Monday, April 27, 2015

Two Broken Ankles Part 2

As I am writing, I thought it better to split the posts regarding my two broken ankles.  The first part of the injury was all about healing; this second focuses on rehab.

April 23rd
I went to the doctor and got clearance to put full weight on both legs. The right leg has to have the boot on for another three weeks; the doctor taught me about scar massage.  He also showed me some stretches to do to begin loosening the ligaments, tendons and muscles. I also received clearance to be physical therapy!!!

My next appointment is in three weeks; my goal is to talk into the appointment without any assistance (crutches, scooter, etc.).  I also have set a goal to start walking, daily (once I can actually walk) and to participate in a 5k the first weekend of June (if the doctor clears it).

Things I Didn't Expect
Hmmm . . . so I was pretty excited about leaving the doctor's office and knowing that I could start walking; then I stood up!  OH WOW!!!!  PAIN!!!! There wasn't actually pain in my ankles; it was pain in my feet; I felt as though my feet were going to crack; I read about it later and learned that the pain in the feet is caused by blood being pooled in the feet and also lack of usage. The other thing that shocked me was my balance; I had none. I read up on why; apparently we have something called proprioception.  The best way I can explain this is this is what tells the brain that we are safe to move; when its not safe to move (torn ligaments, tendons, broken bones, etc.), our nerves tell the brain to not worry about that limb for awhile. When it becomes safe to use that area of the body again, the neuro pathways have to be "reactivated" per say.

The other thing I found was that when I stood up I couldn't stand unassisted; my injury is different then many in that it was two limbs at once; this added an extra complication of being in a wheelchair; in other words not only were my calves losing muscle daily, but my quadriceps were atrophying daily. When I stood up the first time, I though my legs would give out on me. My sweet husband held on to me as I both worked to stand and to also have balance.

Another thing that was incredibly painful was in the standing position, the ankle is bent a tad over 90 degrees. The bone was set at a 90 degree angle which meant standing put it an incredible amount of pressure on that joint; it felt unnatural to stand and have my ankle fold. That's the best way I can describe it.

My Family
When I arrived home, I was so excited to scoot on my bum up the front porch; with being able to put weight on my legs, I could easily scoot; this lessened the stress I felt each time my sweet husband wheeled myself and that wheelchair down the four stairs (I always went to a happy place or tried to when he did this).

When I scooted into the house on my bum, my two year old shrieked with joy! My husband helped me stand, and I pivoted to sit in the wheelchair; my two year old thought it was time for me to get up and start running after her; she was pretty excited; I had to explain that I was a little slow right now and that I still had to use the wheelchair a little bit.

Other Stuff
I went into my bedroom and attempted to stand on both boots (have you ever tried that; not so easy; not only are you weak, have no balance, but then you add on the boots and the design of them. They are a little wobbly).  The doctor said to get out of the right boot as soon as possible. When my husband came home from work, he found a trail running shoe that I had (it has a stiffer sole then a normal tennis shoe).  It took about ten minutes to get it on, and it hurt; my foot was so stiff from being in the boot, that it was very difficult to actually get it into the shoe.

The other thing I found was that I was afraid to really move my ankle joint.  As the night went on I realized the bone was fine; the pain wasn't coming from the joint or bones; it all came down to soft tissues.



Exercises
Realizing that the pain wasn't the bone, but rather the soft tissue, I started to research some of the different stretches I could do to loosen up that whole area.  I found a wonderful blog of a woman's rehab on her ankle.

20 times with a count of 3 (toes toward and toes away), (toes side to side), (circles, both directions), (the alphabet), and (towel pull and push).

I have also worked on standing up for thirty seconds at a time; this is done at the kitchen counter with my wheelchair behind me; I also do it next to my bed; this is the back up just in case I fall (the first time I tried standing, I tried to stand up with the help of the crutches and ended up falling into my wheelchair.)

Whenever I transfer from the wheelchair to another position, rather than transfer, I have set the goal to stand up and pivot.  Instead of sitting in a wheelchair at the table, I stand and pivot into a dining room chair.

April 24th
I had my husband spot me as I stood up; no balance whatsoever; it was very painful to stand.
Continue exercises.

