Sunday, November 22, 2015

The End :)

It is with great joy and relief to say that I'm thankful to be writing the final post of my broken ankle hell diary. It's been many years since the nightmare began and I never imagined there would be a happy ending filled with me dancing in high heels or fabulous platform shoes-- (this hasn't happened quite yet but I'm confident I'll be dancing in no time). It wasn't a secret that I lived with horrific pain, anxiety, and depression when I stupidly broke my ankle six years ago. I said it at least a million times,-- "I wouldn't wish this experience on my worst enemy!" I know I come off very dramatic and obviously I know there are A LOT worse things to go through in life, but for me, it was another rock bottom experience and I had really had it with the "trials" being thrown my way!!  My luck was supposed to be changing.  I was supposed to be at the dawn of a new life, a new career, and future with purpose and hope but instead I was faced with misery and hell.  Instead I was facing one blow after the next with little joy and less hope.  I'm thankful that I can look back and see God's grace even through the trial.  I'm thankful that the experience had embedded a humbleness within me that I will never forget or lose a connection to.  And of course I'm always thankful that I have people in my life to help live through the dark moments and see that there is love, purpose, and grace in all trials.  

Six years, many, many complaints, and much paranoia later, my husband finally convinced me to bite the bullet and get the hardware removed from where they repaired my broken ankle.  It was the cause of ALL my pain and swelling.  It was the constant reminder that I was afraid.  Afraid to be active and take risks.  Afraid to damage my ankle any further.  Afraid to step wrong.  Afraid to fall.  Afraid, afraid, afraid.  I was time to stop being afraid and get it  taken care of. "It will be fine," he encouraged me. "You'll feel so much better," he urged me. "You don't have to live in this pain!" he finally fired at me. "Yes, I know. True, I know," I thought and repeated out loud over and over, but still I couldn't let my words match what I wanted my actions to be.  To let my actions overpower the long running negative fears that resided in my mind for so long and just have the dang surgery!!  Deep down I knew the answer why I didn't let my actions be.

I was fearful.

Truly fearful.

Fearful to slip back into the heart-racing, sweat-drenched anxiety, insomnia, and nasty depression that was the absolute antithesis of the core of who I am.  WHO I AM!  I'm optimistic. Ask anybody! I'm an encourager by nature. It's my God given gift. I'm a believer in Christ! I can do all things through Him! I'm told 365 times throughout the bible to FEAR NOT!! God is faithful to complete a good work! I KNOW!  All of these mantras and scriptures racing through my mind and I still could not gather the strength and courage to move forward. Am I a fraud?? I wondered this at times? No.  That's silly to even let my thoughts go there.  I know I'm not a fraud. I was just genuinely paralyzed in fear and anguish of the possibility of going back to that dark place....again.  My heart races at the thought of it.

So, approximately six years later I finally convinced myself and entered into a healthy headspace and made the appointment for hardware removal surgery.  I met with the doctor, had X-rays, and confirmed that I had a screw trying to work its way out along with some floating bone and "bodies" that were the culprits of my pain and swelling.   July 15, 2015 would be the day I would restore my ankle and my I thought. I followed up with the necessary appointments, asked my million questions, followed up with the required blood work, EKG, and pre-op appointments. All my boxes were checked and I wasn't going to have this little surgery completely ruin my summer. My husband and I would first run away to Napa Valley for an extended weekend to celebrate our twenty year wedding anniversary and enjoy a beautiful road trip and each other's company before the big surgery day. We headed to San Francisco first for a couple of days and then planned on finishing in Napa. That Friday as we prepared to leave San Francisco, we grabbed a quick latte and a bagel at our favorite little coffee shop and bakery before scooting off to Napa, I didn't even get a sip in before I received a lovely phone call from my primary doctor's office stating that they were not authorizing a "clear" for my surgery due to some concerns with my blood work and I needed to come in to talk to the doctor as soon as possible. "What? I'm in San Francisco headed to Napa for the weekend and won't be home till Monday," I anxiously told the receptionist-- "AND my surgery is scheduled for WEDNESDAY!!" I asked if the doctor would please speak to me by phone in which the receptionist, as kindly as possible, stated that I couldn't and would need to be there on Monday to hold the conversation in person with the doctor and he would review my labs with me then. There was no information that she could share with me over the phone.  I was so upset.  It wasn't her fault but I was pissed and pissed that she couldn't tell me anything over the phone.


Lump in my throat.

Sick to my stomach.


 What was it?


A tumor maybe??

My mind went wild and my coffee went cold.

I took some time to be mad, sad, confused, etc., and then decided that whatever the reason was I would face it on Monday and in the mean time I made the choice to fully enjoy the beautiful weekend my husband and I had planned and earned celebrating our love and commitment to each other for 20 years. Pretty sure the wine tasting helped my frame of mind too....

I met with the doctor when I returned home and learned that my thyroid was WAY out of whack. So much so that the potential of going into a coma while under anesthesia was too great of a risk for my doctor to professionally agree to the elective surgery I had scheduled. How could I argue that?  Of course it was my thyroid wreaking havoc again. I hate my thyroid.  (Note to self:  Next blog--Diary of My Thyroid Rollercoaster Hell)  I really had been paying close attention to my thyroid and medication replacement.   I had been (loosely) consistently taking my thyroid medication and my doctor hypothesized that I probably had a bad batch of my Armour medication (which apparently happened on occasion with that particular thyroid replacement. Figures!). Who knew??

Next thought, this is a sign! I wasn't meant to have the surgery!!! It was a fleeing thought.  No, that's crazy talk. Let's think sanely.  This is not a sign and I will regroup and reschedule. After a long talk with my doctor I was encouraged that after three months of monitoring my blood work and checking in regularly, I would be able to reschedule the hardware removal surgery for the week before thanksgiving break which would allow for the proper amount of time for healing before being back on my feet and running around at work. So there it was.  My new plan. I followed all directions, rescheduled my surgery, followed up with my monthly blood work check ups, and was cleared for surgery on November 18, 2015.

I'm not going to lie. I was scared out of my mind that it was actually on. Why would I schedule my surgery during the work year?  Why would I schedule surgery when I have umpteen IEPs to prep for?Why would I schedule surgery during the holiday season?  What the hell was I thinking?  There were many things I needed to get in order and prioritize.

