Tag Archives: progress

Congratulations! You’re cured!

I don’t get that assessment very often.  I got it from my orthopedic doctor yesterday.  But Doctor, I still hurt.  “Yup.  You’re going to hurt.”  But Doctor, I still limp.  “Yup, you still limp.”  How am I cured?  “Your leg is no longer broken.”  Ah.

Then, from the Physical Therapist…”You know, eventually you’ll have to be doing exercises on your own to keep making progress.  You have to get to the point where you don’t need us any more.”

Maybe I should have washed the clothes I wear to the appointments…though I didn’t notice anyone’s eyes tearing up and heard no retching noises.

I did get new shoes yesterday.  They are supposed to compensate for my outward roll on my right foot and support my weak left leg.  Both have a very high arch support in them.  I feel like my foot is sliding off the center of the shoe.  They felt ok in the store though.  Is there a thing where when you cross the threshold, the shoes have a trigger that turns off the comfort level?  I guess I’ll find out if it works in a few days.

So for all intents and purposes, my leg is healed.  It still hurts to stand on it for any length of time, and I cannot go up and down stairs like I used to.  But…

IT’S PROGRESS!

 

Little by Little

Woohoo!  I am without crutches or cane for the most part!

My Physical Therapists, the inestimable Gina V and Noah, have been heating my operation site, and rubbing and needling, and general torture for about a month.  At one point, I felt I had an extra joint in my injured leg about 1/2 way from my hip to my knee.  It felt REALLY weird!  The lower quads bunched up to a rock just above my knee, and the upper quads didn’t seem connected to the lower.  Now it feels more like 1 muscle again.

I couldn’t walk much because my injured leg wouldn’t (and I mean absolutely refused to) hold my weight to allow my right leg to move.  I am gradually getting my gait back.  I still limp, but it’s much less pronounced.

This IS measurable progress!

Immeasurable Progress?

I am getting better.  Or not.

When I went to my doctor’s appointment, and I hobbled in on my crutch, she looked at me funny and asked, “Why are you still on that thing?”  Hmmm, that was most upsetting.  Last time, she said I was recovering well.  This x-ray showed the bone pretty much healed, and no little bone bumps from the appliance they had to put in.  No bone calluses, no screw-holes getting bigger or looser, no movement in the appliance was visible, so everything is fine.  Now, Walk.  “It still hurts.  It feels like I have an extra joint in my leg about mid thigh.”  “Oh?  Well, we can cut you open and go digging around to see what the problem is.”  !!!!!  “And it pops when I try to do stairs.”  “Oh?  Well we can send you to our joint specialist and he can dig around in there to see what the problem is.”  !!!!! 

None of those options seem like a good idea.  Maybe I ought to just suck it up buttercup.  I have been doing exercises to strengthen the muscles in my left leg.  I have done exercises to strengthen my core and my upper body too.  I can stand without my crutch and can hobble all over the house, but it’s not walking, it’s limping.  And it still hurts.  I need to stop complaining to everyone (she says complaining to everyone in PRINT on a BLOG.)  When people ask me when I should be off the crutch, I should just drop the stupid thing and walk (limp) away.  I shouldn’t have to explain my shortcomings and failures to heal to anyone.  No one is actually interested in WHY I still hurt or why I’m not progressing like a normal person that is done with the surgery and then done with the cane or crutch 4 months later.  Here I am at 2/15/17 after my accident 8/15/16, 6 months, and still on crutch.  Did I mention it still hurts?  Every step hurts.  Getting up from my chair, from the couch, from the pew hurts.  Standing hurts.  Sleeping without a pillow between my knees and ankles hurts.  I feel like the guy in Holy Grail.  People ask me how I’m doing and I say, “I’m not dead…”

Resolutions and Reflections

At this time of year, most people are saying to themselves, “Next year is going to be different!  I will NOT be doing such and so, I will NOT look like this,  I will NOT procrastinate (starting January 2nd because I’ll be too hungover to start January 1.)  How many reflect over the past year and see the successes?  Don’t most people make resolutions in January and by February or March they’ve already abandoned them?

