Thursday, September 29, 2011

Recovery Day 42

Just got back from the doctor.

Saw my X-rays for the first time since this happened. I basically have a titanium cage holding my bones. Looks pretty rad.

Doc says I'm healing great. Wants me to start having someone bend my knee to 90 degrees. Wants me to start going to physical therapy. He said I can also start putting 50% weight on my foot.

And the most important thing, he's 95% sure that I'll be able to go to England! If not, he says a doctors note will get me a full refund on my plane ticket. WOOT!

He's also been using me as a strange case in his classes. I'm like one of those patients on House where they have to figure out how the hell I did this to myself.

So great news all around.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Recovery Day 40

Days like today make me almost regret having the windows open. I can see the sunlight, feel the perfect temperature and hear the birds chirping. I just want to go outside. These past few weeks have really made me realize how much prime time we spend locked in concrete fortresses. How many of these perfect days have I already missed because I was in school or at work?

I'm going into my sixth week since surgery (tomorrow) which means best case scenario, I'll be able to start putting weight on my foot in two weeks.

There haven't really been any huge breakthroughs in the past week and a half which is why there has been a lack of updates.

My upper body strength is as good as it was when I left highschool. Even Sallie is impressed. I've made sure to work out every other day to keep my endurance up and that's usually when I do my physical therapy.

It's still frustrating not to be able to get to things quickly. We've had packages delivered, the phone ringing, or strange noises coming from the cats and all I can do is sit where I am and hope that it wasn't important.

I've had improvement in mobility. Last weekend I was able to help Sallie with a few chores around the house. I was able to 80% cook dinner last night. I can get up and down the stairs (round trip) in less than three minutes now. So, I'm almost human.

I go to the doctor on Thursday for an update. He's going to take X-rays and see how I'm healing. I should find out when I can start putting weight on it, whether I need another surgery, and if I can go to England in November.

Worst case scenario, he says he doesn't like what he sees, I have to get that last surgery, and I'm stuck in this brace for another six weeks.

Best case scenario, he says I've healed so well that I actually have superhuman strength in my right leg and Manchester United is offering me a multi-million dollar contract for my services.

Update to come Thursday

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Recovery Day 31 Another Field Trip

I slept like garbage last night. Probably one of the worst nights of sleep I got since I came off the pain killers. I just felt really stiff and the brace felt like it was digging into my leg. I just couldn't get comfortable. Ended up moving downstairs after an hour so I wouldn't wake Sallie. Maybe got four hours last night.

So right now I'm pretty tired. I'm waiting for Sallie to get back from her run so she can make me a huge pot of black coffee.

We met with some friends at a local Mexican restaurant. Today, we decided to test crutches out. I've not been told by the doctor I can use them yet, but I felt that it would be easier to get around. It definitely was.

I was able to get up and down the stairs, we went to Office Max without issue, and then to Mexican. I don't think I'll be able to use crutches for everything, but it's nice to know I have the option.

We got a statement from the insurance company. All in all, total amount for surgery and hospital stay was damn near $150,000. That's more than my house is worth. We don't know what I owe yet, but I do know its not $150,000.

My favorite is there's a miscellaneous services charge that's something like $80,000. I'd like to know what is included on there.

This is my last day of disability. Tomorrow I start working again. I'm still not sure how its going to work. I'm still not sleeping and still feel like I need a nap just about everyday. I don't know what its going to be like when I'm using energy talking to people. To counter this issue, I've ordered a case of 5 Hour Energy drinks off of Amazon.

So hopefully, I can stay awake on my own the first three hours of the day, and then pop one of those bad boys to get me through the rest.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Recovery Day 29

I finally hit one month after surgery. Best case scenario I can start putting weight on my leg in one month, worse case, two. The idea of another surgery is further and further from my mind now that I can actually see results.

I'm still not sleeping more than 3-4 hours at a time. Still waking up incredibly stiff. As long as I have this brace on, I think that's just how its going to be. I'm ordering a case of 5 Hour Energy drinks for when I do go back to work next week. There's no way I'll make it through a whole workday without.

