Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hi ho, hi ho

I finally got approval and I'm off to work tomorrow for half days until I see Dr. Pittman again next Wednesday. After which I expect to be back at work full time without restrictions.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Hammer!

Today you are three. Your birth was the most painful experience of my life and I will hold it over you for the rest of yours.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Best. Snark. Ever.

Okay, I love Twilight and I'm so ashamed and horrified.

But this here is the best, funniest, snarkiest take on it, chapter by chapter, that you will find. Written by someone who also loved it and was also horrified and ashamed.

For all those who have read it and want to enjoy the riff, and all those who will never read and want to enjoy the riff (check out Horrify the Twilight Noob).

But for those of you in the middle or on the fence, be warned: it's a summary. Spoilers abound.

Ok, and this is pretty funny, but specifically based on the movie.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Random Thoughts

Sitting here on the couch, again, with the ice machine strapped to my leg.

I was given a small igloo cooler in the hospital with a pump attachment and a pack attachment. When you fill the cooler with ice and water, the pump circulates the cold water through the ice pack, keeping whatever body part it's strapped to icy cold for a LONG time. I used it at the beginning every day and now that I've been doing PT and nightly exercise, I've been using it again. It's a pretty cool machine, actually. I had been considering donating it to the high school or something when I was done, but Pants has talked me into keeping it for future sprains, injuries, etc. With our genes, our children have already been through the emergency room once each with major injuries and lord knows what the future holds.

I've made great progress in PT, pedaling the exercise bike all the way around (instead of back and forth to the stopping points in my knee) and walking completely around the office on one crutch only. I have 102 degrees of bend in my leg, but the straightening was not improving as much. My PT lady put her hands on the top of my leg, on either side of my knee, and pushed. OW. On my direction, she found a spot on the side of my knee that appears to have some scar tissue and is keeping my leg from straightening all the way. She she took out what amounts to a big plastic knuckle and said, "This is going to hurt." I'll spare you the details, but it did. My leg does straighten out farther now, though.

I skipped exercises Sunday and felt way stronger on Monday. I guess my poor muscles needed a day off.

I put jeans on today and had to put on a belt. On the fourth hole in. Hollah!

I had to go out in the rain today to run an errand for Pants. I don't go out in the rain much now because I'm too slow and don't have an umbrella hand, but there I was. And when I got to Pants' car, what do you know? The window was down a couple of inches. And it had been raining all day. Between going all the way back to the house for a towel and just getting in, I got in. So I spent the next 90 minutes in wet pants. For an errand that wasn't even mine.

We told the kids this morning we had an adventure tonight because Jeff James, Pants' college roommate, was supposed to play at Acapulco in Coon Rapids. He got canceled today, though, and we had already promised the kids an adventure. So we went to Dave & Busters. Dinner was expensive, although they were lightening fast with the kids' meals and had Happy Hour specials on Mojitos, so yay. And then off to the games. Pants had some credits on some old D&B cards, which is the only reason we went there and we played some simple games with the kids. We had enough tickets for them each to get a small stuffed piece of crap. And then we had to drag The Hammer out kicking and screaming because it was late, they were tired, and she didn't want to go.

But they totally fell into their beds when we got home with very little fight.

Still no call from Disability saying it's okay to come back to work. My doctor approved it, why won't they??

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekly (?) leg update

I have now experienced 3 sessions of physical therapy (PT) and have done my exercises at home each day. On Friday, they taunted me with the idea that I could go down to one crutch if I was strong enough.

Do you have any idea how much my life would change if I could have a hand free to carry things?

But they took one look at me on one crutch and said, "You're not ready." Dammit.

When I thought about the prospect of putting 50% weight on my leg, I thought I would have to hold myself back. It turns out that I have had to push myself to get up to 50%. Three reasons: fear of pain, weak muscles, and soreness.

The fear is... whatever. It is what it is. My leg muscles are also weak and it feels sometimes like they won't hold my weight, even at 50%. And the soreness - my leg muscles, especially in my lower leg, are constantly sore and my knee gets really stiff now if I use it and then sit down for a few hours. I'm constantly stretching my leg now, hoping to stave off the stiffness and work out the soreness.

