Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Swelling beyond belief

This is my foot! Even with elevation and ice... I can't get it much better than this. It seriously limits my shoe options! I've also started gaining weight at a pretty rapid rate. I'm not sure why... my theories are 1- building muscle again, 2- usual Holiday gain, 3- being stuck in bed... not burning many calories these days.
I'm nervous about Christmas! I'm not sure how I will be able to handle the drive to St. George. That's 4 hours in the car. I'm also worried that once we get down there, things will be difficult. I'm still unable to do stairs, I have to keep my leg up most of the day, and I have to use the ice machine at night. It's enough of a pain here at home in my own house and bed... I can't imagine being in a hotel/vacation home.

Mike keeps saying we should just cancel Christmas. He makes some very good points. Besides the pain and swelling... things with my family have never been this bad. Since the accident, I have family members who have completely stopped associating with me. One in particular who went from ignoring me, to hating me. Things have gotten so awkward it's almost painful to be in the same room as her. I've tried to figure out what I did to deserve her awful treatment... and I literally can't come up with anything. Besides getting in a car accident. Believe me, if that were something I could change I would! I never wanted to be in such a position, and certainly never wanted to upset anyone!
It shocks me... it hurts me... it has caused indescribable feelings over the past year... and I'd be lying to say that it hasn't forever changed me. Forgiveness is something I have had to work on, and I will have to continue to work on it.

So there are some good reasons not to subject myself to our Christmas plans this year. I'm trying to be hopeful... but it's not easy when I look down and see this foot!!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Post Op follow up

I'm now 2 weeks post op. My follow up appointment was with Dr. Larsen, but I saw Stephen Cruze instead. He did xrays, and it was so strange to see the images. There are a crazy amount of holes in my tibia! It makes me wonder how on earth I can stand on that bone without it collapsing!
He went to look up the images from surgery, and sure enough... no pictures! I reminded him that the camera was unplugged, so there were no images. I wish I could have talked to Dr. Larsen about things, but there wasn't a ton of info. I told him about the blood clot, and how things were going with PT.
I told him that the surgery has seemed to help with the pain. It's still hard to tell with the swelling, but it seems better!
Besides circulation and swelling, it looked pretty good. Although the scar was ugly! Which surprised me, because I felt like it looked so good after the first surgery. I had spent so much time rubbing vitamin E on it, and making sure it healed as pretty as possible. Stephen then informed me that he has sustained a hand injury the Saturday before my surgery... so he wasn't the one who sewed me up! All of a sudden it made sense... Dr. Larsen had stitched me up himself. He is a fantastic Orthopedic Surgeon... but I sure wish Stephen had been there to close me up. Oh well! We joked about it, but at this point I'm just happy that the mechanics are working well... it's the inside that really counts!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Back in the hood

Going back to Physical Therapy was both good, and also hard. It's a place in which I associate so many memories! I remember the first time I extended my leg all the way, and when I would push through immense amounts of pain to bend my knee farther and farther each week. I think of the milestones, the moments I celebrated such small victories... but those small victories were all I had! The people who work there have seen me at my absolute worst. It forms a bond that I can't describe... a bond that I'm happy not to share with many, but an unforgettable bond of strength and hope.
I've often referred to Physical Therapy as The Island of Misfit Toys. We are a bunch of broken people, most broken by accident or no fault of our own, but still broken none-the-less.
I felt like I had graduated from this place. It was hard to be back, only because I had worked so long and hard to never have to go back.
It was good to see familiar faces. I was one week from surgery and ready to make some magic! I couldn't do the heat or massage because of my DVT. But I got the electric stimulation and did the same quad strengthening exercises I had done before. I'm not ready for the bike yet, so hopefully I can start next week.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Blood Cots... round 2

Friday I woke up with a familiar ache. Granted, I was cutting back quite quickly on the pain meds, but I could feel pressure and pain in the same spot. The swelling is pretty out-of-control, and that makes things difficult. But this picture is the inside of my leg, the other side has all the insicions.
The spot was super warm to the touch, it felt like it was burning from the inside. I knew too well what it felt like... I'd felt it all before. I took a Coumadin and called the Dr.

Dr. Christensen asked about the surgery. I told him that I had been on blood thinners since surgery! I informed everyone at the hospital about the clots before, and my allergy to Xarelto.
Sure enough... I had a DVT again!

He put me on a higher dose of Coumadin and ordered daily blood testing until my INR was where it should be. So good bye anti-inflammatories... farewell Aleve... I will miss you, dearly!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Here we go again

My surgery was at 8am on Monday, December 3rd at Timpanogos Regional Hospital.

I had mixed feelings about this day. Everyone has their opinions and advise... I've heard everything, ranging from positive theories and well-wishing... to people asking stupid questions like "But aren't you afraid to go through that again?" Of course I am!
I called my Physical Therapist last week to get his advise. First, I wanted to know his opinion, from the patients he's seen, what type of and length of recovery would I be facing? He said I had to break up the recovery into 3 parts... because of the 3 procedures I was going to have. Each one had their own list of complications, side effects, recovery plan, and strengthening exercises. I then asked him... and told him to be totally honest with me... if he thought this was a good idea right now?
I appreciated his honesty! I have gained a lot of respect for Todd, and I trust him. He said that he thinks I will find a great deal of relief with these procedures. He explained exactly what Dr. Larsen said about the Lateral Release, and the possibility of it not doing what we all hope. The scope is always helpful, and has the easiest recovery! He also felt that removing the hardware will help... his only concern was how vulnerable the bone might be, and following the removal it will be vulnerable for quite some time! Which means taking it easy for 6 months... yes, 6 months! This is hard to swallow because I feel like I've only had a couple months of feeling normal. Doing yoga and exercising has been really great!
After thinking, researching, asking questions, praying, and weighing all my options... I decided that it was worth the risk of going back under the knife.

So I found myself awaiting surgery. Feeling both nervous and hopeful.
I spoke with the anesthesiologist prior to surgery about my reaction to narcotics. We talked about Dilaudid instead of Lortab or Percocet. I needed loads of Phengran, because Zolfran won't do much good. He also did a total nerve block on my leg prior to surgery. The needle wasn't fun, but once my leg went numb I was assured that it was a good idea.
The last thing I remember was asking Dr. Larsen if I could keep my hardware! He said yes... and I certainly felt like I had earned the damn things!
I don't remember much about coming out of surgery. Mike informed me that at the end of my surgery they discovered that the camera had been unplugged, therefore no images were saved. Dr. Larsen said that opening my knee back up he would bend it and see the kneecap maltracking. When my knee was still, it looked to be in position... but when it would move and bend, everything was off. Which is why the xrays didn't show issues, but walking and moving gave me so much pain. He also said that a lot of junk was under my knee cap, and the bone had fissures where it had been put back together. He was able to clean and smooth things out. He told Mike that he bent and moved my leg after performing the lateral release to ensure things were moving correctly, and he made sure of it before he closed me back up.
After being in recovery for a while the nurse asked me if I needed more meds. I wasn't in tons of pain, but there was enough discomfort that I knew if I didn't stay on top of it things could get really bad! He gave me another dose to get me through checking out and getting home. The dose was enough to keep me from being able to maintain my oxygen levels. I was put on oxygen and told I would have to stay overnight. Then I was told I could go home if I stayed on the oxygen at home.
The anesthesiologist came in and gave me a lecture about  requesting too much medication... which I didn't request, the nurse actually suggested it. He said that I "can't expect to be pain-free". To which I wanted to respond... Buddy, I haven't been pain-free for 9 months!!!
We finally came home about 10pm. Mike was supposed to fly out to San Diego at 7pm that day, and obviously that didn't happen. He had to reschedule until the next morning.

It was crazy how natural the process felt, meds every 4 hours... ice... being stuck back in that bed! It was as if there was never a break. Jess came to take care of the girls and the house for the next few days. The girls had basketball practice, games, activity days, YW, etc. I cancelled or rescheduled everything I could, but there was still so much going on. Mike left that afternoon. It was horrible timing because everyone got sick. Lexi threw up all night, from 1am to 8am.

Wednesday, day three, Jess woke up super sick. All I needed was some ice and medication. I tried to help take care of Jess. I had wonderful friends bring me dinner! I had only told a handful of people that I was having surgery again, so it was such a blessing that those closest to me were willing to help. Thankfully, Mike came home later that night.

Thursday morning I called Dr. Larsen to stop oxygen. It was much easier to sleep without that stupid cannula in my nose! Friday was the first time that I dared to start weight bearing. I put just the slightest pressure on my leg, and my knee felt good. It's a scary thought to think about all the holes in my bone. Coupled with the lack of cartilage, I didn't know what to expect. But it felt solid. It's so swollen right now, it's almost unbelievable! So it's hard to know with all the swelling, but mechanically it feels better.