I decided to reflect 1st.

  1.  I have been eating much more healthy than I did the previous year.
  2.  I have started drinking more water than I did daily the previous year.
  3.  My endurance on the stationary bike has increased over the past couple of months.
  4.  I am gradually weaning myself off my crutch after my hip surgery.
  5.  I am gradually getting back to doing things for myself like cooking and dishes.
  6.  I have read John Maxwell’s 21 laws 4 times and studied and passed the speaking platform training to become certified with John Maxwell Team.
  7.  I have started studying the coaching platform as well.
  8.  I finished the study of Revelation and have begun the study of John.
  9.  I have co-written a book and got published.
  10.  I am currently collaborating on a 2nd book.
  11.  I have taken on the duties of Division D Director for District 24 Toastmasters.
  12.  I have joined a 4th club.
  13.  I am close to finishing 2 more Competent Communicator manuals, a Competent Leader manual and 2 advanced manuals.
  14.  I have done more investments for my clients in the past couple of weeks than most in my company have done in a year.
  15.  I have replaced 4 of the 10 students I lost due to my hip surgery.
  16.  I have seen marked improvement in some of my special needs students.
  17.  I haven’t played a computer game for over 8 months now.

Hmmm.  That doesn’t look like the work of a loser.  Then I look at the stupid scale and I think to myself, “This machine cannot tell the whole story of my life over the past year.”

OK, so resolutions now.

  1. I will schedule more time in the gym to increase my strength, endurance, and cardio health.
  2. I will continue to eat healthy and continue to keep track of my food.
  3. I will continue to study the Maxwell information and get certified in March.
  4. I will begin Master Mind Groups and start Personally Coaching.
  5. I will finish the study of John and begin a new study this Fall.
  6. I will have my office cleaned and organized by June.
  7. I will polish my chapter for the 2nd book and begin a 3rd book.
  8. I will continue to work with the clubs in my areas to promote their progress and build up their membership, and will investigate possible new clubs as well.
  9. I will get a triple crown award for educational goals met in Toastmasters.
  10. I will continue to work with my clients regarding their financial needs and seek out more people that would like my help.
  11. I will continue to add more students to my studio, and foster a feeling of accomplishment in all of them.
  12. I will seek to be efficient in my time.

Hmmm.  My resolutions last year looked like this:

  1. I hereby resolve that I will not pet Polar Bears on the Nose. (success!)
  2. I will not plant anything in my garden that demands weeding (Failed that, planted potatoes)
  3. I will always use revolving doors.  (Changed my mind on that one!)
  4. I will not drive down the Dodge Expressway blindfolded and backwards.  (another success!)
  5. I will not audition for American Idol. (success again!)
  6. I will spend no time in the hospital.  (oops.)

They were silly resolutions.  I had no plan, but I accomplished a lot.  What would happen if I made a plan and followed it?  I will post my resolutions where I can see them every day.  And of course, I will keep you informed on my progress.  Both of you!

Since it is the Holiday, everyone have a Merry Happy and a Christmas New Year.

On the Road again

I couldn’t believe it.  I was soooo happy for something like this to happen.  A couple of years ago, I would have thought someone who was looking forward to doing this activity was absolutely insane.  What was it?  I got on the stationary bike for 30 min.

??  Believe it or not it was a major step forward.  A while back, I would get on the bike and watch SVU with subtitles to take my mind off this odious task.  It was in no way pleasurable.  It was boring and it put my butt to sleep.  It tired me out and made me hurt the next day.  Who could look at that and be excited?

