Wednesday, May 30, 2007

News You Can Use

So apparently, since I was on an amnestic rather than an anaesthetic during the operation, I was not entirely knocked out. I was awake and just don't remember it, as one would be from a 5 martini blackout, in the words of my doctor friend (feel free to weigh in if you know more on this topic). Apparently, it is both possible, and considering it's me, highly likely, that I was jabbering away the entire time. The last thing I remember: the anesthesiologist saying she was going to give me a sedative and then put in the epidural. The next thing I remember: hearing an Imogen Heap song and saying "this is a good song." The hours in between: gone. My very own Lost Weekday Morning, if you will.

In other news, apparently now I've joined MySpace...? I find it as hard to believe as you do. But it's true. Come be MyFriend? In MyDefense, it's for MySemiSecretProject and MyEventualPromotionOfSaidProject...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

One More Week

Til I go back to the doctor for another X-ray to look at the bone and see how it's doing. Best case, I'll get some sort of cane (hopefully with a skull or a claw - or a skull with a claw wrapped around it would be best. Do they have those in hospitals?) and permission to weight bear, and outpatient physical therapy. Worst case, I'll have to stay on the crutches for an undetermined period of time.

I want to be hopeful, but I'm definitely superstitious about being too cocky. I know that everything's healing incredibly well on the outside, but I have no way of knowing what the bone has been up to all these weeks. Was that bang on the crooked sidewalk in my wheelchair too rough? (Who knows! I'm medicated!) When I stepped down, yet again, by mistake, on that foot (outside of yoga, I tend towards clumsiness) did I set myself back a week? I can hear my teacher's voice telling me to surrender to what is. Ain't that the truth.

Either way, I'm moving back into my apartment soon afterwards, even if I have to hop up and down the 2 flights of stairs on crutches; I've been practicing, and while it's a little time consuming, it's not that hard.

Which also signals the imminent disappearance of my mom back to her own life, although what could be more fulfilling for her than fulfilling my every waking need, you ask yourself? I know, because I've asked myself the same question. Perhaps something could be arranged.

Of course I kid. But she does such an amazing job of moming, it's going to be hard to see her go.

In other news, I'm stepping down the meds yet again. (So many people have told me that bone pain is the worst pain there is. Somehow I've managed not to be in pain, apart from the mild twinge here and there. Is it the meds? Or am I just, as they say in England, well 'ard?) Everything's fine pain-wise, although I do feel a little melancholy. Is it possible, in the most obtuse, completely human way, that I'm loathe to leave my bucolic existence? Have I grown so accustomed to my tea and toast on a tray in the morning that I'm resistant to take my hip shelf out into the big bad world and earn an honest wage again?

One thing I do know, if I'm going to start teaching again any time soon, I need me some baggy pants.

P.S. I just noticed how many questions there are in this post. Feel free to reply with any answers you come up with.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

This is Not Me


http://www.62models.com/62_display.cfm?&modelid=151

Back when I modeled I used to have one of these. Not an online version, the early 90's weren't that high-tech, but a printed card that you gave out on your soul-stealing mindless days of city traipsing. I sure don't miss any little bit of it.

I'm curious about the part where it gives a measurement for 'neck'. Seems odd. Hers is not filled in. Missing neck?

Clearly, I'm better, and have too much time on my hands. I'm actually working on a semi-secret project and just procrastinating right now. I mean taking a break.

Hard Out Here For A Gimp

I haven't wanted to write this. I really haven't.
I believe people are good, and that we inherently want to do the right thing and take care of each other.
I hate to make blanket statements about groups of people as if the individual lacks the ability to choose otherwise.
But all that being said:

Holy crap, do New Yorkers not like to get out of the way of the crutches/walker/wheelchair.
Although there have been a few (really few) isolated incidents of people seeing me in whichever version and stepping out of the way to make my life (or my mom's if she's pushing the chair) a little easier, for the most part, I get maybe a two inch directional shift at the very last second, and often an irritated look to go with it. One woman in the movie theater elevator looked like she couldn't believe we were asking her to take a few steps backwards to fit the wheelchair.

(Saw Waitress. It's adorable.)

Now granted, I live in an area where there is a huge tourist influx, and frankly they're often so overwhelmed by this place they're just happy to be standing upright and breathing. I have no bones with them. (ha)

But I know the deal, because I am a New Yorker (and karmically, this means that I've done this to many, many people. Hopefully I'm working it all out now with this experience) and it's very important that we get wherever we're going as quickly as possible while simultaneously shuffling ipod songs, texting, and eating a sandwich.

It's made me very grateful that this is temporary. Because it's rough out there if you can't walk.

(Also please no up-in-armsing about the title. I refer only to myself.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Because They Are Calloused, And Because They Are My Palms

When I was teaching I had all kinds of random rough patches of skin, especially on my feet, from various poses, from kneeling to do adjustments, things like that. Now that I'm 'walking' around a lot more my hands are starting to get calloused from the crutches. I couldn't get the picture to not be blurry but here's what it looks like, sort of:


Yeah. I know. It's a blurry picture of a hand. But if you look closely you can see the skin at the base of my palm is darker and has actually blistered a little... it sounds like I'm trying to build a non-existent case, but it's true, I swear...

In other much more interesting news, I had my first conversation today with a woman who has been reading this blog and has to have surgery for a different but equally crippling hip problem. I have total empathy for her, and at the same time I feel glad that all my ramblings are actually helping at least one person that I know of. If there's anyone else out there who's looking down the surgery gun and feels nervous, or scared, or has a million questions like I did, or just wants to talk to someone, go to my teaching site (www.sarahcourtyoga.com) and 'sign up' for the mailing list - it's the easiest way to email me without my putting my address out there for the spammers, I won't actually put you on the list, and we can talk.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Trundle, Peas, Twitch and Freak

Did my AIDS trundle this morning, and my shoulders were so sore afterwards I had to put frozen peas on them.


Organic frozen peas, natch. Only the best for my delts.

Also I was reading about opiates and how the phrase "kick the habit" came into use because one of the symptoms of opiate withdrawal is muscle spasms and twitching. I was twitching a lot in the hospital. Even now an occasional twitch will come on.

The world's greatest massage therapist came on Friday and worked on my leg. She likes to laugh when you tell her that it hurts. But she's so good at it and afterwards my leg felt fantastic. She looked at the scar and the first thing she said was, "You're a freak!" Which she says she meant in a good way. Apparently the scar and surrounding muscle is doing outrageously well for only 3 1/2 weeks out, that ordinarily it would be much darker and the skin would be much more puckery. Hurrah for that.

Go yoga body. I hope if you're reading this and you don't yet practice yoga that it will inspire you to at least start to think about it, because I don't think anything else in my life has created the conditions for my body to recover so well. Of course there's a lifestyle that goes along with it, and I am generally pretty healthy (although lately every time I turn around I'm eating a cookie) but how quickly my flexibility is coming back I think is all about my yoga practice. I'm also probably more concerned than the next person about regaining as much flexibility as quickly as I can, so that accounts for my obsessiveness with the Fonda moves, but still. Go to class. Especially if you're a student of mine and you're reading this and thinking that when I start teaching again, because I'll be semi-gimpy, I'll give you an easy time...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Walking

Just now I got hit with a picture of myself strolling through Manhattan, covering a distance I wouldn't have dreamed of before, not wondering when I would be stopped in my tracks and forced to limp, pain-free and smiling. What a blessing to be reminded of why I did this to myself and what's on the other side. Thank you, imagination.

(This is how The Secret works, right? You just have to imagine it and it will happen? I'll start working on some bigger things once I get walking down again. Feel free to post any requests.)

Thigh Swap

When I left the hospital, after lying in bed for 5 days (apart from a twice daily attempt to take a few steps followed closely by near passing out), my left leg was visibly atrophied from disuse, while my right leg was hugely swollen, about twice the size of the other.

Now that I'm walking around a lot more and basically using my left leg to hold up my body, my left leg has become super strong (a Linda leg, if you will) and my right leg, with the swelling going down, has become the wussy leg. I don't even have to flex (Linda!), just sitting in a chair my left thigh is easily an inch higher. My friend Sarah got me a giant exercise ball which I now sit on at the computer in the hopes that it will passively strengthen my right leg. It's actually been helping my sacrum a lot as well and stops me from slumping (a terrible admission for a yoga teacher to make, but sometimes, especially at the computer, I slump).

My dad is here for the weekend keeping an eye on me so I don't revolt and run away while mom goes down to Philly to visit my 94 year-old grandmother. Dad's gatekeeping style is much more laid back. He's working on the assumption that I can do things unless I tell him otherwise, which means I'm not having things brought to me as much as I have gotten used to...

We went out to dinner last night - I crutchwalked to Ninth Avenue - which was the first time since surgery that I've been out for dinner. It was awesome. The more I go out, the less nuclear meltdown prone I feel.

Biologically interesting note about Thursday's melt: the past few weeks while meditating I would get incredibly hot, to the point of sweating (and my mom meditating with me is wrapped head to toe in a fuzzy blanket. We're a funny pair) but Friday morning I was cool as a cucumber. I guess I got it all out.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

XXX Scar Pix

Warm up pic first:


When I relax my legs now, the right leg doesn't turn out as much as the left anymore, because the surgery created more internal rotation. Was watching CNN last night and they did a piece on Asian women having eyelid surgery to make their eyes appear more open and round. Pretty soon internal rotation is going to be the hot new look. Just remember, you saw it here first.

OK.
Here it is, in full glory, no holds barred:




Next stop, Crash (the first one not the Sandra Bullock one)(which I am slightly ashamed to admit I saw in the movie theater but only because I was living in Japan at the time and desperate for anything in English).

Today is the day that I'm not holding it all together, being brave, being strong, healing quickly, or surprising the physical therapist with how well I'm doing. Today, I am doing craply, I am crying, I am pissy, and I want to throw the walker out the window.

(This may also be related to ramping down off the meds)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Scarpocalypse Now Redux

After my surgeon friend made fun of me for still having the steri-strips on the scar (what do I know? The hospital put the fear of God into me about pulling them off) I went ahead and ripped them all off. Felt gooood. It's totally fine under there, and I'll do another picture so you can see the whole thing top to toe. (Because you're dying to know, right?) It's very Rose-McGowan-with-a-machine-gun-leg looking. Sort of. Not really. More like Sarah-with-a-mental-plate looking. But I feel better if I can pretend I'm a badass. I think Mental Plate would be a great band name.

Also my latest Vicodin prescription is different - before I was taking 1000mg 3 times a day, and these new ones are 750mg. Since quartering a pill is kind of a pain (and these are the dusty crumbly kind), and it's not a huge difference, and I was going to do it pretty soon anyway, I'm going to start stepping down the meds. The sooner I can start drinking again, the better for everyone. Especially my mom.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Oh and

I've eaten 100 Vicodin.
Which is alot, but it's only half the amount that I could be eating.
Craziness.

3 Weeks Later

There's going to be a scar picture at the bottom of this post. I have no perspective any more on whether this is gross because I look at it every day... plus I find it oddly fascinating... but if you skeeve easily, perhaps you may want to avert your eyes... or go watch a zombie movie first and then this will seem like nuthin'.

OK!

Status report:

No longer nauseous (although that's the Nexium, but still, it's nice)

Don't need naps (but I still believe the siesta is one of life's greatest luxuries)

Can bathe self

Right knee and hip bend past 90 degrees

Can sit in a regular chair

Sudoku skills improved from 'Light and Easy' to 'Demanding'

Can put on pants, socks and shoes (with hands, not toes)

Can stand long enough to cook (this is not a good admission; mom will go on strike)

Have not gone completely mental yet

So all in all, doing well. I am determined that in 3 weeks when I trundle into Dr. Buly's office for the post-op check-up, I'll be walking out (even if I need a cane, it would be a huge improvement).

Ready?

Here it be:



So first of all you can see how the surgical tape is just crying out to be pulled off, right?
The two X's are where Dr. Buly repaired the labrum, which is the cartilage that rings the hip socket.
There's also a little red dot in the top right corner where the drain was after surgery (apparently bones bleed a lot), and it's still pretty lumpy with swelling. It can take as long as 6 months for the swelling to completely go down.
I'll post again when the rest of the tape comes off, but I think it looks pretty good for 3 weeks out. As long as the plate is in, I will be somewhat uneven, but I've gotten used to the idea, and it's coming out in a year anyway.

What's a little weird as well is that I can now feel the plate in my leg. It doesn't hurt, it just feels like there's something else in there with my leg when I move it - which of course there is. It's an odd sensation.

Anyway, doing well overall. Thank you all so much for your support and visits and love!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Scary Step Moment

I'm supposed to do what's called "toe-touch" with my right foot when I'm crutching or walkering along, which is your foot touches the floor but you're not really standing on it. This is the 20% weight-bearing that I'm limited to (but only 3 more weeks!)(let's hope!)(otherwise I'm going to really lose it!).

Today during my daily Plaza-with-a-side-of-Starbucks jaunt I accidentally fully stepped down onto my right foot. Which I couldn't do a few weeks ago - my knee would buckle if I put even the slightest bit of weight on it because the muscles were so confused about what was going on, so it's goodish, and the fact that I didn't realize I was doing it I think is also goodish, because it means everything's feeling goodish, but it totally scared the pants off me. Luckily I realized what I had done before taking the next step and just stepped backwards onto my left foot. I don't think I can do any serious damage, but I have a mental image of the metal plate buckling. I don't even know if that's possible, or if it's just a little paranoid fun dance for me. Please weigh in if you have any knowledge about metal plates.

(I keep typing mental plates by mistake. Perhaps I need a mental plate as well.)

AIDS Walk

Last year I did the AIDS Walk to raise money for my non-profit org in South Africa, Ubuntu Education Fund. A lot of you know about Ubuntu because I've hit you up for cash before, but if not, you can check out their website - they do incredible, life-changing work, particularly for AIDS orphaned kids and other vulnerable children. I've seen it firsthand and had the awesome opportunity to teach yoga down there a few years ago (and I want to get back down there to teach again soon!)

The AIDS Walk is this Sunday, and no, I can't really walk, but I'm still asking for sponsorship. Instead of the real walk, I will do 2 laps around the block on my crutches. It will probably take me as long as it takes the walkers to complete 6 miles...

If you're inclined, please sponsor me. Ubuntu is building a new center that will allow them to help thousands more families - this year's AIDS Walk proceeds will go towards the center.

Here's my link - it's easy as pie:
http://aidswalknewyork2007.kintera.org/sarah

And here's why you want to:

Update Tomorrow

I'll be 3 weeks post-op tomorrow, so full update on where I'm at plus scar photo...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hooray Today

My friend and brilliant yoga teacher Paisley and her husband came by and wheeled me up to Central Park, where we lay in Sheep's Meadow and she helped me figure out some ways to stop the Fonda moves from binding my hip flexors, which have been uncomfortable enough to wake me up at night;
and I rolled around in the grass and looked at all the people;
and Richard wheeled me really fast back down the hill out of the park;
and we went into a store and shopped a bit;
and got coffee;
and went back to their apartment and had lunch;
and then she wheeled me home.

It was the longest yet I've been out of the apartment.
My shoulders are sunburned.
I'm tired in the way you're tired when you've actually done something.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Downward Facing Linda

I crutch walked around the entire block today (OK, so I cut through the Plaza, but it was ALMOST a whole block). Linda Hamilton arms, here I come.

Every day I can feel my spine compacting a little more and I have a very specific yearning to get into down dog and just let it traction for a while and get a little space going in there. Obviously it's not really compacting, but I'm so used to stretching things out it that feels very odd to just sit around in my body all day.

What Would Linda Do (If Linda Was Still Doing Pullups in the Hospital at the Beginning of T2)?

"Put a chair at one end of your yoga mat, and then lower yourself from the edge of the chair down onto the mat (like those triceps exercises) and then lay down on your back, and then roll over onto your belly, and then get up onto your hands and knees, and then from there push back to down dog and just keep your right foot toe touching the ground without any pressure on it, soldier."

My thoughts exactly.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ooops

So here I am blagging on about how regularly I take my Vicodin like a good little opiate-eater... and then this afternoon I'm out on the patio (Worldwide Plaza is my new living room. Want to see me? Swing by the Plaza on an afternoon. There I be with the rest of the infirm out taking our afternoon 'walk'. I'm the one without a bored-looking nurse in tow) with my girlfriend and we're yakking up a good old ex-boyfriend-bash of a storm, and then I meander back inside and do my feel the burn routine, and not until about 7pm, after another set of friends have come by to visit and I start to feel the slightest twinge in my leg, just a mildly odd sensation, do I realize that I missed my 4pm pill-pop.

Which I think is a good thing, because a) clearly I'm not addicted if I can so casually forget;
and b) clearly the pain level is going down if my leg isn't reminding me at hour 8;
and c) clearly I don't have a c) but I felt like an a) and a b) alone were insufficient.

So, yay. Perhaps I'll be investigating a longer 'tween-pill stretch sooner than I thought. We'll see what happens tomorrow. In the meantime it is taking every ounce of discipline I possess not to rip off the surgical tape.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

8 - 4 - 12


A lot of people ask me if I'm in pain. And frankly, I'm not. I wake up sore from physical therapy every morning, plus aching ribs from the new upper body crutch challenge. And of course, my sacrum is still trying to get a divorce. But I am on a solid 8 hour Vicodin regime that does away with any meanderings down bone pain lane. I was advised not to play the bone pain game ("what happens if I wait to take my medication until I actually feel something inside my leg?") by several people, because by the time the meds ramp up again you've gone through a few hours of serious unpleasantness. And frankly, there was enough unpleasantness in the hospital. I feel no need to reenact that experience.

But it's interesting to be so medicated. First of all, I feel mildly dumb. Like my entries here aren't quite as sharp 'n' witty as they were pre-hospital. Also, I'm starting to wonder if I'm getting addicted. Around the 7 1/2 hour mark I often start to feel a little depressed, a little self-sorry, wondering if my hip is going to stick out like a shelf for the entire year that the metal plate is in, wondering if any man could possibly overlook a hip that sticks out like a shelf (I have some adorable - rather, formerly adorable - shorts with "Nantucket" across the bottom that I wear when I do my Fonda moves, and now due to my hip shelf, they say "NantucKET"), and so on. About an hour after I take my 2 Vicodin, the world is rosy again. Visiting Nurse Shannon did say that the meds would have an effect on my emotions, but she didn't say anything about it being so clockwork. In a few weeks I can start trying to space out the meds more and more; in the meantime, I guess fuzzy and emotional are where I'm at.

Scar is healing well. I still have the surgical tape on from the surgery, and I have to let it peel off as and when it desires. Definitely not allowed to pull the little strips off. However my new favorite pastime is to run my fingers along the scar and let the edges of the tape lift up like feathers. Not pulling, just encouraging. There are a few tiny spaces now where the tape lifts completely off and I can see the scar underneath. It looks like capellini. Actually what it really looks like are the intestinal worms that my dog had as a puppy. But capellini sounds better. Once the tape comes off completely, I'll post a picture. I know you're all waiting, baited. Personally I'm really curious to see what's under there.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Ow

Woke up so sore this morning from my new moves. Jane, I apologize.

My doctor friend said it's a sign you're getting better when the PT is kicking your ass. My ass is officially kicked.

The Wheelchair came and I love it. I'm going to be a speed demon. Mom looked nervous.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Let's Get Physical


My physical therapist, Ruth, came today to check on my progress. Since I am mildly obsessive and very stubborn I'm making great strides! (Also to be fair to this body, it was in very good condition thanks to a daily yoga practice). She's given me several new exercises to do in addition to the old crew that I've been doing twice daily since the hospital. It's really funny stuff - all side leg lifts and ham curls. Some of them I can do no problem, but some, like lying on my back and lifting my leg straight up in the air, just won't happen. I can engage the muscles, but we don't go anywhere. But this is how it was with several of the old moves, and after serious effort a la Uma Thurman in the back of the truck in Kill Bill, I was able to do things like lift my foot off the ground and slide my leg sideways. So I'm hoping it will be the same with these. We also discussed some very mild yoga that I want to incorporate and she gave me the green light. I think I'm one of the more entertaining people she gets to visit - she said most of her patients are between 80 and 100 and really don't want to do any silly little repetitive exercises. I'm like - it's 75 degrees outside - I'll curl my hamstring 800 times a day if it gets me out there faster.

Another new development - it looks like I'm getting a wheelchair! This may sound like backwards movement, but it would allow me to go outside for more than 20 minutes at a time. Apparently the insurance will cover most of the cost of the rental and this way I can go to the park or maybe even to the movies... very exciting. I was getting depressed thinking I was going to miss Pirates of the Caribbean: Here's Johnny, Again.

Dear visiting people - please keep visiting I love seeing you all. Come back as many times as you want. However please don't bring any more cookies with you. I have a lot of cookies now. And already a hip that sticks out sideways like a shelf. And not a lot of exercise overall apart from my Jane Fonda moves. Please come and eat the cookies that are here and don't bring any more.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Don't Ask Any Questions

My mom and I negotiate each other pretty well, as it turns out. She's recognizing my need to be able to do as many things for myself as I can (which on a good day makes me feel great, and on a day when it's been several hours since my last Vicadin, makes me feel like I'm on the special bus: "Good for you Sarah! You can pick up your socks with your toes!"). As much as possible, she's letting me do for myself. There are non-negotiables, like supervised middle of the night bathroom trips, but a few days ago she said to me, "You just tell me when you need my help, and otherwise I'll let you do things on your own."

"Perfect," I replied, as it was.

Then a few hours later as I reached across the table for the remote: "You just let me know, and I'll help you."

"Yes. Awesome. Thank you."

And then again, as I counted out seven and a half Coumadin: "You just tell me whenever you need my help."

Really very adorable and mom-like, and we laughed pretty hard when I pointed out to her that it was the third time she had told me that I could tell her if I needed help. Honestly I think she's showing a lot of restraint.

Then my brother came over that evening (he and his fiance are leaving for California; I'm selfishly sad to lose them but excited for their L.A. adventure) and mom asked him several times if he wanted anything to eat. (I guess if you're a mom you never think that your kids are not hungry?)

"Mom," I said, "Maybe the rule that we established today would work for Matt too."

"What rule?" Matt asked.

"I don't get to ask any questions," she said meekly.

Which about put me on the floor laughing. And it has come to be our code: when she instinctively reaches out to take the top off the medicine bottle that I'm holding and then catches herself and pulls her arm back, or when she goes to take something out of a drawer that I can now trundle over to on my own, I remind her - "Don't ask any questions."

Of course, my growing independence has its drawbacks. It's not such a bad thing to be completely waited on hand and foot, have your meals brought to you on a tray, your back rubbed, your sudoku handed to you with the pencil already attached to the book... now when there's something I can easily manage on my own, like refilling my water bottle, I feel sort of lame still asking my mom to do it for me. I tell myself that she wants to do it. Matt said that when she's done here she can come to L.A. and take care of him.

In other news, I went outside for the first time yesterday since I got back from the hospital. Those of you here in NYC know what a perfectly beautiful day it was. I walked about 50 yards up the street with my walker (Visiting Nurse Mike said that the walker's good for outside; people see it and get out of your way) and then turned around and came back inside and took a big nap. Standing up for long periods of time is still hard - I can handle about 15-20 minutes before I get tired. To feel the breeze and the sun on my face was amazing. As my friend Eve said today when she came over to visit, "I remind myself to go skip outside in my flip-flops because there are some people who can't". So stop reading this and go outside! It's spring!