April 25th
My husband spotted me as I walked with crutches across the house, I used the crutches to go across the house anytime I left the bedroom; I did use the wheelchair  as I cooked in the kitchen; anytime I grabbed something that required standing, I wouldn't ask for help, but would do it myself.  This helped me work on balance. (Cooking is recreational therapy).

Played games with my family today; it is so nice to spend time with them.

No pain meds!!!

April 26th
Still used the wheelchair. Baked in the kitchen for my family; I got up with my two year old and my husband was able to sleep in today!!!  I made breakfast for the family.  (I haven't done that since the accident).

I walked throughout the kitchen utilizing the counters for support.  This really helped with balance; I also worked on standing without using any supports for balance.  I got dressed and stood to pull up my pants (it sounds small, but that balance took days to get back.)

My sister and her family came for dinner; I made dinner and dessert.  It was a productive day.

I played games with my family today; it was so nice to be able to be up!

The swelling was BAD today; my right foot looked like a hobbit foot.
No pain meds!!!

April 27th
Started walking today with the assistance of crutches; the balance work from the previous days has paid off; I am much more solid on the crutches. It is a nice feeling.  My two year old woke up with a fever; she is home with me today; it is the first time that I have had her on my own since the accident.  It is nice!

April 29th
I went to the Physical Therapist for the first time; most of the exercises he gave me were what I read about; with the exception of the towel work; I put a towel on the kitchen floor and while having my heel to the floor.  I move the towel side to side and forward and backward; my toes are starting to be able to curl again.

I also learned how to walk with one crutch.

Measurements:
Dorsal Flexion 1% (I guess neutral is 0%; apparently, I have a ways to go on that one)
Plantar Flexion 30% (Normal is 40%; that's doable!)

April 30th
Used one crutch; started walking without any support device!  I have to trade off periodically because my feet really start to hurt. Helped take care of my kiddos half of the day! Lifted my six month old and swayed him back and forth to get him sleep.

May 1st
Walked unassisted; Helped take care of my kiddos all day!  Lifted my six month old and walked him from the couch to his swing.

May 2nd
Continue to walk unassisted (I do use the crutches in the morning; the morning are the most difficult; my legs and feet are so tight and so sore when I put them on the ground; OUCH!). I lifted my six month old, put him in his bed, took him out of his bed and walked him from my room to the front room several times; I think next week I will be able to have both of them on my own! Yahoo!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Two Broken Ankles Part 1

Today I am going to spend some time writing about the broken ankles. In an effort to simplify this post, I have split it; the first post focuses on the healing; the second post focuses on rehab.

March 7th
My husband and I do a semi annual cleaning of our house and yard; Saturday was the day. We had a bunch of helpers at our house, and Daniel was at Home Depot. He had forgotten his wallet, so I headed over to Home Depot to bring it to him.

When I arrived back home, I started working again. I headed out to the garage, and missed a step. BAM.  My right foot inverted, and I reached my left leg out to catch myself; we had a rug at the bottom of the steps (I emphasize the word had).  My left foot came down, the rug slipped underneath, my left foot went one direction, and my left leg the other.

I wont describe to you the pain; I will just say that I looked down at my leg and thought, "Yep, I think its broken".

My sweet helpers carried me to my car, and my husband met us at the emergency room.  There they set my dislocated ankle, and then x-rayed my left ankle; I requested that they x-ray my right one too, but after examining it, they determined it to be sprained.

Keep in mind, I was four month postpartum, six weeks out from my first triathlon, and just starting to feel like I was back in shape.

I was told they needed to do surgery right away; all of the bones in my ankle were snapped. I went into surgery at 17:00.

 It's broken . . . It actually looks a lot more aligned in this picture than it was.
Post surgery . . . rods and pins!!!!

March 9th
The swelling gets so bad (I kept telling the nurses that I was in more pain than normal).  After about seven hours of trying to get help, the nurse looked at my leg and realized that the swelling had gotten so bad that my limb was constricted; they cut the split, so that the pressure was relieved.  No pain meds . . . all birth breathing; I can't have pain meds for another two hours.  Lots of fun; had blisters on my leg due to the swelling.

Went on crutches, and as soon as my right foot touched the ground, felt sharp pains; I told the doctor, nurses and physical therapist.  I asked again for an x-ray.  

Had approval to stay one more night, but I didn't want to be there anymore; I felt strongly that I could better handle the pain at home.

