Tag Archives: ankle

Getting Back on Track #sol18

I’ve gained 5 pounds (1.8 kg) since January.

Is this a setback? Yes. Is it the end of the world? Definitely not!

Today at the gym was the first day I’ve really been able to work out for the better part of three months, and while I was rusty, it felt good!

Back in mid-July, when I moved to Jakarta, I set a goal to change my lifestyle. I began working out almost daily, which was a huge change from the working out almost never that I’d been accustomed to for a long while. While I didn’t go on a diet (because I always fail diets), I did start slowly eating much better, cutting out most sugars, drinking mostly water, and eating more fresh fruits and veggies (as a vegetarian, this one was easy). Another change I made was keeping a food and exercise journal. While I didn’t care if I ate “something bad” every once in a while, I found that writing it down somehow made me more accountable to myself, and as a result, I saw positive changes in what I ate.

Since my arrival, I’ve weighed myself around the 15th of every month and recorded my weight in my journal. In the past, I’ve been really caught up on weight, so I tried to limit my weigh-ins to once a month. I mostly succeeded at this goal. From July to December, I managed to lose 20 pounds. While I was proud of myself for losing the weight, I was even prouder of the non-scale victories I experienced. I found that I actually enjoyed working out (well, most of the time). I was getting stronger, and could see tiny muscles beginning to show. My clothes fit better, and I even had to take them in and buy smaller sizes. I had more stamina and didn’t lose my breath as often when climbing stairs or doing cardio. And the biggest one– I felt happier and had more energy.

However, I hit a snag in December. After traveling home for Christmas, I was put in a boot for about 2 weeks (pain in my ankle led the doctor to think I had broken my leg) and told I couldn’t work out. After I was out of the boot, I was still traveling, and working out was difficult (I didn’t make it a priority). And let’s not forget the holiday and travel food I was eating…a definite deviation from my norm! When I got back to Jakarta, I started back at the gym, but about 2 weeks after being back, I fell and sprained my ankle and was once again in a boot, only this time I had to wear it 24/7! The doctor told me no working out until I was healed. And even then, I would need to take it slow. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.

Feeling sorry for myself, in a lot of pain, and unable to do much, I became very sedentary. I also turned to foot for comfort, eating more heavy foods laden with carbs, sugar, and fat. I stopped keeping track of my food in my journal. I began drinking tea and sugary drinks again. While I worked out with my trainer a handful of times in the boot, it just wasn’t the same. I was unable to do any cardio, and everything I did do had to be modified. What was the point?

Back to today. After walking without my boot for the past week and experiencing little pain, I decided to ease back into it by hitting the gym today. I worked out with my trainer for 30 minutes, and boy was it hard! But I didn’t whine and I didn’t give up. I even got to do some cardio for the first time in 8 weeks! The rowing machine is one of my favorite things to do at the gym (I’m not a treadmill fan at all!), but I’ve been hesitant to start again because of my ankle. I set a goal of 10 minutes. I managed to make it to 18 and a half before my ankle started to hurt a bit. Not wanting to push it too far, I stopped.

There was a spring in my step as I left the gym today. The old me is coming back and she’s not gonna let a little setback stop her!

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Baby Steps

If you’ve read my blog this month, then you know about the accident and saga that began two and a half weeks ago. Today was another appointment in a string of appointments. On the docket was cleaning my wounds, changing the dressings and a check-up with the doctor on my progress.

Update: The road rash on my ankle is healing pretty well, and while it isn’t exactly pretty, the majority of my wound is now dry and they didn’t need to even cover all of it today. My toes are healing, but considering the open wounds are only a week old thanks to last week’s fiasco, they aren’t as far along as my ankle. That being said, only 3 toes needed to be covered today. So, progress. My ankle, foot, lower calf is still swollen, but is not nearly as swollen as it has been, so the doctor was pleased with that. I’ve got some range of motion, although my Achilles tendon is super tight, which is making it difficult to put my foot down normally.

