Jun 29, 2010

update again

Posted by Mary |

I've got a date for surgery in two weeks, and have been working hard to get flexion and strength back in my leg. I need my knee to be as healthy as possible before the surgery so I can recover better afterward. To that effect, I have been going to physical therapy three times a week. I've also been on a roller coaster of medications meant to protect my stomach and bring down the inflammation. I had to enter it all into my online calendar to keep track of when to take which pills. As of Sunday, I am down to just two medications - the stomach stuff and one new anti-inflammatory. The new medication is not my friend. I am feeling rather dizzy and am waiting for a call from the surgeon so we can talk about this.

At PT yesterday, they measured my leg for a new brace. I will need to wear this brace after surgery. According to my insurance company, the brace "meets the criteria" for being a covered expense. However, they would not pre-authorize the brace, which means they might refuse to pay for it. I ordered it in metallic pink. If I'm going to potentially pay $1,400 for the brace, it had better be sparkly and pretty. I hope it looks like the Borg assimilated Hello Kitty. Did I mention my insurance year starts over again on July 1? I think I'll be hitting my out-of-pocket maximum pretty quickly this year.

One of my neighbors has been kind enough to start mowing my lawn for me. That's a good thing, as I currently can't do it myself, and the back yard had become a knee-high field of dandelions. In return, I made him a chocolate root beer cake. I am trying my best to keep up with the house and the cats. It's all going to go to hell for two weeks after surgery, but I can try to enter that period with a clean house. It doesn't help that my roommate's cat decided to pee on the area rug. I need to devise a gate system to keep the cat trapped in the back of the house. I am clearly unable to handle two cats in my present condition.

I've been able to get back to the gym for limited activity, and am going to try some swimming after work today. The lack of exercise has been driving me crazy. Hopefully the dizziness won't get worse when I've got my glasses off and am in the pool.

I'm heading down to see MNB this weekend. This will probably be the last time I get to see him until he comes back to Fairbanks for school. I don't feel up to a 6-hour drive, so I used some of my miles to buy a ticket. It galls me to spend 20K miles on a 350-mile flight. Of course, it galled me even more to see the exact same flight show up for 15K miles the next day. Thanks to a 24-hour cancellation policy, I was able to cancel, then rebook for the 15K. I'm mostly off the crutches for now, but will be bringing them along just in case. I'm sure getting through security with a knee brace, an ankle brace and a crutch will be good fun.

Jun 20, 2010

medical updates

Posted by Mary |

I stopped taking the Vicodin. It wasn't so much the insomnia as it was the apparent destruction of my stomach. It may have been the Vicodin, it may have been the ibuprofen. All I know is that 2 weeks ago, I laid on the floor of the bathroom for an hour and spent the rest of the night in bed, twitching in pain.

Last Monday, I began physical therapy. I only did one session before the PT sent me for an MRI. He suspected I may have torn my meniscus. It turns out my meniscus is fine, but I tore my ACL. Not just a little tear; it's completely gone. There's also an avulsion fracture, where a chunk of bone was ripped off. The MRI additionally shows extensive bone bruising on both the femur and tibia.

The PT managed to get me in for an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon on Friday. I was there for about 4 hours, doing tests, looking at the MRI, and discussing my options.

The short version is: I need to have my ACL replaced. It looks like that will happen in about 3 weeks, as I need to get the inflammation down and flexibility back. In order to get the inflammation down, I am starting a pill-intensive regimen of no less than 3 anti-inflammatories. But first I'm starting with drugs for my digestive system so I don't get sick again.

Lest anyone worry, my winter travel plans will continue. MNB is coming with me, and we decided to buy travel insurance, just in case I blow out my knee again and need an evacuation.

On a side note, tonight I had a panic attack. It's been a long time since I had one of those. It only lasted about 10 minutes, but I had forgotten how powerful they can be. I'm sure the notion of impending surgery had something to do with that.

MNB was in town last week, but I didn't get to see him as much as I would have liked. He was working at the Air Force base, and had to stay late because of equipment issues. He wants me to come to Anchorage so he can take care of me after surgery, but I don't think that's the most logical plan. Instead, I am going to try to visit him once before the surgery.

Jun 9, 2010

fun fact

Posted by Mary |

Sunday night: Took the Vicodin. Couldn't get to sleep.
Monday night: Skipped the Vicodin. Slept well. Could barely walk with the crutches in the morning.
Tuesday night: Took the Vicodin. Can't get to sleep.

The prescription medicine I need for the pain in my knee is apparently causing insomnia. And yet, without the pills, I am in a lot of pain in the morning. I have not yet figured out how to balance this equation.

Of course, the listed side effects do not mention insomnia, but do include drowsiness. It's 1 a.m. I need to be at work in the morning.

Jun 6, 2010

feeding my ego

Posted by Mary |

Living in Alaska, I have started a love affair with Amazon. They will ship almost anything up here for free. The only thing better is Zappos or Endless, because they give me free two-way shipping on shoes. Shoes!

Amazon is now in the habit of suggesting passphrases, a few words you can easily remember when you need to log in. They make some suggestions for you. My latest order prompted the suggestion: Mary's Colonial Policy.

I always did think of myself as a benevolent dictator.

Jun 3, 2010


Posted by Mary |

I've spent a lot of time in bed during the past few days, usually filled with self-pity. It took me 44 hours to get a knee immobilizer. That's 44 hours of a dislocated knee kind of flopping around. So I feel I've earned a bit of wallowing time.

I keep thinking of things I can't do. I planted flowers last week, but if it doesn't rain, they will die because I can't water them. Tango classes are starting up again, but as you can imagine, I won't be attending. I have handed temporary control of my troupe over to Rachel, since I won't be performing again this summer. The lawn is a sea of dandelions, and I can't mow it. Yesterday my ex-boyfriend came over to change my winter tires for me. Most baking and cooking is out, since I can't get around the kitchen. I probably don't need to tell you that I won't be hiking Kilimanjaro this winter. (Don't worry, I've got alternate plans scheduled for my vacation time.) I have packages to mail but can't even get them to the car. I have to finish installing at least the one window on my house, but will now have to pay someone else to do that for me. Pretty much all household renovation projects for this summer must be canceled. I need to do laundry and change the kitty litter and do dishes, and all of these are nearly impossible when I have one functional leg and need to use both arms for crutches.