March 11th
First follow up with the doctor.  For the next week I had a splint on; the swelling had to go down before the left leg could be casted.

My nice swollen feet, covered in ice packs; notice the pretty painted toe nails on the left foot; my daughter painted the left foot, but decided to not worry about the right! :-)

During this time, I stayed at my sister's house; my two year old and five month old were happy and taken care of; I could be close to them, but they could play.

March 18th 
Left ankle gets casted; I ask the doctor to x-ray the right one.  He does, but only after a lot of pleading, some movement tests and more pleading. X-ray shows a fracture. The doctor orders a CT to make sure.

March 19th
I go in for the CT and get the call that there is indeed a fracture and that casting will happen on Tuesday; Bye, bye crutches, hello wheelchair; both breaks are non weight bearing.  

March 24th
Got the right foot casted. Had my left hand x-rayed; it was sprained from the fall.  


March 29th
Ended up in the ER; my legs were swelling so much. The doctor cut a strip into the cast so pressure could be alleviated. So much better!

March 31st
Went to the doctor for a follow up; had both casts removed, and they put a walking boot on; this would allow for me to moderate the swelling. They took an x-ray of the left ankle to see if it was healing. It was; doctor said I could start putting weight on it as tolerated (start with pivoting) beginning April 3rd. I don't have to go back until April 23rd!!!

Down to one Percocet at night; still taking ibuprofen and acetaminophen on a pretty consistent bases. 

April 10th
I called a PT; I was struggling with how to put weight on my left ankle; how do you go from 0% to 100%; it would be different if my right ankle could take some weight, but with it not being able to, I could just start on crutches right away; the PT gave me some isometric exercises that I could do in my chair and on my bed that would help stimulate bone growth, increase weight bearing and balance. I've been doing them religiously since then!

I am splitting this post into two; this post focuses on healing and the other post focuses on the rehab.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Control Thyself, Know Thyself, Give Thyself

I have been thinking a lot about giving of one's self. I had a roommate that had the following quote posted: Control Thyself, Know Thyself, Give Thyself

Over the years this quote has gained more meaning. When I first heard it, it sounded awkward and somewhat disjointed. However, as I have reflected on it, there is so much depth to it.

When one gains control of their self-time, passion, choices, etc., that person gets to know their self. As one makes choices that demonstrate that control, they get to know their self. This is powerful. When one knows their strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, etc., they can serve more powerfully. They can utilize their strengths and understand what their talents truly are; this knowledge enables them to give of their self.

Of late, I have been the recipient of some pretty incredible service; this service has been given without any requests for payback, resentment or hesitation.

On March 7th I fell down my stairs. When I got up my left foot was facing the wrong direction, and my right ankle was swollen; I ended up with two broken ankles, both non weight bearing. My two youngest children, five months and two years old, have been from house to house and been taken care of by so many wonderful people.

Not being able to lift and transport my five month old or being able to chase a two year old, I have needed constant help. This has not been easy to ask for, but it has been absolutely necessary for the welfare of my children (As I write this, I can hear both of my children laughing as the woman who is helping today is teaching them Ring Around the Rosie!).

This gift of time, talents, and love is not a coincidence; this is calculated from people who have made decisions in their lives that allow them to serve and give of themselves.

Contrast this with an acquaintance of mine. She has had several projects that she's been working on (for several years); the projects all had a deadline of May of this year. These projects required quite a bit of time and effort; they are not projects that can be done at the last minute; however, over the years I have watched this individual choose to play, travel, read, watch television, etc. rather than sacrifice the time to work on these projects.

Now this individual has six weeks to finish all of the projects and every interaction I see, this individual expresses their stress and frustration of how much they have to get done in such a short period of time (mind you, six years wasn't enough time).

One of the saddest things in watching this, is seeing what the person is now having to say no to. When offered a chance to go for the weekend to a seminar, when given the opportunity to serve someone, or when given the chance to spend important time with family, they say no.

I realize that in controlling one's self, knowing one's self, this in turn, allows a person to give of their self.


Ophelia: We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication-Leonardo da Vinci

"That's been one of my mantras-focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.  But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains."  Steve Jobs

While I was pregnant with my last baby, I spent a lot of time awake through the night; in the past, I would surf the web, read the news or facebook; however, I decided this go round, that I wanted to read books; one book that I read was all about simplifying.

