Until 2004, I was an independent and active woman -- a former airline sales exec and then a high school educator. Then my body kept betraying me. I was finally diagnosed with ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease -- confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak. With life at a slower pace, I learned to live a more conscious and mindful life -- buying, eating and other choices. I listen instead of talking, and I observe instead of running and rushing.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Tibia mostly healed, Physical Therapy, out of bed, foot blister slowing up recovery, sadness and loneiness
Well I am out of bed and I would like to stay out of bed, except for sleep time, that is. I am reading that it takes up to a full year for a tibia to fully heal, but three months to be able to bear weight. After two months, my orthopedist gave me a boot to put on, but I couldn't stand with it. Something was going on with the bottom of my right foot [the side of the fractured tibia], but I didn't know what it was. Well, I was distraught thinking that I still couldn't stand and in the back of my mind I thought maybe I would never be able to stand again.
The next morning, the aide on duty went to clean the bottom of my foot and noticed a blister, right in the spot where the cast ended. So it seems that the rough edge of the cast was apparently rubbing against the skin. I had an appointment already planned that week with my primary doctor and she looked at it, told me to see a podiatrist, and gave me a light antibiotic in case it was infected. The day I finished the antibiotic, I saw the podiatrist who said the blister was not infected despite th pain and there was nothing serious doing under the blister. But it would take a few weeks to heal. He lanced and drained it and I had weekly visits for the next month until it totally healed. Needless to say, I was in bed an additional month.
Finally, I am standing almost as well as I did before the injury but I have home physical therapy to exercise the leg to strengthen the joints around the tibia like the ankle and knee. When you're in bed for more than three months, the muscles atrophy and have to be "woken up" again. All in all, I was lucky that this happened during the cold winter and apart from doctor visits, I didn't have to go outside. Going outside for the doctor was difficult, since my toes were exposed and sticking out of the cast. One time, we missed Access-a-Ride because we were fighting with a too-small elevator coming out of the orthopedist's office. There was no courtesy phone call; she just pulled away right in front of my aide. And when the aide ran after and caught up to her at a red light, she [the driver] refused to come back around or wait. So we walked from 66th and Second Avenue to 60th Street to catch the Q60 MTA bus and my toes froze. Luckily we were near the Q60 that goes from Manhattan to Queens. But then we had to walk/roll from the bus stop to my apartment, toes exposed again.
There's nothing that gets you thinking and reflecting more on your life than being stuck on your back in bed. And there is nothing lonelier. I really found out who my friends were and they were few, but I consider myself lucky. More on that later. I also have certain emotional addictions [more like obsessions] that reared their ugly heads during this time, and I had to pull myself off social media in order to not feed into those addictions. Social media can be very dangerous for me, especially when I can see the wonderful fun other people have and how they are surrounded by loving friends and family. Not that I wasn't lonely in my healthy able-bodied days, but I could get out and do something about it.
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