Sunday, February 15, 2009

Let the bidding begin...

I have the most fabulous work of art...on my leg! My mom spent about 7 hours yesterday making my cast 100% one of a kind. Can you believe this?! For those of you who ever sat by me in church or school, this explains my knack for doodling.

I'm already thinking of ways to display it once it's no longer a fixture on my leg. NO ONE is signing this baby except the artist!

When Ryan had to go out of town for a few days, I only had to beg a little bit for my mom to come help me out this weekend. I'm pretty self sufficient except for carrying things. I'll get into the kitchen, pour myself a drink, and realize that I can't go sit on the couch to drink it because I can't carry it in there. It's frustrating, but it's teaching me patience. And it's teaching me how to ask for help...I'm used to being pretty independent. I also enjoy when Harley wakes me up at 6 a.m. to go outside, and I have to crutch my way through the living room in the dark. That will teach me to leave a lamp on. As klutzy as I am, I'm shocked I haven't fallen on my crutches already. That's all I need...ANOTHER accident! :-)
Well, it's off to work this least I'm gonna try some short days. I'm still not able to drive, which has to be the most frustrating part of all of this. I'm having to depend on others for my transportation, and I don't exactly live close to anything. We'll see how it goes!

Monday, February 09, 2009


People have asked, so I'll fill you in on the latest...

I went to the doctor today and got my soft cast taken off. I didn't include pictures of that process for a good reason. I took one look at my leg and decided that I would lay down and let Ryan look for the rest of the time. It was so gross I nearly fainted. The gauze on my leg was the same gauze that has been on since my surgery 12 days ago, so let's just say the smell was interesting. I got my stitches out, which was NOT fun at all, but I'm glad they're out now. It's definitely a relief to have my stitches out and my leg cleaned up. They put me in a hard cast for the next 3 weeks, and I still can't put any weight on my leg during that time. I was really hoping for some type of cast that would let me walk, but that's okay. That also means that I still can't drive. UGH!! I think that's the most annoying part of all of this. I'll post pictures of my cast soon, but I'm not finished with it. I opted for white so that I can get creative and make it my own. Gotta make the most of it! :)

Anyway, when I go back to the Dr. in 3 weeks, they will x-ray my leg (through my cast) to see if it is healing okay. Then, if it IS healing okay, they will cut this cast off and put me in some other kind of cast for a couple more weeks...I think he said a brace of some sort. After those 2 weeks, I will have to go back to the hospital for outpatient surgery to get one of the screws taken out. 2 of the screws and the plate in my leg can stay, but the screw holding my ligaments together has the potential to break and irritate my leg, so they want to take it out. Bummer! That means I will be in YET ANOTHER cast after that surgery. At least it won't be as extensive as the first surgery, and it will be a step toward progress. At this point I will have been off my leg for 6-8 weeks. After all of that is behind me, THEN I will start physical therapy. It's a long road ahead, but I'm checking the days off one by one.

The highlight of my day was when Ryan took me to get ice cream because I was such a good girl at the doctor! Coffee ice cream with hot fudge mixed favorite!!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Part 3: Life at Home

My brother went by my Grandma's house on his way home from work on Friday to borrow a few things that helped her after her hip surgery. Seriously, did I ever think I'd be sharing surgical gear (ie. a walker, a potty chair, a pants puller-upper, an extra long shoe horn, and many other cool gadgets) with my Grandma?! How humiliating! But thank goodness she had it all, or I would've spent way too much money. When I left the hospital on Friday, I was already feeling better, but on Saturday morning when my mom washed my hair and I actually put on makeup, I felt like a brand new person! My dad left to go home on Saturday, but not until he had cleaned my entire house top to bottom. I am SO grateful he did that because I am too OCD to live with a messy house, but I sure couldn't do anything about it. My mom reorganized things to make my clothes more accessible. And she cleaned out my fridge to make room for all of the food people would be bringing. I could not have gotten through this without my parents. They were amazing! Brad & Kendall were also a huge help. They kept me from freaking out before the surgery, and they kept me company afterwards. I'm so thankful to have them. On Sunday evening, during the Super Bowl, Ryan finally got home. Praise the Lord! I was so excited to see him, but I couldn't exactly run up and hug him the way I wanted to. Since my folks left, he picked right up where they left off and has done a great job of playing "nurse" to me. I hate feeling helpless, but I'm having to get used to it.

My leg is supposed to be elevated at least 80% of my day, so I use the other 20% to get ready in the mornings and get up and "crutch" around to keep my sanity. I can't even rest my foot on the ground without it hurting, so I'm really having to put all klutziness (is that a word?) aside. Every day seems to be progress, but it's amazing how many adaptations I'm having to make. When I first got home, my mom and dad got me settled into a recliner in the living room, and I thought I'd never get out. By the time Ryan got home on Sunday evening, I was already getting more independent. Now, I can get into the recliner by myself, but I just need some help getting out. I also thought I wouldn't be able to sleep in my own bed because it's so tall, but now I can get in and out of bed all by myself. It's also nice that I don't have to have anyone accompany me to the restroom... privacy is one of life's little joys that I'll never take for granted again. I'm occasionally humbled when I can't get my pants on, or I drop something I can't pick up, and we usually just die laughing at how awkward I am. It's so ridiculous to need help for such little tasks!! I'm still at Ryan's mercy to wash my hair, and I have to say he may just have a future in hairstyling. Between the kitchen sink sprayer, a stool, another chair to prop my leg up on, and lots of towels for the water we manage to get everywhere, we've mastered the art of Hairwashing 101. I'm sure it's a hilarious sight to see.

Anyway, I also just have to say thanks to everyone for checking in on me, whether it's been by paying a visit, bringing food, calling, sending cards, or just commenting on this blog. It means a lot to know how many people are praying for my recovery. I go to the Dr. this coming Monday, and I'm praying for good news...and maybe some type of walking cast?!? I'm still out of work for at least another week, but I'm doing some small things from home just to keep busy and feel productive. Thank goodness for a flexible job and wonderful co-workers who are picking up my slack. I'm very, very blessed.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Part 2

After I came out of recovery, I was taken upstairs to a really nice room with a decent view and a plasma TV. I was also given a morphine drip which I could pump every 6 minutes. Woo Hoo!!! Or so I thought...evidently morphine doesn't do anything to help my pain but it does make me really nauseated and dizzy. The first night was awful. I didn't get to even try to sleep until 4:30am because my pulse monitor and oxygen machine were beeping every 10 seconds because my heart rate was out of control. My mom was staying with me, and she said it read 160 beats per minute at one point. Definitely not normal for a healthy heart rate. I was just already overwhelmed, and when the machines beeped it stressed me out even more. Then nurses would come in threatening to stick me with things, which also stressed me out. I couldn't relax.

After a horrible night of sleep, the doctor came in first thing to tell me that I would NOT be going home that day even though he had told me I would. (SO SAD!) He wanted to keep me another day because the surgery had been so extensive and it had taken so much longer. He was also concerned about my high heart rate, but I told him I just needed to go home and my heart would be fine. I'm sure he thought I was an idiot, but I knew best! I had a day full of visitors, nurses in & out, flowers, horrible food (which I couldn't eat anyway), physical therapy people smothering me and trying to get me up on crutches, and a lot more pain. I just couldn't get a handle on the pain, but all of my sweet family & friends who called and stopped by really made my day fly by and kept my mind off the pain as much as possible. Thank you ALL!!! I had begged my day nurses to talk to my doctor about upping my pain pill dosage so that I could pump less of the morphine, but they didn't seem too interested. When my wonderful night nurse Melissa came, she called my doctor right away to get the OK and told me that I could take my pain pills by mouth every 3-4 hours instead of every 6. That evening, I decided to try to depend mostly on my pain pills and wean myself off of the morphine, and that did the trick. I was still in pain, but at least my heart rate was in check, my machines weren't beeping, and I was getting an appetite again. It also meant that if I wasn't dependant on my morphine drip I had a chance of going home! Forgive the nastiness of this picture. I looked horrible the whole time I was there, and unfortunately I felt even worse than I looked. I hate that people saw me like this!
My nurse during the last day was wonderful. Her son goes to Hardin-Simmons, so we all made quick friends and she took extra special care of me. Sure enough, the bone specialist finally came in and told me that he was okay with releasing me, but that he wanted the internal medicine doctor to come give me his release also. UGH. I just wanted OUT! The internal medicine doctor showed up and decided that he wanted to run tests on my thyroid, which meant more BLOODWORK. The dreaded mention of the word sent my heart rate from normal to 155 bpm in 3 seconds. Seriously, don't these people just believe me when I say I have severe hospital anxiety!?!? I waited another 2 hours and finally he came in and said, "Everything looks good, you were right, you can go." YAY!!! So, my parents packed up my things and we headed home. I'm sure we looked hilarious loading me into their car because I had to ride in the back as "cargo" because I couldn't stretch out anywhere else. I felt every bump in the road on the 30 minute drive home, which was less than comfortable, but once I sat down in my own living room, I felt like a new woman!
Part 3: Life at Home...coming soon.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

My Week of Firsts: Part 1

Am I dreaming?! I really keep hoping that the past 5 days have all been a bad dream, but I'm beginning to think this is real.

Let me start from the beginning...
On Tuesday night, the Dallas/FW area started getting some inclement weather. My first sign that things were freezing was when I went outside at about 6:00pm to get my mail, and slipped and fell in front of my mailbox. I lauged about it because I felt so stupid, and I'm sure I looked ridiculous. No harm done...just a bruise and a little embarrassment.
Wednesday was a different story. I stayed in most of the day because the ice had gotten really bad. Fort Worth schools were closed, so I figured I was home for the day. But, our church (where I also work) decided to go ahead and have Wednesday evening activities because most of the ice was melting by the afternoon. With the exception of overpasses, my drive should've been fine, so I decided to go up to church via back roads at about 2:00. I had parked my car in the garage the night before (which I hardly ever do) because I didn't want to have to scrape ice off of it on Wednesday. Since I don't usually park in the garage, I don't even have a garage door opener in my car. So I backed my car out on my VERY icy driveway. I guess my driveway has a lot more shade than most on my street because everyone else's ice was melting already. Since I don't have a garage door opener in my car, I got out and went back to close the garage door. As I was walking BACK to my car on my driveway, it happened...

I fell SO hard and fast I couldn't really remember what I did except that it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. I know that my leg slipped out to the right, and I remember hitting the inside of my right ankle on the ice/driveway when I fell. Immediately I knew something was seriously wrong, but I needed to catch my breath and think a for a minute. I know this sounds gross, but I could tell that everything in my lower right leg was disconnected. It was throbbing mixed with knife sharp pains shooting up my leg. UGH!! Praise the Lord my neighbor was just getting in her car to leave, so she saw the whole thing happen and was able to help me. If she hadn't been outside, I don't know what I would've done because I couldn't move my right leg at all, and my cell phone was in my car already. She went and got her daughter and another neighbor, and with their help and my office-roller chair they were able to get me inside to my couch. I was really bummed because Ryan was out in the Gulf, as usual, and I had no way to get a hold of him. I sent him a text, but he was underwater at the time, so I was going to have to do this without him. I also called my boss/music minister/friend, Andy, to let him know that on second thought, NO, I would not be coming to church that night. I think he understood. I called my sister-in-law, Kendall, right away because she was home from school due to the inclement weather day. She only lives a couple of minutes away, so she came right over and we decided I definitely needed an x-ray and decided which hospital to go to. I was nervous for her to be driving because some of the roads were still icy and she's pregnant with my neice or nephew! So, we decided we could make it to Harris Southwest in Fort Worth without having to deal with any highways. I know this is gross, but here is a view of my ankle at home on my couch. Not too bad, huh?

Let me take a moment to tell you that I have NEVER been to the ER, I have NEVER had an IV, I pass out at the mention of the word "bloodwork", I have never been put under anesthesia, and I even have to hide my eyes during the "cutting people open" parts of Grey's Anatomy. I get light headed when I go visit other people in the hospital! So I was completely TERRIFIED. I was praying that I had a clean break, that they would put me in a boot or a cast and send me on my way. But, things didn't turn out so well. I got bumped up the priority list in the ER, so I got in really quickly which was a miracle. The first doctor took one look at it and knew it was broken and sent me in for x-rays. On a scale of 1-10, my pain had been at a 10+ up until this point. It was almost unbearable. Anyway, I got a Vicodin and began to feel a little more comfortable (and drunk!). My pain subsided to about a 9.5. That is, until the nurse came in to set my foot which is something I hope I never have to feel again. Let me also say that I hadn't cried once by this point. I think I was in so much pain and shock that crying didn't even cross my mind! Kendall had been with me this whole time, and I am so thankful that she was there. She is so calm and reassuring, and really helped me keep from freaking out. My brother had just arrived with some food because we were all starving, but right as I was about to eat my Chick-fil-A the nurse stuck her head in and said, "Don't eat or drink anything in case we have to do surgery."
SURGERY?!? I couldn't stand the thought of being cut on, but before I knew it, the bone specialist had come in to tell me what had happened. I had broken both bones in my lower right leg, the tibia and fibula, and had seriously damaged/torn/pulled all the ligaments in between. They could actually get me into surgery within the next 45 minutes (which was amazing!) and it was definitely not something I could avoid. Looking back, I think it was a blessing that I didn't have much time to stress about it. It all happened so fast, and that's what I needed. I got my IV (my first one ever) and it didn't kill me. I might have squeezed my brother's hand off, but he'll be okay. And I tried my best to text a few people to let them know what was going on. I was so high on Vicodin that I couldn't remember how to do it, so that is why some people heard and some people didn't. I apologize if I didn't make any sense that night. My brother did a great job talking to people and trying to communicate for me that night, so thanks Brad. By this time my parents were already on their way from Abilene, and I had a few familiar faces to send me off to surgery. It meant a lot to know that people were already praying for me. For some reason, I remember giving Jim Kiser a high five as they wheeled me back to the OR, and I told Andy to be sure to wipe the dogs' paws off with the towel by the back door when he went to let them out. Seriously, mud on my floor was important right then?!Drugs do weird things to people.

Next thing I knew, I woke up in recovery, and my parents were coming in. Everything had gone fine, but the surgery had taken 3 hours, which was twice as long as they thought it would. I have a plate on the outside/fibula, 2 screws on the tibia/inside, and another screw holding together the ligaments I tore and/or pulled in between the two bones. That's a lot of hardware. I'll follow up with my stay in the hospital in Part 2, coming soon...