Two steps forward….

walking crutches

Excitingly, I had my frame removed last week.

Since then, I’ve been sleeping between 9-12 hours/night and am still finding my feet, quite literally.

I’m now in a walking boot, which I actually only MUST wear for going out, but it feels protective to keep it on more often than not in my apartment. I also have a sleeping boot to wear specifically in bed. I’m on crutches now, and my heel and ankle really hurt, which limits how much weight I can comfortably put on it. I didn’t quite expect to be this hobbled after getting the frame removed, but here I am. I’ve tried getting around without my boot, my right leg feels so weightless and rotating on my ankle joint actually at first made me a little seasick, it was such a weird sensation. I seem to have good range of motion, and when I changed my bandages a couple days ago my former pin sites were healing nicely. Supposedly I’m allowed to drive now, but I can’t yet get to my car very well. I’m supposed to do just a little at a time with it, and each day it gets just a little better, and I spend more time at home out of my boot. But I still totally depend on my crutches to get around – can use my walker or knee scooter too, but crutches seem the best these days. In my frame, I was just using a cane and the knee scooter.

Since the last time I was this incapacitated I was in skilled nursing where there were people around to help me with the basics, I’ve had to make some adaptations to gimp around at home. The first was sending my cat to a really wonderful friend for an indeterminate amount of time until I can care for her better on my own.

The next thing was meals: on crutches, one can’t carry plates of food or or open mugs well if at all, so I made due with old hummus or yogurt containers for a little while and quickly ordered some collapsible silicon bowls/plates that can also go in the microwave. Lifesavers. Thermoses and water bottles also of great utility for water, coffee, hot tea throughout the day. I just throw them in a bag slung over my shoulder and take them on crutches to where I want to go. I’ve had a nearby friend visit who’s helped with taking out garbage, chopping up lots of vegetables, brought some frozen meals and smoked trout from TJ’s (they don’t deliver), checking mail in my mailbox every few days, doing a load or two of laundry, picking up prescriptions and the odd needed item, giving me a hug. I haven’t been out of my apartment since getting back from surgery.

Cooking can be a challenge mainly because it’s hard to bend and pivot in the kitchen, move pans around etc., so everything just takes longer. So far, I’ve managed some good bowl meals with quinoa and lots of chopped up fresh things in them. Breakfast is easy as just a shake made of yogurt, banana, a pack of oatmeal. The personal blender I got during cyberweek conveniently has lids to take the shake on the go. In my case, on the gimp.

Because I need to keep my leg elevated some still, I haven’t spent much time at my work desk, working instead from the sofa (for a change of scene) or bed. Fortunately no big Zoom meetings. Nothing annoys me more than when people have bouncy screens on Zoom from working on the bed. Pain meds have further limited how much I can do. Fortunately, I have a couple of slow-moving projects at this point, no rush jobs, so I can take the time I need to heal. I need to start up my certification trainings again soon though, and there is one big project I really prefer to do at my desk for the advantage of the large monitor and mouse control, so finding out how much time I can have my leg down at my desk – and weaning off of the Oxy – is important.

I had scored a free recumbent bicycle last year a couple of months before surgery. In my fixator, despite adaptations, the angle of riding was still bothersome to my knee and hip, so I couldn’t go for long, maybe 15-20 mins. I have been able to ride it so much better my boot, and that’s made a world of difference for my mood and general feeling of wellbeing. Easily one of the best parts of my day. I do 45 mins at a time now. I think I’ll add more yoga and hand weights.

I’d made all the adaptations for showering already with my shower stool – I call that same good friend up to stay on the line during shower time, which takes about 15 minutes, just in case anything goes wrong with getting in and out of the tub onto the shower chair. I can’t get my leg wet until my pin sites have healed, so I just bag it up.

It’s really hard to clean, can’t vacuum, get up stains from spills etc. in this state so it becomes increasingly embarrassing to invite others over to help the dirtier it gets. This is an area where I will probably just hire someone to come deep clean.

I’m glad to have a deck, where I can carefully go out and sit in the sun when it’s available – better than nothing.

The things that keep my chin up are knowing that this state is temporary, having lots of good books and films on hand, staying in touch with good friends, and actively preparing for what’s next in terms of checking out new kayaking tips or routes, dreaming of possible future travels, thinking of where I want to take my tech skills and develop my writing. I still don’t have a ton of faith to bring to anything, but why not look for the sparks of excitement in things anyways.

For example, can a WordPress-MailChimp setup compete with Substack in terms of creating savings and functionality significant enough for smart people to hire me to build it. Maybe I’ll build a prototype, or just work on my writing.

Somehow, I’ve dodged covid yet, fingers crossed that it stays that way.