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The Cripple Wants Prada July 25, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Personal Experience.

Watched The Devil Wears Prada last week. A decent movie; with a more focused plot structure than the book and strong performances by… Oh, who the hell am I kidding? I only went to watch the shoes.

Ten weeks ago, I was the goddess of heels. There was no stem too high, no strap too thin, no pattern too gaudy. I wore them all; loved them all. And oh God, I miss them!

I miss wearing two of them at the same time. I miss my sky-high heels; my ankle-strap sandals, my trashy boots, my impossible stilettos, my wedges, my Mary Janes, my leopard print d’Orsays and my silver rhinestone “Carrie Bradshaw had hers stolen on an episode of SATC” Manolo Blahnik knockoffs. I miss being 3-4-5 inches taller and strutting down the street, pretending I’m Gisele and the whole sidewalk is my catwalk, baby. I miss comments from middle-aged ladies at the grocery store asking “How do you walk in those?”, where I’d smile brightly and launch into a three-minute explanation of how to properly distribute your weight over your heel and toe and to make sure that your centre of gravity is over your hips so you don’t fall forward as you step. I miss watching the “this girl is insane” look creep slowly over their faces as they’d try to back away thinking that I was just going to answer their question with something flip like “Practice!”

I started physiotherapy last week, and I’m not afraid to admit that I arrived at my appointment and told my therapist that I’d like to be wearing my very favourite high heels for my office Christmas party in December.  She agreed that it’s a good goal to have, so I’m already feeling better about things.  In the interim, I’m sure she’s more interested in some of the more paltry details like learning to walk again without seeming like an extra in a Romero movie, but as long as we keep the end goal in mind, I’m sure we’ll get along fine.


Gee, that’s swell! July 25, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Personal Experience, Resources.

Before you break your ankle, I guarantee you that you have no idea of the amount of fluid and swelling your body is capable of generating. For the first few weeks my ankle inflated to Star Jones (pre-stomach stapling, of course) proportions, swollen and bruised to the point where I wasn’t sure it was my own foot. Elevation (above the heart) and ice packs are the best remedy to reduce swelling, but even they don’t really seem to do much for the first while. Now that it’s been two months since my accident, I’m very aware of the triggers that cause swelling and how to manage it. The primary causes are (in order)

  • Gravity (keeping the ankle vertical for too long or extended periods of hobbling)
  • Exhaustion or sleepiness
  • Exertion (doing my flex and release strengthening exercises)

On Friday, my swelling was as bad as it’s been in ages. I’d tried to work for the day without my cast (and while keeping my foot elevated as much as I could), but by 7pm my ankle had swollen up to the size of a papaya. Not sexy. In fact, it was the first time in my slender-ankled life that I’ve ever had a “cankle”. Gah! CANKLES! Fortunately, after two episodes of South Park and two ice packs, the crisis passed and I’d returned mostly to normal. Now I’m trying to spend at least an hour a day with ice packs on the foot and my ankle in the air to see if that helps things long term. Keep you posted.

Absentia July 25, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

Heh. I suck. Here’s more content I’ve written over the past few weeks, and there’ll be more coming over the next few days. I’m going to back date it to when I planned to post it, but all two of you with RSS feeds (I know who half of you are!) will know the truth. What have I been doing while working hard to forget to blog? A whole assload of not-very-much, aside from healing, working, learning to hobble and watching several really great episodes of CSI and South Park. Oh, and if you’re not watching “My Super Sweet 16”, then you really need to work harder and embrace your inner gay man/preteen girl.

Code Red! It’s a PHYSICALLY-DISABLED PERSON! July 19, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Personal Experience, Resources.

I’ve only had it for a week, but already I love my new disabled person sticker. Parking, usually a painful process, has become a thrilling waltz where I’m always the most popular girl and my Dance card is never full. Sadly, my sticker doesn’t enable me to priority parking on the BC Ferries, but they do have a handy policy where they’ll try to park you near the elevator. But first, you need to display their special dashboard sign. It is, I kid you not, an 8” square of shocking red cardboard emblazoned with “PHYSICALLY -DISABLED PERSON” in about 120pt font. I believe NASA should add it to their list of objects viewable from space. Were I not delighted by the extra perks, I’d have been horrified. Especially, when the crew member on the boat didn’t see it and parked me as far away as possible from the elevator. Afterwards I showed him the sign and he tersely replied “Ma’am, you’re supposed to hold that out your window when you come on the boat.” This was an excellent point. After all, I’d only had the thing on the outside of my windshield. Perhaps, next time I’ll just laminate it and wear it around my neck on a chain.

Scar Wars July 19, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Advice, Personal Experience.

Were I to find myself two months ago on a shark hunting exhibition with Police Chief Brody and Captain Quint, I’d really have nothing to contribute to their “scariest scar competition”. Up until now my most impressive scars were a little indent in my upper lip (Age 12 – caused by the unfortunate collision of a baseball and my braces) and three barely-there marks on the fingers of my right hand (Age 16 – accidentally dropped sugar bowl at work and put back of hand on hot coffee burner). Now I’m definitely a contender. I’m sporting a six inch scar on the outside of my leg and a second 4 inch scar across the top of my foot. Even my lovely friend Peg’s (go read her blog. Or I’ll hurt you.) boyfriend Paul agreed that my scars are pretty impressive. And he broke his ankle in a similar way last year! Go me!

