Connected to pain

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My ankle pain connected to my knee pain

 

My knee pain connected to my hip pain

 

My hip pain connected to back pain

 

With all that pain I still somehow manage to walk, sort of run, and surf.

 

Until you get the creeping pain you don’t always realize just how connected your whole body really is. Injuries are a great reminder of the connection because once you get one boo boo it manages to knock everything else out of what.

 

It is pretty impressive how your body will compensate and use other parts as you heal. Unfortunately this compensation can mean problems down the line. The worst part is you don’t even know you are compensating. It just feels normal to you. You find out later when the pain in your ankle turns into pain into your knee which turns into something in your hip and finally it lands in your lower back.

 

In the end you have to answer a few questions. What is the price of playing? Is it just a little bit of pain or something more?

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Hula-Hoop

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My work out has been rather limited. I am mostly relegated to doing the exercises I learn in physical therapy. Simple exercises that increase range of motion in my ankle and help to strengthen the muscles in my lower leg. My workout is mentally exhausting because I am trying to get my body to do things that it doesn’t want to but I know it should be able to. The physical exertion is almost nil. That is until today.

Today, I found a work out that raises my heart rate, works my core, and has virtually no impact. And no it is not swimming. (I’ve decided against swimming for the time being because I really don’t want to tax any muscles that we are just now starting to strengthen.) Today I went in the garage and pulled out the hula-hoop.

 

My guess is the warm weather and spending some time outside triggered something child like in me. Jim, Kia, and I went down to the beach today to soak up some sun and break up the monotony of doing homework, studying for the advancement exam, and grading discussion board posts. While we were on the beach we saw kids doing what kids do best, playing.

 

When we got home I intended to grab my book and read outside. Instead I went to the garage and pulled out the hoop. The hoop has a temporary home in the living room. My plan is to use it from time to time so I can do a mini work out. I know it’s no 5k, crossfit, or surfing but I have to say it is far better than what I have been doing the past 7 weeks.

Hula hoop

 

Those who can’t play….coach

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The latest word on the ankle injury (and keep this in mind it is very official) “boy you did a number on this.”  On a happy note I start physical therapy next week. Hopefully I can start to get some range of motion. After the assessment visit to the therapist I found out the range of motion on my ankle is in the negative range, it doesn’t quite reach neutral.

 

I have a long road of work and healing ahead of me. It sounds like I may still be pretty much sidelined in about six weeks.

 

So in the mean time what can a girl do? I can’t play, but I can coach.

 

Some folks at my work have decided to join the base volleyball league. We are the SEA Avengers, my jersey says coach 3.5. (3.5 because it was the first number I thought of but it seems right since I am not a whole player yet.)

 

Of course there is some level of frustration watching instead of playing, but it is more fun than frustration.

 

We’ve played 2 matches so far, won one and lost one. Our objective isn’t to win (but we have no objection to winning) we just want to have fun. And I think I need a little fun right now.

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My pimp ass cane

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Three and a half weeks ago I landed in the doctor’s office with a bum ankle.  I didn’t expect three and a half weeks later to still have pain, swelling, and bruising.  And I really didn’t expect that I would still need a cane to help me walk without limping.

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Aside from the physical issues the mental fatigue is really wearing on me. It is not easy to stay positive when you don’t heal the way you expect. And the longer this goes on the more the fear factor come into play. My mind easily drifts to what if this and what if that. I think my biggest struggle is not really knowing what’s wrong. Yes the initial diagnosis is an ankle sprain but the symptoms are outside of the scope of a routine ankle sprain.

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I am doing my best to stay mentally fit (because walking slowly is about all I manage for staying physically fit). It doesn’t hurt that March Madness is here and I have good TV to watch while I sit with my leg elevated. Oh yeah, and I’ve also got a pimp ass cane.

Listen, I’m a patient and a person

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Doctors are amazing.  Their job is to diagnose injury and illness and get people feeling better. I applaud them for their effort.

 

While doctors do a lot of great things, there is one area that many doctors need to work on, listening.

 

My most recent injury has been frustrating for two reasons.

 

One- I am out of commission and the healing process is sloooooooow.

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Two- When I visited the doctor, he didn’t listen. He was so focused on what he thought was the problem. After checking out the x-rays and doing his examination I felt like he was ready for me to get out of his examination room.

 

Being out of commission sucks. But being out of commission and not communicating well with your doctor is really frustrating.

 

I was trying to say that this injury didn’t feel like any other sprained ankle I’ve had. I was trying to understand why I was getting such poor circulation to my foot and toes.  I was trying to understand when I should come back for a follow up.

 

Instead I was given a list of exercises to do for therapy and told to come back in four months if my foot still hurt.

 

All I wanted was for the doctor to listen to my concerns and then respond to those concerns.

 

I’ve often heard you are the best advocate for your own healthcare, and this means being persistent and finding someone who does listen. And I did. We still don’t have all the answers, but right now I don’t just need someone who is a good diagnostician. I need someone who will treat me like a patient and a person.

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If I were an injured animal, I’d probably be dead.

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My primal urge to run backfired on me. It’s been almost two weeks since I rolled my ankle during an afternoon run. I still have bruising that goes from my toes to my knee. My foot is puffy like someone retaining water. And the only reason I have mobility is because of some metal crutches. All in all it’s pretty miserable. But on a big positive note, I’m gonna live.

 

I realize if I were an injured animal out in the wild, I would probably be dead.

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An injured wildebeest makes a tasty treat for a pride of lions or pack of hyenas. An injured cheetah doesn’t have as much speed, which means it may have a hard time catching prey and now it may have a more difficult time escaping predators. An insect with a broken leg may shorten its lifespan by minutes. A fish that can’t swim is a fish that can’t breathe.

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Now, if I were an elephant I might have a chance. A herd of elephants tend to stay with injured elephants. But I would have to be lucky enough to be an elephant.

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In the world of animals it seems to come down to two things, eating or being eaten. An injury makes both problematic.

 

I have a great pack of humans around me. They let me lie on the couch and watch TV when I am home. They let me sleep as often as I want. They bring me food and water when I am hungry or thirsty.

 

Thank goodness I am surrounded by a bunch of people who are willing take care of my most basic and primal needs. Without them, it wouldn’t be so easy to live.

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My New Life

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Crutches

The past two weeks I’ve had a chance to really take stock of things. While my knee injury is pretty benign, as it has been healing up I realized something, I think my knee is going to hurt me for the rest of my life. While walking doesn’t hurt, I occasionally find myself twisting or turning and all of a sudden, crap, I get a really nice sharp Tourette’s intensity pain.

 

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I know I won’t be satisfied sitting on the sidelines. This weekend I watched surfers charge head high waves, I wanted to grab my board. This morning Jim and I watched the NYC Marathon, I was ready to put on tights and shoes and log a few miles.

 

Thousands Run In New York MarathonTomorrow I see the doctor to find out my fate. I am afraid I will hear that my knee will hurt when I run or play other sports. I already suffer that with my ankle because I seemed to have misplaced the cartilage in the joint.  (At least two weeks of rest made the swelling and pain in my ankle stop). Welcome to your life,either accept it or don’t.