Saturday, February 27, 2016

My Life Mostly in Bed [Cleaner Than it Sounds] With a Broken Tibia

I have now spent my first month mostly flat on my back in bed.  Unfortunately, this isn't as fun as it sounds.  I am sadly alone while in bed -- what a waste!!  But I have to spend at least another month in this position -- and sadly alone.  I went for my one-month followup with my orthopedist Dr. Radnay and he is pleased with the way my tibia is healing, but not confident enough to let me go cast-less yet.  So I have graduated to a hard cast which stops below the knee; this is a slight improvement on the hard cast I had going past the knee.  At least now I can bend my right leg at the knee -- for what it's worth.  I still can't get into a shower and wash my hair.  Trust me -- dry shampoo doesn't cut it, and for reasons I will elaborate further below, it's not really practical yet for me to go to the salon to get my hair washed.

First, let me state the [seemingly] obvious.I cannot stand or put any weight on my right leg.  And to stabilize the break as much as possible, I have to stay in bed as much of the day as I can.  This usually means coming out of bed in the morning for a short time for breakfast and medication and then back in bed for the rest of the day, unless I have a visitor or a doctor appointment.  I can't go tootling around the neighborhood, especially in cold weather.  My right foot is exposed and I don't have a sock big enough to go over the cast.  Also, traveling in the wheelchair is damned uncomfortable because, without a shoe, the right foot will not stay on the footrest; so my right foot dangles and I have to tilt back enough so it doesn't drag the pavement.  When I tilt back enough, I can't really see where I am going and certainly cannot see what obstacles await me on the ground.  So, in the tilted position, I am prone to getting stuck in holes and cracks in the pavement.  Another accident is just what I don't need.

I also have to ask for every little thing I need.  Thanks to the ALS Association's loan closet, in my second week I borrowed a hospital-style tray table.  But if I put my laptop on the table I can't have a beverage close by or I risk spillage on the keyboard.  So every time I need a sip of tea, I have to ask the aide, a well as every little thing that isn't already on the table.  They don't think I see, but I catch eyes rolling out of the corner of my eye. And the laptop - did you ever try to type on a laptop in bed on a tray table?  I can never quite get the head of the bed in a good enough position to comfortably type on the keyboard.  And, for the best possible position, my head has to be far back to the top of the bed.  I don't have to be reminded that I need to drop weight, but every time I ask the aides to move me up on the bed,  I can sense their pain.  The most private and intimate tasks I will leave up to your vivid imagination. But tooth-brushing is a mess, and sometimes eating and getting the food completely in my mouth is harder than you can imagine.

Thank goodness for Cindy and Nancy who have been assisting me with organizing and clearing out the clutter in my apartment, especially the cardboard boxes.  In case you didn't know, cardboard attracts cockroaches, because they like the taste of the glue that holds the boxes together.  I bought storage ottomans to store some of the clutter and one of my aides and I went through some of the drawers to make up donation bags for some stuff and throw out other stuff I couldn't donate.  Nancy painstakingly put together the cart fro, the box that was the tibia-breaking culprit.  Who needs a man? [although a man would be nice too].  And Cindy helped me with more clutter and gave me homework: I am to go through my file cabinet and bags of papers and put aside what I need shredded.  On March 17 [St. Patty's Day], she is coming to collect shreddables and bring them to a friend who has an industrial-style shredder.  I actually have a load of stuff more than 7 years old to shred and make room in the filing cabinet 

There is a good reason why I have more room in the apartment, and I will give more details next time.  Right now it's time for me to go back to my bed where it's difficult to type. Future projects:  paint the apartment, get a couple of new appliances, and move some other things around.  These things increase my visit-ability, but this is an ironic twist, because as I will extrapolate in future posts, less people have been visiting lately. You win some and you lose some with ALS, although it is easy to lose some and harder to win others.  Back to my bed -- unfortunately, alone.