You will be in an altered state for many moons...

If your Achilles tendon is ruptured, torn, or even simply inflamed with tendonitis, your life is about to change. Mine sure has - so I decided to chronicle these events, and create a place for others to share their experiences, advice, resources and emotions during our journey toward recovery.

Nothing in this blog is meant to take the place of the medical advice of your physician. Follow the instructions of your medical professionals, not me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

15. Imagine a choir of angels singing Handel's "Halleluia Chorus!"

Well, in the past 24 hours my life has improved DRAMATICALLY!  "This could be your life."

First of all, last night I realized, after some sniffing around, that I had put off the inevitable for as long as possible - that is, if I wanted to be able to even stand to be in the same room as myself, let alone have anyone else come near me. 

I simply HAD to overcome my fear and trepidation about some form of showering or bathing beyond baby wipes.  So I grabbed  my crutches and dragged myself into the den of horrors - the master bath.

I had already decided that nothing and nobody could get me back into that shower, so that left the bathtub - my glorious, deep, shining Jacuzzi tub, with the soft little spa pillow at the back of it, the tall, cascading faucet, and the jets of hot water that massage the lucky bather from head to toe...I love that bathtub.  But it did look like a logistical challenge.  Armed with crutches, an orthopedic shower stool, and lots of non skid bathroom rugs, I got to work.

My husband kept coming up to the closed door and hollering, "Are you OK in there?  Do you need any help in there?  Don't get yourself in a bind!" but I was determined to maintain my personal dignity (in other words, not let him see me butt nekkid in unflattering light in various ungraceful and degrading positions) and do this myself.  Besides that, after four days of sitting in a funk in an ever widening circle of human filth, I wanted to soak my bones in a jacuzzi tub, damn it!  I ran a luxurious, steaming bathtub full of clear, sparkling water and smiled down on it like Oedipus himself.

So here's how you do the deed - or rather, how I did it.  Don't you DARE even attempt this without talking to your doctor, and don't you DARE sue me when you fall and bust your ass. 

I scooted the shower stool to the side of the bathtub.  There I disrobed, throwing my stinky clothes as far from me as possible.  Then I scooted over onto the side of the tub, and swung my good leg into it.  I was now straddling the tub, with my casted leg resting on the stool.  I anchored  myself firmly with a hand on either side of the bathtub, and I lowered myself into the water (I'm tall, with long legs, but I could see how this could really be a challenge for a shorter person).  Hey, this wasn't so bad.  Once I got seated, I was able to prop my bum leg up in front of me by the faucet.  I turned those jets on, baby, and leaned back in ecstacy on my little pillow - it was FANTASTIC!  I shaved my legs (well, leg and a half), scrubbed, shampooed, conditioned, exfoliated, soaked - the full bath extravaganza!

Then I had to get out.  That part wasn't nearly as fun, but at least I felt regenerated.  I moved my bum leg back over to the side and rested it back on the stool, and then pushed up with both arms.  It helps that I have a little ledge built at about bathwater level.  Anyway, after some huffing and puffing, and a few choice words, I managed to get out of the tub and onto the stool.  Honestly, I was pretty winded after this. 

I recommend that if you insist on taking your life into your own hands in this manner, do a test run, fully clothed, with your caregiver by your side.  A shorter, weaker person, or someone with a different sort of bathtub, might have more trouble with this than I did.

It ain't easy, and it's probably not going to happen every single day for the next week or so - but it was worth the trouble!

OK - next good thing that happened to me was this:  I GOT OUT OF THE HOUSE.  OK, it was only to go to the doctor, but it felt great to feel the cool fall breeze on my face, and to talk to other living people.  NO lie, I was very tired when we got back home, but I'll definitely get back out again in a day or two, just because it made me feel more like a part of the human race and less like Gollum.

This is how I felt after four days of sitting in  my own filth on the sofa

 Alright, so we got out and went to the doctor's office, so he could check on whether or not my foot was going to fall off.  Apparently numbness is not as normal as I thought it would seem to be.  So...THEY TOOK OFF MY BANDAGES AND I GOT TO SEE MY FOOT.  Hey, it was not as grody as I thought it might be!  First of all, the only swelling seemed to be around (and this is a surprise) MY ANKLE.  There was some bruising as well, but nothing grotesque.  The really cool thing though, was the incision.  It wasn't held together with stitches, or staples, but GLUE. 

