Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mrs. Ever Forward Takes a Step Back

For those that don't know, I am "Directionally Challenged." Oh, I'm "challenged" in many ways, but my lack of a sense of direction is somewhat legendary. I tend to walk fairly quickly, and rarely am I moving in the correct direction for where I hope to go. Because of this unfortunate trait, my husband says my motto is "Ever Forward." He loves to point this out on the numerous occasions weekly when I finally come to the realization that I have no clue where I am going.

It should also come as no news flash to those who have been following my recovery from a fall down some stairs that I can be a Klutz (with a capital K.) I am not the champion Klutz in my family, that honor goes to my brother, Tom, who has had stitches in his head alone more times that you can count on two hands.

At this point, I should note that although the doctor said that my trip down the stairs resulted in a "catastrophic" injury, I have worked rather vigorously to heal myself and have made progress that has impressed the medical personnel who are caring for me. Pretty much, from the time of my injury on July 2, I have mostly made positive steps forward and surprised those who know how recovery should look. I was moving Ever Forward on a long journey to a rebuilt knee.

Yesterday, in an instant, Mrs. Ever Forward took a step back. A word of caution here, if you have problems discussing bodily functions or things done in private, STOP reading. Mrs. Ever Forward is about to share TMI.

It was a day in which I was feeling really good. The weather was beautiful. My physical therapist had given me a big two thumbs up for my performance the day before. I had pedaled the stationery bike backward and forward, and had been able to move the seat down to the same setting I had used prior to my reconstructive surgery. My extension was perfect, resting comfortably when flat on the exam table. My bend on the bike was 108 degrees out of 125 maximum for my chubby little legs. I was antsy with cabin fever. I took a stroll the 125 feet down my gravel driveway to the mailbox using only a cane. I was the cat's meow, the cock of the walk, and the belle of the ball; all rolled into one.

I was going to make supper for my husband for the first time in two weeks! I was feeling good enough that I thought I could surprise him with a home cooked meal. Before beginning my culinary adventure, I thought I should take a trip down the hall and use the restroom. You know, so I could focus my full attention on making a fabulous meal.

Now, when a person has an injury like mine, there is a bit of finesse that is required to use the facilities. It involves getting everything lined up, and making a measured descent onto the commode. As the descent begins, the offending leg must be straightened out so as not to over-stretch the newly installed ligament. It's really a blend of Highland Fling meets Swan Lake. It's a dance I've pulled off numerous times since July 2, without a hitch. Until yesterday.

I was backed in, lined up, confident in my final approach and impending descent. As I permitted gravity to take over, I started the straightening of my leg and my heel stuck on the floor and the leg stayed bent. Too far bent.

I heard myself scream, I saw black, I must have grabbed the vanity next to me. I think I moaned loudly, twice. My vision came back and the shaking started. I knew I'd done something not so good. I made it to the bed, and tried calling my husband. His phone went right to voice mail. I tried again in a couple of minutes and he picked up. I told him I'd had a little accident with the leg. He said he was 2 1/2 hours away, and what did I want him to do? I said I wanted him to come home ASAP because I was going to need a hand. I stayed put on the bed until he got there.

Today, I went back to therapy and explained my mishap to the therapist. She said she hopes I didn't tear the new graft. I had too much swelling for her to tell for sure that it is okay. She put me on the bike, three settings on the seat higher than Tuesday, and I only pedaled the bike backwards (easier, less bend) once and she took me off. She measured my bend, and I had gone from 108 to 95. The therapy plan for the day was out the window, and we went into damage control.

It was disappointing, to say the least. My weekend ahead looks a lot like my evening tonight. Sitting with the leg up, and lots and lots of ice. Limited exercise and lots of rest. Bummer. I don't think I've torn the new graft, just gave it a big stretch. I was worried about having torn the stitches putting the meniscus back together, but the therapist didn't think that was the case. She did say that it could have been much, much worse. She reminded me that I could have ended up on the floor with a break in the leg. After all, I have two fresh channels drilled all the way through both the major bones in that leg (that's how they thread the new ligament through the bone.) My goal of driving by the end of the second week (today) is not going to happen. Maybe one more week?

I am choosing to consider myself fortunate. This was a reminder that I'm not as hoity-toity as I was thinking I was. It could have been much worse, and it was a good reminder that sometimes you just have to give your body time to heal. On the positive side, my weight has remained constant in spite of having to sit a lot. My food choices have been within my target range. I am fortunate that although it is tough for me to be sitting home with cabin fever while my friends and colleagues go about their lives; I am lucky to have good health care, a good sub at school, a supportive teaching partner, and friends and family who care about me. It will be okay. Mrs. Ever Forward just doesn't like to take a step back.

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