After I broke my hip last August, I was restricted to walking with crutches.  When they put that much metal in your hip, they have to move a lot of muscle and tendons to work on it.  This means there’s a lot of swelling and bruising, and the recovery time is long–6 months to a year.  It hurts.  It hurts to lie down, to sit, to stand, to walk, to drive…  But you soldier on.  The doctor was pleasantly surprised on how well I was moving.  The physical therapist was amazed to see how much weight I could put on it, and how well I articulated my foot.  I was confused.  I didn’t think I was making much progress at all.  I was frustrated.  It still hurt.  In fact it continues to hurt.  How was I to strengthen this leg?

xray-3-11-8-16-001

bionic hip

I was given some exercises to strengthen the leg and I did those when I went to the gym.

Of course, it occurred to me that it was silly to work just the leg angle when I could do a myriad of upper body exercises while I was there.  Granted, my forearms, shoulders and triceps were getting a workout from using the crutches, however I added biceps, back, abs, and chest exercises just to round things out.  One day, I did stand-ups from an inclined bench.  I lay down on the bench, sat up and continued into a standing position, then sat down again.  Sitting down without using my hands was new (and scary) but I didn’t have far to go to get my butt onto a surface, so I didn’t have to worry about falling.  The next week, I added a 10 lb. weight and a twist after I stood up.  I was getting stronger.

So last Tuesday, I rode the bike!  30 min!  Of course, it was level 1.  My trainer had me go 4 min on 1 and then boosted it up to lvl 5 for a minute.  I was SO excited.

I haven’t had as much water this week as I did last week.  I feel so dry now!  Need to drink some more.

I’m back to the weight I was when I started this journey 3 years ago.  208.9  Dam.  But I’m healing!  YAY!

 

And so it goes~

I love that song by Billy Joel.  …”In every heart there is a room, a sanctuary safe and strong…”  Mine’s a bathroom.  It has a scale in it.

Isn’t that weird.  The only thing in my life that shows whether I’m progressing (positively or negatively) is an inanimate object that just gives me a number?  My trainer asks me how I’m feeling.  My physical therapist asks me how I’m moving.  The doctors ask me if the pain is better.  My friends ask me how I’m holding up.  Those are answers I have to provide.  I must do a self reflection and review all my physical, mental and spiritual aspects and TELL people how I’m doing.  But I step on the scale and it tells me.  I look in the mirror and it tells me.  I walk up or down the stairs and my body tells me.  I wake up in the middle of the night and my mind tells me.  Then I reflect on what the scale, the mirror and the stairs tell me and my spirit responds.  What exactly do these things tell me?

The scale tells me that I am not eating correctly and getting enough activity in to burn calories.  It says, “Your weight is the same.” The mirror tells me that my stance is not balanced and that now my foot rolls out to compensate for walking on the crutch, and that my left leg cannot move backwards as far as my right.  So the mirror is saying, “You’re crooked and getting stiffer.”  The stairs tell me that every time I put weight on my left leg, my thigh is going to protest and my butt hurts.  They tell me, “Your muscles are still doing more than they can handle and will hurt while you keep using them.” My mind then makes the leap that I am not recovering as quickly as I ought.  Treacherous mind says, “You will be in pain forever!”  My spirit replies that it isn’t a calendar that measures the time it takes to heal.  Who cares if it is 2 months or 2 years?  The doctor says that the bone is healing well.  Then the barometer drops and I feel like I’ve re-broken the bone.  And so it goes…and the only one who knows is the scale.

“to heal the wounds of workouts past, until a new one comes along…”  I tried an experiment, and lo and behold it didn’t work.  It was the crutch work out.  It became easier and easier for me to move around on the crutches and so I didn’t get the workout I thought I was getting.  Then I moved to 1 crutch and it took even less effort.  Then I realized that part of the difference in my weight drop was the amount of water I was drinking.  So I increased the water per day and that helped some.  But still, it doesn’t matter that I’ve been in constant pain for nearly 4 months.  How do I feel?  I hurt.  I’m stiff, and if I sit or sleep or stand for any length of time, it hurts worse.  I cannot walk without support of a crutch or a cane.  But I still go to the gym to do my PT exercises.  And because I’m mostly inert now, my calorie count has to go down while my water intake has to go up.  And so it goes…  Stupid scale.  The problem I’m facing is that cheating is not an option.  1 cheat on the nutritional plan costs me months to recover.  That means only 1 slice of pizza, only 1/2 cup of soda, only a 3 oz burger.  No exceptions.  No cake…

“I spoke to you in cautious tones…”  Don’t you DARE go up you confounded scale.  “You answered me with no pretense…”  How badly do you want to feel down the road?  Put down that 2nd slice of pizza!  “And still I feel I said too much, my silence is my best defense.”  “But it’s my birthday,” I squeaked, holding back the sobs.