Oh, and work. I got approved (I begged) for 4 hours per day, three days per week. However, the paperwork only got sent over on Friday to Disability and I can't go back to work until they review and approve the change. Which could take up to three days. So although the doctor (ok, his assistant, but she was there in my surgery and saw me in the hospital) has approved a partial return to work, I can't go back tomorrow.

My mental health has gone downhill since I last saw the Dr. and was put out of work for another 4 weeks. I cannot take the thought of being out of work for another 4 weeks, being at home all that time. I don't want to watch another movie at home. I don't want to read another book. I don't want to go back to Target. I'm still limited in where I can go (can't stand too long, walk too far, etc.) and the thrill of driving has turned into disappointment that I don't really have anywhere to go.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I didn't wake up thinking, "I'm going to talk about genitalia with my 4 year old today."

Scene: Bathroom. Kitten is going potty.

K: Mommy, I don't have a weenie.
Syl: [blink. blink. swallow.] No, honey, you have a vulva. Girls have vulvas and boys have penises.
K: I don't have a weenie.
S: Nope. Only boys have penises. Girls and boys have different parts. We're just built different.
K: Mason has a weenie. (Boy from daycare, also potty training)
S: It's called a penis, honey. Boys have penises.
K: Ok.

We've discussed vulvas in the bathtub, but only in the sense of calling it by its name and telling them to wash it. We've glossed over the physical difference between boys and girls, but they've see Pants peeing, so it's not a huge mystery. But this is truly the first direct, pointed conversation we've had on the subject. I was pretty calm, I think, except for the blinking and swallowing part. It caught me off guard.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Letters to Washington

Dear Senator Klobuchar,
I have been following some of the healthcare debate and, although I have excellent health care provided through my husband's employer, I beg you to vote yes for a public option.

I broke my leg very severely 7 weeks ago, requiring surgery, a three-day hospital stay, and I am still at home recovering on my employer's excellent disability benefits.

I have been uninsured, though, and if this had happened then I would most definitely have had to file for bankruptcy or live with the debt for the rest of my life.

I cannot be the only person who thinks that a public option would stem the flow of medical bankruptcies and crushing debt. I cannot be the only person who thinks that access to healthcare might stem the tide of unintended pregnancies and that regular checkups for children might detect more child abuse.

Senator Klobuchar, I am well insured and I would like others to have that opportunity. Please vote for a public option so that those who do not have employer-provided insurance may spend less time and money worrying about their basic needs and more time contributing to the health and welfare of their families and this country.


I have emailed the same letter to Senator Al Franken and Congressman Erik Paulsen. I urge everyone to contact their senators and representatives to express their opinion on the public option. Whatever that opinion is, please express it logically and respectfully. I have seen too much impassioned fear-mongering to last me a lifetime.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Redesigning my basement

Pants has gotten moving on demolishing our basement and it started to become apparent to me that I have no vision for what I want to do down there. We might be mere weeks from painting and we're starting to talk about furniture and such and I have no idea where I want to go with any of these things.

  • We have a large brown brick fireplace that we love and which will be staying, unaltered. I will try to post a photo tomorrow.
  • Although there is one largish window, it's still a basement. I think we need to keep it light.
  • I have kids, ergo, the carpet will be a bit darker shade and all furniture decisions must weigh that factor.
  • We have little money and Pants is incredibly cheap. My mother has offered to purchase a daybed for the basement so they can stay here when they come.
I've been looking for something to build an idea around and the best I've found is this painting. I like the blues and greens and browns and I think it gives me a lot of options for incorporating shades of those into the room.

Better ideas? Better art? Anyone? Help?

P.S. - the barn door and track is gone and has been replaced by an actual door leading to the well. Pants has also gotten the entire drop-ceiling down, but has discovered that the can lights were never secured to the studs, they were just resting on the ceiling tiles. Brilliant.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Rusty Machinery

My body is no longer a well-oiled machine.

Ok, let that sink in and try to stifle the giggles. Yes, get up off the floor. I'm sorry I made you pee a little.

What I mean is that all of the muscles in my left leg have atrophied to the point of flabby and I started physical therapy today to get them back into shape and continue to increase the bend in my knee. I spent 45 minutes with a nice chick who did some very simple exercises with me and printed them out so I can keep doing them at home.

