a creative approach to recuperation

Here's how I kept myself occupied during the first two weeks after foot surgery, where I had to keep my foot elevated 23/7 for two weeks straight.

5x8" watercolor moleskine {digitally altered to add background} 

This is going to be a little different than my typical posts. thank you for indulging my tangential topic today. Then we'll be back to art. 

I'm 3 weeks out from my foot surgery and can look back with more objectivity at the first two weeks.  I've been thinking about how art & creative thinking have helped me get through this challenging period. This would be relevant to many types of surgery where you must rest but can still think clearly and maybe write/draw/type part of each day. 

Days leading up to foot surgery. 

  1. Prepped a rolling cart with journals, pens, a bunch of Sudoku puzzles, the iPad, water, a check-list of medications, fresh clothing, TIVO remote, etc. because I would need to use that as a base of operations. It could be wheeled to a different room if needed. Added a stack of books, including fiction and art books. Set up a phone and iPad charger within reach. I didn't have to stay overnight in the hospital, but if I had, these would also be good things to bring along.
  2. Strategized Food/Laundry/Errands. Made sure that we had food & snacks. Taught the kids how to make a food plan for the week {bkfst, lunch, dinner} and how to turn that into a shopping list. Taught my older daughter {15} how to make several meals including oatmeal with blueberries, 9-layer dip, taco salad and baked potatoes with toppings. Taught my younger daughter {13} how to do the laundry. My husband was already a master of the espresso machine. I wrote instructions for my favorite noodle soup {which he's now made about 15 times}. He handled pretty much everything, from driving the kids to school to grocery shopping. What a superstar!
  3. Developed a list of ideas, things to do as recovery progressed, when I could actually contemplate a computer screen or sit at a table or walk around the house. This included backing up a hard drive and transferring stuff from our old desktop to the new desktop. Finishing the written part of a workshop. Revamping a huge spreadsheet where I track orders for art journal prompt cards. Recorded TV shows to watch on TIVO {I didn't watch any for awhile before the surgery so had a bunch}.
  4. Stressed out. Seriously. Total stress case. It's amazing that items #1-#3 were accomplished, given how stressed out I was.

Day of surgery. 

  1. Brought a journal and two pens {first rule of doodle club, always have a journal and two black pens} with me. As mentioned in an earlier post, I brought a new journal because I would be less upset about losing a fairly blank journal. 
  2. My plan was to focus on drawing lines, patterns & words. I figured that I would have at least an hour of waiting;Drew in the pre-op room until the very last moment, when I had to put the journal away and give up my glasses. 

Post-Op Discomfort/Wooziness.

  1. Drew in my journal and did Sudoku, etc. When I wanted to focus on something. 
  2. Watched TIVO and listened to audiobooks. When I didn't want to focus on anything.
  3. The pain and the pain meds kept me awake the first few nights. Sleeping was also difficult because I had to keep this bulky boot on and keep my foot elevated. And pain meds basically suck. Drawing was not enough distraction so I played Angry Birds on the iPad. Art is great and all, but sometimes you need more ammunition. Angry Birds is surprisingly effective. Plus instagram. 
  4. Talenti Belgian Chocolate Gelato.

To distract my mind from bandage changes and stitch removal: I put on headphones and listened to music! I listened, it pinched, and it was over. 

So in two weeks, while shipwrecked in the house:

a) Watched the entire 11th season of Grey's Anatomy, 10 Dog Whisperers, every episode of Better Call Saul and a handful of Big Bang Theories. Listened to Moonraker by Ian Fleming on Audible. Read Map Art Lab by Jill Berry {fun map projects}.
b) Played 47⅔ games of hard and a few evil but not fiendish Sudoku. Worked with DD15 to comprehend evil strategies like swordfish. But they still escape me.
c) Backed up one hard drive [Side note, if you have both Macs and Windows machines like we do, this portable LaCie external hard drive is awesome. I liked my first one so much I bought another.]
d) Edited the tutorial video shot a few weeks ago for Tangent #15: Stamp Carving
e) Posted a bunch of photos to instagram.
f) Put the finishing touches on the written portion of my 21 Secrets Workshop, Crossroads!
g) Doodled. More about that in Elevated Doodles.
h) Made a bunch of new Daisy Yellow blog badges.