"Oh my God, sissy, are you alright?"
Someone called from far away. I sleepily and slowly opened my eyelids. I had been dreaming of something warm and fuzzy, what had it been? Now I couldn't remember. As I opened my eyes to the bright white lights of the hospital, I remembered where I was. Was the operation over with already?
"Sweetie, you fainted". That was definitely my mom, standing by my side with a worried look on her face. She had her cool hand on my sweaty forehead. I burst into tears. This was too much for me, the first needle to numb my hand where the IV were to go had hurt enough, I hadn't had anything to eat or drink since the evening before, and now they would have to stab me with another IV because when I had fainted, I started shaking and pulled the first one out.
The nurse was flustered, I was crying and telling my mom I was scared like a three year-old, and even with my eyes glued shut I could tell there were about twelve people in my claustrophobic curtained hospital room. My dad was trying to make silly jokes so I could relax, the doctor told me not to worry; even football players passed out sometimes. The anesthesiologist assured me that I had the best nurse for the job.
Before I knew it, I was being rolled to another private room by a nurse with a soothing voice. I was groggy and felt like puking. She patiently did her nurse stuff, putzing around, as I came and went, trying to unbury myself from the load of anesthesia. Now the surgery really was done. I was still hooked up to the IV but couldn't look at it, and as long as I didn't look at it or think about it too much I could remain in a silent, peaceful denial that it existed at all. It took me about two hours to completely come-to and be escorted out of the hospital. My leg had been covered in betodine, marked with Dr. P's initials, bandaged tightly and sealed with a full-leg itchy foam stabilizer.
I felt disgusting. Sitting with my leg up in the backseat of our Honda Fit on the way home, all I wanted to do is lie down in my own bed. The bumps and jerks of the car made me want to throw up. My world was still spinning, I was hot and cold at the same time. When we finally reached home, I was in such a state, with such an unexpected pain in my knee that it shot up and down my leg. Even my other leg was sympathetic. After miraculously heaving myself up the stairs and crying that all I wanted was my bed, I made it.
That was one week ago today. Day by day there have been small improvements: it was humiliating the first few days not being able to go to the bathroom by myself, I couldn't take a shower until Sunday (24 hours after bleeding stopped), I couldn't even stand up without feeling dizzy. Now I'm able to hang my knee over the bed, assist lifting my leg using my other foot, and my physical therapist is happy with my progress. I realized I'm more determined and positive than I thought; although I was excited (strange word, I know, but I never wanted to feel anything like this pain ever again) for the operation, I was scared. A four month-plus recovery is a long time for an active person like me. We don't realize how much we take things like being able to walk and move around for granted. How when we lose that ability, we rely on other people to help us with mundane tasks.
Now that it's been almost a month since I tore my meniscus, and a week since I got it repaired, I am hopeful. This couldn't have come at a better time, and God knew it. I am thankful for this surgery and hope it cures a 10-year problem I've had going on with my knee. And although I feel a little useless sometimes and miss being active (and baking!), I won't lie, I'm enjoying eating some of my favorite American food, watching movies, reading books, taking naps, feeling relaxed, spending time with family, and obsesive-compulsively checking my growing list of favorite food blogs.
So today I have created a summer recipe round-up for YOU! I figure I've been bookmarking a few hundred recipes a day (I'm now up to 7196 on Delicious), and because I can't cook, bake, or actively enjoy those things, I am living vicariously through beautiful food photography and descriptive writing. Here are a *few* of my latest favorites I've bookmarked for summer… enjoy!
1. Peach vanilla cream pops by bon appétit
2. Grilled Eggplant Naan wraps with tahini-yogurt dressing from My Recipes
3. Guava and cream cheese french toast by Bitchin' Camero... a lovely combination of flavors.
4. Grilled tofu and pepper vegetarian tacos from Herbivoracious... what an awesome vegetarian summer eat!
5. No-bake southern pralines by the Kitchn. You know this is my favorite food website, and this makes me love them even more!
6. Roasted potatoes with sea salt and thyme by Angie's Recipes. Sounds like an awesome side dish for a barbecue if you ask me!
7. Spinach and tofu dumplings by Food and Wine. I'm kind of addicted to tofu... how cute are these?
8. Strawberry milk whoopie pies by Sprinkle Bakes. Probably the most beautiful whoopie pies I've ever seen.
9. Peppermint ice cream by My Recipes. The epitome of refreshing summer desserts, and pretty too!
10. Lemon raspberry creme brûlée from Technicolor Kitchen. I adore raspberries, and a rich dessert like this one.
11. Roasted red pepper hummus by Good Life Eats. Perfect for a summery evening, alone or with friends.
12. Strawberry white chocolate mousse crêpes by Evil Shenanigans. Good for way too many reasons to list.
13. Horchata! By David Lebovitz. I'm obsessed.
14. Mozza and tomato skewers with basil oil from the Kitchn. Food on a stick is the new thing, and these are way too cute and yummy-looking, perfect for an outdoor meal on the deck, or for entertaining.
15. Blueberry pie ice cream from She Wears Many Hats. Blueberries are my favorite food in the world. Blueberry pie is amazing, and this ice cream looks to-die-for.
16. Praline butter cake with caramel drizzle by Family Kitchen. I need some, now.
17. Homemade iced chai tea latte by Big Girls Small Kitchen. I'm in love!
18. Parmesan stuffed tomatoes by The Pastry Affair. Great for a light summer meal.
19. Stuffed squash blossoms with ricotta and herbs by Bell'alimento. These look like they're fresh and full of flavor!
20. Simple roasted apricots with honey mascarpone by Joy the Baker. I drool. I admit I think I've never tried fresh apricots, but I know I would love them.
21. Chocolate covered smore's pops by Love from the Oven. Another food on a stick, and, although the smore's fad is getting a little old, I have a weak spot for these ones.
22. Three berry salad with sugared almonds by Recipe Girl. I'm a sucker for dolled-up salads, especially with fruit and nuts!
23. Cinnamon sugar radish chips by Add a Pinch. Sounds weird. I need to try these.
24. Pesto pasta salad by My Recipes. It wouldn't be summer without a cool pasta salad recipe!
25. Croissant french toast by food52. So grown up and classy.
26. Berries and cream pavlova by Cherry Tea Cakes. Dying to have a bite of this...
27. Italian sodas by Sugar and Charm. I'm not generally a fan of fizzy drinks, but these creamy ones won me over.
28. Stuffed mushrooms by Saveur. Although a tad bit laborious for a hot day, these are a perfect nibble for entertaining, and full of flavor.
29. Homemade peach-chipotle gummy bears by The Nature of Grace. Homemade gummy bears? I'm psyched!
30. Pesto portobello burgers by Fast Food. Yes please.
31. Reinvented whoopie pies by Gilt Taste. I know, whoopie pies aren't exactly... summery. But I had to add these.
32. Blueberry yogurt multigrain pancakes by Smitten Kitchen. So fluffy and blueberry-y.
33. Saltwater taffy by Coconut & Lime. Reminds me of the Cape.
34. Homemade frozen lemonade by the Kitchn. The definition of refreshing.
Happy summer to all!