OK, I admit - it looked pretty gross, but not as awful as some pictures I've seen.  The glue/incision is blackish (blood maybe?).   It's about five inches long, straight up the Achilles tendon from about one inch above my heel up the back of my leg.  If my husband's scar (elbow, same doc) is any indication, this one should heal to a tiny white line that's hardly noticeable.  Just the unwrapping and moving about stirred up a little bit of bleeding, but even so, I think (and the doctor thinks) things look quite excellent.

He said that the numbness on the top of my foot is probably due to the tourniquet that they used during surgery.  He said that it's very tight during surgery, and that can sometimes cause temporary nerve distress.   This does feel like a nerve sort of thing.  He also said my original bandages were a bit tight.  So he wrapped things back up a bit looser, and I feel much better, even though the same area is still numb.  Doc said it may stay numb for a couple of weeks.

I go back in one week, and he said that if things continue at the same pace of healing, we will try DAS BOOT.  Damn it, I hate that thing - I've spent months in it already so far this year.  After I got home, I tried (not very hard though) to rest a TINY amount of weight on my foot.  NO CAN DO.  The pain is SIGNIFICANT.  I absolutely cannot imagine putting this foot down on the ground one week from today, the same time, I want to be aggressive about my physical therapy.  Michael keeps dangling the idea of a bike riding vacation to the Barton Creek/Lady Bird Johnson Lake in Austin in the spring, like a trainer dangling raw fish at Shamu - which I think is sort of cute.  He's trying to encourage me!  That's why I like him.  He's not ready for me to be an invalid wife - and I'm not ready for that role either.  I want back in the saddle!

Anyway - I saved the best thing for last.  Drumroll, please - for the best thing that's happened to me in MONTHS...
I got a Free Spirit Knee Walker!  I rented mine, because we expect my recovery time requiring crutches to be a month at the most, and we could rent it for $35 a week.  If you need to buy one, they are about $400.   But if you need crutches for 2-3 months, I'd say it's a good investment.  VERY comfortable.

Here's my Amazon review on the product:

"This device has given me a huge boost emotionally as well as practically. First of all, it's easy to navigate, and I haven't had any problems with balance or the ability to move it easily. It's compact, and rolls very smoothly and feels stable. The knee cushion is especially comfortable. The little bag in front is handy and holds even a tall cup pretty well (it's been very constraining not to even be able to get from the kitchen to the sofa with a drink - you'll still need a cap on that drink though). It's narrow enough to go through smaller doorways easily, but wide enough to make me feel stable as I use it. I used it to run into Walmart for just a couple of things, and it was a breeze to use, though of course I couldn't carry much up to the checkout. The brakes work well, and you can lock them and even sit down on the little seat if you need to give your knee a break. One note - though this device requires a lot less strength to use than crutches, you will still have to use your "good leg" pretty extensively. Also, the scooter is not super-light - if you are weak, you may not be able to easily get it into a vehicle by yourself. I personally didn't have a real hard time leaning on the car to get to the back door and pull the scooter out, but it was a little tricky. If you have any issues with balance, you may still want to use your crutches while you're getting the scooter out of the vehicle. Also, you will have to plan your trips to use EITHER the scooter or the crutches, because you sure can't carry crutches while scooting on this thing, and it definitely will not work if you have to go up any steps. Overall, though, this little device is a real life-improver in my opinion. It's given me a level of independence that I didn't have before, and lessened both my frustration, as well as my husband's!

One note - I called all over town trying to find one of these in stock somewhere, and local medical suppliers (and even my doctor) acted like they had never seen one, like this was some sort of novel, weird idea. One supplier did tell me he had stocked one at one time, but that he felt like it was dangerous, so he didn't re order it when it sold. After using this product, I don't know what he's talking about. I'll tell you what's dangerous - CRUTCHES. I struggle MUCH more with balance and the fear of falling on crutches than I do using this product. I love it."

So, that's all the good news that's been happening in my life in the past 24 hours.  Actually there was more (like - Michael bought me a really cool camera to replace the one I broke two weeks ago at the George Strait concert) - but this is the good stuff that's relevant to this blog anyway.  Come to think of it, the camera is pretty relevant, because I'll soon upload some pics, but this will have to do for now.

More later.  Peace out!

No comments:

Post a Comment