And I got down on the floor tonight to do them and found that I am so sore and stiff that I can barely move. Now, I maybe overdid it a little bit at Target (ok, I needed a playground ball for a couple of the exercises and a backpack purse to carry my stuff), but holy crap am I sore. And I have a couple of sensitive spots where the plates are rubbing.

It also turns out that putting your foot down while walking on crutches, as opposed to walking on one leg with the affected leg out up and out of the way, changes the arm and shoulder muscles used while walking with crutches. Cuz, dang, those hurt too.

On the upside, I did get to run a couple of errands and see a movie today (HP6). I went without the popcorn and slushie - no hands for carrying them. I also got up the front step at home by myself, since my physical therapist said it could be done without a railing and told me she would show me on Monday. Knowing that was possible then, and indeed, totally plausible, I just up and did it.

Additionally, I purchased a handle to screw into the door frame since the step up into the door is a taller step and harder to get into. The handle, a $3 modification that even comes with its own screws, will allow me to use a crutch on one side and pull myself up with the other hand.

So now I can get back into my own house, as well as out. And in and out of the car. And into the movie theater (although some bastards took the handicapped seats in front of the railing).

And I have asked to return to work on Monday, August 17. Of course, Dr. Pittman is out of the office all next week and the return call from the clinic came just as the movie was starting, so I won't know anything until Monday at least, if then. Based on today's activities, I think I can make it to work from the parking ramp, which is the hold up. It's not like we're running marathons in there.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

New Busted Leg Updates

Saw Dr. Pittman today and he is pretty happy with my progress. Here's the scoop:
  • I am moving to 50% weight bearing on my leg for the next 4 weeks, unless it hurts and then I should stop. The swelling may still go up and down for awhile. He even told me how to figure out what 50% felt like.
  • Dr. Pittman ordered physical therapy twice a week for the next 4 weeks.
  • I can drive now.
  • I no longer have to wear the cast - he said my leg is stable enough. If I have a really bad fall, which less likely on 2 legs than on just one, I should come back and have it looked at, though.
  • I have to stick with the crutches, at least for the next 4 weeks. I guess a cane is pretty much full weight bearing. It would have been nice to have a hand free, though.
  • The remaining numbness is a wait-and-see thing. Could get feeling back, but maybe not.
  • I have been written out of work for another 4 weeks, which kind of bums me out.
  • There are no longer "cards" for metal detectors. After 9/11 they usually aren't trusted anyway and if the plates set off the machine, they will wand me or ask to see my incisions. He also said that the stainless steel used in the plates usually isn't picked up on metal detectors today, although that could change.
  • I can start rubbing whatever scar cream I see fit on the incisions. He said they would not always be bright red, but I should absolutely put a heavy sunscreen on them if I'm out, or they will not fade as much.
  • The million dollar cadaver bone answer is: my body will eat away at the cadaver bone and replace it with my own bone. It will basically be dissolved, it's not just going to show up somewhere weird or anything.
So, yay for no more cast, physical therapy, and for driving, but boo for not going back to work anytime soon. Now if I can just figure out how to get up the front steps without help, I can actually leave the house occasionally...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Monday, August 03, 2009

Random Thoughts - Busted Leg Updates

It has occurred to me that my leg is no longer tingling uncontrollably and sending odd sensations all over the place. Now, I can't sleep because I'm bored to death and my couch is trashed.

So I took the opportunity, since my leg isn't burning uncontrollably anymore, to shave my legs the other day. I'm still afraid to shave too close to the scars so there are a couple of spots I missed. It's easier now that I can bend my leg a bit in the shower.

I currently have the ability to perform a 90 degree bend in my leg, which was my goal before this week's appointment. My CPM machine went back 2 weeks ago and now I get to bend my knee on my own. I also have improved my ankle flex to at least 90 degrees so I can walk again. My leg won't go as flat as the other, but if you looked at it by itself, it would look pretty close.

I still have a few places on my lower leg that are all but completely numb and I am assuming now that they will probably stay that way. Not a big deal, in the grand scheme of things, and definitely something that I can live with, if not get used to.