Monday, November 19, 2012

So the time has come for... Surgery #2

I've had time to heal, taken loads of joint supplements, and done countless hours of physical therapy... but things are not getting any better!
When I straightened my leg, it grinds an awful audible sound that reminded me of the rock salt I twist through my salt grinder. People hear it and cringe! Stairs are of course the worst. I'm still only able to walk up and down the stairs one leg at a time... like a toddler! My 2 year-old niece and I do stairs at the same pace, and she'll leave me in the dust when her legs grow another inch or two! The sound is just a constant reminder of the pain when I walk.
I can't explain the feeling of instability and discomfort when I put weight on my leg. I try to do all the things I've been taught by Todd (my physical therapist). I've focused on quad strengthening, range of motion, gait training... I feel like I've given it 100%.
I got a steroid shot last month... which, by the way... hurts worse than a steroid shot in my heal. He poked and drove that needle right up under the patella (kneecap) and then pushed liquid fire into my knee as slow as possible. As the tears welled up in my eyes I kept trying to remind myself how bad it hurt after the accident... trying to put things into perspective. But in that moment... all I could think of was that damn needle!!! And it hurt like hell!!!
Needless to say, after that experience I was hoping that shot was going to fix things... and it didn't. So when Dr. Larsen suggested another surgery as an option, I didn't know what to think! On one hand, I thought this surgery could get me to a better place... and it would be worth going back under the knife for that chance. However, the greater part of me can't let go of the pain and all the hard work it has taken to get to this point... and I don't think I can take a setback. Not physically or emotionally. It's been 9 months of grueling hard work... how can I go through that again?
To make things more questionable, Dr. Larsen informed me that of the 3... Yes, that's 3... procedures he'd like to perform, one of them may not do any good! He wants to do what is called a lateral release. The severe pain and grinding in my knee is caused by the poor alignment of my kneecap. A lateral release is a surgical procedure used to help realign the kneecap. The kneecap moves up and down in a groove on the end of the thigh bone as the knee bends... and Dr. Larsen think that my kneecap is not sitting in that groove! But, x-rays haven't been able to show things clearly enough too see if doing the release will fix anything.
He is assuming that the kneecap is abnormally pulled towards the outside of its groove. When the kneecap does not slide well within the groove, cartilage irritation and pain can result. There are several causes of patellar maltracking (the name given to the kneecap being pulled to the outside), and the most common is tight tissue attached to the outside of the kneecap (the lateral retinaculum).
Lateral release is best for patient with excessive patellar tilt. When the lateral retinaculum is too tight, it can act as a tether to the kneecap. A lateral release is a procedure performed to cut through this tight retinaculum, and allow the kneecap to sit properly within its groove.
Dr. Larsen is being very up front with me, and said that the procedure doesn't always work. He said that he doesn't like suggesting it to his patients, and it's not something he does often. He said that in the past
doctors were performing this procedure too commonly, and some patients didn't find relief. Then there are the side effects... The most common side effect of a lateral release is bleeding into the knee, which can lead to pain and swelling. Then there is infection and scar tissue!
He feels that a scope is necessary, to clean out loose cartilage and smooth the back side of the kneecap. He thinks things are pretty chewed up.
Then the funny thing he said "... and if I'm already in there... and I've got a screwdriver... I might as well take out all the hardware!" But he had a look in his eye, a familiar look. It's the look I get when I've got a can of spray paint and unfinished wood. The look I get when I've got extra cash and a 3-day sale. The look I get when I've got a client with wet hair and I'm holding my insanely sharp scissors. Not that I'm complaining about getting pounds of cold hard metal out of my body... but that look in his eyes was unmistakeable!
I asked him when he would want to do all of this... he said "as soon as possible". Which meant next week! Then the conversation I was dreading. He brought up weight loss.
The past 9 months have been difficult, and my fluctuating weight is an indicator of that. I'm in a position I can't control. My weight increases due to lack of activity... and yet my injury limits my activity. At this point weight loss would be solely based on diet. I have never been disciplined with eating, and I've had the luxury of exercise to make up for that. So now... my exercise consists of riding a recumbent bike for 30 minutes with zero resistance. Which burns a whopping 75 calories! I don't know how I will get where I need to be. Dr. Larsen suggesting talking to a Dr. Rassmusen... about medical weight loss. It's just depressing, and I've got to figure something out! One more thing to try and fix... one more thing I don't feel that I have control over.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Day 232- It's been a while

Mike came across these pictures. They were on his computer, some of them I have... some of them I don't remember him ever taking!

These were the bruises I had all over my thighs...

These are pictures of all the stages of healing...


I remember wondering if my leg would ever look the same. I couldn't believe how fast I lost my muscle, and how long my leg stayed green and yellow. Even after the purple and red faded... the yellow seemed to last forever!

 This was how nicely my incision was healing! I was very proud of how well I was able to take care of the site. I would rub Vitamin E on it 2 or 3 times a day, and massage around the area to keep scar tissue from building. It was the only thing I could control at that point!

These were the amount of pills I would take morning, noon, and night! This didn't include added pain meds!

 I had such bad issues with blood pooling in my foot! It was so incredibly painful and the skin would get so tight... it would burn and itch.

This was my calf... I was flexing!!! It was so sad! And although it took months... I was glad the color looked more normal.

It brought back a flood of memories. The day-to-day pain has almost become just a regular part of life. It isn't until I'm unable to participate, or can't do something I want to do... then the emotions come flooding back!
I'm super nervous for the winter! Just the past few weeks the weather has cooled quite a bit. There are mornings I can hardly walk!
I've been called to serve in the YW. Which is a place I'm so happy to be. I've missed the girls, and while I enjoy the Primary... my heart will always belong to the YW. It's been a struggle with some of the activities. Over the past couple months I have had to sit on the sidelines and watch. I can't go play night games... do a trek to the temple... play any sports... or other physical activities. It makes me angry if I dwell on it. I think Mike is angry enough for the both of us.
I ordered Christmas cards early this year. It's kind of ironic... for the past 14 years our Christmas cards have gone out to at least 50 family members and friends. Every year is the same... kids are growing up, Mike is still at Wingate, life is good. I was excited to tell everyone when Mike had graduated. I was even more excited when I graduated. We would sometimes mention the trip we had taken... but we started traveling so much that it seemed silly... almost like bragging. We were pretty boring and average people. Nothing too exciting.
I asked Mike if he even wanted to send one out this year. I debated it back and forth. What do I write? Mike and I will both say that "hands down" this is the hardest year of our lives! How do you write that in a Christmas card? So I just ordered a cute card with the picture of the girls on it... left Mike and I out this year. I still am not sure what or if I will write anything... but at least people can get a cute picture of the girls! They hide things well. I know it's bee hard on them, but they are so forgiving and willing to accept things.
I worried that Sophie might never recover from wetting the bed. (Which she started doing the week I got home from the hospital) We ordered "starry" online. Starry is a device that clips on her underwear, and has a wire connecting to a speaker box that clips to the sleeve of her nightgown. If she wets the electrical current conducts and the speaker sounds a horribly loud alarm. She has done pretty well, with a few tough weeks (When Mike went out-of-town she wet almost every night... as soon as he came home she did okay) but I think she will get the hang of it again. Poor girl!

(It's called the sleep dry alarm...)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 203- Bad News

Today was an exceptionally hard day.
I feel like up until this point, I have been progressing. I have been pushing myself, doing all the things Todd has asked. I have the motivation to work through the pain, with the results being a better situation.
As the swelling has subsided the grinding and catching has gotten worse and worse.
I went into Dr. Larsen. He did x-rays and checked the placement of the hardware. But the tendons, ligaments, and lack of cartilage is another issue. Having removed the meniscus on the lateral side means that there is bone on bone. Today, Todd informed me that he believes my patella (kneecap)  has healed incorrectly. I guess it is very damaging. He said at this point everything I do is just causing more and more damage.
If I walk... especially up or down stairs, the grinding is audible. It feels and sounds horrible! Even the therapists are grossed out when they hear it. I basically have the knee of an 80 year old.
My options include a 'lateral release' which cuts the tissue and releases the kneecap to the proper place. He also mentioned a bone wedge to move the patella, as well as a patella realignment procedure.
I felt my heart sink!
This is not the way things are supposed to go! We aren't able to pay our medical bills, providers are calling us weekly. Even Todd informed me that we will have to work something out.
I CAN'T DO ANOTHER SURGERY! I'm just starting to get my life back. My kids have started to get their mother back. Mike and I have started dating again. My hair stopped falling out! I finally got off of blood thinning medication!
Now I'm supposed to "take it easy"! How am I supposed to move backwards?!!
He told me not to walk anywhere I don't have to. I can't do stairs. I basically have to go back three months!
So I use my cane, I avoid anything physical, and I feel totally worthless. I started taking the supplements he recommended. They were created by Dr. Rosenberg. He works out of Park City, and he's on the forefront of knee procedures and replacements. His supplements are not cheap! But at this point I will do what it takes to heal.
I'm not going to give up now... so what choice to I have? This is a bio on Dr. Rosenberg. He is VERY expensive, and hard to get into. But I was told that if I take his supplements for a few months, they would be able to help me get the best results possible!

Dr. Thomas D. Rosenberg, M.D.

Knee Specialist

Dr. Rosenberg
Rosenberg grew up in Northern Utah. He attended the University of Utah Medical School. His orthopedic training occurred at the Universities of Utah and of Wisconsin in 1973 to 1978. Rosenberg co-founded the Fitness Institute at LDS Hospital in 1980, The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH) in Salt Lake City in 1991, the RCM Clinic in Park City, Utah (with Dr. Vernon Cooley) in 1998, and the non-profit nutrient supplementation company, Nutriex in 1999. Viewed as an innovator, Dr. Rosenberg invented new arthroscopic menisci repair techniques and developed new tools and methods for ACL reconstruction. Specifically, he is best known for the endo-button and quadrupled semi-tendonosis reconstruction (single and double tunnel methods) techniques for ACL reconstruction. He has developed widely utilized tools for chondroplasty of the knee, including the Full-radius Resector, curved chondroplasty devices, and micro-fracture instruments. He has designed bony-integration patellar implants and techniques for athletic knee replacements. His x-ray method, the 45° flexion P-A weight-bearing view (Rosenberg View), is widely used internationally.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 170- And life goes on

Things have been hard lately. It feels as if life has been speeding up. I've taken back most of my motherly responsibilities... although I can't keep up. Even so, I realize that instead of needing the help of others, I'm now to the point where I need to adjust life to fit within my personal limitations.
I still fight the idea that everything has to change. I hold onto the hope that things may improve. I'm afraid if I let go of that hope I won't be able to live with the despair. I've never been good at accepting... I guess it feels more like “giving up” than anything else.
The summer flew by so fast. Physical Therapy twice a week for 3 hours a visit, took up a lot of time. Not to mention that the day following therapy I was pretty sore and worthless.
The kids were so good at taking care of each other, and trying not to complain... but I know it was a hard summer for them. They are used to having fun things planned. Summer's have always been my favorite... carefree and laid back. Unfortunately this summer will go down in the record book as the hardest summer of their childhood.
As Labor Day approaches I realized our “Pass of all Passes” will expire. We used them last fall, and once over Christmas. I'm not sure if it is worth getting them again. I paid extra for 4 tube rentals and free parking at Seven Peaks. It was a pricey purchase... but at the time felt like a deal, considering I thought we would be visiting quite often during the summer.
I'm glad we had our trip to Yellowstone, I think they enjoyed that. I've accepted the fact that regardless of my personal limitations... we will have to plan activities for them. I can find a place to wait for them, or read a book in the car.
It really hit me hard when I saw the picture of Mike and the girls at the top of Inspiration Point, above Jenny Lake in the Grand Tetons. It was a beautiful picture! That picture tells the story of our family... every summer of our lives we have these types of adventures. When I was going through the pictures at the end of our trip... I saw it and broke down! I think I cried about it for 2 days!
Is this what our future is? Family memories that I don't get to be a part of? While they were hiking this beautiful trail... I WAS SITTING IN THE CAR!!! I can't think about it.
Which leads to other concerns and fears. Mainly about my activity level and weight gain. Since February it's already become an issue, and I'm not sure I have many options. When I ride my bike, I've been instructed not to ride for too long at a time, and I can't use resistance. Which leads to the fact that I ride for 30 minutes and burn just over 100 calories. I'm more sedentary than I've ever been in my life! 
So... with all that said... I've been quite down lately. I tend to throw myself a pity party almost everyday. Sometimes it lasts the entire day.... sometimes just a couple hours. School will start... summer will be over... and life will continue. What I've learned is that the sun will rise and set everyday... regardless of what happens in my life.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Day 106- Just in case you were curious

This is what the inside of my leg looks like! It makes me thankful for modern medicine. I feel a little like Humpty Dumpty... but I'm so glad they could put me "back together again"!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Day 100- You can have my lucky charms!

Wow... I can't believe it's been 100 days! I feel like so little has happened, and yet physically and mentally so much has changed. I wish I could say that these past 100 days have been continual progress... or that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. No. But it's better than day 5, day 25, and even yesterday.
I am so sad to admit that I have to cancel our family trip to California. I'm so upset, because I've been planning this since last year! In January, I went with Mike to San Diego. I spent the days scouting out cool places to take the kids. The Mormon Battalion Visitor's Center, Old Town San Diego, Gaslamp District, La Jolla beach, Sea World, and even Legoland. I had so much planned... and I was so excited! Especially about Sea World! They have been talking about it all this year.
I was in denial about going. I accepted that maybe we would have to cut back, just Sea World and the beach. Then I accepted that there was no way I could walk around Sea World, so it would just be the beach. Then I realized that I can't walk on flat ground... how would I walk in the sand? So at least I would have the sunshine and hotel pool. I called the hotel when I couldn't see pictures online. She informed me that they don't have an outdoor pool!!! SERIOUSLY?!!
I still needed to go. I needed a break so bad! Mike was going to have to go either way, and how would I stay here without help? In my denial... Jen and Cory helped put the car-top carrier on the car. I was determined to have a vacation!
I woke up the next morning (yesterday)... the day I should have been packing and loading the car... and realized it just couldn't happen. The driving would be so hard on my leg. I still can't walk. It's just not smart! So I kissed Mike goodbye tonight and crawled into a hole of depression. I started the "why's" again. Not to mention the "when" will I get my life back... then to the dreaded "if" I'll ever get my life back!
In an effort to try and bring me back from the dark abyss, Mike said I should book a trip down to St. George. The drive should be doable and we can just sit by a pool everyday. So I got online and found the perfect place. There aren't a lot of vacation rentals in St. George... but to my surprise I found a great one! Main floor, right by the pool, sleeps 6, and not to pricey. So I book it!
The next morning I get a call from the reservation desk. "We are so sorry Mrs. Bushman. The room you booked is actually not available." I'm on the edge at this point, "what do you mean? I just booked it online?" they crush me, "There is something wrong with our website... it shouldn't have shown that unit as available." I plead "But there aren't any other units available that fit my handicap needs and sleeps my family?" I don't know what I expected... they don't care! They have no idea how fragile I am at this point. They don't know that they are crushing all my hopes and dreams... the little bit of positive hope I have left is demolished! I get off the phone and cry. I cry like a baby, sob in fact. That makes it final... I HAVE THE WORST LUCK EVER!!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Day 92- Memorial Day

Life has become different. Almost like watching a movie of myself! The only way to explain it is that the world is still turning... everyone's lives are moving forward... but mine has stopped. It's strange to think about how things used to be. Regular life, just the routine of the day-to-day. My main complaints were not enough time to get all the things done in a day. I worried about things like what to cook for dinner. Now I wake up to the buzz of an ice machine hooked up to my leg, hoping that the calluses on my hands (from my walker) aren't going to get much bigger. I don't care what I eat... I just try and think about how I can carry it to the table. It's impossible to carry anything when you walk with crutches! I watch my kids walk out the door in the morning not knowing what they are doing at school. I used to worry about if they had forgotten to put their homework in their backpack. Now I'm just glad someone else is getting them to school at all!
This Memorial Day was as big one. Of course Mike wasn't up for anything, so I drove the kids to the cemetery. It was the first time I drove on the freeway. Everything seemed so fast! I couldn't stay on it long... I got off two exits early and took back roads. It was a lot for me!
We met Mike's family up there, I was able to walk out on the grass with a cane. It made me nervous... but I did it! Of course it was the first time my skin had seen the sun this year, so I got sunburned in the 5 minutes I stood there. Mike's family has a tradition of going to the cemetery and then going to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Not only did I not have flowers, but there was no way I could do lunch.
I need to pace myself. This was a huge day by my current standards.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 91- Mike's surgical disaster

Oh my... this post is so difficult to write, because I still can't believe it is a true story! The more I think about it, the more I can't believe it really happened. When I tell other people what happened they are in shock!
What was supposed to be a 3 hour out-patient procedure turned into a 24 hour horror show!
Mike couldn't get a ride to the surgical center closer to his surgical time... so Jen was able to take him before work. Which meant he was there about 3 hours before he needed to. Thankfully, that meant I got a couple extra hours of sleep and waited for Kim to come and get me.
We headed down to Provo, and when we got there they had just taken Mike back to surgery. The woman behind the desk said they were running later than expected. We waited in the waiting room and visited. After about an hour an older gentleman came out and said Mike's name... he clearly wasn't the lady who had come out for the other family members. I stood up and gathered my purse, ice, crutch... the works. I asked if Kim could come back with me, even though the sign stated only one family member allowed back at a time. The man said "of course". Then as we started back he stuck his hand out to shake, and said "My name is Dr. P*" I said hello and added "and you are?..." I was trying not to be rude, but I had never met this man! I'm starting to worry that this stranger did Mike's surgery. Little did I know that my worry was about to grow beyond what I could imagine.
We walk back to the recovery area where Mike is in the hospital bed and the curtains are drawn. I notice immediately that the two nurses are looking at the ground. One of them excuses herself. This new Dr. tells me that he is the anesthesiologist who was assisting in surgery. He is acting so weird and fumbling around. He's stuttering, and like the nurses... keeping his eyes down. Then he drops the bomb! He tells me that he accidentally gave Mike the nerve block on the wrong shoulder! He tells me that he feels really really stupid... and that he is the medical director there, so he would be the one to talk to. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I interrupted him and said "Was the surgery done on the wrong shoulder?!!" to which he responds "Oh no! Of course not!" like that was the most ridiculous question ever. I'm thinking WHAT?!! At this point how do I expect that everything went well. If the anesthesia was performed on the wrong arm... why wouldn't the surgeon make the same mistake?
Now I am being blasted with this news as Mike is moaning, groaning and writhing in pain! Then I am continued to be informed that because the block was given... although it was wrong... he can not receive more anesthesia. Anything more would make his body toxic, so all he can do is wait it out until enough time has passed then he can get some pain relief. I was still in such disbelief I didn't know what to think. Then I saw Mike in so much pain he started to cry... so I started to cry... then Kim started to cry.
Here was Mike, who had suffered through these past weeks in pain... waiting to have his surgery while taking care of me and sacrificing his own comfort daily... and he was in indescribable pain. I can't imagine the pain of that kind of surgery without pain relief!
Dr. Larsen came in and was speechless. He looked at me and just said "I'm sorry! I'm so so sorry! It had already been done when I walked in." I was trying to pull myself together and be strong. Enduring my own pain of sitting and now standing for the past 10 minutes. Dr. Larsen showed me the pictures from surgery. He explained that he removed some of the old sutures, and repaired the new tares with new ones. Then he showed me where the top of his bicep was disconnected from his shoulder. He showed me where he reattached the bicep! That was unexpected news.
Dr. P* came in and had us moved into a private room, and repeatedly told the nurses that he could have more oral meds. In the next few minutes he was given Morphine... then Percocet... then Lortab... then more Morphine. Wowza! Mike was shaking his head back and forth from side to side. He had tears running down his cheeks, and kept saying "I gotta push through this, I gotta push through this" I couldn't tell him he did... it just wasn't fair! He shouldn't have to push through it! The nurse told him that he had to stop shaking his head or he would get nauseous.
In our private room we finally had a nurse talk to us. She expressed the disbelief that this kind of mistake was made. She said that there were people in shock... and that there are specific procedures in place for these sort of things to NOT happen. She said that she had never heard of it happening... and all the nurses can't stop talking about it. I'm not sure if anything she is saying makes me feel better... but it was refreshing to have someone else responding the way I thought people should be reacting. She said that the "shit was going to hit the fan"
Mike was in so much pain... he said "I just have to get it together" and started banging the back of his head on the bed. I have NEVER seen him like this, all I could do is pray that this was too painful for his mind to remember. Maybe he wouldn't remember.
They said we would have to stay overnight. The nerve block on his right shoulder would last 17-24 hours, and with his left shoulder immobilized and in so much pain there was no way to move him. His entire upper body was immobile! They were able to give him a local in his shoulder... and then his oxygen dropped! The nurse came in and put him on oxygen. It was now about 5pm and I realized we should get comfortable.
My leg was now KILLING me. I was trying to be there for Mike. It was my first day using one crutch, and I had never been on my feet this long. How could I complain, with Mike on oxygen and in more pain than I can imagine? The nurse came in and told me that I didn't need to stay, "You really should go home and get some sleep" she said. I just kept saying "No, I'm fine" over and over. There was no way I could leave him there... not after what had happened. I was not letting him out of my sight!
The nurse came in and asked Mike if he needed to use the bathroom. I was able to help her sit him upright, then she handed me the urinal and asked if I wanted to help him. I said sure... but then looked at her and asked "How do I?... ummm... where do I?... ummmm" She showed me how to hold it, and explained it all. She stepped out and I helped Mike urinate unto this jug. They also wanted Mike to try using the spirometer to help his lungs. His breathing was SO bad! It was so bad that he could hardly take a break from the oxygen to do his exersices... his O2 levels would drop so fast.  I had been using the same stupid devise to help my lungs, so that was something I knew how to do. It's sad, but I have learned so many things I wish I didn't know... so many terms, both medical and legal, I would have been happy to live in ignorance... it really was bliss!
I hadn't been able to drive myself down there, Kim was my ride. She needed to go home and be with her own family! Jessica came down to relieve her. She was so sweet, brought me a bag with magazines, the iPad, my phone charger, snacks. Little did I know that I should have packed an overnight bag when I left the house this morning! Then we were stranded... no car.
They brought in a nurse and CNA to come in and stay with us. The nurse knew Dr. P* personally... made me wonder if this was some kind of favor. Around 2am they came in and asked if they could get him up and walk around. He looked at them and laughed! They were both around 5'5" and both of them combined maybe weighed 200 lbs. Mike said that if he were to get up and fall, "Who would catch me?" Both of the nurses agreed that we would all be in trouble if he fell... so it might be better to wait until he can do more himself. At this point, he was starting to feel the fingers on his right hand... but that was it!
Around 4am they came back in. The numbness... or at least the weight of the numbness... was starting to fade pretty quickly. We were able to help him sit up and then stand up. He started a short walk that included a stop at the bathroom... I still had to assist... but it was better than me totally on my own. I got up and walked with him. My swelling was tremendous! I just kept praying that this wouldn't be too big of a set-back for BOTH OF US. The recliner that they had brought in for me broke! I couldn't get my leg up anymore... and this was the moment I lost it. I was hurting so badly, Mike was suffering, and NOTHING seemed to be working out for us. I just started laughing! Everything was funny at this point... I'd cried enough tears, been angry, and now all I could do was laugh!
Around 5:30am, Dr. P* came into the surgical center. He was again very sorry, and sheepishly asked how Mike was feeling. He was a little hyper... he seemed super eager to prove that Mike was totally fine, and everything was great! I wanted to stop him and say "Look! That is my husband over there... hooked up to oxygen, not breathing well on his own! You blew it BIG TIME buddy!" But I just let him anxiously talk and stammer around the room. He agreed that Mike was not to a point where he could receive another block.
Meanwhile, the people started filing in and beginning their day. We got plenty of stares... whispers... and even an occasional person accidentally walking in the room not expecting anyone. Dr. P* came back in around 6:30am. He had an ultrasound machine with him. He announced it was time to give him another block. He somehow thought that explaining every little detail of what he did was going to make me feel better. The truth was, what made me feel better was watching him put the needle into the correct side of his neck. I trust that he knew exactly what he's doing... the issue is simply 'right vs. left'. My 7-year-old could help him with that one! Mike was panicked, as he should be. Mike asked if he could be sedated, poor guy! It was fascinating to watch, but at the time I was so tired and hurting so bad... I didn't care what he said!
After he left the room, Mike's oxygen dropped again. The nurse turned up the air to his cannula. I started making phone calls to find a ride home. We clearly weren't going to be out of there at 7am! I expected things to be similar to the hospital... the routine of discharge papers, etc. I looked over at Mike and noticed that his face looked funny. I asked him to look at me, "smile" I said. Only one half of his face turned up!!! I called the nurse. She said "Oh, that's called Horner's Syndrome. It's common with anesthesia, and it won't last long." Are you kidding me?!!! She seemed very rushed, and I could tell they wanted us out of there. She said that the device on Mike's finger wasn't reading the oxygen accurately. They were assured that Mike would be "fine". I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs! I needed him more than FINE. I couldn't help him physically, and I couldn't even drive him to the hospital if something went wrong. I was panicked, but didn't know what to do.
My mom came and picked us up. Of course it was raining. My Mom was shocked at Mike's face... and I could barely get myself into the car I was in so much pain! She drove us home... Mike was throwing up in the car. Luckily, I have those super nifty blue vomit bags that I am now in love with. Who would have thought it would become my newest favorite accessory?
It still seemed like a dream. We crawled into bed. Thankfully Jess was here with the kids, she had been able to stay overnight with them... and was able to stay so Mike and I could get some sleep. My foot was twice the size it should have been, and I took a pain pill and crashed. I was supposed to go to physical therapy but had to cancel. I felt bad with only a few hours notice, but I knew when they heard the story they would understand.
I know we have tough days ahead, just with Mike recovering. But I feel like the worst of it is behind us! (knock on wood) It's almost laughable to think of the things we have gone through... all I can say is that we are having TERRIBLE luck this year. It seems that if anything can go wrong it will!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 88- Another miss

Today was another milestone that I had to miss. My sweet little sister graduated today! That makes 6 of 6 for my dear Mother.  Although it is a happy day, it is crazy to think that she is the last one... She is moving out next week. That means my Mom is alone. She is probably happy to have us all graduated... I dare say I am the one who came closest to not making it.
I was so sad to miss seeing her make that important walk... in her cap and gown! Luckily Jess recorded it and took pictures!
Amanda's baby shower was Saturday. I was able to come late and stay a bit. It was supposed to be an open house... but when I walked in everyone was sitting in a circle with Amanda in the center opening gifts. They all turned and watched me hobble my sorry butt into the closest chair. I expected socializing... women in small groups... mingling... etc. It looked like we were just a few piece of papers away from a baby word-wordsearch!
It was nice to get out of the house, and Grandma Fife brought the girls (they were spending the weekend with them) They were excited to give some gifts to their newest cousin Jack. Things and relationships have been so weird and distant with family, I wasn't necessarily looking forward to the awkward effort to make small talk and pretend that everything is fine between us. I have decided that if I can take any lessons from the past few months, it's that life is too short to have regrets... and that you can never go back and change the fact that you either were (or were not) there for someone. I wouldn't have missed her baby shower... regardless of the way she has been treating me. It is sad that tension is so thick between family, but I'm sure it will get better with time.
I've had to take away the strength and wisdom from lessons learned. It's a matter of taking a horrible situation and growing from it... moving on, and accepting that life's "lemonade" isn't always made from lemons, in my case I've had to make lemonade from the unexpected family member's who I thought were the sweet part of my life!

"When people walk away from you, let them go. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you and it doesn't mean they are bad people. It just means that their part in your story is over."

And although these family member's haven't officially "walked away" physically... they have left me emotionally. Their part in my story might be over... now it's a matter of realizing my story will be happy without them!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 82- Wait for it...

Today was a confirmation that I really hate Dr offices. I think that if I totaled the time I've spent in Dr offices in the past 3 months it might total more that I had spent in my entire life up to this point!
I think that the fact someone else has to drive out to my house... pick me up... take me to the office... wait... sit there while I do what I need with the Dr... drive me all the way home... then THEY have to drive home. It's ridiculous! For these reasons, I almost lost it today... I had an appointment with Dr. Faux in the Provo office. (I was scheduled to see him Monday, but Sunday was so depressing it about killed me and I couldn't get out of bed) The last time I saw him it was at the butt-crack of dawn in his Orem office. I was really bothered that we had to be there so early, but after today I understand how blessed I was the first go around!
Kim came from PG and picked me up at 10am. We went down to Provo, having an appointment with Dr. Faux at 11am and Dr. Dahl at 1pm... in the same building. I had some wishful hopes thinking that we could do both, and maybe even grab a bite to eat in between the two.
So we checked in with Dr. Faux and the receptionist said right away "The wait will be at LEAST an hour. So if there is anything you need to do... it will be a while" I told her we had another appt at 1pm. She said it wouldn't be a problem. I looked at Kim and said we might as well wait in the car. We went out to the car and talked for an hour. When we went back in the receptionist looked up and smiled. I looked around and saw quite a few people, I wondered who else was waiting as long as I was. A half an hour later... 12:30pm I walked up and asked how much longer the wait might be. She said "There are still 3 people ahead of you... but we will see what we can do." At about 12:45pm we got called back.
A woman walked in and introduced herself as Dr. Faux's PA. She said she was going to "get things started". She examined my foot and asked me questions. She confirmed from the previous x-rays that my calcanius fracture was healed, so there wasn't need for more x-rays this time. She diagnosed me with Plantar Fasciitis. She wrote a new script for my Physical Therapist... and then shook my hand and walked us out. WAIT! WE JUST WAITED ALMOST 2 HOURS AND DIDN'T SEE THE DR!!!
I had to reschedule another follow-up and when the receptionist asked when I'd like to come in that day, I responded with "As early as possible!" She said that if I wanted to see the PA I could come in anytime that day. So I scheduled with her. I wanted to ask why I had just waited so long NOT to see the Dr I had my appt with?!!
Of course then my appt with Charlie (Dr Dahl) went well. In and out. He said that he has run all the tests he can and does not know the reason for my Tachycardia. I asked if that was a normal occurrence... and he assured me it is not. He has seen patients who have a surgery and their heart beats fast for a while... then it just slows down. Granted, these patients have had open heart surgery!
When I checked into the hospital on the night of the accident my heart rate was in the 80's! That was my body in shock! Since my ORIF surgery my heart has continually gone up, over 100 resting and 130's when I'm standing up.
The solution? I will continue to take beta-blockers day and night until my heart rate comes down... if it comes down. I can try to get off in a couple months and see if my heart rate goes back up. It just really bites, because beta-blockers suppress adrenaline and make me so so tired... and I could really use some 'upper's' not 'downers'.
I did start Physical Therapy this week, on Tuesday. I like the office and the people. Todd seems truly invested in helping me progress physically. He had me do the same table exercises that Dan had me do... I also rode the bike. I did electro stimulation, ultrasound, heat and massage. I did the ice and e-stim at the end as well. My range of motion is still at 120 degrees. I'll go back tomorrow, and I'll keep going twice a week for as long as it takes!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 78- No-longer-a-Mother's Day

It's been the hardest Mother's Day I've had.

Yesterday I went to lunch with my grandma and my sisters. My Mom took us all to this great place at Thanksgiving Point. It was good... and weird.
A couple of my sister's and I haven't had the best time these last few months. It's been very difficult for me emotionally. With all the physical pain I've been trying to overcome, the emotional things I've had to deal with have been a hindrance to my psyche. I wish that things could be dealt with another time in my life. Things seemed to come to a head a couple weeks after the accident. I know that there's never a good time to deal with family drama... but this time in my life was probably the absolute worst time ever.

It's been hard to go through this time without the people I've been closest to. I've been shocked to find out which people have really been there for me... and which people haven't. Even with friends, it's surprising to see who steps up and who walks away. There is a saying...
Your friends know who YOU ARE when you're up, and you know who YOUR FRIENDS ARE when you are down.

So this Mother's Day was just a reminder of the Mom I used to be... the Mom I should be... and the Mom I may never be able to be again! On previous Mother's Day's I've felt the need to be a better Mom and try harder. Today I just was saddened by the all the many things my children have lost in the past couple months... and how many moments and things my physical and mental condition has kept me from doing and experiencing with them. I try so hard to keep an optimistic view of recovery, but I can't help worry about the things I may never do again.
Currently my kids are being cared for by Teachers, Aunts, Grandma, and their Dad... but they don't really have a Mom right now! Before this accident I was the Mom that volunteered at the school every week. I've always been one or two of my children's Room Mom... this year was Sophie's class. I haven't done their laundry or cooked them a meal. I have rarely even felt well enough to kiss them goodnight. I'm not awake when they leave in the morning, I don't ask them how their day was. I can't help them with their homework.
So this Mother's Day was a real depressing day... and a pretty pathetic weekend.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 75- Painful week & Cori's Performance

 I knew when I woke up Sunday that the fall had caused me some serious problems. My hope was that the pain was under-conditioned muscles and weak tendons. However, Dr. Larsen wanted me to come in for x-rays. It was good to have everything checked out. My biggest fear was that I may have damaged something with the hardware or bones.
Thankfully, it all checked out! He did say that it would set me back 2 weeks... I hoping that it won't be that long! He did say I have to put physical therapy on hold for at least a week. I was supposed to start my first outpatient therapy Monday!
I have been in so much pain it's unbelievable! I had to start setting my alarm for pain medication. I was take it at night to fall asleep, then I'm in so much pain it wakes me up between 3:30am and 4:00am. I can't get back to sleep it hurts so bad! If I set my alarm and take it at 3:00am, it doesn't get too out of control.

Cori had her Jump Team performance for parents tonight. I was so excited to see everything she has been working on for the past 6 months. It's been strange to hear all about her performances at other schools... and never have seen it myself.
Of course my physical situation made the night much harder than it should have been. I was not looking forward to having to go out in public and see new people... but I have been so excited to see her in action I would not have missed it for the world.
Mike had to get me there early enough to wheel me in and get me in place before it got too crowded. Luckily we got there and had a seat quickly. I'm glad, because it filled up fast!
They started the performance by telling us why they created the team and traveled all over to other schools. They are promoting physical activity for kids. 10 minutes jump roping burns as many calories as 30 minutes of running. They were telling kids that they can all jump rope! Kids don't need to be playing a sport or be on a team to be active.
 Cori was amazing! She did so many tricks and amazing things I didn't know she could do. Push ups inside the jump rope... she slid across the floor, through somebody's legs and into an already turning long rope! She did backward push ups inside the rope, even jumped inside the same rope with another person and jumped on their back!
Of course, as soon as it was over... Mike rushed me out to the car. He needed to get me out before everyone started leaving and it got too crowded. Only, the car was parked too close to another car for me to get in... so he had to park me out-of-the-way (behind the corner of the fence across the street) so he could go back inside for the kids. Then he went back inside for the kids, he took everyone out to the car so he could back out and come and get me. ARGH!!! I cold not be more sick of my stupid situation! Everything is such a chore... and takes so much longer. I constantly feel bad for Mike, working so hard to accommodate everything!

I can't believe how much pain I've been in. I really didn't think it would be this big of a setback. I felt like I was finally to the point where I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now... I can't even imagine walking again. It is so painful just lying in bed... how on earth could I put weight on it? I'm so upset... I wish I hadn't ever tried to leave the house!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 72- The Setback

This weekend was an epic failure... by that I mean that I had a setback... the worst setback I've had!
Saturday was supposed to be a momentous occasion. I was so excited to do something that made me feel normal... or at least somewhat normal.
So I had a night out planned with some of my friends. We were supposed to go out to eat, then go to the movies. I had to put a disappointing stop to the movie. Trying to know my limitations... I knew I couldn't do the movies, especially on a Saturday night! I can't manage around crowds on crutches, and I sure as hell couldn't manage my way in and out of the isles to get to a seat. There are stairs, too many people, and way too many places to feel stupid and incapable. So my friends were understanding and agreed to just try eating out... and then go back to a friends house and watch a movie there.
So I was trying to be optimistic, but when my friend came to pick me up I should have know it wouldn't be good.
I thought her vehicle would be easy to get in and out of... but it was too high. I was trying to be normal, so I basically had to jump up with one leg onto the running board. Luckily, I cleared it! We headed to the restaurant and everything was going well.
After enjoying our meal and visiting we headed back to the house for a movie. Getting back out to the car the jump was harder. I think I was just tired, and didn't have the energy I did on my first jump.
The movie was great and I called Mike to come pick me up... partially because my friend was willing to take me home... but also because I knew there was no way I could get into her car.
Mike came and got me. I was trying to be polite... but this was the longest night I had been away from my ice. I took some medication before the night began, but it had worn off. I just needed to get home. I was heading out of the house, off the porch and down the steps. I was way too confident... and had some momentum behind me. I was heading down the stairs and couldn't get my crutches in front of me and fell off the step. I planted my bad foot (the right) as my body came down on it I had the worst pain shoot up through my foot into my hip. Then to make it worse... I hopped on it to keep my balance. Looking back, I wish I had just fallen on my face! I would have rather scraped up my hands, elbows, and even my face! You could break my nose and knock out a tooth before I would land on that foot again!
Mike quickly came and grabbed me. I used my crutches and got to the car as quick as I could. As soon as he shut my door I started to loose it! I don't think I had taken a full breath, and I just lost it! I hurt so bad I really couldn't breathe... I now know what hyperventilating feels like! I thought I was going to pass out. My legs were so tired and weak that I finally got into the house and collapsed on the bed. I was crying like a baby! Mike gave me some Morphine. I was dying!... like maybe having to go back to the ER dying! I was devastated, and in so much pain I could hardly think straight. After about 15 minutes of my hysteria Mike gave me more Morphine. We waited a full 1/2 and hour to let it kick in. I took the full dose I was on when I came home from the hospital. It took the edge off enough for me to stop crying. I was exhausted! It was a long night BEFORE I fell, so the pain on top of all that was excruciating. I finally fell asleep.
The pain woke me up at 4am. I was in so much pain I knew I couldn't get up to get meds. I had to wake up Mike. He gave me some, I was hoping not to have to take the full amount... but after taking some and waiting... I had to take more!
It was now Sunday, and we were supposed to have Mike's family over. They all decided to meet at Mike's brother's house instead. There was no way I could make it... but I insisted Mike go with the kids. As long as I had pain meds by the bed I knew I would survive. Mike didn't end up staying long. Come to find out, they were trying to plan a family vacation. (Which would later be another obstacle)
So a night that was supposed to make me feel normal turned into a weekend that not only reminded me of how difficult things are... and how something so small can turn into a setback so big.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 68- Heart Echo

Today was long... really long!
I thought I was going into the Cardiologist for an EKG... but it was an ECHO. An echocardiogram! It's a sonogram for my heart. I received an EKG in March and thought it must be an additional one for follow up... but I was in for a surprise.
Luckily, this time was much different than the holter monitor experience. Instead of being awkward and seemingly afraid of boobies... this tech was so comfortable she didn't even leave the room! She had me change into my gown while she set up the machine. We chit-chatted the entire time... she mostly asked questions about the accident. I think that I've told the story so many times it doesn't seem real... or maybe it's too real! It's not a story, it's the last 10 weeks of my life! In some ways it feels like I'm talking about someone else when I tell the story.
It seemed to go well. She can't tell me anything, of course, but there were no gasps or calls to the Dr. So I'm feeling good about it... I'll know the results by the next week.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 65 Monday- Best. Physical. Therapist. Ever.

It was both a sad and happy day. I have mixed emotions about saying goodbye to my Physical Therapist. Home Health Care has been wonderful! Having to get my INR levels tested once or twice a week was not something I could have done. I could barely drive in a car the first few weeks... everything hurt too much. I could not have left the house that often! Also, I could not have gone and done Physical Therapy... so Dan and Ashley came to my rescue.
Dan was my main therapist. He was wonderful! He always talked in this calm and slower voice. He was positive and encouraging, but could push me farther than I thought I could go. I am so happy that I've moved up to the point that I can go to a physical therapist in an office, I feel like he's been a friend.
I feel like he would be so proud to see me in a few more weeks, he would be the one to celebrate my victories! He's seen how far I've come and he knows how hard I've worked for it.
I always joke with him when he tells me I'm doing well, I remind him that "Remember I'm not 80 years old!" because I always wonder if he's comparing me to some of his other patients.
Ashley is hilarious because we've had bad luck with my blood draws. She always apologizes and feels bad that we have to do it multiple times... it doesn't bother me at all. I always feel bad that it's my testing that causes her stress. She is funny and I love her laugh!
It's interesting the relationships you build with caregivers. They are like your personal cheerleaders! There are really only a handful of people who know have known me as well as them. They educated me and took the time to answer all my questions... helping me know everything from medical terms to the dangers of high heels. Dan had to hear me whine about everything! I explained my stupid fears of having to retire my collection of high heels... going into details of why I like to wear them, and how flats make my feet look big... and they are big. I explained that heels are just one of many benefits from marrying a 6'7" hunk of burning love!
So it was a sad farewell. Dan wished me well, and I'll see Ashley for the last time Thursday. I know my new Physical Therapist will be great and encourage me... but  he will not have been the one who saw me at my very lowest.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 62 Friday- Clots or no clots?

Today I had to go back down... again... to UVRMC. I had a follow-up Ultrasound to look at my DVT's. (Deep Vein Thrombosis)
I have not just one, but TWO DVT's! They are super painful, very warm to touch, and swell so bad that Mike calls them the alien's growing out of my legs. What are DVT's you ask?

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) in a deep vein, most commonly of the legs. A DVT can occur without symptoms, but in many cases the affected extremity will be painful, swollen, red, and warm, and the superficial veins may be engorged. The most serious complication of a DVT is that the clot could dislodge and travel to the lungs, which is called a pulmonary embolism (PE). 

According to Virchow's triad, venous thrombosis occurs due to three factors: decreased flow rate of the blood (venous stasis), damage or activation of the blood vessel wall and an increased tendency of the blood to clot (hypercoagulability). DVT formation can start inside of leg vein valves, where the blood is relatively oxygen deprived. Several medical conditions increase the risk for DVT, such as physical trauma, cancer and antiphospholipid syndrome. Other risk factors include older age (the strongest), surgery, immobilization (as with bed-rest, orthopedic casts, or during long-haul flights), oral contraceptives and inborn tendencies to form clots known as thrombophilia (for example, in carriers of factor V Leiden). 

