The Cripple Report:  Off and running! …NOT

July 9, 2017

 

 

Home Again!!

 

 

I finally made it home on April 14 from my stint in rehab in San Diego after breaking my ankle on April 1.  I flew non-stop from San Diego to Albuquerque, and did just fine. I have had a house sitter who took care of my house while I’m on the road.  He is a member of our camera club, and a good friend.  He picked me up at the airport with one of the wheelchairs of Bob’s that I still have not gotten rid of…thank goodness.  Since the house he was renting was sold, he has stayed here, and been a great help.  (Although as time passes, we both wish I were on the road again!)  The motorhome arrived undamaged on April 15, as did my new knee scooter.  My friends and neighbors here in Albuquerque have been totally wonderful and so supportive.

 

On April 17, I had my first appointment with the orthopedic surgeon here in Albuquerque who has taken over my care.  He ordered me to continue being totally non-weight bearing for another month.  Boo!  But that didn’t stop me from boosting myself backwards on my seater up the motorhome steps, hoisting myself into the driver’s seat and taking it to have the tanks emptied!  I had help doing “the dirty work” so I dutifully stayed put in the driver’s seat.  Being “back in the saddle again,” even for an hour, really boosted my morale and confidence!

 

During that next month, unfortunately, I got an infection in the outside incision site, which was cured by antibiotics.  In addition, some small areas along both the outside and inside incisions have split back open.  I’ve been going to a wound care clinic that has really gotten things moving (figuratively speaking) in the right directions. These setbacks have slowed my progress, so I have not been able to start PT or really start getting back my range of motion.  Each time I tried to draw the alphabet with my tight and swollen foot, it would put pressure on the incision openings, pulling them apart again.

 

 

Moving right along!

 

By the middle of May, I got the go ahead to put 50% weight on the ankle, wearing my boot.  I practiced with crutches, trying to use less and less assistance from then as time passed.  Oh the joy of using crutches!  (Not!) The boot is quite restrictive, so we don’t think it’s impeding the healing of the incisions.

 

The best news:  I could drive and run errands by myself!!  I would roll out to the driveway on my “horse” (knee scooter) and throw open the trunk (CR-V so it’s a hatch).  My scooter handle folds down, and I gently put my left foot down for balance, then picked up the scooter and hoisted it into the back of the car.  Finally I would hop, hop, hop on my good foot up to the driver’s seat.  Not a pretty picture, but it works!  Man! can I roll on those smooth floors in the grocery store!  Picture me with my puny basket on the front of the scooter, stuffed with groceries, plus two plastic grocery bags on either handlebar, also stuffed.  I tear up and down those aisles, wind in my face!  I can’t complain!

 

 

Yea!

 

FINALLY, at my mid-June appointment with the foot doctor, I was given permission to put full weight on my foot!  He told me I didn’t need to use the scooter, I didn’t need to use the crutches and I could ditch the boot.  Halleluiah!  As soon as I got home, I removed the boot and stood up to start walking.  Gee, what a fantasy that was…  As you may have guessed, I was far from being able to just up and walk.  I guess I was in denial, but I thought that, although it might hurt, I could at least limp.  No way, in fact.  I borrowed a walker from a friend and began in earnest trying to re-learn how to move normally.  I have retired the knee scooter, who is parked in the bedroom and who whines for attention incessantly.  By July 4th, almost three weeks later, I could get around well without assistance wearing the boot.  My foot was still quite chubby. In fact it is obese.  I wanted to transition to normal shoes, so I finally broke down and got a pair of cheap men’s sneakers with Velcro closures.  They are huge, but my foot is grateful for the support.  Obviously I only wear the left one!  Unfortunately, my time on my knee scooter caused my left knee to become quite painful, and it hasn’t snapped out of it yet. I’m going to try to get an appointment with my rheumatologist to see if she has any suggestions.  My knee competes with the foot in discomfort—each one is jealous of the other if one hurts less.  The incisions aren’t fully closed yet but progress has been made.  The wound specialist indicates it may be another month….   She has me on a nutritional drink that tastes like Kool=Aid that is supposed to help heal wounds.  This has certainly been a lesson in patience and acceptance!

