Monday, January 13, 2014

My 500 Words: Day 13 - Pacing


I am exhausted.  In a sense, this is a good thing.  A very good thing even!

Why?

If you have been around here long enough, you've heard my tales of accident and illness and having had peroneal tendon repair surgery on my right ankle.  Yesterday marked one month since my surgery, though I am slightly over four months since the injury took place.  Just weeks after the injury I was hospitalized with a massive pulmonary embolism - blood clots in both my lungs.  The phrase "Be Still" has taken on a whole new meaning for me.

While the original injury was exceptionally painful, it didn't exhaust me.  I was fairly immobile.  I was hurting, but I felt fine.  I wasn't sick.  When the blood clots happened {for the third time since 2001}, it wiped me out.  Not only was the pain excruciating, that event quite literally left me breathless.  Everything I did beyond that point required so much effort.  Taking a few "simple" steps {remember, at this point I was still in a boot and on crutches!} would deplete any energy resources I possibly had left in me.  Though I needed to get up and move, the very idea of hobbling twenty feet to the bathroom was enough to make me wonder if I really had to go!

To exist was exhausting.  For weeks following the blood clot episode, my body worked overtime to recover not only from that life-threatening illness, but also to repair the damaged tissues in my foot and ankle.  It wasn't until after the blood clots that I had the MRI which told the doctor the tendon was actually torn and what I had wasn't a simple "bad sprain".  I needed to have surgery.

But surgery presented risk.

If you know much about blood clots, you know that they can be potentially life threatening.  When they did scans of my legs to find the source of the DVT {deep vein thrombosis}, they found nothing.  Everything was already sitting in my lungs.  I was told repeatedly how significant in size these clots were.  The grave looks on the doctors faces said it all.  Even in post-hospitalization doctor visits, my Hematologist reminds me of how significant the event was.  He does not take this lightly at all, which is perfectly acceptable to me!  When I let him know I required surgery to repair my ankle, he is the one who caused my original surgery date to be moved back by about a month.  He wasn't willing to have the Orthopaedic Surgeon risk my life at the point in time when the surgery was originally scheduled.  It was too soon.

Just as the injury slowed me down significantly, so too did the pulmonary embolism.  My life since I injured my ankle on September 8, 2013 has been nothing but a waiting game.  Everything slowed me down.  As a result of the blood clots, I was significantly slowed down from where I had been prior to that.  Having had blood clots in the past, I understand the healing process afterwards.  I also understand the healing process after injuring my ankle.  What I wasn't expecting was having to deal with these two things at once.  My body was sapped of all energy because it was working double time trying to heal two significant problems at the same time.

I was finally able to have my surgery.  I'd gotten used to being out of the boot and off the crutches.  I'd been using an ankle brace inside my regular tennis shoes.  Actually, in the couple weeks before surgery, I was back to the boot because the pain was increasing again.  But I was fairly mobile and was at a point where I felt like I could do things that needed to be done.  Not drive, but things around the house.  The surgery put an end to that when I was laid up with an enormous and heavy cast for a few weeks.  I moved back into the boot last week after having the stitches removed, though I'm still on crutches and am not weight-bearing yet.

Life lately has been about pacing myself.  The worst of the pain is {hopefully} behind me.  I still have a long road ahead with my recovery, but the worst is over.  As far as the blood clots go, I think I feel a lot better, though I still tire fairly easily.  I don't get chest pains too much anymore.  I am simply exhausted all the time.  Four months of this has worn me down.

Despite all that has been going on, I need to keep moving because I don't want a repeat blood clot episode after surgery.  None of us wants that!  I have been doing laundry, hopping on one foot from laundry basket to washer to dryer, since just a few days after surgery.  I am still doing that.  This past week I finally made an attempt at emptying and reloading the dishwasher, which is no easy feat considering I have to do it balancing on one foot, hopping from the dishwasher to the cabinets to put things away.  I even got out a few times this past week.  I made it to our church's "First Wednesday" service last week.  I love that monthly service.  I did not want to miss it, but it darned near killed me.  It made me reconsider the idea of returning to regular Sunday services this past weekend.  I did.  I really need to get back into community with other people.

Right now is a difficult balance between trying to heal from illness and injury, keeping active enough to prevent a repeat illness, and being able to feel like I am becoming somewhat "normal" again by participating in routine events that are a part of my normal life.  I have to pace myself.  I can't over-do or I won't be able to enjoy other things.

But I'm trying....

{if you're counting - that was 987 words for my thirteenth My 500 Words post, for a total of 9,863 this month!}
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