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Down But Not Out!

FullSizeRender (26)You know those life events that take you out? Yeah, that’s pretty much how I have spent the last few weeks.

I recently went in for what I told myself would be minor hand surgery. A bone was removed from my hand, some tendon work done and carpal tunnel fixed. A slam dunk when you have a brilliant surgeon who also happens to look like a GQ model.

My doctor, Dr. Glenn Cohen, did a remarkable job on the hand, checked in with me like I was his mom, and babied me along the rocky road of recovery.

I had two large pins holding my hand together as it was nicely cast. I thought I’d sail through the recovery. After all, I’ve given birth, had a hysterectomy, survived 2 major foot surgeries, and a root canal. It would be pretty hard to knock this old broad down with a simple hand pinning. I laughed at the thought.

The real laughter came soon after as I began to cope with the inability to do much of anything for myself.

The funniest times had to be watching Steven struggle to put my bra on for me. I noticed the beads of sweat glide down his forehead. Clearly he was no match for a one clip frontal bra. His face would begin to redden as he would whisper to me not to panic. All I could feel was pity. For him and for myself.

After about two weeks he got the hang of it. Only twice did he cuss and once grumble aloud how he would never understand how I was able to “contain” them on a daily basis and how his fear was that he would lose an eye. Awesome.

That was just the tip of the iceberg. He struggled to learn how to take care of a grown woman who could not open a jar, cut her own meat, dress herself, shave her armpits, or fix her hair.

I struggled to let things go and learned that it was not the end of the world to walk around with one hairy armpit, eat my meat with my hand, forgo fashion opting to wear stretch pants for weeks, and sport curly and unruly hair.

Life in the slow lane was challenging.

Leaving the cap off my toothpaste was lifesaving. Learning how to roll out toilet paper with one hand, hold it with my elbow as I tore it off with the other was epic. And meeting my new neighbors as I appeared at their front door in my pajamas with a can of dog food asking if they could open it for me was humbling.

At first I resented my neediness and tried to power through, resisting help. Stubbornness is a blessing and a curse. Once I accepted my fate and looked into the face of the man who was standing by me, I got it. This was my time to lean in, to trust and to let go.

After that, there were dozens of laughs throughout the weeks, lots of naps, boredom, pain meds, old movies with a cat on my lap and a dog by my side, and ice cream. Lots of ice cream.

The cast just recently came off, and as Dr. McDreamy promised, my hand will be better than new. A good doctor/surgeon is worth his weight in gold. Especially one who texts you to see how you are doing. I wish all docs were as fabulous as this guy! 

I come out of my self-imposed reclusiveness a much smarter woman (hard to believe, right?). Trusting, letting go, leaning in; are all things I have never been good at. Truth is, I’ve never really had anyone in my life that allowed me the privilege.

I do now. And I’m keeping him.

The fiancé and the surgeon!



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mel glenn - Dear Tammy,
I was wondering what happened to you; now I know.
What is remarkable to me (who faces some medical issues of my own,) is your remarkable sense of humor. You must have been in pain, but you were able to see the “up” side of this experience.
Also, you saw you were not alone and were able to trust a valued partner. All the kudos go to you.

Evette Goldstein - YIKES! Glad everything turned out so well!

T.O. Weller - Welcome back Tammy!!

I can’t help but feel empathy pains when I look at those photos and yet, not once do you mention the pain.(Isn’t it great when you find guys that are actually keepers?!?)

I was also checking the BAM conference schedule this morning and there you were! Can’t wait to see you in person. 🙂

Gail Mills - What a story…I was wondering what happened to you. Missed your humous insights regarding life and things. Happy to hear you are doing well now! Looking forward to your… Witty. Words of Wisdom.

Hope Drahos - I loved this one — especially picturing Steven saying he feared losing an eye 🙂 Love, devotion and humor. You have it all <3 <3 <3

Kaye Curren - Tammy! You’re back. I missed you! I kept saying, “Where is Tammy?” I hope she’s all right.
Love this blog post. You have learned to lean, and Steven has learned to step up.

Melanie Kissell - Gotta hand it to you (pun intended)! 😉 You’re a trooper, Tammy. XO

Betsy Cobbs - What an experience! You certainly prove the old adage about humor being the best medicine! Loved this post. Glad that it all turned out well and that you gave in to accepting help. And that you had such a super doctor!! Welcome back!

Marilyn Tichauer - OUCH!!

Tammy - No kidding! It was a super ouch for a while. But I’m on the home stretch! xo

Tammy - Hi Gail, so happy to have been missed! Am on the mend and will get back to my regularly scheduled random rants. So happy to know you will be on the other side. Thanks for that.

Tammy - Hi Mel, I’ve missed you! Yup, there was a lot of pain. Much more than I anticipated. I marvel at the technology and the genius of my surgeon. There were plenty of down sides but they all seemed to be pretty funny when you live them. But the big payoff is a new hand and a man that I have learned is very “leanable”. How wonderful is that?!

Tammy - Hi T.O., yup, it will be such fun to present at BAM. Vegas, baby! I never looked at those pictures until everything was out of me and I was over the hard spots. If I saw the extent of it, it would have freaked me out more. It was uber painful at first but when faced with either laughing or crying….I’ll choose a giggle ever single time. Looking forward to meeting you IRL!!

Barbara Hammond - Bless you both! I’m a terrible ‘patient’ and I understand the frustration. This looks really painful, but you look beautiful. Happy healing!