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I’m soooo over the whole hobbling on crutches or using a wheelchair thing though. Teaching preschool in a wheelchair seriously cramps my style. I can’t get around easily, especially in a school that’s not totally handicap accessible (so many steps!), and I’m just not the teacher I want to be right now. I can’t do what I want to do and that makes me cranky! I wake up every morning and think, I’ll just walk. I’ll be fine. Only I’m not fine. My leg doesn’t do what my brain tells it to do. Grrr!

Anyway, the last few days, I’ve been able to put a little weight on my foot, and with the aide of my crutches, I’ve been able to walk-ish. Due to the fact that I can’t put on a shoe or anything, my practice has been confined to my apartment. Today, I asked the doctor if I could have some sort of foot covering to try and walk outside and at school. I demonstrate my willingness to try by hobbling around the treatment room. After a bit of cajoling, he agrees to let me try. He even recommended I see a doctor in the rehab department and start physiotherapy today!

Physio went well. After a heat pack treatment for 30 minutes, I was put through a series of exercises, and to my surprise, most of them didn’t hurt at all. I then got to practice walking around with my new kicks! She kept telling me I was doing it wrong, but like I said, my leg’s not listening to my brain right now. At least I was doing it, even if it wasn’t exactly right!

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They say my recovery will take a while (3 months til I’m back to normal!), but if I keep at it and do my exercises everyday, I’ll improve faster. I’m determined to get off these crutches, so I’m going to follow the doctor’s orders. Here’s hoping it won’t take as long as they think! 🙂

Baby steps, literally and figuratively. 😝

 

Saint, my pint-sized protector

From the moment he first saw me in the wheelchair, my ankle bandaged up, he was my protector. My little Saint.

I wheeled over to the edge of the playground where my class was happily playing. I’ve missed their smiling faces, their hugs, their sense of wonder. Catching their attention, they rushed over, all with the same question, “What happened?” All, that is, except Saint. With indignation in his voice, he points to my ankle, and asks, “Who this?” His face said it all. Being his teacher, I knew “Who this?” really meant “Who did this?”. Saint, my little three-year-old protector, wanted to know who did this to me. What happened wasn’t as important as who hurt me. Such sweetness wrapped up in such a tiny person.

Since returning to school, wheelchair-bound, my class has been curious, asking me what happened one too many times, learning to respect my boundaries (“no touching my foot please”), and wondering why I can’t do the things I normally can. The novelty for some has worn off, and preschool as they know it is back to normal. But not for Saint, whose sweet gestures bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart.

Everyday, at random times, he comes over to me, smiles, and pats me on my arm or my leg or my shoulder, reassuring me that he cares and is worried about me. Knowing that I keep my ice packs in the freezer, he will bring me one at random, making sure I take care of my foot. He watches me, too. When the pain and swelling get to be too much, I prop my leg up on the table, an attempt to reduce the swelling that occurs from keeping it down all day. He questions, wondering what I’m doing, why I’m resting.

Yesterday during interest areas, I was wheeling around, snapping photos of students busily cooking hamburgers and salad with the playdoh, making melodies on the xylophone, or building a tower out of blocks, wondering how high they can make it until it topples over, sending them into fits of laughter, when something caught my eye.

The dramatic play area, by far the students’ most sought-after center, is too small for my wheelchair to fit, so I watch from afar, an outsider not a part of their fantasy. What I saw was Saint sitting in a chair, his leg up on the table. Lali was tending to him, bringing him a glass of water. Zooming in, I snap a picture before I ask, “Saint, what are you doing?”

With a forlorn look on his face, he responds, “My leg is hurt.”

“It is? I’m sorry. Is Lali helping you?”

Nodding, he says yes. A smile crosses Lali’s face, as she continues to care for her hurt friend. Knowing that I’d removed all the doctor stuff last week, I asked, “Would you like an ice pack?” Of course he would!

Lali came over and I handed her a no-longer-cold ice pack. She went back over and wrapped his leg. Later, his leg still on the table, another student tries to help him, using a pizza cutter as a tool. Grinning, I think, maybe I should return the doctor stuff to dramatic play.

