Saturday, March 27, 2010

Get Moving Already!

Well, I made it to LAX safely for the wedding.  In fact, that weekend trip turned out to probably be the easiest travel experience I've ever had!  Wheelchair service was fantastic. . . I just sat in my mobile chair while everyone wheeled me to where I needed to go and picked up my luggage for me.  The car rental agency even provided me concierge service by pulling the car up to the curb for me. . . it was fantastic!  I managed to get along fairly well with the crutches throughout the weekend; I just watched my foot become the size of a football during the entire process!

But, back here in The City, I visited my doctor this week to have him examine my foot just one more time to make sure that nothing was wrong (despite all my suspicions).  By Thursday, the swelling had nearly disappeared completely for the first time and I woke up thinking to myself, "is this what my new foot will actually look like?  Hmm, it's not so bad . . ."

So, in Dr. Weinfeld's office later that afternoon, he took one look at it and said, "everything is fine.  You need to stop thinking about the pain and start walking. . . take some drugs if you need help getting through it, but you should be walking."  Well, if I couldn't count on Dr. Weinfeld for giving it to me straight, then I don't know who I could count on, really.

So, my physical therapist got me up on my own two feet (well, my own foot and this new, unrecognizable foot; yes, I have two entirely different feet now, but that's another post all on its own) with the help of that sexy medical cane and the boot this week.  I made a few laps up and down the hall without (too much) pain.  The last few days have been a different story, however. . . while the foot has finally stopped blowing up like a blowfish everyday, the pain persists.  I just have to keep telling myself I can do this . . . I can do this . . . I can do this . . . give me the damn Advil, will ya?

One more thing--the doc wants me in tennis shoes by the time I see him again in four weeks . . . he does realize I have to go buy new shoes because I am no longer the same shoe size, right?  I have to buy new shoes . . . yeah, but they won't be pretty ones?! (sniff, sniff . . .)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Step Backward

I had just finished up the required two weeks of crutches and was ready to take my first steps on Monday.  I had fully prepared for the day by getting myself a new pair of supportive tennis shoes and a 4-pronged medical cane that was far too sexy for my personal sense of style.  I laced up a shoe on my right foot and velcroed the boot onto my left foot Monday morning and took a few steps across the floor and out my front door: I was ready!  The first few steps were a little painful, but I managed to shift some of the weight to the cane and to get to work in one piece.

But, after continuing to experience shooting pains in my left heel with every single step, I finally tried to call the doctor Monday afternoon.  Unfortunately, he was out of the office and I couldn't get the answers I needed.

I tried to avoid any unncessary steps for the rest of the day and all day Tuesday.  But, by Wednesday the pain had gotten bad enough that I was screaming every time I took a step.  The doctor finally called me back on Wednesday to tell me that "it's perfectly normal to feel pain in the heel" when first walking.  I replied, "I need you to define normal for me, because this is really unbearable."

Now, don't get me wrong. . . I am not someone that is unfamiliar with pain.  In my past life, I've walked on a broken foot for ten days, driven myself to the emergency room to get stitches, and managed to continue dance classes for a week after getting a herneated disc in my back.  So, one could say that I have a pretty high tolerance for pain.  But, there was no way that I could tolerate this pain . . .

So, the doc recommended that I go back to the crutches. . .  and, I reluctantly have.  But, I cried the entire drive home tonight.  I am supposed to fly to CA this weekend for my best girlfriend's wedding and I just don't know how I am going to manage with the crutches and my luggage.  My mom tried to convince me not to go, but I just can't let my friends (or myself) down.  I've been looking forward to this trip since the surgery date and I wasn't prepared to give it all up at this little setback.

So, this time tomorrow night, I will be landing in LAX with a swollen foot, a cumbersome boot, a pair of unlucky crutches, and a heavy suitcase.  God (and the Delta Airlines staff) help me . . .

Bring The Luck of the Irish With Ya!

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day by helping the kids (and adults) suffering from Muscular Dystrophy!  Pick up some green (or gold) today by purchasing an MDA shamrock.  Try Lowe's, Walgreens, Applebees, KFC, 7-Eleven, and many more retailers!  For only $1, you can help find a cure for neuro-muscular diseases just like mine and others!

Or, to add to the pot o' gold with a larger donation of $5, text "IRISH" to 20222 and receive a shamrock wallpaper for your mobile phone . . . please help me and so many others to walk normally someday!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Yo! What About Me? Fuggetabout It!

Usually, when tourists are stopping me in Times Square to ask for directions or when I successfully manage to order "the usual" with full authority at the local pizzeria, I'm filled with a small sense of pride and ownership--I really think I am becoming a "true New Yorker".  Then, there are moments like today that make me wonder, "tell me again, why the hell do I live here?"

