Friday, June 19, 2009

another day in the life of a recovering ankle patient

More on the recovery process, for my own notes as well as for anyone out there who is contemplating pttd surgery or anything like it, or has gone through it and can commisserate. There are most likely similarities with many procedures. I did just take a pill, and am trying to use my lucidity to my advantage. While I may be able to type in complete sentences with a minimum of effort, speaking is not so easy. I (pause) talk (pause) like (pause) this. Because my body is busy shaking, crying, and trying not to vomit, while trying also to formulate words in my mouth, things happen slowly. This causes frustration on the part of the listener sometimes. I then feel like I am forced to start a couple other sentences to try and explain the first one I haven't finished yet and then complex reasonings are thrown at me to try and argue the facts that I haven't finished presenting yet and then I just sit there and cry, clutching my stomach, and I pretty much give up until the meds kick in and I can speak coherently again, which timeframe cannot really be predicted.

Verbal communication is one issue. Another contributing factor is a delicate subject: constipation. Try not going to the bathroom for a week and then tell me what sluggish means to you. No matter how much prune juice, coffee, granola, fruit, fiber pills, water, etc., I injest, nothing works. So my body is in slow motion. But my brain still works, so give me a chance, okay? Someday I'll be back to my whole self again. Granted, my foot won't work right for a year, but my ability to speak does re-establish itself throughout the day.

Another issue is keeping away from the work e-mail account. It won't be so difficult to do so now, after yesterday. As a courtesy, I answered some questions, and attempted to help out the person in Admin who is supposed to be handling the details of the tail end of a conference. After arguing with me for a little while, he actually requested, in writing, remember this is e-mail, that I contact two other people to help him resolve a matter. I already provided him with detailed instructions and contact information before the surgery. Finally, I just told him sweetly that I am on disability right now and shouldn't have even opened that e-mail account, and it was all I could do just to lay here and type, and for him to please do his own follow-up research.

Also, I e-mailed with one of the branch offices, and they wanted to send me something, like flowers, but there was no address. And they are right: there is no address. I cannot get up and answer the door for a delivery, period. There is no way to predict when Angel will be home so he can answer the door, so that is not an option. Finally, they persisted so much that I gave them Angel's work address. But now he is not happy about that, because he says there is no room in his house to put anything they might send me anyway, and also after whatever it is waits four or five hours for him to bring it back, it won't look as nice. So I am supposed to tell people to please wait until I return to work to send me any sort of delivery. I am available via e-mail, so I guess I could receive an online gift certificate if people really wanted to do something. But just knowing that they are thinking of me is the real gift. That's all I need. Call me (if you can put up with the half sentences) or e-mail me (that is better because I can answer during lucid moments). It gets really boring and lonely through the day when I am awake. Yesterday, I couldn't even watch Netflix because the quiet fan got unplugged via the crutches and I turned on the loud fan and my laptop couldn't drown it out. I only slept for 21 minutes yesterday. Today may be different. Each day is different. Only taking the pills is the same. Every three hours, I am guaranteed to be popping a pill.

This whole experience of relying on other people to take care of me is difficult. I feel so guilty! Angel takes excellent care of me, predicting my each and every need, and providing me with more than I could ever use, making sure I am as comfortable as possible. But I feel so sorry that I am cutting into his downtime from work. He needs rest, too, you know. He has the hardest job on the planet: putting up with me.

You know, and I told the doctor's office repeatedly, several times, to please help me to prepare in advance because I wouldn't have access to a pharmacy or a grocery store or a post office or anything at all for the entire recovery period. They were vague and unhelpful. For instance, when they say to wear comfortable clothes for the surgery, they really mean to wear pants that do not fasten. I was very comfortable in my multi-pocket, baggy, khaki pants with the two buttons, zipper and string ties. Until I had to go to the bathroom. Then it became the obstacle course from hell. Try undoing all that while shaking uncontrollably and perched precariously with one knee on the toilet seat and trying not to vomit. Just try it. I dare ya.

And the "small incision site" on my hip for the bone graft actually needed super extra huge bandages that weren't exactly kept on hand for minor cuts and bruises in the course of a normal day. This black and blue continent on my hip is about the size of New Guinea. I hardly consider that to be small. And I wasn't prepared for the pain pump and the care of that, either. Thankfully, I was wearing a v-neck t-shirt so I could clip the poof of meds to it and still keep the cord that led directly to the incision site in my hip.

I just think that recovery is more than anyone can be prepared for, and you really do need someone who cares there to help you. It's just not possible to do it by yourself sometimes. I am lucky, because I am here at Angel's house. I'm glad I listened to him and agreed to come here and let him help me. He does a fabulous job.

I know I let my grammar slip in places here in this blog entry, but I think it's amazing that I was able to type at all, because I still cannot formulate a single complete sentence verbally.


  1. Ahh recovery from surgery. Gotta love it huh? I had hernia surgery back in 06. Which I gotta tell ya feels exactly like what it is. Something taking a knife and slicing open your lower stomach then stitching it back up. I will never know a woman's pain from childbirth, but I think I have a pretty good idea what a C-Section feels like lol. I know that because me and a couple women I know who've had C-Sections compared notes.

    My first day after surgery was horrible. My vicodans riled me up, and I couldn't sleep at all. You're definitely right about the timetables though. ONE MINUTE past when they are do and you know it lol. I also know the whole not moving around too well thing. I was ok when I was standing, sitting, or lying down. It was moving from one to the other that was horrific. I don't know how long it will take for you, but after about a week or more I was able to move around a little better.

    Good luck though. Hopefully this fixes whatever was wrong and you'll be back to yourself here pretty soon.

  2. Yep, I had a C-section 11 years ago, and can commisserate with how you felt. Not fun! Thank you, and I am sure that every day, I am a little bit better. :-)


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