I go about my business of tending to the other students in the class, but about ten minutes later, I look over at the dramatic play area again. There is Saint, his leg still propped up with his ice pack, sitting alone. His heart is so tender and loving, and he is just trying to make sense of his little world.

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Everything, Everything

Today was day three of returning to work since the accident. Days one and two resulted in me leaving with an incredibly swollen foot and in intense pain, resulting in me crawling into bed to hoist my enlarged foot, wrapped in an ice pack, onto a mountain of pillows, while I took meds to stave off the pain. This weekend wasn’t much different. Other than my doctor’s visit and dinner with a friend on Saturday, I was either on the couch or in the bed, elevating my foot, wincing with pain whenever I hobbled around my tiny apartment on my crutches. Today, day three, was different. I was able to last for longer periods of time on my crutches, although I primarily used the wheelchair when I was in class, as it’s infinitely easier.

I had to leave at 1:00pm today to go pick up my work permit, and when I left I noticed my foot was swollen, but less than it was the other days. In the car, I asked how long it would take for us to get to the immigration office. One hour. Ugh…I should have brought my book. Oh, wait! I have the book Elissa gave me!

Earlier this morning, Elissa handed me a book she’d finished this weekend, saying she thought I’d like it. It’s a YA novel called Everything, Everything. Apparently they’re making it into a movie (Don’t they always?). I took it, but since I’m in the middle of another book, I wasn’t sure when I’d get to it. A two-hour round-trip ride downtown was the perfect time to dive into it. I was instantly sucked into the story. The fast-paced storyline and suspense kept me hooked.

After the immigration visit, I visited the massage parlor next to my apartment building, where they helped work out the kinks and knots that have taken up residence in my back and shoulders. From there, I walked home on my crutches…without getting winded! My foot was swollen, of course, but I wasn’t in pain. Nevertheless, I propped it up and continued to read more of my new book.

My stomach started grumbling around 5:30, and rather than ordering in again, I decided to venture out in a taxi to one of my favorite restaurants. Gingerly, I walked up the steps and across the uneven footpath. My dinner companion was none other than my new book. Between bites, I turned page after page, unable to stop. After dinner, I was surprisingly still not in pain, so I headed to Starbucks to get my favorite iced tea and continue reading. I ended up finishing my book! It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book in a day, and I loved the uninterrupted reading time.

Back at home now, I’ve elevated and iced my foot to reduce the incredible swelling, but I have to say there is minimal pain. I can even wiggle my toes and ankle a bit without it hurting, and there’s a hint of itchiness, which according to the doctor and my dad, means the road rash is starting to heal. Yay for small victories! I go back for another check-up tomorrow, so we’ll see how gnarly it looks under there. I’m hoping to see less red and more scabby bits. 🙂


Side Note: Everything, Everything reminded me of The Fault in Our Stars, and while I liked it, I would say The Fault in Our Stars is still much better. However, if you are into YA literature and looking for a quick, engaging read, I suggest this one.

My Thai Emergency Room Experience

Yesterday, I was in a scooter accident that sent me to the emergency room. Click here to read the first slice about the accident.

After fighting stop and go traffic, where it took us 45 minutes to go the 5 miles to the hospital, we finally arrived. As soon as we stopped in front of the emergency room entrance, an orderly rushed out with a wheelchair, and I was promptly taken inside. Wheeling past the registration desk, I was taken to bed 7, and helped onto the gurney. Crying and unable to stay still, 2 nurses and a doctor were by my bedside in an instant. After ascertaining my personal information from my driver’s license and insurance card, they began checking my vitals and examining my wounds.

“Tell me what happened.” Through cries and fast, shallow breaths, I recounted the basics of the accident. Turned right in front of me…tried to stop…hit him…skidded on pavement…scooter landed on my ankle…I was wearing a helmet.

“We’ll need an x-ray to see if you’ve broken your ankle.” In preparation for the x-ray, the nurse laid pieces of gauze over my open wound. The simple act of placing feather-weight gauze on my ankle sent intense pain through my body. Clutching the bedrail, tears streaming down my face, I made them promise they wouldn’t clean the wound without first giving me pain meds. The thought of cleaning it without something to take the edge off was too unbearable to think about.

