Sunday, March 21, 2010

Almost There

The other night I was talking to Marina about a reoccurring dream that I've been having lately. A long stretch of road and I'm running. No cars, no one else there, just me. And I'm running. Sometimes there's music a'la Yann Tiersen. And sometimes there is only the sound of my rhythmic breathing, patterned to my running steps. I've worked on that pattern for years. I miss it. So the road is long and seems to go on forever, much like my ankle injury which came to be 6 months and 6 days ago. But now there's end in sight. Finally.

It's been 3 weeks since my last (and only) surgery and these are my updates:

Update #1: This still sucks. And it's still depressing. I'm on the road to recovery, I know this. But until I reach 'recovery', this road still kinda sucks.

Update #2: Good news - I'm outta the cast! This was exciting for me as I went in for my 2-week post-op appointment knowing that I would have sweet freedom from that 30 pound (or so it felt) plaster beast upon my leg. It was itchy and uncomfortable and I longed for a day where my showers/baths could be solo missions and trash bag-free. No offense Mom and Kev, you guys did bang-up jobs in that department, but still.

Update #3: Bad News - I was sentenced to 4 MORE WEEKS ON THESE EFFING CRUTCHES. Talk about deflating. I knew going into the appointment that I would get my old friend the boot back but I guess I'd envisioned the whole cast-liberation a little differently than it actually went down.

Here's what I'd envisioned: Cast is removed. Doctors and nurses 'oh' and 'ah' at my miraculous recovery. I carefully swing my feet to the floor, everyone holds there breath as I stand and find my balance. Then, a collective sigh of relief as I take slow but steady steps across the hospital floor. There might even be bright lights shining and music playing. Is that a choir I hear? Al-leluia! Cue applause. Then, scene.

And here's how it really went down: Cast is removed. 'Who's skinny little leg is that?' I wonder. The atrophy was shocking to a woman who spent half her life playing soccer and has the legs (leg) to prove it. Sutures removed - ouch! Doc Lehman starts talking about the little daily exercises I need to do to build mobility back up but I'm distracted by the lack of mobility that I currently have, not to mention the hair growth that has amassed - gross. I tune back in when talks turn to the boot, wear it at all times, no weight on the foot, 4 more weeks, crutches.... huh? Wha? 4 more what on what? 'Oh, didn't I tell you after the surgery?' I tell him that he could have told me a lot of things but unless it was tattooed on my hand I would not have remembered. Fug.

The explanation: I did a really good job at making things worse for myself over the course of 6 months. There, I said it. But I gotta say, part of it was doc's orders. Or physical therapist's orders. After doing some time on crutches at the outset, I was told to get off of them and start to use my foot, build the strength back up. Me thinks I took it too far. My excuse - I have 2 physically demanding jobs. And I'm stubborn bordering on foolish at times. In addition to the ligament damage, I acquired a lot of scar tissue, joint damage and cartilage gone MIA. As a result they ended up having to scrape the ever-loving heck out of my ankle, clearing out the cartilage and what-not. Thus, staying off the ankle until said cartilage has time to regenerate - cool.

Wanna look inside my ankle?
Above left and right, silky smooth plains of how the cartilage and joints should look.

The icky clumpy cartilage on the above right has been removed in above left.

'Floating cartilage' above left is being removed in above right.

What lies ahead: 19 days. I've got some nice callouses rocking under my armpits just in time for tank top weather. I'm sucking it up and behaving, staying off my foot, doing my exercises like a good little patient. I fall on occasion - storm doors are my enemy. And when I find myself starting to fall I've learned to just go with it and not attempt to use my foot to regain balance because I've tried that and it just doesn't work. It's left me with some unsavory bruises here and there, but not where anyone will see them. My porch is also on the mend and I suspect that that, coupled with the glory of spring (when it finally decides to arrive and stay) will aid greatly to my healing process. And then, yoga.

Yes, there are indeed brighter days ahead. And until then, I have excellent friends, neighbors, and family to whom I will be forever grateful. You have shown me much care, patience, and fun even.

Thank you so much, I am lucky to have you.

No comments: