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.