Some Perspective on This Week

It has been a tough week this week. Don’t get me wrong; many things have gone absolutely wonderfully. There are opportunities popping up that are quite amazing and unexpected. I am thankful for them even if they do give me the willies and I will have to make some big decisions in the next few months. Most of the difficulty this week comes from my foot.

I had surgery to get my hardware removed—three screws—last Friday 1/17/13. If you read that blog, you know that my surgeon told me that I could walk out of the hospital after surgery. It’s been a week and I’ve had pain every day. Not just a little pain, quite a lot of pain. Enough pain that I am still taking Percocet or Vicodin because I cannot just ignore it. I try to hold off and take as little as possible, usually one or possibly two a day. And I certainly do not want to run out of them. Been there, done that. I have been keeping my foot elevated as much as possible. These are the tricks of the trade with a Lisfranc injury.

I started out the week with two crutches then decided one crutch would be fine with the hard soled surgical shoe they gave me. The next day, I figured the boot would be good so I didn’t have to maneuver the crutches. In hindsight that probably wasn’t a good decision. Yesterday, my foot hurt so badly that I used the boot and one crutch and still was incredibly uncomfortable. I feel like full weight bearing should not be out of the question now. Unfortunately, my foot keeps telling me in a most painful way, partial weight bearing is what it prefers at this time.

I figured after a week I would not be in this much pain. I unwrapped my foot Thursday 1/23/13 to take a look at it. There is bruising on my toes, between my heel and ankle, all over the top of my foot and even a little of the signature Lisfranc bruising on the bottom of my foot. Obviously, there are three incisions as well. I didn’t expect the bruising. It looks a lot like when I first injured it but with less swelling. I changed the bloody gauze and wrapped my foot back up. I did take photos but I am going to spare you the grossness. This was also the day I was going to go pick up my screws! I drove out to the hospital, hobbled inside, and after a little bit of miscommunication, my screws were happily delivered to me.

My sterilized screw pack.

My sterilized screw pack.

It concerns me that I am in so much pain a week after the surgery. I was led to believe that this was ‘no big deal’, even though it was surgery. The trifecta of looking at the size of the screws, seeing the bruising on my foot and the amount of pain I’ve been in, I’m thinking that perhaps it is a more invasive surgery than what I imagined.

Kind of looks like something you'd find at the hardware store.

Kind of looks like something you’d find at the hardware store.

The screws are really quite big considering how small the bones in your feet are. They obviously left holes in the bones they were drilled into and my body is reacting to that. In following my practice of detachment, I will respect the healing process and let my foot progress as it needs. I will support all developments instead of resisting them and wanting them to be what I expected or what others expected. When I look at it like that, these expectations seem absolutely silly and are causing me suffering unnecessarily. This is usually the case with expectations, which is why detachment is so freeing.

See, much longer than I realized. As long as my pinky!

See, much longer than I realized. As long as my pinky!

I am writing this in hopes that if someone else out there reading this goes through, or is about to go through a similar situation, I am here to say that in my experience, the surgery to have your hardware out is significant. You may not be okay after a few days, or apparently, even a week, no matter what people predict. It is what it is and no one can tell you exactly how your body is going to heal except for your body.

I’ve also been struggling with the ‘going backwards’ part of this second surgery. I cannot drive in the boot so I have to put the surgical shoe on to drive and then change into the boot. Yesterday, when I was going to work, I wore my long winter coat because it has been unusually cold. When I got into the parking lot I didn’t use my handicapped placard, as I was able to park across the row and I don’t like to use the space when someone with more of a disability may need it more.

I turned off the car, and began the process of getting out of the car. I ripped the Velcro straps on the surgical shoe open and slipped my foot out. The shoe promptly got caught on my coat. I slid the driver’s seat back as far as it would go so I could have more room. I untangled the shoe and put it on the passenger seat floor. I grabbed the boot. I opened the padded Velcro opening to put my foot inside the boot. The Velcro grabbed onto my sock before I could even put my foot into it and then one of the outer straps grabbed onto my tights. It was like being attacked by a Velcro octopus. The outer straps tangled up into each other and also grabbed onto my coat. I could feel my hackles rising up and took a deep breath as I untangled everything and finished putting the boot on. I grabbed my purse and my coffee mug. Fortunately, I have a very fancy coffee mug in which even if you tilt it completely upside down, it will not spill. (A little foreshadowing for you there…)

This saved my clothes and at least some of my sanity.

This saved my clothes and at least some of my sanity.

