Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Be The Best You Can Toad... Or Frog?

I had watched my last netflix* and was wondering what the hell to do next when I caught movement in the corner of my eye. Not another mouse, I hoped. I've been mouse free for several days now. One of the giant beetles that have been crashing around in here? That seemed more likely, as I could now detect a repetitive thumping to the movement. It's been so hot by day that at night I keep my door open well past midnight, hoping to catch and store some cool night air for the next day, albeit with no screen door to serve as bouncer for the unwelcome masses. And the masses abound. Shiny green beetles, dressed for a rave, bumbling heavy set beetles in pinstripes crashing into things and looking for the brandy and cigar crowd, and dragonflies of the night dressed in their delicate diaphanous lace looking for a date with my desk lamp.

But when I looked into the shadows, there was the last thing I'd expected, nor would have even guessed. An adorable prince of a frog, though I doubt he was looking for kisses. More likely a way out. I scooped him up and plopped him in a cup, probably ALSO not what he was looking for. The poor thing was covered in cat fur, a fate unavoidable in my castle. Of course I wanted to keep him; visions of terrariums swam in my head, lush, green, moist sanctuaries for the osmosis clad crowd. I certainly have plenty of food flying around to serve up as delicacies for his type. But hey, wait, I'm a woman in a wheelchair who struggles just to get in and out of her front (and only) door- not exactly his type. Besides, what do I know about keeping amphibians? ( See that right there, I didn't have to try to identify him as frog or toad, though I'm pretty dang sure he, or she, was the former.)

Anyway, I had to rinse him off, so I put a little water in the cup and swirled him around with no regard for his dignity at all. After the dry spin cycle I put a cover over the cup and sat to ponder. While he hopped at the ceiling of his impromptu quarters, I had to strategize. It's only 6 feet from my door to the closest patch of garden. Just six short feet of igneous ( or is it metamorphic? I need to get back in school) scorria the size of misshapen golf balls, hardly wheelchair accessible, or flip flop accessible, for that matter. How to get him to safety?

I formulated a plan. I'd need to go with my crutches, obviously, but that meant no hands free. So how to carry him? I don't have one of those little dog carrier/ purse things, sized for frogs or otherwise. I suppose I could have substituted my purse, but for one thing, it was full, and even if I dumped it out there would be leftover debris to ruin his fresh bath. Besides, my purse hangs just under my arm and I wouldn't want to squish him OMG in my armpit. That would be one crappy way to go. So, and this sounds TERRIBLE, I put him in a plastic ziploc baggie. It was only for two minutes, max. I made sure it was way poofed up like the new packaging alternative to styrofoam peanuts, and put him in the pocket of my hawaiian shirt. I hopped out to the garden, gravel slipping, sliding, and churning on the tiny slope - everything takes on completely different proportions when you're "differently- abled"- and balanced carefully while I gently shook him out into the grass and sleeping flowers.

I made it safely back to my house and hope he made it to his. Kiss or no kiss, likewise with princes, it was a happy ending. Even if it took an hour. I did the best I could, and that's that.

Except it wasn't an ending. I KID YOU NOT, as I was typing this, I happened to see a spot of movement off to my left.
A frog.
This girl needs some bouncers. Not a screen door bouncing off my wounded leg or crashing against my wheelchair. Air conditioning would be good. Haha, nah, I much prefer the sweet fresh summer air. I suppose for now this club is open till last call in autumn.

*Don't get me started on my "insta watch netflix options". The really good stuff is almost always only on disc. The boredom may have surpassed the pain now.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nothin' Exciting To Report

There was an awesome thunderstorm tonight. We even lost power for about 15 minutes, which is rather laughable because back in Cali it would have been at least 4, 6 hours... or days. It was loud and bright and the dogs were terrified (poor things) but at least I know I don't have to worry about my garden getting watered ( my kitties were very brave, Pheonix took a nap while cannons boomed overhead). I spend about 2 or 3 hours outside my door every evening, enjoying the summer breeze and the sunsets, but tonight I had to watch nature's cinema, including hail ( in July!!) from inside.