First, family. I held an early thanksgiving dinner the weekend before my surgery. Lord knows that I'll be down for the count and I LOVE cooking and serving up my family a meal prepared with love. I have two very self sufficient teenagers and a hubby who goes far above and beyond with work, home, and family but I still wanted to put together a small thanksgiving dinner. That done, the house was in decent shape.  A quick couple loads of laundry, a clean kitchen, and I felt content that all was in good order and the kiddos didn't need much from me (I actually needed more of their help then they needed mine!)  Weird!.

Next, work. I spent all of Monday and Tuesday before my scheduled surgery tying up as many loose ends as possible. Knowing that it would both keep my mind busy AND if God forbid something happened, at the very least my paperwork needed to be in order.  

Lastly, me. I needed to get right in my head.  I did what I know to do.  Pray.  Praying, praying, praying for peace, a calm spirit, and a good night's sleep. God is faithful and I woke up the morning of surgery with absolute peace and calmness.

Morning of surgery:  I volunteered to drive down to San Diego since I wasn't going to be able to get behind the wheel for a while, I made excellent time getting to the surgery center, checked in and within minutes I was being called back to get the PARTAY started. There was a brief moment after meeting with the pre-op nurse and running through the checklist, changing into my gown, and waiting to meet with Dr Chao to discuss the goal: Remove eight screws and metal plate without any pieces breaking apart, that I had some brief anxiousness.  Oh my gosh; Oh my gosh; Oh my gosh.  I'm scared.  Then my hubby came into the room, took my hand, made some small talk while I waited and then finally I felt calm, ready.   Next thing I knew I was meeting with the OR nurse and anesthesiologist and they were prepping me to go into the operating room. I gave my husband a hug and a kiss and walked towards the operating room as he walked towards the visitor's room. I climbed onto the operating table, looked into the nurse and anesthesiologist's eyes while they made small talk and explained everything they were doing. Eye contact is huge for me. And they made the BEST eye contact. I was at ease and still calm. The anesthesiologist asked me to think of something that made me happy.  That was an easy order.
I immediately thought of Isabelle, Ethan, and Bryan and how they mean the world to me.  They are my heart and soul.   Immediately after thinking of my family I had the reminder and peace of knowing that God has ALWAYS had a hand of protection over me--always.  The hope of  being out of permanent pain after this surgery also put my mind at ease. Nothing but great things to consider, ponder, and meditate on.

The lights started going in and out and then within seconds I was out. 

What felt like a minute later I was in the recovery room being asked about my pain level. Pain level?? Three, maybe four. Not too bad. I was very shaky with the anesthesia wearing off but I wasn't in a tremendous amount of pain like the last time.   The nurse offered up my shiny hardware in a clear envelope and a painkiller and asked if I was ready to have my husband come in to help me.  
Wow!  Yes, my husband was in there in two seconds flat, helped me get dressed, and in a wheel chair and before I knew it I was in the car driving home. I was astonished, --looking for the "easy" button. How in the world did everything go so perfectly smooth and easy??  

Prayer. For sure. 

And a comforting husband, my sweet kids, dear family, and the most precious friends that the Lord has placed in my life and at my side. I've become militant about following doctor's orders. Taking my pain meds every 4-5 hours to stay "ahead" of the pain even though I'm apparently in the 4% of the population that pain medication has effects such as feeling wired/itchy/and foggy-brained (can't think of a better word for it) instead of just knocking me out into a deep sleep! I'm taking my anti-inflammatory every six hours on the dot--even though it makes me feel so woozy and sick and drinking tons and tons of fluids. I'm able to easily get up go to the kitchen or the bathroom with my crutches and light weight baring steps. Never did I dream that I would be able to move around so easily. I won't forget my experience last time of literally dragging myself on my butt across the house to get from point A to point B and thinking long and hard if I really needed to get up to go to the bathroom or get a drink before making the trek!!

While moving around is much easier this time, I'm being wise and forcing myself to stay put on the couch with my ankle elevated.  My sweet hubby is good about keeping ice on it too. My follow up appointment is on Tuesday and I'm expecting good news not to mention a coffee and lunch date with my friend and doctor appointment date :). I'm hopeful that Maybe I'll get a walking boot and a report that everything is perfectly fine. I don't know what the overall complete recovery time is for healing but one thing I do know for sure--I honestly could not be more thankful to put an end to this chapter in my life.  Praising the Lord!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Broken more

Week 9

Boy, have we come a long way! A week and a half ago I had my cast removed and was set free. The appointment was five weeks post op and I was hoping to get my cast removed and be put into a walking book but they took some x-rays, said my ankle was looking good, removed my cast, and sent me on my merry way! I was shocked! The doctor said to stay on my crutches for a few more weeks (until my next appointment), go home and soak in the bathtub, and refrain from shaving my newly exposed skin for a few days---that was all my instruction! Crazy.

Timing couldn't have been better to get that cast off. My family and I were planning a week long road trip and were leaving three days after my appointment. I was so thankful that I wasn't going to have to be on vacation with that stupid uncomfortable cast. Praise the Lord I was able to travel with some comfort. We had a great time and I was feeling like I was part of the family again! I was able to enjoy San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and all the in between stops in much greater comfort and freedom!

A week after having my cast removed I have noticed that the swelling has decreased tremendously. I tend to over do it which I think is the source of the pain that I am still having. I still need to take one pain med a day--which I don't really like. I have enjoyed having an occasional cocktail, glass of wine, or beer again since it has been so long since I have been able to have a drink (of course I don't want to mix the meds and alcohol). I haven't really been using the crutches. As a matter of fact I have grown to despise them! I am walking with a limp and I'm pretty slow but at least I'm able to get around without the crutches.

I went grocery shopping for the first time in two in a half months today! I cleaned my bedroom and did laundry too. I know none of those chores sound like fun but when you're unable to do it for so long--it feels great to get back into the routine of things. I'm sure my husband is thrilled too! I have two more weeks of "vacation" until I am able to go back to work. I can't wait! My next appointment is on April 14th and I'm hoping that it will be the last so I can put all this broken ankle hell behind me!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Week 7

I have now spent 7 weeks in broken ankle hell. Time flies....even when you are not having fun! Okay, okay--I'll admit it-- Things are getting a little bit easier but in no way am I enjoying my "vacation" from my real life. Thankfully I have been in touch with a few people who have helped me tremendously while going through this God forsaken process (thanks, Cranky Banker). It's always nice hearing from people who know EXACTLY how it feels to go through this madness!

