure I was doing okay. Others got me out of the house for workouts and lunches. The list goes on and on. The medical staff could not have known just how wonderful my friends are, but love and support is the number one thing that has kept me from going to the dark side of depression. I am forever grateful and saying “thank you” just doesn’t seem like enough. 

So here I am, heading into week 7. I am feeling stronger. The good days out number the bad. I have graduated to one crutch and am allowed to swim. Recovery is long and hard (understatement of the year) but it isn’t forever. 

Until the next blog….get out there, love life, have fun, and love those around you!! 

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