Injury Timeline

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The FrankenFoot Strikes Back

I've been so busy with the holidays these past couple of weeks, I wasn't able to blog last week!  But, all of the presents are wrapped, dinner is served, and the house is clean, and I found myself with some time to blog on Christmas Eve.  Wahoo!

I had surgery 9 days ago, on December 15th, to remove the remainder of my temporary hardware, which ended up being two screws.  I've done this surgery twice now, so it almost felt routine.  I called and got my surgery time the day before, which was 1:00 again.  The exact same time as the last surgery.  I was disappointed because it was so late in the day, and I was pretty miserable last time, since I'm not allowed to eat past midnight.  I asked the doctor's office, and they said that he liked to schedule the easier surgeries later in the day because he has a tendency to get behind on some of the harder surgeries.  And even though I was coming in pretty late at 1:00, I wasn't the last surgery for the day  That poor, poor soul behind me.

As I was getting ready the morning of surgery, at about 10:00, TOSH called me and wanted me to come in right away for surgery because there was an opening on the schedule.  They asked how long I'd be, and I'd told them about a half hour, just long enough to drive to the surgical center.  I scrambled to get dressed and get my stuff together.  As we were walking out the door, my phone rang again and I saw it was the doctor's office.  The nurse explained that there was a change and they would no longer need me to come in early, so I should just come at my regularly scheduled time of 1:00.  Dammit!  I'd had my hopes up of getting done early only to be smashed into little pieces.

So, I waited..and waited, and finally went to the hospital to check-in for surgery at 1.  Same routine at always, as soon as I was taken back, the nurse took a set of vitals, I changed into my sexy hospital drape, and gave a urine sample to prove I wasn't pregnant and was OK for surgery.  I met a flurry of nurses and doctors, had my IV started with liquid tylenol, and gave my name and birthdate about a dozen times.  Luckily my admitting nurse, who went over my medication history with me, knew what a NuvaRing was so I was saved of that embarrassing conversation this time.  I finally got to see Dr. Van Boerum right before surgery.  He wrote a YES on my right foot, and then started explaining to me how he has a set of tools and all kinds of gadgets to get my screws removed.  He totally creeped me out again....please just take my screws out; I don't need to know the details!  They were also letting me take home my screws this time!  The hospital didn't allow me to take home my pins from my last surgery because they were too sharp and were a liability.  Whatever.  

The last person I saw before surgery was my anesthesiologist a little after 3.  Instead of being hauled in a wheelchair, I walked by myself back to the surgery room!  It was cold.  I hopped up on the table.  They put a warm blanket on me.  I heard someone say that in 10 or 15 seconds I would be sleepy.  I was then waking up in the recovery room.  When I woke up from the last surgery, I had zero pain, but lots of anxiety thanks to a huge shot of morphine.  This time, when I woke up, no anxiety, but a pain level of about 4 - totally manageable.  I also could immediately feel relief in my foot from where the screws had been, no more pinching or pressure.  My recovery nurse gave me some ice water and honey graham crackers.  They both tasted amazing.  Shortly after, Nate and my mom joined me in the recovery room.  I felt nice and relaxed, and was quickly cleared to go home.  I laced up ye olde walking boot and started to get up and walk out. But, the nurse chased me down, made me get in the wheelchair and took me out to the parking lot.

There was a lot more pain and discomfort with this round of surgery than I expected with the next few days that followed.  Removing the screws is a little more involved than removing the pins.  My incisions are bigger, and my foot/tendons/bones were a lot sorer than last time.  I needed to take more pain medication than I wanted to or thought that I would need.  That led to the uncomfortable side effect of opioids on the digestive system. I finally started to feel better about 5 days after surgery.