“And every time I’ve held a rose, it seems I only felt the thorns…”  Yes, I’m moving around better on my 1 crutch, yes I can take a shower without help into the bathtub, and yes, I can dress myself.  But, I don’t think I can put enough weight onto my left leg without collapsing, and I hurt.  That’s what I focus on.  Not the progress I’ve made, but the progress I haven’t.  “And so it goes, and so it goes, but I will suffer I suppose…”

“But if my silence made you leave, then that would be my worst mistake…”  So I don’t write on my measurable progress blog because no one reads it or looks at it anyway, but maybe someone needs to see they’re not alone in their troubles and there’s someone out here that is going through the same challenges.  What if the person that needs to see this is just getting introduced to this material and I decide not to continue my whining or journaling my progress?  That would be my worst mistake.  “So I will share this room with you, and you can have this heart to break.”  If no one responds, my heart will be hurt, but I must be brave enough to risk it.

“And this is why my eyes are closed, it’s just as well for all I’ve seen.”  I’ve been on this path for a long time and have not made measurable progress except now I am bigger.  So I don’t want to look in the mirror, look at the scale, traverse the stairs or wake up in the middle of the night.  I know I have to go through failure to get to success, but it’s been a much longer road than I anticipated.  I am on the road, but I’m not looking at the scenery.  “And so it goes, and so it goes, and you’re the only one who knows.”  Just my scale and those who accidentally read my blog.

“So I would choose to be with you, that’s if the choice is mine to make.  But you can make decisions too, and you can have this heart to break.”  So I will continue to blog on this site.  You can read it or not, take it to heart or not, respond or not.

“And so it goes, and so it goes…and you’re the only one who knows.”

With apologies to Billy Joel.

208.1 pounds

 

Bravery

“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.

But sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.

That is the sort of bravery I must have now.”
Veronica Roth, Allegiant

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”
Mary Tyler Moore

I’m tired of being brave.  I don’t want to be brave anymore.  I want to crawl into my room, turn off the lights and cry.  I don’t want the ‘poor baby’s and the ‘it will be alright’s.  I don’t want to put on the mask of ‘I’ll be fine.’ I don’t want to just get up and face tomorrow like nothing’s wrong.  My broken hip hurts.  My muscles in my legs cramp.  My shoulders hurt and my hands have 2″ wide callouses on the heels.  I can sleep in 2 positions.  It hurts to stand up, it hurts to sit, it hurts to lie down.  It hurts to move my leg and it hurts not to move my leg.

I finally got in to see the orthopedic doctor.  I was escorted into the x-ray room, and the tech took the pictures.  This was MUCH better than the last time I had x-rays done.  I then waited in the little room.  I heard the doctor outside my door.  “Well, let’s see how Rebecca is…OH MY GOD!  Do you see all the appliances she has in there?  And she WALKED in here?”  Then he walked into the room.  “So?  How are you feeling?”  I hurt.  I was expecting that.  “I have your x-rays here.  Were all those done on this recent operation?!!!”  No.  The replacement was done at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN about 1993.  The joint material had a chemical reaction and weakened the bone and it broke along the spike, so I had Kevin Garvin operate on it here in Omaha in 1999.  Luckily, he didn’t have to replace the appliance, just replace the joint material.  That was the 2nd operation on this hip.  Then I fell in Orlando and that’s when they added the web clamp you see here.  (We were comparing before and after pictures on my phone.)