My questions for Dr. Pittman:
  • Can I drive? He has never specifically told me not to drive, but I just assumed it would be a bad idea. I now have a temporary handicapped parking sticker and would like to be able to drive.
  • How much longer will I need to wear the cast? And if I need to continue wearing it, can I take it off when I sit for long periods, like in the car, at work, or in the wheelchair?
  • Will I keep the crutches during physical therapy or will I get something else, like a cane or a walker?
  • Can I get some kind of card for metal detectors?
  • Can I start rubbing a scar healer on the incisions, like Mederma?
  • Is the remaining numbness permanent?
  • How exactly will the cadaver bone resolve itself? Will it "work its way out" or will it dissolve?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Random Thoughts

I went up north this weekend with my parents, who were in town for my grandfather's 80th birthday. My stepdad threw out his back early last week and it was a bit disconcerting for the two of us, me in a wheelchair and him unable to stand upright, to watch seniors, ages 70 to 95, dance every polka while we couldn't walk. My grandfather and his fiance (congrats!) are in better shape than I am. Although I apparently hear better.

Oh, and the reason I went up with my parents is that my husband heard about my plan to drive up to Aitkin on Saturday with the girls for the party and turned to look at me like I had grown another head. A furry bear head, with cabbage growing out the top. It did not take him long to convince me of the insanity of his taking 2 children under the age of 5 and his crippled wife on a 2 1/2 hour trip, one way, to attend a party where he would have to do all the child-minding while I sat in a wheelchair, and then drive us 2 1/2 hours home just a short time later. When I can only sit in the front seat of a car comfortably for about 20 minutes.

It was nearly 3 years ago that my grandmother died of Alzheimer's and we're really happy that my grandfather has found someone to share the rest of his life with. We were thrilled to hear that they got engaged this weekend, although we didn't think they ever would. It became clearer when he told us a story at dinner about one of their dance couples that were not married. She had a stroke and her children blamed him for "forcing" her to dance all the time and they would not allow him to see her at all. I know, the polka drama is overwhelming. But they weren't married and he had no rights over her kids so if they wanted to be unreasonable, they could. Thankfully, we met my future grandmother's family at the party and they seem quite nice. Everyone is very happy for them and there don't seem to be any hard feelings or awkwardness from anywhere. Even grandpa's step-children (the children of my deceased grandmother from her first marriage) were at the party and seemed genuinely happy for him to have found someone so nice and with whom he can share his interests (read: polka).

She is also a State/Nationally-ranked bowler and can whoop his ass on the lanes. It intrigues him, I think, that she's better than he is. Go Lou!

My mother asked to borrow Twilight, which I promptly re-read and gave to her. I also read Finger-Lickin' Fifteen, which she had just finished, while we were up north. I thought I had brought another book, but I forgot to throw it in my bag so I had to settle for Elvis and Me by Priscilla Presley, which I found in the room I was sleeping in. I also finished that little nugget of wisdom before my return home. I have decided not to finish Pride and Prejudice and Zombies because, although the premise was irresistable, the writing is a little drab. I might continue long enough for Charlotte to rot away as a zombie without Mr. Collins noticing. I'm also reading Undead and Unreturnable (more vampires) courtesy of Suzuri and her fabulous Mai Tai pinata, but I'm a bit concerned about what I've missed, as it's a series and the book is somewhere in the middle.

Someone has taken umbrage with my carefully stenciled cedar mailbox (it's actually a reject card-holder idea from the wedding, if that makes more sense) and has started whacking it. First it was broken on one side, then it was really wobbly, and now it has fallen off the pole. My neighbor was nice enough to put it up by our door and Pants put it back on the pole this afternoon so we can get mail tomorrow. I will have to get a new mailbox, one that is apparently not as enticing to vandals, as no one else's box appears to have been whacked.

I go back to Dr. Pittman on Wednesday to get more x-rays and a schedule for physical therapy. I am trying to come up with my list of questions so if any of you remember something I told you I was going to ask at my next appointment, or have lingering questions about my condition, please leave a comment.

I've decided that I've lost a few pounds, unbelievably sitting here on the couch, and I can only think that it's from eating at home so much more, not eating downtown for lunch every day. Go figure.