I have been recovering from ankle surgery for the last month. I have not been fully mobile since the end of March. That is four months ago for those who are playing the home game. My actual injury goes back twenty-five years. The degradation goes back six.
I cannot walk. I cannot drive. I am, save for the assistance of folk when their schedules and energy permit, housebound. It fucking sucks.
I've watched as summer flung itself past my living room window. My plans and desires are tertiary and superfluous. I have cancelled plans at the last-minute, passed on invitations, and relied on others to do the simplest household tasks.
For the first few days after surgery, my wife had to hold my pants to make sure I didn't fall over while I was in the bathroom to pee.
I have not seen my autonomy in thirty days. It sucks. Anyone who tells you that they would love a month on the couch is either a damn fool or a damn liar, and likely both.
For two-and-half weeks, I used a wheelchair. I was invisible. Wheelchair accessible places are rarely actually accessible or useable. There are five steps to get out of my house, and a sidewalk that looks like a war zone. There is no "I'm going to go out for a roll around the neighborhood."
The knee scooter is better, but subject to the same issues as the wheelchair. I am as invisible with it as I was with the chair.
I have met none of my goals for this summer.
I use 98% of my body to compensate for the 2% I cannot. I am exhausted. I am fighting post-surgical depression. The depression is winning.
And yet, I continue to get up each day. I can dress myself now. I wore makeup yesterday for the first time in over six weeks. There is hope, and I hold onto it like a lifeline.
I watch hiking and backpacking videos on YouTube. I research Subaru Outbacks, and plan my Roadwagon project. I read theology. I sketch meditations and sermons. I watch trash TV.
I am distracting myself from the depressive reality of my daily existence. I won't let the depression win.
I weep in frustration when I have to ditch the knee scooter to avoid injuring my ankle. I scream when I drop things because I can't carry them or hold them because of the scooter. I am tired of being a burden on my wife.
I watch the news. I see the war being waged against me and mine. I see an Administration that wants me dead, male, and/or straight. I weep, and play guitar.
The depression is always creeping, always lurking around the edges of my awareness. Summer is ending. School will be starting again soon, and with it, my ministerial internship in Rockford. I mourn lost opportunities.
I will not the depression win.
I cannot let the depression win.
I must not let the depression win.
But goddamn I wish the fight were easier.