Outside with Matt and Marla, and clean hair:

Friday, May 4, 2007

Day of Little Annoying Things

In case any of you thought my life had become more dignified now that I am out of the hospital, no longer bound to an IV or leg squeezing mechanisms or an epidural needle or a catheter (although in a perverse way, I really miss the catheter - you can't feel it and you never have to get up to pee! Drink all the water you want! Carry your pee around with you in a bag!) there are some minor indignities that I currently face on a daily basis.

To wit:



Extra-wide, for my extra wideness. Actually it's more about the height - I can't sit that far down yet, although my knee-bending skills are getting better and better every day. Yesterday for the first time I lifted my foot one inch off the floor for a half millisecond! Very exciting! Today I did it for a whole millisecond!

Anyway, this is the latest setup:



Which I was really excited about because up til now it's been washcloths in bed. The bench came 2 days ago and the building maintenance people removed the glass shower doors to fit it in. We ordered a rubber nozzle attachment to go onto the tub faucet and yesterday was supposed to be the day that I got to take a real shower like a real person (if that real person was sitting down) including my first shampoo since before the hospital. Only when my mom tried to attach the nozzle it didn't work with our faucet because of the pin that sticks up (you can see it in the picture) for when you want the regular shower to work, because you are a regular person without special sitting down needs. Rraargh.

And then the basket for the front of my walker also arrived yesterday. Said basket frees my mom from having to be my personal backpack from room to room... and then back to the other room. I have a surprising number of things that need to be near me: medication, water, crackers, notebook, pen, blackberry, reading book, sudoku, mechanical pencil, butt pillow, Life&Style magazine, bon bons...

But of course, when we tried to attach the basket to the front of the walker, it didn't fit properly, although it does sort of hang well enough to fudge it, but now creates an irritating squeak as I trundle along.

None of which would be that big of a deal if my world wasn't two rooms-sized. And if it hadn't been such a beautiful looking day outside. And if my hair wasn't 2 weeks dirty. Several batches of crying jags ensued.

But then, as always with life, good news started peaking its nose in. I got the go ahead from the visiting nurse to go OUTSIDE! In the sun! With the other people! And a beautiful bouquet of flowers was delivered from Ubuntu (they do incredible life-changing work go write them a check right now). And my dad and stepmom sent a huge care package of cookies. And my mom figured out I could sit on the bench and use a pitcher from the kitchen to pour water over myself for a bath, which was amazing. And this morning I washed my hair as well. Ahh, bliss. Mom is going over to my old apartment to get my backpack and attach it to the front of the walker so I'll be squeak free. Life is good again. Now if only my sacrum would chill out...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Pissy Sacrum, and the Reappearance of My Right Knee

So we all know what we're talking about:



Mine is having a serious fit. It is not at all happy with what I've done to my leg, because it had organized my whole spine around how things used to be and done such a good job that I had no back pain. Now I go and change everything, and it's pissed, big-time. Not only is it pissed, but it's running for the hills. It's literally moved up and to the left, as far away from the incision as it can get. If it could speak, it would be saying "Who the fug turned on the lights in here? What the hell is going on? A little heads up would have been nice... I don't get no respect..." (I guess my sacrum is Rodney Dangerfield)

It's the biggest discomfort that I'm having right now, varying from slightly uncomfortable to seriously protruding and swollen, like - I can't even think of what it looks like. A mini-boob? Weird, I know, but take pity. I haven't been outside in a while. Apparently there's just a lot of fluid that's not draining because I'm not moving around alot and it's pooling at the sacrum. Time for me to get up on my crutches a lot more and start doing hallway laps.

Good news is the swelling in my leg keeps going down and my right knee has actually reappeared as a knee - hooray! I'm still twice as wide on the right side as on the left, but it's narrowing down from front to back, if that makes sense. My left leg is also getting smaller daily as the muscles atrophy from disuse... I'm the incredible shrinking lady.