That's another scary prospect. I haven't quite thought of anything that I can prop my leg up on from my computer chair. That's what part of this weekend is going to be spent doing. Trying to figure out the office set up for me. I decided that I will just work upstairs since I know I can get up and down the stairs if need be. I still plan on trying to make my travel up and down a minimal as possible. Going to stock the room with canned fruit, energy drinks, and other snacks.

The cats are driving me nuts. Crash and Newbie keep dropping awful poops that stink up the entire house. Newbie and Slider are constantly chasing each other around the house, making noise, tearing things up. And they both like to use my bad knee as a bridge to get across my body. I usually can catch them, but I've been caught off guard a few times when I'm sleeping and all of a sudden I feel 6 lbs followed by 13 lbs on my knee and I've kicked a cat across the room in response.

My leg is starting to feel more and more like a real leg. I have to remind myself often that I can't put weight on that leg.

Now I'm straining some of my good body parts. My knee, my shoulder, and my good foot are all feeling really strained. I'm having to over compensate obviously and its just wearing me out. I'm now wearing a knee brace on my good knee. It matches the brace on my bad leg.

Next week I go back to work. The week after that I'm back at the doctor to find out how I'm healing and when I can start using crutches. The week after that I have to start going to physical therapy and I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to get there two days a week without falling asleep as I work.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

10 years ago, a monumental event shook America. It's the "Where were you when..." event of my generation. Still it makes me uneasy thinking that something not only that terrible could happen, but on United States soil.

I was in high-school when it happened. I remember after first hour, on my way to second hour, a buddy of mine, Bobby, came up to me in the hall and told me he heard an Apache helicopter had shot missiles into the Empire State Building.

There was an uneasy feeling throughout the school, but no one really knew what was happening yet.

My third hour class was Current Events. The teacher in there said that something terrible had happened and we were going to go to the cafeteria to watch the news. There were three other classes in there and the dozen or so televisions were turned to various news channels.

It was silent. I don't think anyone knew what to think or expect. Some people were crying. Less than ten minutes after arriving in the cafeteria, the first tower fell. A few minutes after that the principle came in and told all the teachers to take us back to class. I guess this was their way of censoring possible live events that would be upsetting.

It didn't matter. Every teacher (except for the math teacher I had) turned their televisions on. We watched the news all day. Really, after the second tower fell, there wasn't much "news" other than the survivor here and there and most the time, the chaos of the day caused that to be reported late or just rumored.

That night I had to work at Four Seasons Pool. No one came in that night. We just watched the 10" television as they replayed the same clips over and over again. Everyone took turns watching the front of the store while everyone else went and filled up gas, assuming prices would skyrocket. If I remember right, they did skyrocket that night while we were all taking turns. Going from $1.01 to somewhere around $2.50. They've not come down since.

I guess all we can hope for today is that the violence in the world can someday turn to peace. That needless death can cease. But as long as there have been humans, there has been war.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Recovery Day 20 Field Trip

Sallie and I decided it was about time we did something "normal" on Tuesday. I was feeling pretty good, had energy, and the weather was perfect outside.

Sallie has not only been taking care of me, but she's quitting one job, starting two others, and basically not getting any time to herself. I felt that I owed it to her to get out and have a "date."

I needed to just get out to lift my spirits and see how my endurance would hold out.

So we went to our little neighborhood deli, grabbed some sandwiches, and went to Tower Grove Park. Sallie found a spot maybe 200 feet from a picnic bench, so we parked, and I hobbled to the bench.

I was taken aback by how much I missed the little things. Just the crunch of grass under my feet felt so different. The picnic bench was definitely uncomfortable, but I was also so happy to feel wind and sun hit my skin that they sort of evened out.

Still, I could only last maybe 20 minutes.

We came home, took a short nap, worked out, and showered.

We wanted to see how I would do at a restaurant so we planned to go to this small sushi place nearby.