Kathy Gottberg - Congratulations on your new hand. Not a fun trip to get there for sure but I’ll bet it will be so worth it when you are all recovered. Plus, isn’t it awesome to see how much our sweeties love us? I think you are going to BAM in April right? Look forward to meeting you in person. ~Kathy

Lisa at Grandma's Briefs - The letting go and letting someone else do it is hard, hard, hard. Congrats to you for managing it. And figuring out how to best manage your toilet paper. The hubby-to-be AND the hand surgeon sound fabulous. You’re clearly in safe hands on both fronts.

Continued healing thoughts headed your way as you reach the point of better than ever!

Laura Lee Carter - LOL Tammy! Now you see why I did my M.A. thesis are the fine art of asking for help…we’ll all be needing this skill sooner or later!

Tammy - No kidding, Lisa. Super hard! At least it was for me. Creativity was the name of the recuperation efforts. Tough business being so unable to care for yourself. Tough on both of us. But we mostly laughed our way through it and he was pretty damn amazing. There is medal for this man somewhere!

Mary La Fornara Gutierrez - I’m so glad you are felling better. Seems like hand surgeries are a thing for me right now. Handsome is have both of his hands CT done in one surgery and I need a fatty deposit taken off of my right wrist. I just haven’t found a surgeon I like. I think I’m going to give yours a call. Your post came at the perfect time! I’m glad you had someone wonderful to take care of you.

Tam Warner Minton - Oh, that looks really painful! UGH. I hope I never have anything happen to my hands!

Haralee Weintraub - Glad you are on the mend! Icecream is truly a healing potion!

Terri Quenzer - Great story Tammy! Hopefully you are right-handed? If so, that’s a blessing and things could have been even worse (LOL)! I’m glad you are on the road to recovery and have two such great guys to help you get there!!! : )

Lee Lefton - Geez, Tammy,

That sounds like one huge ordeal! Mostly for Steve 🙂 Glad you’re back in business, though, as I’m sure he is.

Anne is having total knee replacement on Monday so yours truly will be handling all of the cooking (which I do already), chores, chaufferuing, etc. for at least a month and maybe longer.
I can’t wait.

And I thought retirement was going to be easy….

Jeffrey Davidson - Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Cheryl Nicholl - I’m on my way to my second hand surgery for carpool goddess surgery ( correct spelling btw)’ I love it when I can manufacture an emergency that forces me to shut-down and be served by the minions. You should think yourself lucky!

Tammy - Thank you, Mary. Hand surgery was a bit more than I expected. Our extremities are very sensitive. I’m sorry to hear your pending issues. Keep your sense of humor and a stash of chocolate with you at all times. I highly recommend Dr. Glenn Cohen. His specialty is hands/wrist/elbow. Truth is, I traveled 300 miles to see him and I’d do it again. Yes, he is THAT good. Take care of you and keep me posted on how you are doing!!

Tammy - It has been a bit of a bitch, Tam. I hope you NEVER have any problems with your hands. We just don’t realize how much we depend on them for damn near everything. Be well!!

Tammy - You bet it is, Haralee! Comfort food is highly under rated. So glad you enjoyed the read. Ever so happy to have you here!

Tammy - I so agree, Terri, it could have been worse had it been my right hand. Something tells me I will find out before this life is over, as I feel the similar pain in my good hand growing. Oh, woe is me! I will put it off for as long as I can. Having these two fabulous guys in my corner has just made my life that much better!

Tammy - Lee! An ordeal it has been, my friend. NOT awesome. I’m mortified to hear of Anne’s pending surgery. Good news is that it is so common these days…a slam dunk, as they say. 3-4 days in the hospital and you are walking around like an athlete. You are SO right, Lee, it is the caregivers that do all the work. God bless you! Steven saved me, in more ways than one. I am beyond happy that you both have each other. Blessings like that are rare. Love to you and to beautiful Anne. Retirement? What the hell is that, anyway?

Tammy - Cheryl, I had carpal tunnel surgery last year on my right hand. It was a cake walk. I expected this to be as well. Truth is, it kicked my butt big time. I was rendered completely incapable of so much, and the pain was extreme. Hard for a controlling little busy body like me. I don’t have minions (can I borrow them next time?) but I was waited on hand and foot. And, yes, I consider myself extremely lucky! Thanks for being here!

Angela Douglas Mager - You have learned some valuable life lessons with this ordeal, for sure. And, so has Steven!

Carol Cassara - Girl, you have the life! These stories just had me rolling in my chair, practically, anyway. Steve and the bra is a classic!

Nancy Hill - OMG. Hilarious and enlightening post. I really loved the part about the pajamas, neighbors and can of dogfood. Classic example of what we will do for our furbabies. Reading the bra story, I kept hearing the line from A Christmas Story, “You’ll put your eye out!” Glad you are getting better!

Estelle Sobel Erasmus - Oh dear. So sorry you had to go through that. At least you have a great support system!

Lois Alter Mark - Oy. So glad you’re back and glad your hand will be as good as new. Looking forward to you using it to keep writing!

Helene Cohen Bludman - Oh my goodness, Tammy! The visual of Steven losing an eye is priceless. Thanks for the laughs, but I hope your hand is back in action soon!

Linda Lichtman - Just found this fabulous post…just in time…letting go are you? I’m presently being weaned off of sleep meds so even putting one foot in front of another is challenging…Letting go turns out to be so much easier than the fight of holding on…so glad you’re on the good side of healing…I’m hugging you…

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