 

 

Fast forward to July, 2017

 

As I write this on July 9, I can report that I’ve made significant progress!  I am mostly walking (re: hobbling) wearing an old velcro-closure sandal on my left foot, and a tennis shoe that is the same rise on my right foot.  I only use the walker first thing in the morning or if I’ve overdone it.  The incision openings on the outside of the ankle have closed, and the one on the inside is moving in the right direction.  The wound care specialists indicated that perhaps in 2 weeks I will not need dressings, and can graduate to compression hose only!  That means I can start physical therapy and once again experience the joy of drawing the alphabet with my toes and moving my foot in circles!  Ah, how I appreciate the small things now!

 

 

The sixty-four thousand dollar question

 

No, I have don’t have any idea how long it may be before I am recovered enough to be back on the road.  I’ll need to be fully ambulatory and stable in balance.  This is especially true since I mostly boondock (camp without hookups on BLM and National Forest land), where the ground is more likely to be uneven.  The doctor says it will be at least six months from the date of my fall on April 1, before I my foot will feel like it belongs to me again.  The wound specialist broke her foot two years ago, and she still needs a compression stocking to keep the swelling at bay.  A compression stocking will be a small price to pay for all the trauma my ankle has been through.  I will take things one day and one foot at a time.

 

Enough of this story, already!

 

Whew!  I’m going to stop whining about my ankle!  From here on, I’ll plan to get back to recounting my travel adventures from last year, and only interject small snippets to keep you updated on my recovery progress.  Thanks for your patience and good wishes!

 

Keep those comments coming!  Hearing from you makes my day!

26 Comments

  1. Jonathan Sitton
    Jul 9, 2017

    Hi Rhonda! We’ve been following your posts and are so glad you are making good progress! You are such a fabulous writer. It was as if we were right there with you! Take care and much love! -The Sitton’s

  2. John Fowler
    Jul 9, 2017

    Hey Rhonda, glad to read the good news! Maybe in the fall somewhere out in the BOONDOCKS we’ll run into each other.

  3. Celia
    Jul 9, 2017

    Rhonda,
    Sorry to hear of your accident and the long involved care situation.

    Admire your tenactity, energy and cheerful approach to life – also enjoy your road trip adventures and a nice way to share photos.

    Hope your day is great and the healing faster than you have thus far experienced.

    have to go chase the roadrunners away from my turtles – sling shot and pinto beans… don’t worry I am a lousy shot!
    Celia

    • Rhonda
      Jul 10, 2017

      Thanks Celia! So good to hear from you! Keep on guarding your turtles! I have a mental picture of you, crouched, armed with your trusty sling shot. stalking those pesky roadrunners! Ha, ha!

  4. Mary
    Jul 9, 2017

    Hey Rhonda, so good to hear the progress, even if it’s not as quick as you like. I’m reading “Witness” by Ruth Gruber, a wonderful female photojournalist. As she talked of her time on Alaska, a line she wrote made me think of your situation (hers was being constrained geographically to Kodiak Island): “One of the most important lessons I learned in Alaska was not to fight time but to live inside of time.” Keep on!

    • Rhonda
      Jul 10, 2017

      Thanks so much for sharing that quote, Mary! It hits the nail on the head. I’ve decided that I cannot control the healing process, and have been surprised at my resignation. Not bad resignation, but acceptance.

  5. Linda
    Jul 9, 2017

    What a trooperating you are! So nice to hear the whole story. Time for new adventures!

  6. Linda Logan-Condon
    Jul 9, 2017

    Trooper! I kinda like trooperater.

