Marge-FenelonI had foot surgery a couple of weeks ago to relieve a condition that had become a major nuisance. Let’s just say it was crimping my style, not to mention turning me into a nasty ogre whenever it would act up. I tried ignoring it. That didn’t work. I tried a variety of home remedies. They didn’t work. So, I decided to let the surgeon take a stab at it, literally.

He prepared me quite well for the procedure, explaining every detail and telling me what to expect on the day of surgery. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was being laid up during the recovery process. I’ve discovered that I’m not a very patient patient. I know now that it’s much easier to be the caregiver than the care recipient. Whew. I’ll take waiting hand and foot (pun intended) on someone else any day.

The first day after the surgery, I was on pain medications and completely out of it. The second day was kinda fun, especially since my darling husband brought me chocolates and flowers and let me pick anything I wanted for supper.

The meds took away my appetite, so that was a fairly easy choice, but nonetheless it was fun playing Queen and having the privilege to choose without the consequences of preparation and cleanup. The third day I started feeling like a slough-off and it’s been downhill since.

Things are getting serious. The day before yesterday, I had an uncontrollable urge to sweep the stairways. Yesterday, I found myself yearning to scrub the toilets. Today, I was moping about mopping – or my lack thereof. At this point, even snow shoveling sounds inviting.

Here’s the weirdest part. For a month I’d been anticipating the surgery, plotting and planning for all the things I’d finally have time to do while I was immobilized. I’d read volumes of books, scribe belated greeting cards, return overdue phone calls, catch up on writing projects, reconnect with old friends, and wade through those columns of e-mails.

I’d have the luxury to pray slowly and contemplatively. Yuppers, there were all kinds of great things I was going to do now that I was going to have the time to do them. Sure.

Instead, I’ve been spending all my time obsessing about what I can’t do rather than taking advantage of the things I can. I’ve been following my doctor’s orders – for the most part – but can’t resist the temptation to see how far that limit can be pushed. I can be a good girl for a while, resting and elevating and icing my foot, but then I get a surge of impatience and just have to get up and try to do something “normal.” I folded laundry the other day and was certain I’d been airlifted to Seventh Heaven. I paid for it later but, by golly, I’d tackled two whole baskets. Funny, before my surgery I absolutely abhorred doing anything remotely related to laundry folding.

I had to chuckle at myself as St. Paul’s words came to mind: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Rom 7:15) Of course, he was referring to our concupiscence, but it reminded me of how I suddenly developed a taste for the things I used to hate doing, simply because I couldn’t do them.

Isn’t that the way we are? We obsess about the things we can’t do instead of taking advantage of the things we can. We’re not very patient patients.

(Fenelon, a mother of four, and her husband, Mark, belong to St. Anthony Parish, Milwaukee. Visit her Web site.)