Physical Therapy: What not to do

Last week I finally started physical therapy. This, to me, feels like a real move past healing towards actually getting back to normal. At least I hope so.  Given the way I started today, that might not be the case. Here’s a list of what not to do:

  1. Arrive early.  You don’t get any extra time and the patient before you wants their full hour.
  2. Tease your new physical therapist about his typing skills.  Its just not nice to point out that someone is doing the hunt and peck method even if it is driving you crazy.  This person’s job is to make you feel better.  Your job is not to make him feel badly.
  3. Forget to shave your legs.  Once the hunt and peck session was over I was asked to take my shoes off and roll up my pants.  It was then it occurred to me it might have been nice if I had shaved my legs.  In all honesty, it didn’t even cross my mind until the moment I was rolling up my pants.  Lets not even discuss the fact that I haven’t had a pedicure in about 6 months.
  4. Expect it to not hurt.  Mostly the pain came later.  I am thinking of it as good pain.

Those are the highlights.  I go back again this week and twice a week now for awhile.  I haven’t heard from my insurance company how many sessions they will actually cover yet.  Hopefully enough.


The Normal Switch

I had an appointment with the ankle doctor today.  The actual MD doctor and not the PA.  I was hoping for big things.  I was hoping for balloons and I was hoping he’d take out a big switch and set it to “Normal.”  I was hoping for a hug and a cheer saying “you’re healed!”

Alas, it turns out there is no “Normal” switch and that was very disappointing.  Also disappointing was that there wasn’t even one balloon.  There were Dum-Dum lollipops at the reception desk though.

It was a very short visit.  I spent more time waiting to see the doctor than I did actually seeing him.  He couldn’t get out of the exam room fast enough, I actually had to call him back when he was walking out the door to ask my few measly questions.

OK, it was a good visit, but remember this is my place to complain so the complaints really had to come first.  Here’s what he said:

  • Everything is healing as it should be (yay!)
  • I do not have to wear the brace around the house or the office or when I’m sleeping, just when I’m going to be doing a lot of walking around
  • I can go for walks, I can do the elliptical
  • No running or aerobics (oh darn)
  • No high heels (sucks)
  • I get to start physical therapy
  • I have to go back in a month

See, it is a good report and I’m really happy to be doing well, but  this  is not exciting.  No balloons, no hugs, no “Normal” switch.

A Slow Return to Normal

I had a great morning.  I woke up early and went to Pilates for the first time since I fell.  When I pulled into the parking lot Tracie and Sally were seconds behind me and we all hugged in the parking lot and it was so nice to know they were as happy to have me back as I was to be back.  At least they were almost as happy because I felt like I could cry with joy.  And although I couldn’t do everything, class was good.  It was so good just to be there doing it, moving my body and not sitting on my couch.  It was the most normal I have felt.

I long for normal.  It is coming back little-by-little, but it is like a dream.  Did I ever stand up in the shower?  Did I ever walk around without thinking about it, without staring at the ground for potential trip points?  Did I clean my entire house without taking a break? Did I ever get dressed or showered or walk across the parking lot faster than this?  Did I really wear all these shoes?  Did I actually run?  It is like an alternate reality.  I am still faced with things I can’t do on a daily basis. Things I used to do without thinking about it.  I worry that I’ll never return to full “normal.”

Truthfully, I have progressed a lot.  I am driving.  I am walking around more and more every day.  I am showering and dressing all on my own.  I am grateful for the amount of recovery I’ve achieved and I am much more compassionate for others with similar issues.  And I am trying every day to stay focussed on the positive, but damn if that isn’t hard to do sometimes.


Yesterday I hit a big milestone.  I drove myself to work!  Yes, I actually drove my own car for the first time in 7 weeks and I didn’t have to ask anyone go out of their way.  Although I was thinking about my foot and leg the entire time, things went smoothly and I’m sure no one on I95 could tell I had recently broken my ankle.  That’s the miracle of my “form fit ankle brace.”


Of course I also started using my handicap parking pass because walking is still something I am not that great at doing.  I am so darn slow moving and my foot has forgotten how it is supposed to move. I won’t be going walking or to the mall anytime soon. That’s probably good for my wallet, but today felt like spring and I would have loved a lunchtime stroll by the water.


Another amazing thing that I can now do on my own is get in and out of my apartment.  I live on the second floor so there is a flight of stairs and a heavy door between me and the outside.  (Nope, no elevator.) Until I got off the crutches I needed help carrying anything up or down the stairs as well as getting the door open. I never gave the stairs or the door a moment’s thought before this and now I think about them all the time.

Speaking of doors, for the first couple of weeks when I was on both crutches I could barely open the bathroom door at work.  It is another heavy door that is spring loaded to stay closed.  I felt like a football player tackling the door to get myself inside.  I’m sure it looked pathetic to any observers. Then once I was inside the bathroom I had to remember to get paper towels from the dispenser and put them on the sink before sitting down because while I could get myself from the toilet to the sink without crutches, I couldn’t reach the towel dispenser.  I dried my hands on my pants a few times before figuring out the routine.    It is such a relief to be able to go to the bathroom without a strategy.