    • Rhonda
      Jul 10, 2017

      Me too! Rhonda the Trouperater! I need a beanie with a whirly gig on it!

  7. Roland Penttila
    Jul 9, 2017

    Thanks for the update. You covered almost 10 weeks in this blog. Glad to learn that you are really on the mend. I saw you at the banquet in late June and saw that you were still in the boot. There’s nothing like something like this to make us all realize how nice “normal” is.

    • Rhonda
      Jul 10, 2017

      Seems longer, but it’s difficult to see progress day to day. Looking back and and documenting everything helps to gain perspective. Thanks, Rolanda

  8. Pam Taylor
    Jul 9, 2017

    wow, your journey has taken you from patient to paratrooper in a scooter. A PT who specializes in Swelling can move that fluid to eliminate your swelling. Sounds like you had a nasty fracture, but it just takes time to heal. My neighbors, in their mid 50’s were in their beach home elevator when it malfunctioned and took them plummeting onto the concrete . It was an outside elevator and it dropped them from the 3 Rd floor. All of their feet were crushed and had massive leg and back injuries. They were medicated to Vidant and spent a month there. After a year and a half they are walking and finally getting their life back. They almost lost their life ! We are thankful that you are better.

    • Rhonda
      Jul 10, 2017

      Wow, Pam! What a story! Gives me perspective and gratitude that I wasn’t hurt more seriously! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Mandy
    Jul 9, 2017

    It is so wonderful to hear that you are making such positive strides. I’m sure it has seemed like a lifetime to you though. I just love your “Nothing’s gonna’ keep this girl down” attitude!! So inspiring! You certainly have many reasons to whine yet you maintain such a positive attitude. Every now and again as I am reading your posts, I imagine how different the story would be coming from someone who is not as positive as you are. It would be a totally different read, for sure!! Keep up the hard work and I’m sure you’ll be back on the road again soon!! Happy Summer!

  10. Barry Schwartz
    Jul 9, 2017

    Rhonda – you have been through a lot, however, you are a shining example of the old adage, “What happens to you matters less then how you react to it”. You are an inspiration of spirit and determination.

    • Rhonda
      Jul 10, 2017

      Thanks so much Barry. I’m not really a shining example, but rather a tarnished but determined plotter!

  11. Barry Schwartz
    Jul 9, 2017

    You show that its not what happens to you that matters as much as how you react to it. You are a great example of hope and determination.

  12. Jeff Ward
    Jul 10, 2017

    I am so glad to hear that you are healing. As always, your positive spirit is uplifting! Keep up the great work! Love from Kansas–The Ward’s

    • Nadine Gaul
      Jul 20, 2017

      Mercy me. I should read your journal every other day. You have been
      Through so much. Having such a support system is a blessing. I would say
      hang in there, instead ‘keep your chin up’. You are a trouper. You do have
      a goal! That’s a good thing.
      ???

      • Rhonda
        Jul 21, 2017

        So great to hear from you, Nadine! Yes, my chins are up! I’m doing much better. Walking now without assistance, but still with a limp. Hobbling right along! I hope you are well!

  13. Gaelyn
    Jul 14, 2017

    Sounds like you are on the road to recovery so hope to see you on the road this winter. I wear compression stockings every day, not fun, but oh well.

    • Rhonda
      Jul 21, 2017

      Good to hear from you Gaelyn–you are so good to comment! Yes, I think I can accept wearing a compression stocking. When i think of the big picture, that’s a small price to pay!

  14. Bayfield Bunch Al:))
    Jul 31, 2017

    Sounds like that was a very bad break you had and your recovery process has been and is still being such a challenge. Good for you being a solid trooper with a positive attitude. Am hoping you will soon be on the other side of your temporary set-back and you can get on with your travels. All the best to you Rhonda:))

  15. Bayfield Bunch AL
    Jul 31, 2017

    I did leave a comment Rhonda but I don’t know where it went….test-test

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