These blocked veins have been a concern now for 8 weeks. I've had to have two CT scans with dye to check for Pulmonary Embolisms. It's a concern that just sits in the back of my mind. I've been on Coumadin for 8 weeks now! (After having a severe allergic reaction to the first blood thinning medication I took, Xarelto... and then suffering through the stupid shots until the Coumadin kicked in!)
So, I'm hoping they are gone and 'Blood Clots' are something I can cross another 'issue' off my list.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 61 Thursday- I'm Tacky... as in Tachycardia

Today I went down to Provo and saw my Cardiologist, Dr. Dahl.
I'm so glad that he is a close friend of the family... because after Dr. Larsen, I know that he'll not only listen to me, but he'll go out of the way to help me.
My heart rate has been climbing since about two weeks after surgery. There really are no reasons for it. I'm losing my hair still also. At first, I was told by Dr. Christensen that my body was in shock. My menstrual cycle went away for two months, my hair is falling out, and my heart rate keeps getting higher and higher.
My heart rate was much lower after the accident... it wasn't even high after surgery, or after I first left the hospital. I wonder if it could be contributed to some extra drama that inconveniently had to blow up shortly after I got home from the hospital.
After talking to Dr. Dahl, and giving him my history, he concluded that there wasn't any real reason why I was having issues with my heart. I really thought that if I got my pain meds my heart rate would return to normal... but no luck. He tells me that he wants to run a bunch of tests with blood work, he wants an EKG, and he wants to try putting me on a beta blocker.

What's a Beta Blocker?

Beta Blockers are a common class of prescription drugs that counteract the stimulatory effects of adrenaline (epinephrine) on what are called the beta receptors. These receptors are found in many tissues of the body including the nervous system and heart. When beta receptors are stimulated, the heart beats faster and harder and the blood vessels constrict, resulting in an elevation of blood pressure. If the coronary arteries are narrowed by atherosclerosis, the increased burden on the heart can cause inadequate oxygen delivery to the heart muscle (myocardium) itself, leading to the chest pain and other symptoms of angina pectoris.

Beta blockers act by suppressing these stimulatory impulses and lead to a slowing of the pulse rate and a reduction in blood pressure. By reducing the workload of the heart, they can also relieve symptoms of angina pectoris.

Since beta blockers can slow the passage of impulses through the heart, these drugs can also be useful for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, particularly those involving abnormally fast heart rates or premature beats of the heart. Beta blockers have also been used in the treatment migraine, glaucoma, social anxiety. Certain types of tremors and some cases of mitral valve prolapse can also be treated with beta blockers.

The most common side effects of beta blockers are drowsiness and fatigue, along with dizziness and weakness. Dryness of the mouth, eyes, and skin may occur, and those taking beta blockers may develop cold hands and feet. Sleep disturbances and a decreased sex drive are less common but possible side effects of beta blockers. Wheezing is also a less common but potentially significant side effect of beta blockers, and for this reason, they are often not prescribed for people with asthma. Other serious side effects are rare.
So his concern is that my blood pressure is low... well normal for me. In the office it was 110/78... but my heart rate was about 120. He said I needed to monitor my blood pressure while taking it. I should check it periodically during the day, and if I don't feel well or feel sick, I should stop taking them immediately.
We then talked to Charlie... not the Dr. He caught us up on his life and his kids. His son was born a few months after Cori and Dylan. He's had some struggles over the past 10 years, and it broke my heart to hear some of the things he has gone through... and is still going through.
He asked about how things were going with Dr. Larsen. I told him I was off my pain meds and I'm hoping I can shake the 'drug addict' stigma. Charlie just laughs! He thinks it's hilarious! I'm glad it's funny to him... I hope one day I can look back and find the humor in it... not quite there yet.
So I went and gave my blood and scheduled my EKG for next week. It's crazy to think this is still happening. Now with Mike's surgery coming up in a few weeks, I still can't wrap my mind around how quickly our life has been turned upside down.
As we cancel family vacations and try and figure out how our summer will play out... I can't help but wonder how many things we will have to change permanently. How will our kids handle this difficult summer? They are the ones I feel the most sorry for.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thanks for noticing (as eeyore says)

I have 17... that's right 17 post written. I'm not as lazy as I look!!! It feels so good to be writing, it's so therapeutic.

I wanted to give a huge THANK YOU to all of those that have helped me, and are still helping me through this. It's been insanely hard, and I've never been good at accepting help. I know someday I will look behind me and see the lessons I've learned... but for now I'm just trying day-to-day. I could have never done it on my own!
They say friendship is like peeing your pants... everyone can see it, but only you can feel it's warmth. I have such great friends and family. I love you all!

I've always had a lot to say, and with the time to write I get a little out of control! Someday they will be posted... someday!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 57 Sunday- I never say "can't"

I know that I've missed a lot... Spring Break, Mother-Daughter Day, Hunger Games premier, Lexi's Hope of America... but it still upsets me every time I have to say "can't". This weekend I missed my Brother-in-law's college graduation.
I really thought I could do it, but I feel I'm constantly reminded of the things I "can't" do.
When I went to my last Dr appointment I saw the blossoms on the trees and realized Spring is almost over! I've missed a lot...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 55, Friday- Redefining my own definition

You know the saying... What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!...? It's so not true! Maybe that phrase should be defined as pertaining to emotional things that are difficult. Because physically, what doesn't kill you leaves you weak and able to do less than before. Not stronger... but more grateful for things you previously took for granted.
Today, another disappointment.
I was talking to Jess, telling her I need to set a goal. I told her that we should run a 5K together next spring... we can train together and run together. I don't want to beat a certain time... I just want to do it... to finish it.
As I lay here injured... my comfortable clothes consist of  basketball shorts and collection of 5K t-shirts. It's a pretty sad thing to look down and be reminded of the things you can no longer do.
I told my physical therapist Ashley about the goal. She said "Oh no! You really shouldn't do that." I thought maybe she had forgotten what a stubborn and determined person I am. I can do it! I have always been able to do anything I decide I can do. She said, "With needing a total knee replacement in your future... it will just make you need a new knee even sooner." My heart fell into my stomach. "Are you saying I can't run?" I asked. She said "I'm not saying you can't, I'm saying you should not run again unless you HAVE to!" So I had to make a joke to lighten the mood about being chased by a murderer. What else can I do but make a joke? I'm not ready to let those things go yet... to accept the changes. Not changes that affect my day-to-day life... those are finally starting to sink in... changes that affect my GOALS, my DREAMS, my PASSION.
'Athletic' isn't just what I do or what I enjoy, it's who I am, who I've always been. I'm not saying it's the only thing that defines me... but for as long as I can remember 'athletic' has just been a part of the way God made me! When you're 5'10" in 9th grade and build with broad shoulders and the ability to build muscles like a man... all you can do is embrace it, use it and enjoy it! It shaped my likes and dislikes... I got my summer tan by running up and down an outdoor court, instead of laying on a chair flipping like meat on the barbque. I didn't slather oil, I glistened with sweat. Why swim in the water if you can be pulled at exhilarating speeds on top of the water! I wasn't ever evenly tanned... My nose, ears and tops of my shoulders got the sun... and my stomach never saw the sun unless i was hot enough to flip it up and tuck it in my sports bra. (Man how I wish I could have that stomach back... I never appreciated that stomach!!!)
So I can change the things I do... but I can't change who I am! How do I do that? Where do I begin? That's not something I can take a pill for or see a specialist to fix it... It's what I have to figure out, I've got to change the way I think and learn to define myself differently.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day 40 Thursday- I'm throwing myself a pity party