We managed to get there, but there wasn't a parking spot nearby. Sallie dropped me off on the corner and went to find a spot. I of course was harassed by a homeless man, asking if I had change. I was hoping the walker would be an anti-harassment device, but apparently when you need money, you are blind to the world.

It wasn't too terrible sitting in the chair with my leg down. It was a little uncomfortable, but I just had to adjust my position often enough so that blood would continue to flow.

I quickly noticed how much people were staring at me. I realized that this was like one of those sitcom episodes where the protagonist decides to travel in a wheel chair all day to see what its like to be a cripple, except I actually was, and it was really weird. Some people looked on in disbelief that someone with a walker would come out to their local sushi restaurant. Other people stared with curiosity. They could obviously see the brace, but they couldn't quite see what the cause of my leg issues were.

By the time I got home, I was exhausted. The sushi was incredible and I was happy to get out, but I could've fallen asleep the moment we walked in the door.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Recovery Day 19

There's really not much pain anymore, (besides getting the blood thinner shots to my stomach) its mostly discomfort.

I've got bruises that run the entire back side of my leg. I've got bruises on my stomach. I've got bruises in patches on top of my leg. Some say this is a sign of healing. Other's say its a symptom of the blood thinners. Either way, it makes my day really uncomfortable.

I'm still not usually getting more than four hours of sleep at a time. Sleeping in my own bed is definitely better than what I was doing before, but I feel bad, basically at 8 am every morning, I'm waking Sallie up so she can move me downstairs. Then, I snooze on the couch. I sit with the foot rest in front of me, and then bend the top half of my body over the arm rest to give my body the illusion that I might be sleeping on my side. Then after about an hour of that, the top half of my body becomes stiff and I have to move to the crappy mattress we have set up in the living room.

So sleep continues to be the biggest problem for me.

I've started doing some physical therapy. I like it. It's a way I can sort of quantify my progress. Already had one huge breakthrough, I can move my foot down on its own. Now I need to focus on up. I'm hoping that will come within the next week.

In a few weeks I will have to actually go to physical therapy. I'm not sure of the logistics of that. Maybe I'll have to find one that I can go to on the weekends. Otherwise, with Sallie starting a new job and me going back to work, I'm going to have to go really early in the morning. A prospect that scares me since I still have trouble staying awake all day.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Recovery Day 14

Went to the doctor today.

I like my doctor. He's firm, confident, knowledgeable, but warm. Everything you would want in a relationship.

He seems optimistic.

He says things are healing well. Told me, a girl that had the same surgery (minus the bone issue) just went back to work after three months and she has a job where she has to stand all day long.

He hoisted my leg up at one point, out of the brace, and just started bending my knee. It felt so good I could've kissed him, but also scared the hell out of me because the last time I went there, the bottom half of my leg wasn't quite attached to my knee. It just sorta flopped around. Today though, for the first time since my accident, the bottom half of my leg seemed to be attached to the knee again. My knee even popped last night.

All my incisions are well into the healing process. The stitches should dissolve soon.

I still can't move my foot up. He's optimistic because I can move my big toe up and have decent resistance. He believes when the swelling goes down a little more I will start to get that functionality back. There's a small chance that I broke the little stem of the nerve that controls that. He says its rare, but if that's the case, I might not be 100% in my leg again.

He also wants me to finally start physical therapy. I'm more than happy to oblige.

I have to go back in 4 weeks to get more X-rays, and that is when we can start talking about a possible 3rd surgery and when I can start putting weight on my leg again.

The negative for today:

I only slept three hours last night. I didn't fall asleep until 6 a.m., but I got to see the sun come up.

I was dealing with the insurance company and Wells Fargo. Things look messed up. I'm probably not going to get paid this week. Figured this would happen.

I've also found that I'm losing total PTO for the year since I'm not at work. Normally I have 144 hours for the year. Since I'm out a month, they're kicking me down to 132. This officially cancels the England trip for me and if I do need another surgery, I don't have a week of PTO left for my benefits package.

The thing that sucks the most is after all of this crap, I'm really going to need a trip.