Oh, here's a gorgeous picture of my foot. It's only about half that swollen now, and it was twice that before this photo. I had a cabbage patch kid foot:

There was something else... but I can't remember so it must not be noteworthy. Yep, like I said, not much happening here. Here's a little something I jotted the other day- please ignore anything that sounds whiny. Pain doesn't make the best narrator.

"My outside enjoyment/ adventures consist of a 20 by 4 foot strip of concrete. I am reading 5 books concurrently. I am writing, drawing, counting hours, stretching out the time, longer every day, pushing the pain back. Testing out my crutches, at which I am currently far from adept. My internet, usually a great source of escapeism, is down, and who knows when the repair man cometh?

Boredom is a competitor for the pain, and the 3rd runner up is the lack of independence. When can I eat? The guilt builds as I bark backseat cooking orders to my mother, captive nurse. She may be more captive by my needs than I am by my wheelchair. It is summer and I am missing it. I can't fill the bird feeder. I can't check my garden. But oh, so negative. Beyond the pain and dependence and - gasp - lack of internet, lol, there are many positives. Some wonderful get well cards, which I hadn't even expected, the bright future of school, and the extreme generosity and help and caregiving."

End quote. It got a little rocky when I got an infection in the incision. WARNING: Gross leg picture! I won't tell you the gory details, and it doesn't matter anyway. I got some antibiotics and everything was A-OK in just two days.

My mom took this picture of me (below), and said, "this is what happens when you have surgery". I thought, what, you turn into a stir crazy lunatic? I think I would make a good poster figure for hospitals across the nation, don't you?

My foot was BIGGER THAN MY HEAD! LOL. Well, it sure felt that way. And I'm still supposed to keep it above my heart. I thought size 10 was big before, whew. Ooooh, wait till you see my boot. The only shoe a girl can wear for a fabulous foot like this. It's very Frankenstein-ian. Maybe it can be a fashion statement- heck, I don't have bolts in my neck but I do have screws in my leg! Oh dear, if one or two get loose, along with this photo, I'm in trouble. Or maybe it's too late already. Cabin fever without even being snowed in.

Must stop rambling, no witty final remark I'm afraid, 'cause like I said... nothin' exciting.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Broken Ankle X-Rays: Post- Op

Some pretty pictures for you!

That is inside of me. That is my new leg. Had my post op review last Friday, and the nurse took off my soft outer cast, slapped a bandage over the staples, and gave me a "walking boot". A torture apparatus hidden by deceptive soft material and velcro straps. When the nurse bent my ankle up to a 90 degree angle to fit in the "boot" (iron maiden for my leg) it didn't hurt much at first- a quick gasp of pain was all for the first 15 minutes. What had hurt worse was the swabbing of my cut and staples, like I suddenly had a million new nerve endings in my leg and even the brush of a downy feather would have made me grit my teeth. But I got my boot, an extremely brief chat with the Doc, about 3 minutes, and then it was off to the payment and checkout counter.

That's when the band started tuning up, stealing my breath and blurring my vision with involuntary leakage. The Snazzy True Blue Screws played a good set that day, but what really got me down was learning that somewhere between 8 and 12 weeks after my surgery ( that's 6 1/2 to 10 1/2 weeks from now) they're going to cut me open again and remove the biggest screw. Apparently if I try to walk with out my special boot I can snap the damn screw, so to be truly ambulatory the biggest screw has got to go. I'll have seven left, lucky number seven.

I can put pressure and some weight on my foot, but I am NOT to walk without the boot until after the screw. I'm mostly still wheelchair bound anyway- my foot is still supposed to stay up as much as possible. Plus my ankle is sprained as well as some big tendon that's torn- I asked the doctor what it was called and he even spelled it out but he talks way too quick. He records his session notes on a little voice recorder, and he speaks so fast I told him he should be an auctioneer. Another doctors visit this friday, when hopefully he isn't running an hour and a half behind schedule so I can get a little more time for detailed info, and then I'll be free of him (hopefully) for 6 to 10 weeks.