One thing I didn't the surgery stop me from doing, was seeing Star Wars on opening night!  I had all of these grand plans to dress up as a sith version of Ahsoka Tano.  But, quite frankly, I felt miserable and taking a shower and getting myself ready completely exhausted me.  The thought of trying to put on a costume and paint my face seemed too daunting.  So, I didn't end up going in costume.  I was disappointed about that, and wish I'd felt better that night for the movie.  I still went though, and it was AWESOME and I am so glad that I went, even doped up on various pills, in a boot, and in some nagging pain.   I actually have seen it 2 times since, when I was feeling better!  And Rey.  She.  Is.  Amazing.    She is such a strong female character.  She inspires me to be a bad ass.  Cool girls don't look at explosions.

I will go back in to the doctor next week to get my stitches removed.  I was told not to remove my dressing until I saw the doctor again, but, full disclosure, I took it off already.  It was fraying, getting snagged on my boot, and there was no way that it was going to stay on for two weeks.  I've been in the boot during my waking hours ever since surgery, mainly to protect my incisions.  It's such a bummer since I've been used to walking in my tennis shoes for the last month.  But, once I see the doctor, I can swear off the boot for good!  Trumpy (my scooter) was placed in his final resting place this weekend.  The basement.  He was a good scooter and served me well.  

As for the hardware, this is what was inside my foot for 5 months.  Of what they let me take home anyway.  Just touching it and feeling it makes it hard to believe that this piece of metal was actually inside of me.  No wonder it was so painful.  I'm glad to be rid of it!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Getting Better

Last post, I was really frustrated with things.

This week, I feel a lot better.

I am definitely progressing and getting better at walking, and the pain is getting better as well.  I'm still not walking as fast I'd like to, but I can go a lot farther distances before I get uncomfortable, and it doesn't seem quite as daunting.  It still takes me a little bit to get going in the morning before my foot seems to "warm up" or after sitting for a long time.  Walking is starting to feel a bit more natural, but I still have a limp and I still can't roll from heel to toe in one fluid motion quite yet.  Balance is getting much better, especially after my last physical therapy session.  I've been doing squats on uneven ground, which translates into a set of discs (or pancakes), or a bosu ball or even two pillows.  I was really wobbly the first day but as each day goes by I am getting better at it, and sometimes I don't even need to hold on!

A couple of exciting (but little) things happened this week, too!  First, I was able to stand up for the entire duration of my shower.  I had a simple solution - I just moved my anti-slip mat into the shower stall and it gave me enough of the grip my right foot needed to feel steady.  So now I shower, and shave, like a normal person again!  There have also started to be moments where I am not actively thinking about my foot.  I found myself making dinner, going back and forth from the island, to the stove, to the fridge and I stopped in the middle of it, realizing I'd completely forgotten about the old foot.  It's almost like it was normal again.  That made me really happy, because ever since my injury, every time I was up moving around, or even moving in general, or trying to get comfortable on the couch, I was thinking about my foot.  Always conscious of it.  To have moments where I'm not even thinking about it, is amazing.

As I'm getting more active, however, the pain in my left side is roaring up again.  Most specifically in my hip and left thigh.  Time will tell if this is really something to worry about, or just a side effect of starting to use my muscles normally again.

I am going in for surgery on Tuesday the 15th for my final procedure to remove hardware.  I am pre-registered and ready to go!  I'm looking forward to having those screws GONE!  I called super early this time for surgery, hoping that it improves my chances of getting an earlier time.  I'm not sure that it matters, but I gave it a shot.  Not eating until 6PM the next day was not a pleasant experience and one I'd rather not have again.  I'll know the night before what time I'm expected to arrive at TOSH.

Other than the surgery, I have a couple of things to look forward to next week!  My last day working in 2015 is December 11th, then I am out on medical and paid time off until January.  I will have a nice long vacation to recover, relax, and enjoy the holidays with family.  Nate and I are going in for a delayed-anniversary couples massage on Sunday before my surgery, which I am very excited about.  They need to get in there.... DEEP.  Well, everywhere but my right foot of course!

