Friday, August 29, 2008
An unexpected call
The first part of it is that there is some deep tissue bruising from the surgeries that will take more time to heal. The second part is that my leg is no longer used to a prosthesis so I'm sweating a lot, which is causing the liner to lose it's hold on my skin. The third part is that there is a place in the incision where there may still be a suture close to the surface. All these things added together equals pain and discomfort. The good news is that over the past week the pain has lessened. So, hopefully, I'll get used to it quickly and the pain will go away.
With all that in mind, you should know that the day after I received the leg I went to the swanky peoples Burn Foundation Summer Ice fund raiser event with Mom, Dad, Sarah, and several other close friends who have been very helpful over the past few years. It was a fantastic event and, after a great dinner, I finally decided to see how it would feel to dance. What I learned was that I could prom dance (ie. sway to the music and hold a pretty girl close). However, fast dancing is just laughable. My legs don't move much at all, I can shake my booty, and I can slightly sway from side to side. It's pretty funny looking. After all that, and a some walking, I had several blisters on my leg that didn't go away for a couple of days, but it was worth it.
A few days ago my phone rang. I almost didn't answer because it came up "unknown name". When I answered a voice said "is Jeremy there". I said "speaking" and the voice then said "this is Jeremy Warriner". To which I replied "yeah, that's me." The voice then said "no, this is Jeremy Warriner". To which I said "yeah" and the voice then said "no, I'm Jeremy Warriner" and after a pause I said "who is this really?" The voice again said "this is Jeremy Warriner", chuckled and then said he had heard I was in an accident and wanted to call to see how I was doing. I finally asked the question: "you mean this is Jeremy Wariner, the olympic medalist?" and he said "yes".
I went on to tell him about the accident, and then asked how he'd gotten my information. He said that a friend of mine had e-mailed his manager and shared the story. His manager asked him if he would want to put a message on my blog, but he decided to call instead. We went on to talk about his experience at the recent Olympics and about his goals for the future. We also talked more about my outlook on life and the need to keep moving forward. It was a great conversation that really made my day. He was getting ready for a race in Sweden and decided to take time to give me a call. He's a great guy, and I hope to get the chance to thank him in person someday.
During our conversation I was able to find out that the friend was Fran Kandrac. I also hope to thank her sometime in the near future, but for now will have to say thanks here. Fran is an amazing woman who has a tremendous heart.
Now, I'm off to Egypt, by way of the IMA!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
To Stand Again
The check socket fit great! It was a little loose, but the shape was perfect. The best part of this process was that I got to stand again for the first time since May 29th! (Man my butt is tired!) I couldn't really walk because my legs didn't have a charge, so the knees wouldn't quite work the way they are supposed to. The batteries were drained because they had been sent back to the manufacturer for their annual check up! (I'm told they were sent to Germany so, now I can say that part of me has traveled to Europe! Maybe some day the part of me that would enjoy the trip can go too!) Anyway, standing up again after two and a half months was a strange sensation.
I hadn't realized how different it would feel. Neither leg is used to having a prosthesis on anymore. Even though my right leg hasn't changed, it still felt uncomfortable standing up for the first time. However, that quickly changed as I stood up and sat down several times to make adjustments. My left leg was a completely different experience. For one thing, I've lost some length, so I felt like my left leg was too short. Also, it was the first time that I was putting my full body weight on that stump since the surgery, so it was very uncomfortable to start. I had to add several socks to get the comfort just right. This also told Mike how much smaller he would need to make the permanent socket.
While Mike and I were going through this process I had an opportunity to evaluate a few things. The most important thing was to see how my hip felt with my weight on it. So far it doesn't feel like I've lost any strength. I'll know for sure when I can actually try walking. The second thing I was evaluating was my balance. I think it has improved. Again, we'll know for sure when all of the final adjustments have been made. I have an appointment to see Mike again this Friday. With any luck I'll get the permanent socket at that time and he'll be able to balance my height and make any other necessary adjustments. If I leave his office with two functional legs then it's time to start re-building my endurance again.
The other adjustment that Mike will need to make is for the increased range of motion in my hip. Two weeks ago I was about six degrees away from neutral (straight hip). One week ago I was three degrees away. This week, after laying on my back with a ten pound weight on my leg for thirty minutes, and then laying on my stomach for another twenty minutes, I was able to straighten my leg to neutral. (or close enough that Renee called it neutral) This takes a lot of muscle work, but the hope is that, once I start walking on a regular basis again, the muscles and tendons will continue to stretch out to a point where my hip can go beyond neutral (behind me). The adjustment that Mike will need to make will be in the angle that my knee is offset on that side. (That blue plate that puts my left knee on an angle behind my actual stump.)
That plate is called a "deflection plate". (Renee says it sounds like a shield) He may need to put a different deflection plate on that has a shallower angle. We may be able to eliminate the deflection plate all together. Whatever we do, it probably won't be all that comfortable at first, but I don't want to reduce the amount of stretch that walking will give me for comfort. We'll just have to play with it for a while. So, it's all about walking from this point on!
Here we go again....
Thursday, August 14, 2008
A painful day
About half way to Panera I realized that I had forgotten to breakdown my wheelchair and put it in the car. This meant I would have no way to get into Panera when I got there! Normally I use a different wheelchair in the house and the light weight, collapsible, wheelchair stays in the car. Since the surgery I've been using the light weight wheelchair in the house, which is why I forgot to break it down when I left.
So instead of going to Panera I decided to go through the drive thru at Dunkin' Donut's, get some coffee and donuts, and take them home to eat on the deck. It was such a beautiful day that I decided to spend some time in the hammock reading a magazine after I was done with my breakfast. During breakfast I had a few muscle spasms in my left leg, which happens occasionally, but they weren't to bad. However, at about 12:30pm, while I was relaxing in the hammock, a muscle spasm hit that made me sit up, grab my leg, and scream out in pain. It didn't last long, so I laid back down and continued the article I was reading.
The next spasm hit about five minutes later, with enough intensity to make me lose my breath for a moment. I decided to get out of the hammock and try to stretch out. I normally do that first thing in the morning, but had changed my routine by getting donuts and spending time in the hammock. The next spasm hit about ten minutes later, shortly after I had stretched out. This time I lost control of my mouth and screamed out all sorts of obscenities.
I had the windows and doors open, so I can only imagine what the neighbors thought! Over the next thirty minutes I tried to stretch but was interrupted about every five to ten minutes by these painful spasms. I finally decided to try ice. The ice helped slow the spasms down, but I was still having them about every fifteen to twenty minutes. Of course, with each spasm the screaming, cussing, and fast breathing continued.
I tried heat next. This gave me about thirty minutes of peace between spasms, but once the heat wore off the spasms were back in full force. When Jamie got home from work he walked in to one of my more aggressive outburst. After he'd been home about an hour he asked if I thought I needed to go to the hospital. This was the last thing I wanted to do; you all know why!
At about 6:30pm I finally decided to take some Vicodin to see what affect narcotics might have on the spasms. The spasms didn't entirely go away, but the pain did. Until about 11:30pm, when the Vicodin wore off and the pain returned in full force. So, I took more Vicodin and went to sleep. Another painful spasm awakened me at about 4:30am and, after spooking the cat with my outburst, I took some more Vicodin and went back to sleep.
I woke up at about 8:00am on Monday and, after the cat and I had our breakfast, I went right into my stretching routine. No issues with spasms until about 1:00pm, when I had a spasm that threatened to be as intense as the ones I'd suffered the day before. I immediately took some Vicodin and haven't had any issues since.
Occasionally I'll still have a spasm, but they are no where near as intense as the ones I had on Sunday. I think that the spasms are my muscles reacting to all the stretching that I've been doing lately. I'm finally seeing a maintained improvement in the range of motion of my hip. It's not perfect yet, but I don't think it will be until I'm walking on a daily basis. Unfortunately, that may not be until mid September now, but I think it'll be worth the wait!