Another orderly appeared to wheel me to the x-ray room. Florescent lights streamed past, as we twisted and turned through hallways. As we entered the elevator, I thought, this must be what those patients on Grey’s Anatomy feel like. Only being able to look up, rather than forward, as you are wheeled through an unknown place creates another layer of anxiety of what’s to come.

In the x-ray room, the technician asked, “Have you dependency?”

With my face scrunched up, I asked, “What?”

“Have you dependency?”

“Do I have dependents? No, I’m single, no kids.”

“No…have you dependency?” This time, his question was accompanied by actions. Mimicking a pregnant belly, I finally understood.

“No, I’m not pregnant.”

Taking x-rays of my ankle in a couple positions, the process took just a couple of minutes. Then, we headed back to the E.R. where the real pain would soon begin.

The doctor, after having reviewed the x-rays, said the words I wanted to hear. “Your ankle’s not broken.” Thank God! According to her, there was damage to the soft tissue and muscles surrounding my ankle. I’d have to stay off of it for the next couple of weeks, but then I should be able to start putting weight on it again.

Per my request, I was given an injection of some pain medication, and told it would take effect in about 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes later, my pain had only reduced from an 8 to a 5, but the nurse said the cleaning had to happen in order to prevent infection. Preparing for a stream of saline, I clenched my teeth and held onto the bedrail.

What happened next was some of the most intense pain I’ve ever experienced. The nurse began spraying a numbing chemical directly into the wound, sending a searing sensation through my body. Uncontrollably, I began screaming bloody murder, cursing, and kicking my good leg. Julie held my leg down, as I later found out, in an effort to prevent me from kicking the nurse in the head. Another nurse stroked my arm, telling me it was going to be okay. I didn’t believe a word she said. Following the nasty spray, I was doused in saline, and the nurse began scrubbing my wound. Yes, scrubbing my open wound. According to Julie, I must have taken the entire road with me, as dirt and debris poured out and onto the plastic mat underneath me. There was so much junk in there that halfway through, they had to change the mat beneath my leg. The same procedure was repeated with my toes, which had also, despite wearing tennis shoes, experienced gnarly road rash.

After the cleaning, they applied betadine and anitbiotic ointment before placing a special thin layer of gauze-like material designed to prevent the dressing from sticking to the wound. My ankle was then wrapped up in a layer of gauze, as were each of my toes, which now looked like white little sausages. My arm, which sustained a 5-inch long road rash burn on my elbow and forearm, now needed to be cleaned. The procedure, along with the pain, followed.

Once I’d calmed down, I was seen by an orthopedic doctor, based on my complaints about pain in my hip. After I told him my medical history with back pain (scoliosis and sciatica), he scheduled a follow-up appointment to see me in a week, saying that at this time, with the damage to my foot and leg, he would be unable to ascertain whether my hip pain was related to the injury or not. He was very knowledgeable and kind, and didn’t rush, which I really appreciated.

My wounds bandaged, I was taken in a wheelchair to the rehab wing of the hospital to be fitted with crutches. The nurse gave me some basic lessons on how to walk with crutches, and then I was given some time to practice. Leg first, then crutches, when going up the stairs. Crutches first when going down. Being on crutches is no joke! It’s super tough, and I’m really glad it’s only for a few weeks. I admire those who have to do it for longer.

Last up was the pharmacy, where I was given antibiotics to fight possible infection, muscle relaxers, pain medicine, and Tylenol in case of fever. All in all, I only had to pay for the crutches, ice packs, and meds, which totaled about $90. Insurance covered the rest (less than $200).

Before we left, we talked the orderly into wheeling me over to the Starbucks for an iced tea and a sweet treat. Yes, there is a Starbucks inside the hospital!

While I was still in pain, I was grateful for the kind and attentive doctors and nurses, and the high quality medical care I received. Oh, and I was super pumped that my ankle wasn’t broken!

I was a little worse for wear (okay, a lot worse), but here’s me on my way out of the hospital. I’ll spare you the gory photos of my foot. It’s a little hard to stomach.

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