So, as you can imagine, public transportation in this city can be a bit of a challenge to those of us who are for lack of a better term--immobile.  My doctor has expressly forbidden me from using the subway since the stairways can be dangerous and very few stations have handicap-accessible elevators; plus, I can't put enough weight on my foot to climb the high steps of our city buses.  Taxicabs are far too expensive, so the only option I have been left with is using Access-a-Ride, the city's paratransit services that provide door to door shuttle service for the disabled.  Now, you would think that because this service was specifically created for transporting the elderly, mentally disabled, and physically challenged that the staff and drivers would be especially helpful to those that of us that truly need it, right?  Yeah, no . . . they're anything but.

I had an 8am pick up scheduled this morning . . . and, when I exited the building and came to the curbside, the driver had already arrived.  She saw me (in all my crutches-bound glory) and moved up further to bring herself closer to the curb.  She successfully pulled up, but just when she tried to back up again to come closer to me, she backed right into the street sweeper that was trying to clean the gutter directly behind her.  Both vehicles became entangled and neither one could move.

So, just like in a classic New York moment, both drivers jumped out of their vehicles and started yelling at each other, calling each other all sorts of names and throwing around that authoritative "stupid" . . . I just stood there with both of my crutches watching the whole scene!  They had completely forgotten me and had pretty much left me to my own devices.  Within about 5 minutes, I had drawn a small crowd including my building super and a few of the truck drivers from the plumbing business down the street.  They all came to my side, trying their best to get my driver's attention in their thick Noo Yawk accents, but to no avail.  I was just left stranded on the sidewalk yelling, "Hello, what about me?  Hello?  HELLO?! What about me?  How am I supposed to get to work?  Hell-o-o-o!  What about the cripple?"

After about 10 minutes, I had finally had it and resorted myself to hailing a cab and leaving those two yelling at each other in front of my apartment. . .

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Let's Get Physical!

Today was the first day of physical therapy and I had been dreading it all week!  Now, don't get me wrong, I have always been the "A+" student who follows direction and does her homework exactly as instructed.  After all, I miss my independence tremendously and want more than anything to gain it back as quickly as possible; and, I'm (usually) willing to do whatever it takes to get it.  In fact, I have been known on previous occasions to push myself a little too hard, amazing the doctors and forcing them to beg me to slow down.  When I was recuperating from a knee surgery in high school, I had been told I would be immobile for 6 weeks . . . yeah, I made sure I was walking in 4 (and, if I remember correctly, I think I was skipping and jumping in 5)!

So, I wasn't afraid of the work necessary to gain mobility.  No, I was afraid of the pain.  Actually, I was afraid  that after all the pain I would have to endure, I would still not be able to gain measurable use of my foot and ankle.  (Wow, I think that's the first time I've been able to actually put into words what I have been feeling all along.)  I think that the diagnosis of CMT (and all the symptoms that go along with it) has brought my fear and anxiety to an all new level.  I believe that if this surgery had been one that had been performed to simply correct an injury and nothing else, I would feel much more confident in my recovery.  But, just like everything else in my life--like my relationship with my father, my addiction to ice cream, and my overwhelming sense of independence combined with a desperate need to be loved by a man--my feelings are complex.

Anyway, I met with the physical therapist today (despite a few obstacles like first having to find a new, unknown therapist because my regular therapist who I adore and have been seeing for over a year is not covered under my new insurance; and then second, failing to hail a cab for nearly 30 minutes and making me extremely late for my scheduled appointment) and her eyes nearly popped out of her head when she saw this severely swollen "ham hock" excuse for a left foot.  We did a few muscle flex exercises and some massage to reduce the swelling, but overall, you could safely say that I have nothing but dead weight hanging off my left leg.

The pain was minimal and I am confident that my next visit will be easier.  But, all I can think about (and what I confessed to the therapist out loud) is:  am I going to have cankles when this is all said and done?

Monday, March 1, 2010

At The End of My Rope

I can't even begin to put into words the disappointment I felt today. . . I went to the doctor today fully expecting to have my cast removed with the intention of finally ditching the crutches, putting two feet on the ground, and walking [semi-]independently with a boot.

The last week has been more than trying on my patience . . . with all the snow we've been experiencing during this month, I've been spending way too much time trapped in my little apartment forced to watch an exhorbitant amount of bad reality TV, order more than the FDA recommended greasy take-out Chinese, and play nauseating online games. . . After 7 weeks of non-activity, I truly had had it!  Like a pregnant woman entering her last month of gestation, I was willing to do whatever it took to end this whole experience.

We removed the cast, but the doctor informed me today that he would like me to continue using the crutches for two more weeks before putting full weight on the foot . . . he finished it with a "and don't put any weight on that foot without the boot under any circumstances!"

I cried non-stop for twenty minutes as soon as I got home (and without an accurate tally system in place, I think this was my third temper tantrum this week).  I want my mobility and independence more than anything--I want to be able to walk to the grocery store, to go see a movie, or to just be able to join my colleagues for after work drinks--but, I guess it's just not a possibility yet.

The only (and extremely small, in my opinion,) win of the day was being able to finally wash/exfoliate. . . when I called my mom in tears to let out all the frustration, she said, "well, it sounds like you managed to get in the bathtub at least."  All I could do was cry back, "yeah, but I don't know how I'm going to get out?!"