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Amy : Hard Cast, work, and other depressing things
Diary entry posted Tue 4:45pm 26 March 2002

Yesterday, 10 days post fracture, I went for my first check up, to get my stitches out, and receive my first (and with any luch LAST) hard cast.

Shock #1 - those aren't stitches, they're staples! ooch! I expected a neat little incision of 2 inches on either side, and what I saw were huge, five inch gashes held together by vicious pieces of wire. My husband put on his nurse's role and told me that the incisions looked very good (echoed by the med tech and the OS) but all I saw was Frankenstienian scarring in my future.

Shock #2 - when the tech cleaned the incisions the pain was eye-wateringly sharp on the side of my big toe, next to the nailbed. This had better stop. I don't think I could bear much of that sort of pain in my toe from a light cool touch on the side of my leg.

Shock #3 - that nice doctor who put all the hardware into my leg and had the impeccable bedside manner made me bend the foot UP, then bent it even more, while swaddling me in purple fiberglass. He just kept saying, ""think of Ireland. . .Ireland in May. . .get those toes up!"

Okay. No more shocks. The short cast leaves my toes free to wiggle and my knee to bend, and for that I'm grateful. I am non-weight bearing, but have 'goofed' twice now, both to stop falls. The leg and ankle didn't hurt much when I put this pressure on it, but I still have anxiety about screwing up. (By the way, he said it was a bilateral malleolar fracture which leaves me saying, "Yep, broken leg"). On the way into the office I saw my first night hospital roommate, and we shared hugs and best wishes.

For the past two days I've gone into work for half days, and everyone has been very nice and helpful. I keep the leg up on a spare chair, and fuss with my chair to get into semi-comfortable positions, and am more than happy to call it quits after four hours. Today I was blindsided by a meeting with vendors, and sheepishly had to apologize for wearing sweatpants and tennis shoe. . .I do wish my boss had warned me!

Last week I felt pretty 'up' and cheerful, but this week is not so rosy, even though I know I'm doing well in recovery. I feel some discomfort in the leg/ankle, but overall, the rest of my body is really complaining. I have twinges of pain in the foot that can be relieved by flexing my toes, but my good leg aches too. My sides where the crutches rest have 'clothing burns'. My hands are wretched where they press on the crutches (aside: the first days on crutches I was still queasy from the morphine, and the smell of the rubber on my hands was enough to make me retch. I went to my old employer, a vet, and got stuff called Vet-wrap that is used much like Ace wraps, but its self-sticking (yet not sticky), thin, and odorless. I bound the grips of the crutches in this (purple to match the cast!) and it has helped immensely. As soon as I can get a few more rolls, I'm doing the 'armpits' of the crutches too.) Only a few months ago I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, primarily in my hands, and the pain from so much weight on the palms is just horrid, worst in the morning when I really have to talk myself into getting out of bed and putting weight on my hands.
A few times a day I run into a situation where my instinct says I should be able to just go over there and get or do something, but the reality of the situation comes tumbling down. I CAN'T just go 12 feet without getting the $%^& crutches, put weight on my hands, and think about where my feet go, where the crutch tips go, what I need to maneuver around. Echoing in my brain is "Six more weeks, plus rehab. . .you have to do this for six more weeks. Plus." I confess that its gotten depressing. I'm being a good soldier. I'm doing all the right things. I'm playing by the medical book and trying to play by society's rules too. So why can't I get a reprieve?
On a lighter note, occassionally I run into a situation that leaves me feeling foolish. I was negotiating the kitchen today, moving my microwave package from the freezer to the counter, then moving a few feet away, grabbing the package and placing it further towards the microwave, doing this three times until I got it in the microwave and started.
I felt very proud of myself for making my own lunch, doing it safely, etc. and I carefully made my way to the table and gingerly sat down in the kitchen chair. Gingerly because our kitchen chairs are on rollers. Oh for crying out loud! They're on ROLLERS! Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I am a college grad, and thought by many to be a reasonalby bright woman. 8 days after coming home I figure this out.

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 Tue 4:45pm 26 March 2002
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