This had been a discussion between my husband and myself; my husband is a minimalist.  When we got married, all of his possessions fit into his car (with the exception of his tools, a bunk bed, a small couch we donated, and a table that was also donated).  He saw no need to have possessions, and he felt that more possessions brought more clutter (in the mind, spirit and body).

I was the opposite.  You name it and I had it; if we had two of something, my response was, "We'll use one until it wears out, and then we won't have to buy another one!"  I am also a memory girl; I used to keep movie stubs for the memory.

However, working full-time, having four children and being actively involved in service and church, I have to admit that the last thing that I want to do when I come home is deal with stuff.

This has been a topic in our marriage.  Daniel, on many occasions, has proposed that we simplify what we possess.  So, when I was searching for a book to read, and found the book on that topic, I decided it would make for some good 3 am reading.

The author discussed how much time we waste managing, buying and thinking about stuff.  She wrote about how  clutter effects our spirits, and she discussed how simplifying frees us. What she said, made a lot of sense to me.

Immediately, I started to make changes.  I went through every drawer, closet, nook and cranny in my home and office.  I took (I am ashamed to write this part) at least six car loads to our nearest thrift shop and donated stuff.

It wasn't always easy, but once I figured out the right questions to ask, it got easier.

Questions like:

  1. Do you really want to dust (insert the applicable verb i.e. wash, think about, sort, etc.) this for the rest of your life?"  
  2. Is this project worth finishing, and if you haven't finished it yet, will you later?  I took out projects that I had been working on for years (Yes, I have a quilt that I have been working on since I was eleven-pathetic).
  3. Do you really want this (insert whatever here project, repair, liability) hanging over my already stressed out, full-time working, mothering head?
  4. Of the clothes that you have, is this really the most flattering of clothing that you possess? Do you really enjoy wearing that item?
  5. Do you want to fold and sort these clothes? (That was regarding the amount of clothes my toddler had, and having to sort through clothes every growth spurt--My rule now is that her clothes fit into one drawer-except for jackets and dresses.)

As I did this, I found my mind being more at ease; when I came home from work and was more relaxed; it became easier to get rid of stuff.  I saw my husband's stress level ease.  It was remarkable to see how less stuff impacted the family, time, and our pocket book.

(I want to make a note on time.  What really appealed to me in this process, was spending less time picking up, dusting, managing, searching, etc. through or for stuff.  When the author talked about this concept, that stuff steals our time, it really resonated with me. Spending fifty+ hours at work and coming home at night, I craved spending quality time with my husband and children.  Initially, I was also a little sceptical of getting rid of, for example, so many of my toddler's clothes.  I thought that the less clothes she had, meant more laundry, which meant more folding, etc.

However, the opposite has occurred; her laundry is done in 1-2 batches, it takes me five minutes to sort them and put them in the one drawer.  I don't have to fight to get stuff into her drawers; I no longer have to pull out a bunch of shirts to find a specific shirt because I can navigate through the drawer--you know what I am talking about-the proverbial overflowing drawer that you have to almost sit in, in order to get the drawer to close!

More than anything, I feel that my time has been rescued!)

I still have quite a bit of stuff to go through; it is a continual process.  I haven't adopted the 100 possession rule (how does any pregnant, to postpartum, to working mother widdle her wardrobe down to less than 100-this includes under clothing and accessories?), nor have I decided our family needs to live in a "Tiny House".

However, looking back on the last 10 months (since this journey began), I have had a baby and now have two children under the age of two, have broken both ankles and have had a pulmonary embolism.  I am amazed at the difference in my stress level in all of these experiences.  Instead of having to worry about stuff, my time has been spent focusing on my family and healing.  Instead of having to navigate around stuff in a wheelchair, it is pretty simple to get around. (This is not to discount all of the help I have received.  Without the help given, we would be in trouble!)

I am excited to see where more simplifying takes us! This summer our goal is to simplify our yard . . . we'll see!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Dying Easter Eggs

Today a neighbor came to my house and helped.  She did whatever she could see needed to be done, but she invited me first to dye Easter eggs with my two year old daughter; it was wonderful!