I get out of the driver’s seat, gathering my long coat so I don’t step on it or get it caught in the door, close the door and try to open the back door of the driver’s side to get my crutch. It’s locked. The car automatically locks the doors after accelerating to a certain speed. I grumble a bit as I unlock the door and wrestle my crutch out of the car. I then go to the trunk to get my computer out. As I’m doing that, my purse falls off my shoulder. I notice I also have my coffee at a perilous horizontal angle. Thank goodness for the fancy non-spillable mug or I would’ve poured coffee all over myself. I grab my computer, put it on my left shoulder, put my purse on top of that, shoved my crutch under my right arm, shut the trunk with my hand holding the coffee and was ready to walk inside with my coat whirling around me in the wind. At this point, I was really ready to just get hit by a car crossing the parking lot.

Yes, I realize that is far too dramatic a statement for that little scenario. It is the build up of similar scenarios all week that really was getting me in a twist. It is difficult to explain these frustrations and the emotions they bring to other people. It is doubly so now because I had come so far with my recuperation and I have regressed so much. So, I usually just keep my mouth shut and try to smile and practice the old adage: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Focusing on something other than myself helps immensely and that is one of the strategies I used frequently these past eight months.

Today my strategy is to get this edited and posted and if time permits, write about my physical therapy process. That will hopefully help someone else and remind me what I need to do to heal. I find that when you are feeling low, helping others is always something that will make you feel better. I suppose it is a worthwhile distraction, in essence. That, and I’d like to figure out how to insert amusing .gifs into my blog. Because that is a worthy distraction as well!! So, anyone that can help me with that, please do get a hold of me.

I will continue to try to figure out how best to manage my foot pain. I don’t think the boot is that great because it is heavy and pulls on the stitches. The surgical shoe doesn’t seem to be enough support without the aid of at least one crutch. As much as I’ve lauded crutches in the past, they are inconvenient. Plus, that shoe is terribly unattractive! Obviously, that is the least of my worries. I will start doing a few of the easier physiotherapy exercises I began with after my first surgery and will see if that helps with the pain. I guess I am still destined to learn patience and to manage my frustrations more effectively. Worthy lessons for sure and extremely difficult.

I do want to mention that I received a really fantastic email from a friend of mine last week. She recently suffered a Lisfranc injury. First off, I was shocked that this happened—one in 55,000 and it happens to a friend and me! Once again, I feel like I should buy a lottery ticket and have this unusual luck work for good. She had asked me for the website for my blog earlier and told me she had read all of it. She gave me the best compliment ever: she said my blog was inspiring and helpful. I was elated to hear this because I have at least helped one person through this blog. That was my main goal when I first began writing. I am glad that I am making a small difference in other people’s lives. I may not be saving the world but I am doing what I can to improve it. This keeps me going on difficult days and weeks.

Until next time, here’s a couple of trite but true phrases to keep you going:  Be the change you want to see in the world and Illegitimi non carborundum!

Shiny, sharp screws. Don't let them grind you down!

Shiny, sharp screws. Don’t let them grind you down!

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2 thoughts on “Some Perspective on This Week

  1. So how are things now about a month later? I’m scheduled for the dreaded lisfranc surgery with the tight-rope method tomorrow and have been riding a fun little rollercoaster between world-crushing depression that I will basically lose this entire year to do the activities I enjoy most (rock climbing, mountain climbing, backcountry skiing, backpacking) and trying to just have a measured focus on being positive, hoping for the best, thinking this can be as minor of a speed bump as possible.

    I’m going to have to go back through your blog once I’m on the couch but I’ve enjoyed silliness of its name and your sense of humor.

    Really liked reading about your practice of detachment–I use to meditate a lot, I don’t but have thought this injury may prompt me to pick it back up. One of my favorite parts of climbing mountains is that in dangerous areas my physical mortality comes to conscious fore, more or less staring the spectre of death in the face–but that process fills me with life, lets little and big problems I cannot change drop away and re-invigorates me to deeply appreciate and recognize the love and positive relationships in my life…. good meditation allows this too. Part of why this injury is so difficult to me–the outdoors is my ‘life’!

    Might start a blog myself for this injury, seems cathartic! Anyways I TRULY hope you are feeling a bit better pain wise and look forward to following you and back reading more of your blog! 🙂
    Matt

    • Hi Matt! Thanks so much for reading my blog and commenting on it. I’m thrilled that you found it and it may be able to give you some helpful information. I just posted an update on how things are going lately.

      Good luck on your surgery tomorrow. I hope everything goes smoothly.

      I can totally relate to what you wrote about climbing mountains. Hiking is one of my favorite things to do much for the same reasons you wrote above. There’s nothing better than being outside, moving your body, challenging yourself physically and mentally. I miss it terribly.

      I’m very sorry that you have this awful injury and I hope you have supports in place to help you through it. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have or whatever I can do to help! Again, best of luck tomorrow!

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