Things are improving slowly. I am impatient but trying not to rush myself or the healing.  I am in fear of doing anything that causes a setback.  I wish I could consult with my doctor daily to clear any planned activities because she really has left so much up to me and how I feel. I have to remember that is how I feel physically and not mentally. Mentally I’m ready for a standing desk, a 5 mile walk, and NEW SHOES.



Something new to wear!

Try not to be jealous when you look at this snazzy new ankle brace I received today.


Pretty sexy, huh?  It is a “form fit ankle brace” and it is kind of like an open-toed ice skate with no blade.  (Not that I’ll be ice skating any time soon.)

I should be much more positive because this is actually good news.  I saw the doctor today and she said my healing is progressing just as it should.  I now have to work up to wearing this new brace a little at a time over the next week or so until I am wearing it full time and not the boot.  No more crutches and soon no more boot!

Even better news is that I don’t have to sleep in the boot anymore. I cannot wait to get under the covers without 5 pounds of bulk wrapped around my right foot and leg.

Possibly the best news is that once I get to wearing the brace full time I will be able to drive again.  I cannot wait to DRIVE AGAIN.  Not being able to drive has been one of the hardest parts of this injury.

I was also given my very own green Theraband to use for ankle strengthening exercises.  Kind of like this guy:TB-ankle-plantarf-2-sit__111804_125348

And thankfully not at all like this woman:dsc_9839

That looks awful.  I hope it helps whatever it is supposed to help.

The only sad new is I don’t go back to the doctor for another 4 weeks which means I’ll still be in sneakers only for the next 4 weeks – albeit 2 sneakers and not just 1.



Has it been February Forever?

Is it just me who feels like this month has gone on for 6 weeks already?  It even gets an extra Monday this year. Before it ends, I must post my favorite February quote…

“They say that February is the shortest month, but you know they could be wrong.

Compared, calendar page against calendar page, it looks to be the shortest, all right. Spread between January and March like lard on bread, it fails to reach the crust on either slice. In its galoshes – and you’ll never catch February in stocking feet – it’s a full head shorter than December, although in leap years, when it has growth spurts, it comes up to April’s nose.

However more abbreviated than its cousins it may look, February feels longer than any of them. It is the meanest moon of winter, all the more cruel because it will masquerade as spring, occasionally for hours at a time, only to rip off its mask with a sadistic laugh and spit icicles into every gullible face, behavior that grows quickly old.

February is pitiless, and it is boring. That parade of red numerals on its page adds up to zero: birthdays of politicians, a holiday reserved for rodents, what kind of celebrations are those? The only bubble in the flat champagne of February is Valentine’s Day. It was no accident that our ancestors pinned Valentine’s Day on February’s shirt: he or she lucky enough to have a lover in frigid, antsy February has cause for celebration, indeed.

Except to the extent that it ‘tints the buds and swells the leaves within,’ February is as useless as the extra r in its name. It behaves like an obstacle, a wedge of slush and mud and ennui, holding both progress and contentment at bay.

James Joyce was born in February, as was Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo, which goes to show that writers are poor at beginnings, although worse at knowing when to stop.

If February is the color of lard on rye, its aroma is that of wet wool trousers. As for sound, it is an abstract melody played on a squeaky violin, the petty whine of a shrew with cabin fever. O February, you may be little but you’re small! Were you twice your tiresome length, few of us would survive to greet the merry month of May.”

Tom Robbins – “Jitterbug Perfume”

Doing Time

I can’t believe it has been five weeks since my imprisonment… I mean, my accident.  I’m not sure if I mean that it has been a long time or a short time. It’s both, really. The boot and the crutches and the ice packs and the Advil and the being driven everywhere and helped with so many things have become part of my routine. And yet I still feel like I’m figuring this out every day. How do I best get in the shower?  How do I get into bed?  I’m still thinking about every step on every set of stairs.

Things are looking up, but the road to healthy and normal still feels long.  I have been so physically tired.  Although I am now only using one crutch, it still seems to take a toll. I haven’t done any other kind of exercise (except the ankle exercises) so I am sure that doesn’t help my energy level.  I feel like I could use a really good massage or a hot tub.  Even sitting in some warm sunshine would be good.

The next doctor’s appointment is one week away.  I’m trying not to think too much about it, but I am pretty much counting on good news. I’m also having trouble imagining that I will fully recover and be able to do things I am planning and hoping to do.  Every time I think about making a plan I feel myself hesitate a little because whatever it is I will need to drive or walk around to be able to do.

I really need to get out of this boot.  It makes it really hard to sleep. Imagine attaching a five pound wait to your foot and then getting into bed. And it is hard to get dressed. I am so sick of my clothes.  The boot really limits what I can comfortably wear — especially what I can wear to work. Even they guys in my office must have noticed by now that I wear the same pants every day.  I happen to own 2 pairs so that helps, but I can’t wait to burn them both.

Next milestone is walking with no crutches.  I’ve done it a bit at home, but not much yet. By next week I want to be doing it full time.