So I totally went to the place I hadn't allowed myself to go to. I have tried so hard to not let my mind think about the negative, or admit that my future may hold limitations.
It all started because I knew I needed a shower. Mike's new position at work is causing him stress right now. The problem is that I can't take a shower without someone helping me.
I'm getting better, and as I'm feeling better I can't do more things for myself... but unfortunately I still need help getting in and out. I have the bench and hand held shower attachment, but I'm still physically so limited.
So Mike was working, and had a conference call with developers in China. I had to wait... which was harder because I wanted to go to bed, but his call was at 9pm, so I waited.
When he was done I showered. I was tired and had a yucky day. I felt gross... hence the shower... and I was sore from my adventures Tuesday.
As I was in the shower we started talking about things. Mike's family was going out camping at the sand dunes over the weekend. We obviously couldn't go, and I was sad but also happy for all of them. It was Easter weekend, so I knew we could stay busy. However, next week is also Spring Break and the kids are out of school all week.
I've always loved Spring Break! We plan a ton of activities or go somewhere every year. This year not only is nothing planned... but I have to keep the house pretty calm and quiet. I feel horrible about it! My sister J is here taking care of me, but now she'll have 4 other kids to manage during the day! I haven't let them play with friends because I can't ask people helping me to try and keep track of them, and I can't have friends over because it's too loud and crazy. All around it just sucks for everyone right now!
So all of this lead into the discussion of my limitations and the realization that some of things might very well be things I won't ever be able to do again.
Camping... I can't sleep on the ground, and the cold nights will be so painful. Hiking... that's self-explanatory. 4 wheelers... will be hard on the knees. Water skiing and sea-doo's... even harder in the knees! Amusement Parks... I won't last more than 2 or 3 hours at a time on my feet. Traveling... it will be so painful to be stuck in an airplane seat for hours without stretching, and long car drives will be the same problem. Working (hair styling)... best case scenario I find a stool and work super limited hours, worst case scenario I can't ever do it again at all!
When the flood gates opened it was a mess! I was crying... sobbing. I was looking at everything negative. All the things I WON'T be able to do. I started saying how glad I was that we had done so much traveling and seen the world, because I may never see anything again! It was total doomsday.
Mike just let me cry. He let me cry about everything and talk like my life was over. He tried to help me see how things might still be possible, they just may have to be changed. Well I don't want things to change! Someone recently said I'll have to find new hobbies... like what? knitting?!! I don't want to find new hobbies, and want to do all the things I love to do with my family. Someone said I can send Mike and the kids off hiking and I can kick back and relax. I don't want to relax, I don't want to be left behind, I want to be able to hike!
It was a true meltdown... and while it sucked, I knew at some point it would have to happen. I honestly was surprised it hadn't happened sooner. I woke up the next morning with swollen and puffy eyes to find an email from Uncle Brent. He has suffered injury after injury, and he's had a crazy amount of surgeries. His life has totally changed. He wrote a beautiful and inspiring message to me. I just still can't accept the change, I'm not ready to let go of the idea that things will go back to the way they were. Uncle Brent said that things will go back to 'normal'... but that I will have a 'new normal'. I know that he's right... I'll get there... I'm just not ready yet.

* I just wanted to print a copy of Uncle Brent's message to me so I can always have it...

Sherian, My heart has been with you all the way! There are so many new realities to adjust to along the way and you are never sure if they are going to be permanent or just a temporary inconvenience. My problems started with my shoulder, I had surgery and thought within 2 months my life would be normal again. Not exactly how it worked. 1 surgery lead to a partial shoulder replacement and then to a total replacement. Still to this day, it only works at best 30% as good as previous and its been 3 years. I'm sure you are progressing faster than you think. It comes slow but every day you'll do one new chore, do one more batch of laundry or give that one extra hug to your kids that you couldn't the day before and sooner than you know, you will be close to normal. Normal is the key word. Unfortunately, your new normal may not be like the old normal, but you are young and strong and have a great family to work hard for. I don't think I could have gone through the surgeries without a family to live for and to heal for. Hang in there girlfriend! You are strong and creative and have a wonderful soul. It will get better, but it comes slow and remember, you're the only one who can feel the pain, not your doctors, not your family, not your friends, they will never know how hard it is to stay strong every day, but listen to your body and be patient, you will recover and your new normal, while it may be different, will be stronger and deeper than ever before.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day 38 Tuesday- Terrific Tuesday!

This really is the best day I've had so far! It's interesting how all the things I used to take for granted have turned into the things that make me so happy!
Today wasn't anything spectacular, especially by typical standards.
Besides my disaster of trying to go to the movie, I've only left the house for doctor appointments. I've had such a hard time getting into see my doctor that I was so relieved to get some answers and feel like I have someone monitoring and caring about what's going on... specifically my blood clots, tachycardia, medication interactions, and anything else that might pop up.
I opted for my crutches instead of the walker. I've been feeling better about the crutches, and my balance seems better. Of course when they brought me back and took my vitals my heart rate was in the 140's... which is better than the 150's.
My doctor was his usual wonderful self. I did, however, start by letting him know how difficult it was to get an appointment with him. Also... I wanted him to know that his front desk and nurse supervisor considers blood clots and elevated heart rate a "well visit" or "check-up". He seemed pretty upset and quite frankly embarrassed. So I had written down my list of question, which he spent time answering.
He explained my INR and PT levels in regards to my Coumaden dosage. He offered to prescribe an "at home" testing kit so I could manage my own levels. I'm opting to wait as long as possible before I have to prick my own finger. Sadly... I'm actually a pretty strong person... but the thought of giving myself a shot or somehow drawing my own blood makes me nauseous. So as long as Home Health is coming, they will do the blood work and call it into the Doctor. But just the fact that someone is caring and wanting to monitor my levels makes me want to cheer! He also let me know that he will order ultrasounds, and it will be at least 6 months before I come off my blood thinner.
He was upset that I had been prescribed anti-inflammatory medication to take with blood thinning medication. The good news was the I had taken my last anti-inflammatory pill the night before. We talked about the Tachycardia, hair loss, and loss of my menstrual cycle. He thinks that my body is still in shock, and while it's a long time to still be so much shock, it's not unheard of. He's not worried about it, just wants me to continue to take it easy. (Which is harder as I feel better) He was also shocked at the amount of pain medication I had been on when I came home from the hospital... but he was impressed with how I had stepped down off my meds.
I've been trying really hard through all this to be smart amount my meds and also be totally aware of the threat of addiction and not being naive to the fact that I'm not above the risk of addiction. Without managing my meds, and also promising myself that I should never medicate myself to the point of not feeling at least some pain... I feel good about where I'm at. It's easy to see how how addiction happens. Some days are definitely harder than others, and on the hard days it's hard not to think that popping one more pill would make it so much easier.
So on the days of physical therapy I take medication at bedtime... but I know that even THAT is going to have to end. I feel torn... there is a fine line. I want to feel good enough to be able to push myself, but at the same time I want to get off the meds because I know my body will progress better without the medications.
I talked with my doctor about getting off the pain killers. I've been in denial about how strong my medication really is. I haven't been able to take Percocet... I never have. Narcotics make me so sick, but for whatever reason Percocet doesn't work for me, it doesn't relieve my pain and it makes me want to crawl out of my skin. My first memories of Narcotics are Tylenol with Codine, and Lortab when I got my wisdom teeth pulled. I was vomitting so bad that I knew I'd rather be in pain than deal with the pain and the nausea. So I've been taking forms of Morphine, which is stronger... and actually works for me.
I thought that if I came off the meds slowly, I wouldn't need to step down to something less strong instead of just going off 'cold turkey'. When I explained to the doctor that the usual narcotics don't work for me, he said that I could try and come off... but I would suffer 'withdrawal' type symptoms. He said my entire body would hurt... head to toe. I would be sick. I'll have the clammy sweats, and basically feel like I was beat up. I said "You mean I'd feel like I was hit by a car?" which, by the way, will be a term I won't use lightly. It's interesting... because the older I get, the more terms I find are really not appropriate to use. I've always hated when people say that something makes them "want to kill myself", or they use that gesture of putting their finger to their head pulling the trigger. I'm sensitive to it because a loved one of mine committed suicide. Well now, feeling "like I've been hit by a car" is not a feeling I will compare to any other sickness or soreness. Because truthfully, being hit by a car is the most hurt I have ever felt. Labor and childbirth hurt, healing from childbirth hurt, but getting hit by a car is a pain and suffering that produces absolutely no good thing... like a sweet baby to have and hold. Instead, I have a lifetime of pain and limited mobility.
So the good news is that someone cares... the bad news is that I still have a ton of things wrong with me, and the end of all this is not coming any sooner than expected. But on to more of this good day!...
I then went to American Fork Hospital (which is a cuss word to me!) to pick up my medical records. I had called on Monday and asked how to get them and also spoke with someone in radiology to get all my x-rays and CT scans on a disc. Jess pushed me in the wheelchair, and we had the leg attachment, so I wasn't physically straining myself or dealing with my heart rate skyrocketing! They gave me my records and as I thumbed through them it looked as if they were the records from both AF and UVRMC. I asked, and they said it all the records from any IHC hospital or clinic since the accident. I was so happy! That meant we didn't have to go to UVRMC in Provo and get stuff there. I went to radiology and it was the same thing... they had copied everything from both hospitals! I was so excited... it felt like one of the first things that had actually swung in my favor for once.
We then decided to drive through Taco Time and get lunch. I thought I'd try to ride in the passenger seat this time and see if my foot could handle it. I haven't eaten fast food since the accident, so it felt like such a treat. Then we drove to Orem and picked up Morgan. I kept doing my ankle pumps because it felt so good to ride in the front. Oh... did I mention that it was an absolutely beautiful day? It was amazing! The sun was shining, it was warm, it just seemed like heaven.
So we went home and I knew that spending that much time without my foot elevated, getting in and out of the car, using my crutches, and everything else would catch up to me. I knew I would pay the price tomorrow... but it felt so wonderful, I was willing to take it.