Okay, so most people who know me know that I am a little bit of a rule breaker. I'm neurotic in the sense that I won't do anything that will really "eff"-up my recovery--but I will bend some rules if I can get away with it. Like driving for example. When I saw the doctor last he spent all of about two minutes with me. He didn't really give me any "DO NOT" rules except for "absolutely no weight on that right ankle." So, even though I know what is good and bad based on common sense--this is where I test my limits--a little bit. The rebel in me made me do it. I DROVE MY CAR! Ok, Ethan was late to school one morning and I figured that now was a good opportunity to test out driving. As soon as I was out of my driveway I knew it wouldn't be a big deal. I just used the bottom of my cast so I didn't need to really bend anything. The speed limit between home and school is 35mph and I went about 25-30mph. I got Ethan to school safely and I felt a wave of freedom come over me. Don't worry...I haven't gotten totally carried away but a trip to school a few times has really been cool. BUT...with my little bit of freedom I also know that I need to be safe and smart--so I'm not venturing from home without a friendly driver unless it's just to pick up the kid from school (which he rides his bike 99% of the time). I know the time is near where I will really have my life back again!

So next week I have another doctors appointment. I don't know what really to expect. I know that I am hoping that my recovery is coming along great and that I will be given permission to start bearing weight on my ankle and start the walking process. I have a road trip coming up and I'm visiting one of my favorite places--SAN FRANCISCO! It is a walking city and I don't want to have to rely 100% on my crutches. Prayers please...I want to be able to walk soooo bad.

As for now things are quiet. I'm not in much pain--unless I'm up too long. It's amazing how laying around keeping my leg elevated keeps me away from so much pain. I try to take it easy but I miss cooking for my family--and I don't mind cleaning up as much as I can. I've been taking about two pain pills a day. One in the late morning/early afternoon and one again usually before bed. I'm predicting that I won't even need them at all pretty soon here. I read somewhere online that some guy stopped taking his pain meds three days after his surgery. That's crazy! And I thought I had a pretty high tolerance for pain. I guess I'm not that strong--nor do I want to have to deal with this aching pain if I don't have to.

I'm thankful that I truly feel that the worse is behind me. The wave of depression has washed away and I feel focused again. I still get jealous when I watch people walk around so freely or see a girl in cute heels but I know that I will be there again someday soon (except for the heels--it might be about a year!). It's a good thing that my darling husband took me out and bought me four pairs of super cute flats that I can sport for the next year! He's such a great guy! Smart way to a woman's heart!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

why don't I have a prescription for xanax too?

Five weeks and two days down since my broken ankle hell began.

This past Wednesday was my appointment to have the splint taken off and the staples removed from my surgery. Oh my gosh. I had been in a lot of pain the two days prior to this appointment (due to the fact that I ran out of pain meds). I was in major discomfort and I knew that I needed to be on pain meds when I went to my appointment. So, thank God my friend had some vicodin that she was willing to deal to me...hahahaha. Don't worry I paid her back with interest when I gave her norco which is twice the strength of the vicodin (I know, I'm a good friend).

Anyway, I barely slept the night before my appointment--I swear I have such anxiety when I know I am going to be in pain and/or discomfort. Honestly, I have wondered why I don't have a prescription for xanax too! You should have seen me before my surgery. I was literally shaking in fear for about four hours before they finally gave me something to "calm the nerves"! Oh well. So, once again, my dearest mother-in-law drove me to my appointment. I hobbled to the payment center and set up my medical payment plan and then off to the other side of the hospital where the Ortho Clinic is. It was packed out! This clinic is making bank. I found out that my medical costs for February alone added up to approx. $27,000! I get to add that to the $1400 emergency room bill and whatever fees I have racked up this month. The only good thing is--is that I have a $1700/month share of cost so I only owe $3100 so far.

Of course after waiting about two hours I was finally called back to have my heavy duty, bulky, uncomfortable splint removed. I kept asking the nurse..."Is this going to hurt? Does everything look okay? Am I healing right?" She probably wanted to tell me to calm down and shut up so she could do her job. I could have swore that a staple had come out and was loose in my cast because I kept feeling something sharp near my heal. I most definitely never stuck anything down my cast in fear that I would cause so damage to my skin or create some nasty infection--so I was almost positive that it HAD to be one of the staples. Well, the nurse started sawing, cutting, and pulling apart the splint. That was scary too. I was nervous that she was going to saw into my leg. LOL--I'm such a freak, I know. I even questioned her ability with that saw asking her if she might cut me! She was just like, "If I wanted to I could..." and I responded with, "...but of course you wouldn't want to do that!" and gave her a big pathetic smile...hahahaha--kind of.

So she worked that splint off and threw it away so quick that I couldn't see what it was that I was feeling near the heal of my foot. But what I did see was dried blood and skin that almost looked like grit and sand. Disgusting. And my surgery site--OMG! Nasty! I saw about 25 staples going up my ankle! I've always loved Nightmare Before Christmas--and now I really looked like a real live Sally! The skin was clearly very tender where the staples were and it made sense that I had been in so much pain with that splint rubbing up against those staples. My ankle was still swollen, red, and looked kind of blistery where the staples were. So the doctor came in and checked out my ankle (for all of 5 seconds) and said it looked fine. I hope he was right. Didn't seem like he took a very thorough look. But with that, Sandi, my nurse, said she could remove the staples. My pulse shot up!

One by one she cut those staples out. Yes, it hurt. I was shaking it hurt so bad. Like being pinched, severely, over and over on an open wound! I could barely stand it any more when she told me I only had three left! Praise the Lord because I felt like I needed to vomit! So staples were removed and then Sandi gave my leg a "bath". She sprayed some foam cleaner all over my leg and gave it a good rub down (which didn't feel good at all over the surgery site wound). I was not sure the worst was over since I knew they still needed to have my ankle bent to be casted correctly--and of course I was scared of what kind of pain this was going to put me in. So, as she was finishing up cleaning my leg we started talking about cast colors and options. Meanwhile she was bending my ankle in place without me even realizing it. It felt slightly uncomfortable and my calf muscle was super duper tight--but it wasn't bad at all. Hallelujah! I was over the hump and I knew from here on out things would be easier. I opted for a cast that was fun, playful, and bright. Purple, Orange, and Pink....with GLITTER!!!! Woo Hoo! I know I am 33 years old and that might be kinda immature--but what the hell--I can't work or anything so I might as well have some fun with my cast right?

Immediately after having the cast on I felt so much more comfortable. It was well fitted--snug and secure. Although the pain from my ankle is still far from gone it has decreased dramatically--by like 50%! I can get through this--for sure. My morale is up and I feel like I can smile and be happy again. I still cannot walk or bare ANY weight on my right ankle for quite some time but I know that the weeks will fly by like these last five weeks--but they will be easier.

I know that I still need to take it easy but I am so happy to be up a little bit more. I may have over did it a little yesterday going to Ethan's basketball game, party, and then throwing Belle's sleepover party (cooking and cleaning up)--being up and vertical--kind of caused my foot, leg, ankle to swell up more than what I was comfortable with. I hate that feeling! Oh well--I know that I need to take it slow and I will be fully recovered in about 10 weeks. I'm counting down!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Waiting to get plastered.

wow! I really cannot believe that it has been four weeks since I broke my ankle. It is kind of encouraging how fast that four weeks has gone by since I know that I still have approximately twelve more weeks of recovery time! Ewwww...that sounds soooo long!

So, it has been nine days since my surgery. I can honestly say that I feel a little bit better each day and that the pain seems to be a little bit less everyday! Hallelujah! I have been sleeping in my own bed for a week now and I think this helps me--mentally. I feel better rested even though I am still waking up each night with spasms and pain. At least I am right near my man and in my cozy bed. One thing that sucks is getting to my bedroom. It's upstairs and I have to crawl up the stairs in order to get there. Some nights I am so exhausted (from sitting on my ass all day) that the trek upstairs takes close to five minutes (I can walk it in about 15-30 seconds so five minutes is FOREVER)! Anyway, worth it once I make it : )

I've taken a couple of baths this week which are beyond nice! I get the water really hot and put some yummy smelling bath wash in the water and just lay there and soak. If feels so good--even if I have to hold my right leg out of the tub!

So, this coming week I get to look forward to getting plastered! I will be getting my cast and from what I hear--things are much more comfortable with the cast on. This is good news since I cannot stand this heavy, bulky, ill fitting splint. My little pinky toe is completely smashed and unable to breathe! It is so uncomfortable--especially when I can feel it rubbing up against my surgery site. My ankle is really tender still. I'm scared to death that I am going to have more blood blisters on the side of my ankle when they take this splint off! Did I mention that before? How I had the huge blood blister under my splint before I had surgery? It was so uncomfortable, itchy, and painful. I'm praying that it is all healed up and the tender area is just the area that was cut open and stapled back together again. Yuck! Anyway, from my understanding, the cast is much more comfortable and also provides more peace of mind because of the security and stability it provides. My injury is still a non-weight-bearing injury so I will be on crutches for at least another six or seven weeks. I'm getting a little bit better on those suckers so I'm sure by the end of my sentence I will be an expert on those things.

My appointment for casting is this Wednesday so please keep me in your prayers, cross your fingers, or what ever else it is that you can do for me that will result in a positive outcome. I'm nervous about having those staples removed. It just sounds painful (and I hope they don't miss any and my skin grows over it causing problems letter). I know, I'm a paranoid freak of a mess! I was also told that it's pretty uncomfortable when they put the cast on because they have to tweak your ankle just right so the cast fits properly....ouch! Without a doubt I will be taking my pain meds right before this appointment! I'll keep you all posted on how things work out for me.

I've been wanting to get another tattoo. Maybe now is the time to do it since I am taking these strong pain killers--maybe this is my silver lining?!

Thanks your your support! xx

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Put back together again

It has been three weeks since I fell and broke my ankle and only three days since I was put back together again.

Three days ago was Wednesday, February 17th, 2010. I woke up at 5:15am. I brushed my teeth, brushed my hair, got dress and headed down stairs to greet Mary, my mom-in-law who was there to take me to the hospital to have my ankle surgery. I had a horrible night sleep due to my nerves and I was hoping and praying that this whole broken ankle hell had all been a very bad dream. Bryan did his best to encourage me and keep my spirits up but I was just scared to death and bummed that he couldn't be with me for the day.

Mary and I got to the county hospital at 6:30am. I was scheduled to have surgery at 8:30am and that time couldn't come soon enough. I had such a horrible stomach ache and I was so shaky with anxiety I could barely stand it. After being checked in we were taken to the "same day surgery" room where we waited some more. Eventually I was called back, my vitals were taken, and I was told to strip down to nothing and put on those God forsaken hospital gowns that seem to always open up in the back no matter how you tie them! Worse is that I was on crutches so I couldn't even hold the gown closed in the back because I didn't have a free hand! Oh my gosh...I really do not want my bare ass being able to be seen by ANYONE...really! This truly is part of my broken ankle hell! Thank goodness Mary ends up coming over and makes sure that my gown stays shut as I go to my bed to be prepped for an IV.

The nurse could totally tell that I was a nervous wreck. I was shaking like crazy and could barely hold a conversation. She was very sweet and just started making small talk with me to take my mind off things. She started telling me this funny story about one her visits to the Colorado River and before I knew it she had the IV in and ready to go. I was so thankful. It didn't hurt at all. She was so sweet and helpful--I really needed that. After my IV was in, I was transported to the Pre-Op holding room. There was a serious party going on in there. There were so many people waiting to have surgery (like 10 others), guests of the patients, doctors, nurses, and workers. The first thing they did was park me in my spot and put this kind of paper like blanket which was hooked up to a machine that was blowing warm air into it. It kept me so warm. I was greeted by my nurses who took all my important information and then I was left alone for like two hours!

My nerves were getting worse and worse. I couldn't stop shaking and my level of anxiety was at a 10. Finally we stopped a nurse and asked how much longer. I guess there was a person ahead of me in the O.R. that I was booked to be in so they were waiting for his surgery to finish up first. Grrrr. I had overheard the nurses saying that they didn't have my chest x-ray which is what held up my place in line. I was just ready to get knocked out and get this broken ankle put back together again. Before I knew it I met the Dr. and the anaesthesiologist and we talked about all that was going to be happening in the operating room. I felt so relieved--especially after the cocktail that the anaesthesiologist gave me to relax my nerves. I wish they had given that to me when I first came in to the holding room. It was like I had three martinis! I was ready just to lay back,close my eyes, and I didn't care what was happening next.

It was finally time for surgery and it was around 11ish. Mary and I parted ways. She went to the waiting room and I went to the operating room. I transferred to the OR bed, had a mask put on my face, took a few deep breaths, and that's all I remember until I woke up in recovery.

I was in pain, disoriented, and so THANKFUL that I came out fine. Right away I notice that my ankle was back in that big, bulky, heavy splint. Ugh! The nurses were talking to me and telling me if I was in pain to push the button that was in my hand and it would dispense pain medication. They were telling me that I "needed to wake up"--"it's time to wake up"--"don't go back to sleep"--"keep your eyes open"--"take deep breaths"--"remember to breathe"--"Lisa, you need to breathe" Oh my gosh, it was all so surreal. I was trying so hard to wake up and to remember to take deep breaths but I was so damn tired! And my ankle hurt and if I went to sleep I didn't have to feel it! I looked at the clock and it was about 2pm. I was checked out a half hour later.

Mary drove me home and I just couldn't wait to be back and see Bryan, Isabelle, and Ethan. My family gives me so much peace and I just wanted to be around them. When I got home I was able to take some pain medication then make camp on the couch where I could elevate my ankle and start recovering.

The first night and day were soooo painful. Mary stayed with me and was at my beckon call helping me with everything I could possibly need. I really appreciated all her help but I'm sure I was a total pain in the ass with all my complaining. I was in so much pain! I was taking Norco every three hours but the pain was never going away completely. Finally on Thursday afternoon I had such a horrible headache and was in so much pain that I called my friend Cynthia who is an ICU nurse for some advice. (I tried calling my Dr. first but after being on hold forever I called my friend) She said she would come over and check me out to make sure I was okay. She did. She thought that I might be a little dehydrated so she told me to be drinking more water. I told her that I wanted to take more pain medication too to get rid of the pain and she didn't think that doing that was such a bad idea. So starting Thursday night I started doubling up on my pain meds and didn't stop until Friday afternoon. It helped tremendously. For the first time in almost three weeks I was out of pain. I was completely drowsy and out of it too--but I pick that over being in this horrific pain any day!

The first half of Friday I was still pretty checked out but I could finally start feeling myself come out of the fog by noon. I scooted myself backwards upstairs and took a bath, washed my hair, put on some fresh clean clothes, deodorant, and was feeling human again. Friday afternoon Cynthia made another house call and she could tell I was making progress. Mary decided that she could go back home knowing that I would be okay and Bryan was now home for the weekend to take care of me. I was able to sleep in my own bed last night and I feel like I have finally been through the worse of what has happened (fingers crossed).

Today I spent the day mostly resting but I was also able to get some reading done and complete an assignment for my online class. My ankle is still throbbing in pain but it has become more of a dull throb that I can deal with. I am feeling so much better mentally and I'm looking forward to getting this recovery done and over with. I go back to the doctor in a week and a half to have staples and stuff removed and have a hard cast put on. I'm not really looking forward to that appointment except for the fact that it is one step closer getting better and having freedom. For now, I am just going to take this time to continue to rest, take calcium supplements, work on my school assignments, read my bible, and think lots of positive thoughts.

BTW...a big THANK YOU for all prayers that have been coming my way. I appreciate it greatly.

Also, Kristie--thanks for the care package--you know I like to pamper myself--and you REALLY KNOW that I like to smell good and fresh and have smooth, glossy lips!

Sandy, the flowers are so beautiful and I love them! They cheer me up every time I look over and see them.

Mary, I couldn't have made it through the first two days without you. Thank you so much.

Cynthia, your expertise gave me such peace of mind. Thanks for your time, generosity, and lunch...xoxo

Lastly, all the phone calls, texts, and emails from my wonderful friends and family. I love you all and thank you for your concern, support, and offers of help. I honestly feel so blessed and loved and I know that even through my broken ankle hell--God works all things for good.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Do I REALLY Need Surgery...?

LOL! I honestly do not want to go through with this surgery! I am scared to death of somebody messing up and being the next Dateline story six months from now on how a simple broken ankle repair goes bad at the county hospital! Not only that but I am going to be in so much pain (so I've heard) after the surgery that my anxiety is going through the roof. So much so that I actually booked an appointment at the OUCH medical center here in Temecula for a second opinion. Dr. Hizon was my doctor two years ago when I tore my ACL and Meniscus and needed knee surgery. they took great care of me during that trying time in my life and I knew I could trust what ever they would tell me. I know that this medical practice has a very good reputation and would give me good, direct, and an unbiased recommendation whether or not I REALLY needed surgery.

$160 later my outcome looks the same. YES, stupid, you're broken ankle ass REALLY does need surgery. Ugh! So much for positive thinking and wishing to the high heavens for a miraculous recovery. One good thing that came out of my $160 appointment was that they changed out my splint (on the house--thank you Jesus)from the super heavy, bulky, ill-fitting plaster splint to a very nice, slender, snug fitting fiberglass splint. It is soooo much more comfortable--I wish I would have went there two weeks ago! It's kind of like a thick wool sock that is molded to my foot, ankle, leg with a supporting plate in it. Much nicer--and lighter!

So dooms day is tomorrow. Wednesday, February 17th. Bryan keeps telling me to keep my head up and think of it as the beginning to the end. Starting tomorrow--I really will be in recovery mode. When did he become the optimistic one? Anyway, I guess I need the encouragement since I'm a nervous wreck about the surgery and "recovery" process. I know that I have an awesome support system around me which makes me feel really good. Mary (my mother-in-law) will be taking me to the hospital, bringing me home, and staying the first few days since we were told they would be pretty miserable.

As for now, I just took a long hot bath (keeping my right leg out of the bathtub), soaked, shaved, washed my hair, gave myself a nice facial, and blew dry my hair. I'm not going in for surgery without feeling clean and smelling good. Odds are I won't be able to do this again for another week! Ugh!

Wish me luck and please....keep me in your prayers.


Friday, February 12, 2010

ALMOST...on the road to recovery

It has been two weeks almost to the hour since I so graciously fell and broke my ankle. I would have thought that I would actually be on the road to recovery by this point--like surgery done or in a cast but unfortunately that is not the case.

This week I ran the gamete of emotions. I was up, down, frustrated, depressed, sad, exhausted, worried, and currently I feel stable. I have come to accept my injury and the healing process that I must go through and no amount of worrying or crying about it is going to change anything. I needed to have a shift in attitude and figure out a way that I can be productive and secure in my current state.

I started back to school this week. I have two classes for my Masters program--Philosophy and History of Education, and my Teacher-Research (thesis) class. I had to change one of my classes to the online version since it is easier to take the class online instead of being gone--needing to get rides, help carrying my book bag, and feeling exhausted sitting in class with a throbbing ankle for five hours. So I am thankful that I was able to swap for the online version. My other class that I have to take is only offered on campus. I am so thankful that I have the support or a really good friend and classmate and she has offered to come and pick me up and help me out for this class! So thankful! Class gets out by 7:30 so the two and a half hours go by pretty quickly and Bryan is there to pick me up!

On Wednesday I had my "pre-op" appointment for my surgery that is scheduled for Wednesday, February 17th. The appointment was a little bit of a nightmare--which I expected. It was probably my lowest day (mentally) since I broke my ankle. I was so frustrated with all the BS and lack of communication and information I needed to book this surgery! I was told to go here and there, upstairs then down stairs, then to this side of the building then that side of the building! Oh my gosh...I'm on crutches people and clearly clumsy!!! At one point my paperwork was misplaced and after an hour and 15 minutes of waiting to do bloodwork my mother in law, Mary, went and asked how much longer until I was going to be called. At that point we discovered that my paperwork had been set under a stack of other paperwork! Ugh, the incompetence, I swear! Oh, and that wasn't even the worse of paperwork needed to be "fixed" after somebody realized my right ankle was splinted up but my paperwork said I broke my LEFT ankle! Oh my gosh! They could have potentially operated on the wrong ankle! After a 5 hour long appointment filled with bouncing all over the place, blood work, a urine sample, and a chest x-ray, everything was set up and prepared for surgery. I'm responsible for close to $3000 in fees--for now--who knows what kind of expenses I will accrue after the surgery-- I was able to set up payments for the medical bill on a payment plan--so that is helpful.

So for now I am feeling okay. I got up today, took a bath (without getting my right leg in the bathtub), washed and blow dried my hair, got dressed in real clothes, put on some makeup, and tagged along with my friend Kristie while she went shopping. It was only two stores so I didn't get overly exhausted. It felt really good to get out of the house and to be with a friend for the afternoon talking about normal things besides my injury. It was a quick trip, followed by a starbucks iced tea, and then home for a delicious bowl of Philadelphia Wedding Soup--a turkey meatball with kale soup that Kristie dropped off a couple of days ago. So delicious and healthy! I have to watch everything I eat so that I am able to fit into my clothes when I am done being on "couch/bed-rest"!

My pain level is still pretty high. I am needing pain medication about every four hours still. This broken ankle really is a pain in the ass! I was told that the first four days after surgery are pretty brutal (I'm not looking forward to it) but at least at that point I will finally be--ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY!

Monday, February 8, 2010

No $h!t, Sherlock!

Before I am able to get "screwed" there was some business I needed to attend to. Apparently the Medi-cal office didn't have ALL the paperwork they needed from me. I felt like they already asked for every detail of my life--but I guess they needed more paperwork to back everything up and MAYBE they needed me to sign away my first born child too! So I spent the weekend digging through my file cabinet searching deep and wide for all the info that was requested. Already I was thinking that this is such a waste of my time knowing that Bryan and I make too much money to receive any assistance but the County hospital absolutely would not proceed without me going through this whole stupid Medi-cal application process. So I awkwardly sat on the floor in front of the file cabinet and found all the papers they had requested. I also needed three months worth of profit/loss statements from Bryan. That was the worst!

Bryan came home Friday night not feeling well at all. I saw him for a few minutes. He dropped off a yummy raspberry and vanilla latte and "Family Feud" lap top game so I could have fun "passing time." I know, thoughtful guy. But then he was M.I.A! I spent the rest of Friday night feeling sorry for myself and most of the day Saturday being pissed off. I had assumed that Bryan was sick and tired of the "needy and injured" me and was just totally avoiding me. Come to find out--late Sunday afternoon he had been avoiding me all weekend because he was feeling sicker than a dog! Okay, all is good with my man--I can go back to fretting over my ankle. We watched the superbowl, Bryan drank beer, I drank a smoothie, we shared a turkey sandwich, I popped a pill, we went to bed.

So, remember how the social services office was closed on Friday? Well at 10:30am this morning I received a call from somebody at the County Hospital asking where my paperwork was? When I explained to her that I was not aware of the additional paperwork until last Friday when I was THERE, and then went to the social services office to get the paperwork but they are CLOSED on Fridays, and here it is barely 10:30 in the morning on Monday and I should have already submitted the paperwork to the county hospital?!?! Effin Crazy! Then she went on to tell me that I COULD NOT get surgery until this matter was tended to. No $h!t, Sherlock!!! I've already have been told this a million times and nobody is helping me get through this crazy process but instead keep throwing more and more hoops for my broken ankle ass to jump through! Geez!

I hang up the phone. Within five minutes the county hospital lady calls me back and tells me that they needed to postpone my surgery until I get my paperwork straightened out. My new surgery date is Feb. 17th!!! This will be 19 days AFTER my initial injury!!! "Ummm, isn't this kind of a long time to wait since I broke my ankle on the 29th of January?" I ask the woman. "Well, we have about a 14-17 day window" she replied. Idiot! 19 days!!! What don't you understand?! We promptly got off the phone after she encouraged me to get that paperwork tended to asap. ASAP? No $h!t, Sherlock!

ASAP, I called Kristie and asked her to chauffeur me around town to gather the rest of the info I needed and take be by the Social Services office. She kindly obliged and we were off on our merry way by 11am. When we got to the SS office by 12:30 we were told to come back after 1pm (after lunch). We had no other choice but to go to Bravo (best coffee in town) and have a cup of coffee. I cheated and had a fattening white chocolate/mocha--tuxedo latte. It was worth every last sip. Had I known the wait we were in for and the crazies we were about to encounter--I would have ordered a triple espresso!

