Thursday, July 31, 2008


Getting ready to walk again

Thanks to Matt D for the kick in the pants to do a new update! By the way, he's one of the people who literally pulled me out of the fire. It's great to know that he's still keeping an eye on me!

The past few weeks have been both boring and hectic, which is why I haven't done an update. Plus I also wanted to be sure everyone got a chance to look at the shots of the deck!

Most of my time has been spent stretching and going to various medical appointments. While the long wait at the Doctors office can be difficult, nothing (at least from my perspective at this point in time. :) ) compares to trying to stretch out tendons and muscles that have contracted over the past two and 3/4's years! I hadn't realized how uncomfortable it would be!

I start my day laying on my back with 5 pound weights on top of my legs. After about 15 minutes this gets pretty uncomfortable; at the 30 minute mark it's down right unbearable! It's been several weeks and my left leg almost lays flat with the weights on it. Of course, once I sit up the tendons and muscles seem to go back to their starting point.

I then spend another 30 minutes or so laying on my stomach with the weights strapped to the back of my legs. I try to lift my legs back, one at a time, doing multiple repetitions over the course of the half hour period. Once that's done I then roll up a towel and place it underneath my legs while I continue to lay on my stomach. I stay in that position for another 30 minutes, allowing gravity to pull my pelvis down to the table and increase the stretch. At this point my tendons and muscles, especially the ones where my legs meet my hips, are pretty angry at me. So, I then spend another 20 minutes or so laying on either a hot pad or an ice pack depending on which I think will make me feel better. I repeat this process at least twice a day. If I don't have anything going on I try to get in more stretching time and mix up the different stretches with breaks in between.

Sometimes the ice feels better, and sometimes the heat does the trick. It seems to depend on how much abuse I've given my body. The ice certainly helps the most at the end of the day, while I feel like the heat loosens me up. I haven't really felt much improvement while stretching, but my PT (Renee) has been able to measure definite change to the good! Dr. Ertl has written a prescription for a fitting so, hopefully, that will happen in the next week.

Once the fitting has been done a "check" socket will be made to test the fit. This process takes about a week. If the fit is good then the new permanent socket will be made, which also takes about a week. If the fit is bad then more measurements and adjustments are made and a new "check" socket will need to be ordered. During that time I'll continue to torture myself at home.

The bottom line is that things are moving in the right direction and I should be up and walking again by the end of August! I've got to admit I'm a little nervous about how much endurance I've lost. I'm afraid it will feel like starting all over.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Reclaiming my yard

The great news is that I'm still feeling well. My last day on the Antibiotics was last Saturday and there haven't been any signs of infection. At this point it's just a waiting game to see if I continue to feel well. Everything looks good, I feel good, and my white blood cell count suggests that there are no active infections! Also, my PT appointment went great and Renee feels that there's a lot of room for improvement in regards to the flexibility of my hip. Meaning the tendons and muscles are just contracted, instead of blocked! I have a lot of stretching to do between now and the day that Dr. Ertl writes a prescription for a new socket (approx. 4 weeks from now).

Since the accident I haven't been able to enjoy my back yard. There's always been a small 6'x10' deck directly off the house that had three narrow rickety steps that really prevented me from using my yard on a regular basis. For a long time now I've been thinking of extending my deck so that I could once again have functional space outside my house. I also wanted to be able to make use of my hammock again. I used to spend hours laying in the hammock, reading, on my days off. However, for the past two and a half years my hammock has hung empty in my garage.

I designed the new deck before I went into surgery on May 30th, intending to see it come to life during the month of June. Then the infection came and the month of June went down the toilet! However, between all of these surgeries I continued to think of the deck and refined the design. On July 5th a group of friends and family members began to make my dream into a reality.

I originally felt it could be finished after two days of hard work. That goal was a bit aggressive and we only had the frame work finished on Sunday evening. To my surprise several people contacted me throughout the week to see if they could come by and work on it in their spare time! My roommate and I also spent all of our spare time working on it. I can't express how great it made me feel to use power tools again and actually take part in the work instead of just supervise the volunteers. Last weekend we almost finished it and then my cousin Bruce Miller came over on Monday and completed the final finishing touches. (namely attaching all of the crosspieces on the 9ft tall pergolas!) When I'm not stretching I've spent most of my week out there. I can't wait till the weather cools off a little and I can enjoy it even more!

The pictures show the old deck after it's railing and steps had come off, and then multip[le shots of my new sanctuary! Let me know what you think! (Yes, that's me in the last!)

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Continued improvement

Just a quick update this week. I met with my Primary Care Physician on Tuesday for a check up and some blood work to ensure the antibiotics are doing there thing. I haven't heard back from him yet, so I'm taking that as a good sign. Over all I'm feeling well, but there is some lingering soreness that comes and goes. I wouldn't necessarily call it pain, and it's not constant.

Up until Tuesday morning there continued to be a small amount of drainage (eww) from the incision on the end of my leg. I was really worried about this (three weeks out from surgery), but Dr. Reilly (my PCP)set me at ease. After my visit with him the drainage seems to have stopped. (by the way, in this context, PCP means Primary Care Physician, not speed) I also saw Dr. Ertl (my surgeon) today and he confirmed that everything looked great.

I'll see him again in a couple of weeks. He did approve me to start Physical Therapy again, which will start next week. He did not approve a new fitting for the socket on my left leg. He said we need to wait at least 4 more weeks and see where things stand at that point. In the mean time I need to start stretching again. I finally feel well enough to lay around on my stomach doing nothing!

By the way, this probably means next weeks update will be pretty boring. Something like...and today I looked to my right while laying on my stomach. The next day I rolled over once...then my cat walked on my back...then I looked to my get the point. However, I recommend you keep checking in. Who knows, I might even surprise you with pictures...of what I can see from my stomach...well, it still might be interesting.

I have one favor to ask: since I had stopped doing weekly updates I know some people stopped reading. If you should know someone who used to read this, let them know that I'm writing again, and things are getting interesting (at least I think it's interesting...)

Oh yeah! I almost forgot...the song I was referring to last week was Uncle John's Band, originally by the Grateful Dead, and also recorded by Jimmy Buffet! Great job to those of you who figured it out, or knew it right off the bat!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


As the song says...

"Well the first days are the hardest days, don't you worry any more, 'Cause when life looks like easy street, there is danger at the door..." Can any one name that tune, or one of the two well known groups to record it? It's a pretty good description of my first week home.

The first days really were the hardest days. In my last post I mentioned that one of the side effects of my antibiotics could be an allergic reaction causing my liver to turn my blood to poison. The only warning sign would be nausea. Well, on my first full day home I vomited something fierce and continued to have waves of nausea well into the next day, when I had a follow-up with my Dr. The most aggravating thing was that, with all of the drugs I'm taking, and the morphine that I'd stopped taking, I couldn't tell what was causing the nausea!

Was it the scary antibiotic side effects? Was I suffering severe withdrawal from the morphine? Was it the anti-inflammatory that I had to take with food? Or was it the donuts I'd eaten for breakfast that morning? I didn't know!

My Doctor told me to stop taking the anti-inflammatory, because it was the hardest drug on my stomach. My condition has steadily improved since then. Today, one week after coming home from the hospital, twelve days since my last surgery, Mom and I decided to go out so that I could get my hair cut, we had a nice lunch, and we ran several errands that I'd intended to do in June. June was a bad month. I'm looking forward to a great July!

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