And the thing I'm most looking forward to.....STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS!  I am going at 1 AM to see it in 3D IMAX on opening night.  I've been prepping with marathons of Episodes 1-6, all 6 seasons of The Clone Wars, the Star Wars Holiday Special, Fanboys, and the 2 new seasons of Star Wars Rebels.  I have a costume planned, however, it might not pan out because of stricter costume policies for movie theaters due to all of the recent events.  Which may or may not include face paint.  So much for my imagining of Ahsoka Tano as a young Sith apprentice!  I'll at least be able to pull off some leg bio-mechanics for a costume... since I'll be back in my boot (and most likely still doped up on pain meds) for the movie.  The anesthesia makes me incredibly emotional... so misa don't wanna see important character peoples that are gonna die.  Unless that includes Jar Jar.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


K, so, always, ALWAYS when I post about how great my foot is feeling, I end up putting my foot in my mouth!  That was a metaphor.  

I'm feeling emotional and frustrated, so boom, blog post!

Monday was my first day back from holiday vacation and the first time I was walking around the office boot free.  I work in a building that has 25 acres of property and is 395,000 square feet.  It is a BIG jump from walking around the house, to walking around this gigantic building.  The walk from the parking lot to my desk is at least a 10 minute hoof, and I no longer have my handicap pass.  It was about 20 degrees on Monday morning walking in.  I was trying to walk as fast as I could to get inside the building as quickly as possible, but my "fast" walk is a meager saunter by normal standards.  So, that was really frustrating.  My mind wanted to go faster, my body was trying to push me faster, but my foot wouldn't cooperate.  People were passing me left and right, and going around me, and I just felt defeated.  Then I make my way to the elevator, cram in with 8 different people, and I'm the only one going to the 2nd floor.  I know people are thinking that I'm lazy and should just take the stairs, mostly by people's reaction when we have to make a stop at 2.  So I do my little walk hobble of shame to my desk, exhausted.  I finally get to start my work day!  But everything seems so......far.  Going to the bathroom, running back and forth between meetings, going to the gym, getting lunch and coffee from the cafeteria, then the walk back out to the car.  I got about 7,000 steps according to my fitness tracker.

The foot felt fine yesterday, and last night, pain free.  I was just mainly frustrated because it takes a long time to get from point A to point B, but Rome wasn't built in a day and neither are shattered navicular bones.  Then, I woke up this morning.  I usually have soreness and stiffness when I first wake up, but I was really sore.  And it didn't really go away after I walked around and got ready for work.  Nate told me that I should wear the boot to work, but, I'm viciously stubborn and there was no way that I was doing that.  He was sweet, despite my stubbornness, and dropped me off at the front door of my office so I only had to walk part of the way.  Despite the violent protesting that occurred inside our vehicle about him doing so.

I thought finally walking would be the cure for everything.  It isn't.  Yes, I'm walking around in shoes (well just the one pair that I can so it does offer some interesting fashion choices...whatever..) and I'm so so so so happy about that.  But on the other hand, I'm still a long way off from being 100% again, or at least close enough.  I injured myself over 5 months ago.  I spent 115 days not walking at all.  I started walking with 25% of my weight in October with a boot in crutches.  I weaned to 1 crutch after 3 weeks, then just the boot for 3 more.  I'm finally out of the boot, but how much longer is this recovery going to take?  It feels so long.  Never ending.  There was always a milestone to look forward to:  getting my splint off and into a cast, out of the cast and into the boot, removal of my pins, weight bearing with crutches, no crutches, weaning out of the boot, walking in shoes.  Now, there's just one more milestone left and that is the surgery to remove my screws.  Granted, they've been causing me a lot of pain, and I'm optimistic that my pain and walking will improve once they are gone.  I also will be slapped back into the book for a few weeks after surgery, and that feels like a set back.  But, after the screws are gone, then what?  What's the next milestone to look forward to?  When will my limp go away? When is it going to be as good as it gets?