Well, thats the boring story and fascinating pictures. Next time I'm putting up pictures of my stapled skin!I I'll chat first so you don't have to scroll down to see them if you don't want to. I ( well actually, my mom) re-bandaged it this morning and I almost lost my breakfast. Oh boy :D!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Broken Ankle X-Rays: Pre-Op

The pictures are from before my surgery, basically just look at the skinny bone. I wish I had an X-Ray of it PRE break to compare, because it doesn't look all that bad to my untrained eye. The story is a direct transcription from "The Broken Ankle Book" in which I keep track of my pills, pain, and travails. The following excerpt is the 30 hour time period encompassing the immediate before, during (obviously was not awake for that) and after hours of my surgery. AND before you get all judgemental, because I am going to be completely honest, I never took the prescribed amount of Hydrocodone (20mg every three hours) because I was trying to be "tough" instead of a "druggie". So if it seems like I took a lot of pills to you, ONE DAY after surgery resulting in EIGHT screws and a plate in my leg... Please do come over and let me take a sledge hammer to your ankle after which we can discuss the merits of painkillers. I mean that with the same purely good intentions as the people who warn me about addictions and tsk tsk at my needing anything stronger than ibuprofen at all. :) Oh, and by the way, while I "censored" the swearing, I said I'd be honest and I meant it.

10:15pm thursday, july 7th
No food allowed after midnight so I ate a huge dinner. No Ibuprofen allowed either so I'm taking 10mg Hydrocodone (HC) instead of 5. Not just because of the Ibu- a mouse just jumped onto my wrapped up ankle and I instictively jerked and twisted my ankle to get it off. Oh S#$^ the pain. Maybe I at least undid any knitting my bones have done in the 3 days since the 3 breaks. Am scared that I am already healing wrong. One hour 15 minutes 'till I cant eat or drink anything but clear liquids. After 9am not even a drop of water allowed.

Surgery is at 3pm but we have to get to hospital by 1. Procedure is an hour and a half and supposedly I can check out by 6pm. HC is not only good pain relief but great for anxiety- I may be getting a plate and screw in my foot (aw, how naive) but I'm not even scared. We'll see how lovely I feel this weekend though, eh? Must note pill count throughout recovery- no addictions for me, betch. (Please watch the "Shoes" video by Kelly on youtube for correct pronunciation and usage of this hilarious word.)

8 am, Friday, July 8th
15mg HC and a gatorade to last me until 6pm. AM SO DAMN HUNGRY ALREADY.

7 pm
Home. 8 screws and a plate in ankle. No food yet. A little sleepy but will eat 1st. Must keep foot above heart for 72 hours- 5pm Monday. :( At least am totally numb from a pain block they gave me and amazingly painless.

10 pm
Numbness fading pain intruding... a lot... taking a 10mg HC and hitting the hay.

11:15 pm
O god the pain sleep impossible taking 15mg HC can feel every screw in bone trying to breathe except then I would cry. O god OW O F@#$ OW O GOD F@#$%

11:45 pm
Still O F@##$% If this monstrous pain doesn't subside in another half hour then F@#$% the rules I'm either having another pill or a F@#$%^& beer. Maybe both.

12:05 am
OK I cried a tiny bit. The HC is making me sleepy, as is the time, and the pain is no longer crying pain. It's as painful as you can get without actually hitting the crying level. It is bite your lip try to breathe pain. It is rub your face because you don't know how much more you can take pain. It is there-is-a-giant-metal-screw-through-my-ankle FOR REAL pain. So what if the HC makes me sleepy because this pain would only let me sleep if I was dead.

12:20 am
OMFG I forgot I can take ibuprofen now ooooh S@#$$. O GOD CRY I can't get to it F@#$%^ me.

12:35 am
OK had to cry for about 10 minutes. Managed to move easy ( haha not so easy under the circumstances) chair to get ibuprofen. Got ice for foot. Back to lip biting stage but I can mostly breathe.

12:52 m
I know it's too soon for hope of ibu kicking in but now I'm getting stabbing throbs up my shin. Also I keep realizing I'm tensing my foot and I CANNOT stop. Every time I relax I find it tensed again.

2 am
OK hell with it I'm "sleeping" in my chair tonight. Think I just got about 45 minutes. OW crap I'm taking another 10mgs. It's been 3 hours so F@#$% it.

3 am
Pain scale...16 or 17 out of 10. Tired as hell. Can't sleep. I can close my eyes and "listen" to the pain, though. A sharp searing here, a dull throbbing there, a dancing mix of the two across my ankle. The searing shoots up my shin like a squealing saxophone or an 80's hairband vocalist, the bass thuds in my foot and the dancing mix is more like drums-maybe cymbals wrapped in a layer of felt. A 3 piece band of pain.