“Are you taking any pain meds?”  No, those ran out weeks ago and were not refillable.  On a scale of 1-10, it’s an annoying 2, and depending on the activity, it spikes to a 4.  “Who drove you here?”  I drove myself. (A look of disbelief crosses his face.)  “How much weight can you put on your leg?”  Let me show you.  I stood up and with help balancing on my crutches, I put about 60% of my weight on it.  “Ok, just continue to just put touch pressure on it.  I worry about breaking that complicated machine that is in your leg now.”  It’s not complicated, it’s a metal web clamp secured by screws.  “This is way beyond my expertise.  I’m going to refer you to a hip trauma doctor for you to see next month.

A nurse came in and told me which doctors they were referring me to for my follow-up follow-up.  (Yes, I used the word twice.)  Then she said, “You’re the one–the one with the hardware store in your leg.”  Yes.  “The whole office is talking about you.”  Good to know.  Why do I keep hearing this in my head?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i47Hz4vvQ2I Why do they have the automatic door buttons on the opposite side of the door they open?  There are times I can’t hit the button and get to the door before it closes!

So my orthopedic doc is having a heart attack after looking at my x-rays, telling me that he’s amazed that I can walk, let alone drive.  And yet, I am to continue my life as if this condition with my hip is just an inconvenience.   Well it’s a heck of an inconvenience.  Getting out of bed in the morning requires balance and timing now.  Getting into and out of the shower is a major accomplishment.  Stairs are much slower.  Opening doors and keeping them open long enough to enter takes coordination:  Pull open the door quickly so it continues to open after you put your hand back on the crutch.  Move the crutch into a position on the ground so the rubber end catches the door before it closes. Shoulder the door so you can move the crutch to a new blocking position, while edging further into the doorway with the other crutch.  Shoulder the door again moving both crutches in, and block the door from smacking you in the back side by placing the heel of your good leg just outside the door frame.  Clear the door way. Getting in and out of the car is always a series of steps, and hoping the crutches don’t fall down onto the pavement before you need them.  I fear wet floors in bathrooms.  I can’t cook because I cannot move food to and from the refridge to the counter or the stove.  If I microwave something, I can’t move the plate to the table.  I can’t carry a bottle of water, or a cup of coffee.  I can wash dishes, but I can’t put them away.  I can’t do laundry.  I can’t vacuum.  Looks like I’m confined to crutches for at least another month.

But I have lessons to give, a conference over the weekend where I help with one activity, and then am in charge of another.  So I do these things, and do “work-arounds” to compensate for my crutches and the pain.  Thank God I have an amazing husband that picks up the slack when he’s home.  He cooks for me, does laundry, and helps keep me organized and (fairly) sane.  But most people assume that because I put on a good face and make light of things that I have no pain, that I’m OK.  This is me being brave.  I don’t want to be, but I have to be.

Logic?

Aug 15, I fell and broke my hip.  I am a tough old bird, but I know I’m not the only one that has had to deal with some of these illogical situations!  I’m mad as a wet hen.

Rule #1  If you’re going to have an accident, have it within 2-3 miles of your primary care physician and your orthopedic surgeon.  If you don’t, follow up will be a night mare.

Rule #2  Get a permanent Handicap Parking Sticker or card or something on your license plate NOW.

Let’s deal with Rule #2 1st.  You can’t GET a permanent handicap sticker/tag/license on your car if you are not permanently handicapped.  HOWEVER, if you need a temporary card, don’t you need it as soon as you incur the injury?  You need it because it hurts to sit or stand or walk or wave or carry things.  You need it because you’re weak from disease or injury and walking from the nearest parking spot may end up being a 15 min aerobic exercise.  And when do you need it?  Sooner the better, right?  It has now been 5 weeks since my injury, and I do not have a handicap window card or sticker or whatever they give you.  5 weeks of riding in a wheel chair with no shocks across parking lots and up curbs causing jarring to my injured hip.  5 weeks walking from the car to the handicapped stalls at rest areas on crutches or a walker until my arms burn and my blisters on the heels of my hands send shooting pains with every step.  5 weeks of parking as close as I can to the entrance of a business and then having someone park so close to me that I can neither squeeze between the vehicles or open the door to get in and I have to wait for that person to move their car/truck on legs that are now cramping up and arms that are shaking with fatigue.  Why can’t doctor’s offices have the parking placards and just inform the DMV who has them?