Physical therapy has begun in earnest. I'm doing about 45 minutes to an hour twice a day. Some of the exercises involve actually moving and some are just isometric (which is what, dear students?) It's quite funny though, there are some things that my right leg just won't do no matter how much I try. Sitting up I can now bend my right knee enough to put my foot on the floor and sit comfortably at the computer to type this. But I literally cannot lift my right leg straight up and take my foot off the floor. I also can't move my right leg sideways to the right very much. So these are all exercises that I work on. Apparently eventually I will be able to lift my foot and move the leg and all that. But it's pretty bizarre not to be able to do such simple moves. I'm on the walker/crutches for the next 5 weeks until my next post-op appointment with Dr. Buly, but I can't put any serious weight down on my right foot. Not that I want to. When I stand up my right leg feels incredibly heavy.

In this as in all things, just working on coming back to the tranquil center. When I meditate now the words "I am not the body and mind" have special resonance. Even in my moments of sadness and depression (and the nurse said that the Vicadin would make me a little loopy, but I think this situation in itself is enough to make anyone a little loopy) I remind myself that this is just my mind having a little fit, but it is not who I am. It's the tapas, the challenges in life that mold us into who we are.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

"They're Making a Movie of Cats!"



Aka, my life is one long production number. Got sprung from the hospital Saturday which was fantastic. Did my lap of the floor and 4 stairs up and down (I don't know why it's sideways and I don't have the wherewithal to figure it out right now - y'all just have to tilt yourselves) and got the ok from the PT to go home. Never been so happy to leave a place. As we were driving across town I couldn't believe all the regular people going about their lives on a sunny Saturday afternoon, walking on 2 legs, as if nothing had happened. Show-offs.

My mom and I have settled into a routine, but everything takes forever and I have to nap afterwards. Getting clean requires a nap. Moving from bed to couch requires a nap. Eating requires a nap. I have to keep reminding her that when she tidies up, which she likes to do (and don't get me wrong- without her here I would be so screwed) that although the crutches look neater up against the wall, I am then stuck where I am until she comes back into the room. Arms reach is my limit; anything farther away might as well be in Siberia.

Visiting nurse came yesterday - my blood pressure is low and I have a fever, but apparently neither are unusual. I'm supposed to get a lot of sodium and water to help balance things out. I'm also freaking nauseous if I don't constantly eat (my pregnant friend, who has suffered horribly with morning sickness, came over with 2 huge boxes of Special K; it's been a lifesaver). I'm on a medication called Coumadin to keep my blood thin so that it doesn't clot, because that would be superbad and happens easily, and every Monday and Thursday a lab tech comes to draw blood to test. The annoying thing about it is that all green vegetables are off limits, because they contain vitamin K, which is a coagulant. With vegetables as the cornerstone of my normal diet, I can only say oy. And this will be for the next 6 weeks. Double oy.

The leg is pretty big still but going down a little every day. We took some incision pictures yesterday morning but frankly, they're obscene. Scar porn, if you will. Even with my high tolerance for grossness, and your odd desire to know every intimate detail of my life, I dare not defile our relationship quite so soon, Gentle Reader.

Also my sacrum has swollen from only being able to sleep/nap/live on my back. Not to put too fine a point on it, but my butt hurts. Obviously the scar side I can't lie on and the other side is hard too because of the weight of my Frankenleg bearing down on it. I managed to flip over onto my stomach holding onto the headboard and with my good leg wedged under the other. It felt so good to be on my belly for a few minutes, although the entire maneuver was a little My Left Foot. Physical therapist starts coming today so I'll find out if that's even allowed.

And basically that's it. I'm crazy tired a lot, and have the unfortunate position of asking friends not to visit for too long because I get tired so quickly, although my energy seems to come and go in waves. Writing this has taken the better part of today, in shifts. Every 10 mins I have to ask my mom to get me something and she is being a superstar. Probably only a mother would have the patience for this job. I am so lucky to have her here taking care of me. I love you mom.

P.S. The first person to email me with the name of the play that the title quote comes from wins a copy of my latest book, Sudoku: Cool Breeze Over the Mountains of My Brain.