It’s been nearly two months (give or take a day) since the surgery, and while they’ve healed nicely, they’re still, for lack of a better word, kinda gross. At least I think so. Mom and I started putting vitamin E cream on them as soon as the staples were out, so we’ve probably helped a bit with the healing process, but they’re still very dark (and not too raised at the moment – a raised scar is called a “keloid” scar, and that’s apparently bad). A coworker has recommended using scar reducing strips – has anyone had any good luck with these? Am I better off with vitamin E? Or should I just embrace my scars and head off to Amity and fight sharks?

Exuent Dr. McToogoodforpatients July 17, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Personal Experience.

Dr. McSurgery, whom I adore, was out of town with a family emergency on the day of my most recent follow-up appointment. His replacement was young, not as cute and certainly lacking in anything remotely resembling bedside manner. After a 2 ½ hour wait (yes, they’re busy, I understand), we were called into the clinic and assigned to a bed where we waited for 18 minutes while the replacement doctor transcribed notes into his telephone without acknowledging us. Now I can understand that if he were facing away, but we were literally sitting about two feet away from him. Not a good start.

When he finally called my name he brought up my x-rays, noted the bones had healed and asked me to remove my aircast boot. The time it took for me to do this was the longest period of time we spent interacting. He briefly fondled my leg (not really touching it, more of a soft petting), where he declared me healed and tried to herd me out the door. If this were a Southern Baptist Revival, I’d have paid my tithe, sung some gospel and headed outside for some barbecue. But the Heather who can hardly stand, let alone imagine walking wasn’t up for it. I called him out and said that my regular surgeon recommended I’d go in for physiotherapy, that he’d said it was a very bad break and I’d need several months of work before I’d be relatively back to normal. Together with my Mom (twin powers activate!) we gave him one of “those” stares reserved for misbehaving pets or when it’s discovered that Dad ate all the Ritz crackers again. It’s deadly.

Dr. McToogoodforpatients relented and gave me a prescription for physiotherapy with the comment of “Now that I’ve had a second look [Really? When you were looking at your shoes, or at the Nurse in the doorway?], I think you really will need more work, uh, let me get this prescription done.” We left shortly after, and I must note that I’ve never crutched faster in my life. Anger is an excellent motivator.

EDITED TO ADD: I hobbled into (ran into doesn’t really work under these circumstances) Dr. McSurgery at the airport this week while waiting for Dad’s flight. I told him I’d made a follow up appointment to see him after my bad experience with his replacement, and we spent about 10 minutes discussing my concerns. Yes, he agreed that I’d definitely need several months of physiotherapy, plus additional follow-up appointments. We talked about managing pain, controlling swelling and how to ease myself into going without the aircast some days. It was one of those great kismet moments, and I’ve never been happier to have to pick Dad up at the airport. Even if he has been known to eat all the crackers and then try to blame it on me (Yes, this actually happened).

At the Hop July 11, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Personal Experience.

Sometimes it just seems stupid to break out the crutches when I only need to get from the bedroom to the bathroom, or the computer desk to my couch. When this happens, I opt to hop.

Most of the time hopping is an up-and-down motion. To propel yourself forward, you need to lean your body over your centre of gravity. Then, to stay upright but moving forward I choose to wave my forearms in a circular motion, while ensuring I keep my broken leg off the ground at all times. The arm waving, while highly effective, makes me appear perhaps, a little ridiculous. My cats give me ample space in the hallway, as if they’re never quite sure whether I’ll make it to the couch, or fall on my face about three hops in. Truly, it must be seen to be believed.

The other trouble is speed. Like the Juggernaut, I’m an excellent example of Newton’s first law, and stopping is usually best achieved by falling onto something rather than attempting to slow down. Under further consideration, I suppose it’s less of a ‘hop’ and more of a ‘controlled flail in a specific direction’.

To offset the reality of how insane I look, I find creative visualization useful. Most recently I pretended I was a cute but uncoordinated mouse who mistakenly fell into a pan of butterscotch pudding and used my special flailing skills to escape a caramelicious doom. Previous to this, I’ve found that I can crutch faster across short distances if I sing the theme from Hawaii 5-0.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Hobbler July 2, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Personal Experience.

Tempted by an offer of quiche, muffins and lascivious conversation, I trekked over to Tom and Don’s apartment yesterday afternoon. They only live a few blocks away, so normally this walk would take me about five minutes at most, three if there’s Chaka Kahn on the ‘Pod.

Were I Terminator II-era Linda Hamilton or in possession of 27” Hulk Hogan-esque pythons, I’m sure that long-distance hobbling would be OK. Sadly, lifting my body weight with my back and shoulders to land on one leg is very tiring and I was forced to hobble along at a glacial pace. How slowly was I moving? I was passed by an elderly couple with canes.

It ended up taking me 17 minutes to reach my destination, and that was with Don coming out of the apartment, worried and looking for me. Relieved that I hadn’t been flattened by the Tally-Ho, he praised me for how well I was doing on the crutches. The mark of a good friendship is in knowing when to lie to a friend in need. The mark of a great friendship is when I believe him.