Here is a visual I made to go with the sounds.

3:30 am
That's right. Am taking another 10mg before it gets worse again. Pain, pills, and insomnia. What better party could a girl ask for? Why, music, of course. Her own personal live band, playing very, very locally.

4:19 am
Will try one more time to sleep in bed. Luck to me. Got hour and half ish of sleep (not all at once) in chair.

6:09 am
Pain woke me took 10mg of HC, attempt sleep.

7:30 am
Got an hour of pain laced sleep, had to pee, 10 more mgs. Mom's making me pizza and Ima have a beer with it DAMMIT. And an Ibuprofen.

9:08 am
20mg HC. 1st time I take actual prescribed dose.

10 am
One ibuprofen.

11:47 am
Got another hour and half of sleep. Pain worsening. 10 minutes and and I can take my next dose, 1 minute till I start crying. However I might have slept longer if neighbor hadn't come over calling, "helloooo, hellooooo". I didn't answer.

Moral of the story: actually I kind of hate projected morals, I say get whatever YOU want out of something, so this moral is the lesson that I learned, and you don't have to take anything from it at all. What I came away with from that most painful night of all the moments since the break, even more painful than the actual break, is to follow doctor's orders. He SAID that the first 3 days would be the worst and that's WHY he prescribed what he did. By taking only two thirds of the HC (85mg out of 120) I did not get a badge of honor, a purple heart or silver star or least of all quicker healing. I got precious little rest- one of the most important factors in healing, and agony that stretched minutes into days. I did get a pretty picture and a cool band name. But when the doctor says drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest, you don't sprint a mile with no water. Five days later and the pain is less; so are the pills. There IS no "tough" or "druggie" the day after surgery, there is conscious, careful, thoughtful healing, and a great thankfulness to those who help you through it all.

Next time I promise much happier update, PLUS the exciting "after" X-Rays! Pretty Cool!!!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yes it was just a fall. Ker- snap!

Okay, listen up peeps. Something like 60% of deaths in the home are caused by FALLING DOWN. All I did was break my ankle in 3 places- so really, I'm lucky that I didn't hit my head or neck and DIE. I'm sorry I don't have some awesome story about how I was mountain climbing and I slipped, my foot went into a crevice sideways and snap goes the ankle. (And yes that will be my story from now on.) Please witness exhibit A:

This is the heel of the shoe I was wearing. See how the right side is waaaay more worn down than the left? Thats the side my ankle rolled on. I clipped a big rock on that side and slid down the rock, which started the ankle roll. Then onward into the loose gravel that took my falling twisting momentum and curved may ankle deeper sideways into the rocks until a nice gooey crunching sound happened and I was on the ground. It sounded just like when Pheonix is eating a mouse; skin, tissue, bones and all in each bite. Crunch crunch smack.

Exhibit B: These shoes were, obviously, past their prime. They were extremely loose and my feet were always sliding all over the place in them anyway. Lastly, (and apparently walking and texting is actually illegal in some city, I forget where) I was looking at my phone.

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, let us review. Of the five defendants; Big Rock, Gravel, Bad Shoe, Phone, and Miss Fortune, who plead not guilty, has the jury reached a decision? What's that? A MISTRIAL!?! An accident you say? Unable to prosecute Miss Fortune, sister of Lady Luck, due to clauses in her job description? Then this court has no choice but to dismiss the case. WHAM! *Banging Gavel*

Moral: accidents can happen from a collection of seemingly small and insignificant variables coming together just wrong. Ah well, spilled milk and all. I'm not in much pain unless I touch the dang leg anywhere from the knee down. I have to say I wish it happened in winter, but I plan to be on my crutches ASAP. I ain't missin' my summer! I'm supposed to keep my leg up for 48 hours, so only 12 more to go. The wheelchair is pretty handy though. And tomorrow it's off to the doc to see if I get to have some metal in there. "Ah vill be da tam-en-atah" (bad Arnie impression translating to "I will be the terminator"). LOL. Updates soon, and hopefully some pics of my x-rays, too! Squeamish be warned.