Click the picture for the story of Calypso, the Three Legged Green Sea Turtle, and why she's my symbol

Monday, June 28, 2010

My back

a picture of the back, all cut up.

Talked to my therapist

I started outpatient PT again today. It was good to get back into a formal exercise program again after all the time I spent at home.

Among other things I discussed the fact that I thought the stitching looked weird, each of the stitches separate with a neat little knot. While the neatness and meticulousness of it impressed her, she thought I was wrong and the stitches must have been individual. Most were on my back anyway so I wouldn't have been able to see them well anyway.

Here's a picture of my arm scar after it had healed pretty well the last time (BEFORE the most recent round of surgeries). Not the most flattering picture but it works for giving you the idea. Searching for one from after surgery. I think I might also share some pictures of my back (I'm a bit cut up).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

tiny bows

My weird surgical scar has bizarre stitching. What is peculiar about the stitching on this surgery is the way that each stitch had an individual bow on top of it.You would think it is would have been worth the effort to simply cross over the "laces". Instead of tying each one of the 38 stitches into tiny little knots?

My guess is that the surgeon passed the job of stitching me back up to the resident. Now the resident could have simply needed to practice their tiny knot-tying skills, or had some time to kill on clock, who knows. But each of the stitches is tied in a tiny. There are 38 stitches in all.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Brain Took a Holiday

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. My brain and body are back from their surgical sabbatical. There seem to be a lot of people who seemed to be rather upset when I posted cryptic facebook status, not think as I was recovering from Surgery "... is now missing an arm and a leg. Thank goodness God put in a spare of each." (Thankfully my sister took over and translated for the masses.

Considering I hadn't posted anything after surgery had happened, this was ominous sounding. The truth is rather not quite so exciting. The doctor went in to remove the hardware that he put in when I broke this arm the last time. There was an infection from the last one that caused the abscess. So they took everything out and are now hitting my arm with IV antibiotics, which I'm doing from the comfort of my home.

The incision went over the last one, now extending from the inside crook of my elbow to above the shoulder. Now there are a ton of stitches up my arm, making me feel like the male version of Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I will post one as soon as I can find a camera.

While it heals, I have to try and not bear weight on that arm, essentially subtracting from the three I have working at the moment.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Surgeries

Now I know that I haven't written in a while and that I have some catching up to do. Here is what is now going on:

Almost 2 weeks ago some swelling began in the crook of my right elbow. Now this is an area plagued with problems, including two breaks and a ton of extra bone growth in the area. Any of you who have seen the new bone (heterotopic ossification to be precise) know that it's big and it impedes the movement of the rest of my arm. To say the least, more problems with this arm are not suprising.

The swelling continued until it was a large fluid filled sack. I saw my orthopedic surgeon about it, but he advised it be left alone. He was concerned about the risk of more surgery; if the fluid was infected and that infection spread to the rest of the bone and hardware, extensive surgery and treatment would be necessary. So we left the giant bulge in my arm to wait, with instructions to go to the emergency room for antibiotics if it popped.

Early last week the skin started to dry out and crack. As the week wore on it even started to peel. It wasn't until friday that the seal was finally broken. In PT the large bump started oozing droplets of clear yellow fluid. We told the doctors and they had a whole bunch of tests done (this is a long story, will blog about it later). At the end of a very long weekend I finally got told by another round of doctors to wait and see, that they would be able to have the orthopedic team look at me on Wednesday.

Once my dad heard all the excitement that was going on, he drove up Sunday night, in order to see me to my spine surgeon and get some real answers. He highly encouraged me to hunt down my spine surgeon on Monday which we ended up doing. After seeing the state of the abscess on my arm, he recommended surgery on Wednesday (the soonest he could fit us in). His verdict was that now that it was open, the wound needed to drained and cleaned and the bone that was irritating the joint needed to be shaved down. He noted that additional surgery will be necessary if the infection has spread.

So here I am on the night before another surgery. Though hopefully less intensive then the recent round, it is still surgery. Here's hoping for a swift recovery and that my arm won't be out of commission for too long.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Disabled Angry Bear Test

Today I was re-evaluated in physical therapy, it being a month since I started out patient therapy. It's hard to believe it's been that long, as well as being the start of the 6th month after the accident. Time is funny that way.

I was used to most of the evaluation already, having undergone similar things many many times in different forms over the months. It mostly consists of poking and prodding, testing my sensation, as well as measuring my strength and range of motion. New to this evaluation was testing how long I could stand and walk. This is new because I've only just recently started standing and walking with a brace. My endurance is already getting better, as I was able to walk two times around the gym area without stopping (I forget what she measured this as, but it was far enough).

One test she had me do was a speed test, in order to see how fast I could safely walk with the brace and walker. I dubbed it "The Angry Bear Test," as it's how fast you could run away from an angry bear (my words, not the therapists). I managed to go the 10m in about 33 secs. Not amazing time but it gives me a goal to strive for. When I let my parents know the results of the tests, I also let them know what I had nicknamed the test. My dad pointed out that at that speed, the only bear I would be able to outrun is a bear with amputations. So I've renamed is "The Disable Angry Bear Test."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Frustrations, Rocks, and the Pool

So things have been sort of so-so lately.

There have been several positives. For one, memorial day weekend! This means that I have monday off from therapy giving me a four day weekend (since I have therapy MWF). This has given me plenty of time to goof off, watch shows online, play video games, play with my cousins, etc.
Second, my dad is in town for the week, a rare opportunity since he normally stays down working in NC. It has been good to have another male to talk about things that are going on in my life. I love my mother, but there are some topics you don't want to discuss with her (sorry mom). He brought a very awesome gift with him. One of his poker buddies got back from the southwest somewhere and gave each of them a stone with an emblem engraved. He said that he was given one with a scorpion but traded for one with a turtle engraved. Here is the emblem, though the color of the rock is a deep brownish/bronze.

The website I found the picture says they're marketed as "energy gemstones." I like the name, since I had already found it very soothing to gently move my thumb around the smooth stone as I figured out my problems. Maybe it is my energy flowing into the rock. Who knows.
My dad being home has been a blessing in the fact that he can sort kick my butt a little. He forces me out of bed and toward activities which will give my body a test/build endurance. I need someone to do this, since I'm still desperately clinging to childhood and my bulletproof college lifestyle. We've gotten up and went to the pool several times, both the warm therapy pool and the lap pool.

On the other hand, there are the negatives. I have not spent this much time with my father in a very long time and we're already getting on each others' nerves. I want to say that I love my parents very much. That being said, I remember why I was so glad to go off to college. There are too many things that remind me that they will ALWAYS think of me as 6 years old, though to be fair I will always think of them as MOM and DAD, the people I called to when I was 6.

Add to that the traditional family stress, my own lack of sleep, exhaustion, and pain, we have been close to murder a handful of times. But we do love each other, so I guess I can suffer through all of those for the people who gave me the love and support for when my life is in the crapper.