Once back at the SS office there was a line out the door. Kristie had me find a seat while she waited in line for me to "register" to see someone. (Crap, my ankle was starting to throb and I had NO pain medication) Anyway, it took about an hour for Kristie to get to the registration desk. Meanwhile, there were people coming in acting all crazy loud and airing all their trashy-dirty laundry! OMG! Thoroughly entertaining in a very white-trash kind of way. Some of these woman seemed like totally well and abled bodies but they were ranting and raving about how the "system sucks and they needed more money to feed their kids!" Whoa! Then there was a lady who seemed to become very impatient waiting. Actually, we think she might of even had a seizure--Kristie was about 5 seconds away from calling 911. The lady started kind of slouching down on her chair, then rolled on to a couple of other chairs, and then rolled on to the floor. she then just got up like nothing even happened. Weird!!! It was like a toddler throwing a fit except she wasn't making any noises. Very interesting.

I was finally called up, she took my paperwork, and I was sent on my way. About 15 after I got home I had received a call that I did not qualify for Medi-cal. No
$h!t, Sherlock, so now what?! I called county hospital and they told me to now go through MISP. I don't know what this is exactly--I just know that I will go through this office and they will okay me for surgery and I will set up payment through them. Why wasn't I told to do this 10 days ago?----oh, because I have two children who aren't insured so Medi-cal is the FIRST step. What a freakn' waste of time.....kind of. I did find out that the kids qualify for healthy families insurance which is a reduced rate insurance plan based off of income. That's good, I guess.

Tomorrow the plan is to call MISP and get this ball rolling again. They better change my surgery date too. I don't want my ankle growing back together all wonkie!

The night ended on a high note. I am able to transfer my EDUC masters class to the online version so I don't have to worry about getting rides for the next 9 weeks! I received an email that all my credential stuff has cleared and I now how my teaching credential eligibility certificate! My cousin, Amanda and her kids stopped by with Pat & Oscars for dinner!!! So sweet! Thanks, Amanda! Much better than the Isagenix protein shake that I was planning on having. I was pretty good! I had greek salad and (2) breadsticks. Now, time for a couple of pills and hopefully (fingers crossed) a peaceful nights sleep.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Waiting to get "SCREWED"

Friday: My one week appointment was just wonderful. I shouldn't have to point out the sarcasm in this opening sentence.

Let me remind myself....I hate the county hospital and I hate relying on anybody who works at a place with the word "clinic" in the title.

After a week of depression, hopelessness, pain, and misery I was really hoping to show up at my appointment today with some miraculous news. I don't know--something like, "wow! your ankle has shown tremendous repair and progress! we just need to cast it up for a few weeks and you will be as good as new!"

Not exactly the way my day went. I had a 9:20am appointment that my mother-in-law, Mary was very sweet to transport me to. The place was packed out by 9am when we arrived. We pulled a number and waited, and waited, and waited to be called up for registration. When I was called up I was told that I needed to go back upstairs and go to the Medi-cal Office to get a piece of paper signed! Ugh! I hate being on crutches! I suck at using them! And now I need to go BACK upstairs and have a paper signed! Shouldn't I have been told that before I ever went DOWNstairs?! I have a broken ankle, people!

Anyway, after huffing and puffing my way back upstairs then back downstairs with my signed paper we were just told to sit and wait, and wait, and wait. I was called twice. Once for my vitals to be taken and once for more x-rays to be taken. Four hours later I was called back to be seen by a doctor. I'm sure you can just imagine my frustration level at this point. From crying babies in the over filled waiting room, to inmates being shuffled in ankle cuffs and hand cuffs coming and going, I was just about ready to lose it! The doctor came in the room, verified that I needed surgery, told me to go back out to the waiting room and wait for instructions for my surgery day. That was it. She didn't look at my ankle, ask me any questions about it, nothing. She solely went from the x-ray they had taken. Explained to me that i needed a metal plate and screws placed into the side of my ankle and possibly a couple of screws on the top part of my ankle--nice. Excuse me but why couldn't I have popped in for the x-ray and then just go home and wait for a call?! What a freakn' waste of my time!

So my surgery was tentatively set up for next Wednesday, February 10th (also my first night of class, lovely). I say tentatively because of course there were some problems with my Medi-cal paper work and they ABSOLUTELY WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO SERVICE ME unless I had that paperwork fixed. How nice. I should have come in as an inmate or a non-US citizen--and my services needed would be NO PROBLEM. Such bullshit!

With it being Friday and all, I was unable to "fix" my paperwork due to the social services offices being closed on Fridays---due to our amazing economy. So on Monday I might need to get Sandy back here to shuffle me back and forth and "fix" my paperwork. I can't wait.

Bryan just brought me home a cup of coffee. I am going to go enjoy, maybe pop a pill, and dose off to nightmares and spasms.

Spasms, paranoia, and pity parties: My first week of broken ankle hell:

This last week has sucked beyond measure. Might even be worse then when I went through ACL and meniscus reconstruction surgery (maybe). I spent the first few nights with my broken ankle sleeping on the couch downstairs with my foot elevated on a few pillows. Not only did I feel bad that I was taking all the pillows, taking up the entire couch, needed to be served hand and foot, but I could hardly think straight with the drugs in my system! I hate 'em! I have slept 60% of the day and complained about my current status the rest of the time.

It's no fun not being able to get into a bath or shower. I have had three "baths" via a washcloth and had to use the laundry room sink to wash my hair every other day. Bryan and the kids have worked really hard at keeping the household running. Bryan deserves the husband of the year award for sure. Although I can tell he is annoyed at times that he has to take care of my EVERY need without any help--he is a Saint in my eyes and I think I have grown even more in love with my amazing man then ever before. Besides that--this still sucks.

Sunday night Kristie made a wonderful dinner for our family and we spent some time watching the ProBowl. It was nice but I have to admit that I am so jealous that everybody around me can go on with life as usual hopping up to go to the kitchen or the bathroom--having complete freedom. Drinking beer, having wine and cocktails while laughing. Jealous and having a Pity party.