Now let’s look at the location of your accident.  I was injured in Florida.  I went to an emergency room where they didn’t know me or have my records.  I then was transported to an orthopedic hospital that was not connected to my original orthopedic surgeon’s group.  After spending 5 days driving home, I find that my orthopedic doctor will not take walk ins.  How am I a walk in?  He did the surgery on me the last time my hip broke.  OHHHH, I need a referral because I didn’t make an appointment to see him for surgery and didn’t come home immediately and wait to get on his list so that he could look at my injury in NOVEMBER!!!!! And I didn’t ask him for a referral in Florida.  I’m not sure how this works, but I AM sure nobody really does.  All I need is to find out if I am, in fact, healing.  Turns out, my Gen Practitioner needs to send an operation report (which he didn’t have) and x-rays (which he also didn’t have) to the orthopedic doctor.  I could have handed the ortho doc the disk, but he won’t look at it unless it comes from the GP.  I was informed that I cannot do ANY PT until the ortho doc gives me the OK.  So, I’m trying to walk and get on with my life, and because I’m probably doing something incorrectly, my lower back above my good hip is in constant near-cramp and I can’t sit, stand, or sleep and haven’t for several days.  My left (injured) leg is very weak and I am now getting cramps in calves of both legs.  Due to the pain, I cannot stretch them out and cannot bend over to even rub them.

Will you guys PLEASE GET YOUR *&$%^%$%#@#$$%^^^ TOGETHER?!!!!

MEASURED progress!

I don’t know if you’d noticed of late that my attitude had been less than optimal.  It seems that when things go south, they do it in 3’s.  It used to be Kids, Work, Self growth, or Husband, House, Self growth, but whatever it was, the reason things went bad was because I was bad.   I wasn’t smart enough or I wasn’t dedicated enough or motivated enough or resourceful enough to get things done and micromanage everything around me like the super moms were supposed to do.  So when things weren’t going right at work (compared to other people outside my office) and things didn’t go right at Toastmasters, and things were awful at the gym, it was my fault because I had something wrong with me.  (See Fatal Flaw)  I thought to myself, a “Normal person” would have done such and so, and so this never would have happened to them.  Or a “Normal person” would have thought or said such and so… But being abnormal, I fouled it up.  So the last thing my trainer said to me before she left for Memorial Day weekend was, “When you come back next week, I want you to have lost 2 pounds!”  Well, that was devastating to me.  I knew that I couldn’t do that in my wildest dreams.  I monitored all my food, drank gallons of water, did my gym work or my outside activities but I never lost any pounds.  Never lost an inch, never felt less out of breath…  Why would that change now?  LeSigh…  So today when she was going to put me through my work out, the 1st thing she asked was, “Well?  How’d it go?”  What was I going to say?  I was almost to the point of tears and told her that though I had been doing what I was supposed to, I’d be lucky if I didn’t GAIN weight, and that I was really sorry to be so disappointing….  She said the platitudes that seem to come so easily to trainers…”Don’t be upset, just more time and more of what you’re doing with your food.  You’ll get there!”  Rah…. rah… rah….  Then it came time to step on the scales.  Oh horrors. 

wait for it…

Floor chest presses with sit-up, 30 lbs of weights

Abduction and Adduction machines at 40 lbs  with shoulder presses at 10 pounds each and tricep extensions with 15 pound weight

Lower back extensions on brace with hanging rows, followed by crossed arm back pulses.

wait for it…

210.7 pounds!!!  I lost the 2 pounds!  I celebrated with a candy bar.  (no, but it was funny…)

of course, I’m so sore I can’t move, but I’ll do some cardio tomorrow when I do my rose garden and dig up my irises.