I am starting to get up and around; the swelling is beginning to go down, so the time spent at the table was not painless, but less painful.  But the fun in being able to see the blue dye splash as Lillian plopped the boiled egg into the cup, being able to see her to color the egg, and being able to see her ALMOST spill the entire contents of the dye was well worth the trip out to the kitchen.

My neighbor (and my niece who had gotten the dyes ready) had created an experience and invited me to be a part of it; of all of the service she did today (and she did A LOT-vacuuming, cleaning, changing diapers, etc.) the experience and time I was able to spend connecting with my daughter was beautiful.

Research shows that when parents and children do crafts together they connect emotionally, the children learn creative expression and children also develop an emotional outlet.  This connection is something I have missed while recuperating in my bedroom; yes, I could cuddle with my little girl, but how many two year old's stay still for that long; not mine!

I suppose that I could have taken some pictures of the whole thing, but I was too busy living in the moment.  The pictures are forever in my memory.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I shaved my legs today

Both casts are off! I am in walking boots (still no weight) because my feet kept swelling to the point that my feet were bruising against the fiberglass casts.

But today my sweet husband set aside his time so that I could have a shower. I appreciate so much his time he is giving; no complaints; gracious; kind; and gentle.

Monday, March 30, 2015

What happens in a family when something bad happens?

It's a simple question but oh so complex.  As I write from my bed, utilizing my laptop, and raising my two casted broken ankles.  I am a stranger in my house; the home functions outside of this little space. My eighteen year old, thirteen year old, two year old and five month old are surviving, as is my spouse who has been amazing.

Everyone is being asked to give more; at a busy time, months before our senior's graduation, she is being asked to give so much; how do you ask so much?  The older children are helping with the younger ones. When my husband comes home from work at night, he hits the ground running.  While I sit in my room, legs elevated, and watching another episode of some show found on the internet.  (Amazon Prime is my new best friend).

I guess the answer is, you just do it!  Families have to work together, and when bad things happen, they are given the chance to pull together or to come apart.  I am trying to help them as much as possible; coordinating from my bed-housecleaning, meals, babysitting, etc.

It doesn't change that there is still more asked of each of us.  Each asked to give differently to our family than we have in the past.

We will laugh through this, enjoy this, struggle in this and work hard through this.  After all, worse things could happen!




Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Quick Summary of the Last Four Years

So, it has been a long time; I find myself on bed rest, so I have decided to take some time to update this blog:

2010

  • Got Married
  • Had five pulmonary embolisms (P.E.'s)
  • Moved to Ammon, ID within two miles of where Daniel's girls lived with their mother
  • Started the paperwork for Daniel to have 50% parenting time
2011
  • Spent a lot of time figuring out why I was getting P.E.'s
  • Got a few more P.E.'s
  • Did lots of learning about step parenting
  • Had an exchange student from Norway
2012
  • Figured out how to control the P.E.'s
  • Got pregnant
  • Had two more exchange students (Sweden and Thailand)
  • Started 50% parenting time with Daniel's girls.
2013
  • Had Lillian Greenwood on March 28th, 2013
  • Got healthy again
  • Spent the winter cross country skiing
  • Took an epic family vacation to Alaska
2014
  • Surprised Daniel with a trip to Santa Cruz, CA for his 40th
  • Got pregnant
  • Had Ephraim Greenwood on November 5th, 2014

2010, Got

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas New Year Greeting

So many things have happened this last year; many blessings have come, friends, relationships, experiences and memories.

I can just say this: May the Lord Bless you this coming year!

There is much to be grateful for, and I hope that you have much to be grateful for!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Passion

I have been thinking a lot this month about passion. It is such a misunderstood word; in the society in which we live there is an immediate link of the word to something sexual; and yet, there is so much more in life that requires passion.

Passion seems to be the driving source to a lot of success. People who find themselves happy in what they do often came to where they are because of the passion they felt.

Passion leads us to find ways in which we spend our time, money, and energy.

Life without passion or a passion, that is what I think about. I found a quote about passion, it states, " When work, commitment, and pleasure all become one and you reach that deep well where passion lives, nothing is impossible." Unknown.

What would the world be like if each person had a passion, was doing something they had developed a passion for and lived a life filled with passion? Do you know what you are passionate about? If you don't, are you willing to discover your passions? And lastly, are passions every changing and discovered? I hope so.