On Tuesday, Sandy, one of my besties, came over with a cup of coffee and her little girl. It was so great to see her since it had been several months! Shortly after her arrival my niece, Melinda--also a bestie-- and her two children showed up to visit. I know it is so sweet and thoughtful to come see the little cripple that can't get up--but seriously--I feel so bad! I can barely keep my eyes open and Melinda drove all this way from Orange County just to chase after her own kids and barely have a conversation with me. Bryan was up on his game so there were no chores that could really be done even though they both offered to do "something" for me. I really couldn't find it in my heart to ask them if they wanted to clean the!

Wednesday: A surprise visit from my friend, Barbara! Yea, all the besties have come to see me! We had a great talk and she was really able to take my mind off of ME for five minutes--which was nice. Shortly after that, Sandy came back and escorted me around town. I of course was so tired. My sleep keeps getting interrupted my these crazy spasms in my leg that jolt me wide awake with pain as I feel as if I am trying to kick a wall with my broken ankle. Paranoia for sure. We went and dropped off my substitute teaching time card (I definitely was not going to working any time soon), a book that borrowed from a teacher about three months ago that I was hanging on to in able to volunteer in his class and return his book at the same time (yeah, not happening either), and then to the dreaded social services office so that I could apply for Medi-Cal. A humbling experience--I must admit. It was a busy morning followed my lunch that we picked up at Rubio's and then home to fill out and make copies of all that paperwork. THEN Sandy, even took me back 30 minutes later to drop off the paperwork. I was ready to go home and crash for the rest of the day.

That evening I was visited by another one of my besties, Mari, with two of my favorite things--coffee and cupcakes. So sweet and thoughtful--and so great to see another bestie! I drank the coffee and had the cupcake the next day for breakfast (I couldn't resist her sweet gift) but I'm not going to lie--I'm scared to death that I am going to lay here for three months just getting fatter and fatter and fatter. I don't even want to eat! This sucks.

On Thursday I saw Kristie and her family again. Her visits are always welcomed and cherished! She had a great day and wanted to tell me all about it over a glass of wine. So I popped a pill, she drank wine, and we had a great visit.

"Everything Happens For A Reason"

If I had a dollar for every time I heard, "everything happens for a reason" this past week, I really wouldn't have to be concerned about when I will be able to return to work again, have our bills paid on time, or how much this BROKEN ANKLE is going to end up costing me?!!!

Lets back up here....A week ago--January 29th, I broke my ankle. It's not an exciting story--just a moment in time that has completely changed my life as I know it. I was planning on a fun night of celebration and reflection for just finishing up my teaching credential program (that day) turned into a two hour trip to Urgent Care followed by a six hour trip to the county hospital! All I wanted to do was take my son, Ethan to my friend, Kristie's house so that he was safe and sound with his sister, Isabelle and their friends, while my husband and I were off celebrating.

I grabbed my keys, my phone, and a handful of goldfish crackers and hollered at Ethan to meet me at the car so we could go. I made it one step off of my porch before rolling my ankle, falling to the ground, and immediately grabbing at my ankle after hearing the "snap" and feeling the horrific pain. My son was right behind me and I immediately told him to get my phone (which had broke apart when I fell) so I could call his dad--my husband, Bryan. Right then, Kristie and her family (who I was supposed to be taking my son to) rolled up in her car. Dammit! If I had only waited 30 seconds--I would have never walked outside--consequently breaking my ankle!

I call my husband--he is annoyed with me because he is trying to finish up his job and hangs up the phone after telling me to stop messing around. He thought I was punking him! Huh! Kristie tries calling him back and he doesn't answer. I call back and leave a message letting him know that I WISH I was punking him and to meet us at the local Urgent Care when he was done.

Kristie and her husband help me to the car and then take me to Urgent Care. I pay the $65 office visit and then later the $140 x-ray fee. Thinking all along--we only have $200 in the bank--how much is this going to cost! Oh my gosh! This is going to financially kill us! Bryan finally shows up at Urgent Care and Kristie goes back home to take care of my kids while we are figuring out what to do about my ankle. Vitals, x-rays, and questioning was done. Doctor would look at the x-rays and then come in and talk to us. Waiting...waiting...waiting. When the doctor arrives in our tiny room after examining the x-ray he has a look on his face that said it all. It wasn't a pretty situation and he strongly encouraged us to go to the county hospital that night to have it looked at by a Orthopedic doctor. I had one long fracture in the fibula, a tiny fracture in the tibula and one other small fracture in the square bone beneath these two which I don't know the name of. The Urgent Care doctor said that it really looked like I was going to need surgery but only an Orthopedic doctor can say so for sure. So, He put my ankle in a splint (comping the costs--very nice), wrote a prescription for some pain killers, and sent me on my merry way.

I called Kristie to update her--so she could update our kids on their pathetic mom's situation. We made plans for them to stay the night there so that Bryan could take me to the hospital and go through whatever needed to be done. Bryan filled my pain prescription, grabbed a bite to eat, and within a matter of a couple of hours I found my self checking into the Riverside County Hospital in Moreno Valley.

SIDEBAR: I HATE not having personal health insurance! We gave it up a year ago when our health insurance costs were so outrageous we couldn't keep it any more. We fell in between a place where we couldn't qualify for reduced health care coverage nor could we afford it on what Bryan was making as a Painting Contractor (in which he never knows if he is going to have work from week to week). We have been holding out for me to finish school (check), get a job(I was hoping for a soon "check" but who knows now), but I guess our good-health-luck had finally ran out.

So here we are at the County Hospital. Not too horrible but my pride is definitely being tested. After waiting FOREVER, having been x-rayed three separate times, met with two doctors--I was told I was in a "grey area" as far as needing surgery. The only way the doctor would know for sure is if he did a "Stress Test" on my ankle. This consisted of him pulling my foot in one direction while pushing my heel the other direction to see how much "movement" there was in the fractured area. "How does that sound," the DR. asked!!! Ummm, like torture--but do what you have to do. After that fun test--it was confirmed that I needed surgery. Anything over a 5(?)--i don't know the measurements they used--need surgery and my ankle was at a 5.5

The doctor told me that I would need to come back in one week (today, February 5th) for a follow up appointment there at the clinic. Meanwhile, I was to go home, rest, apply for Medi-Cal Insurance, and get all my ducks lined up in a row. Surgery would be in approx. two weeks.

We left the hospital at 1am. I felt like a defeated idiot. Was this really happening? I just want to wake up from this nightmare!