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One Year

23 Jan

I know this is cheesy, but today I light a virtual candle in memory of my healthy knee.  One year ago today was my fateful fall where I tore my ACL, MCL and meniscus.  I think back on that time, remembering how trying it was having my mobility taken away from me, and what a long road the recovery has been, and continues to be.

Overall, I am thankful.  I am thankful I had great health insurance.  I am thankful that I have one year of recovery behind me, and hopeful that I won’t have to endure something like that again.

We have finally received snow here.  While my husband is up enjoying the fresh powder, I am patiently resisting the urge to ski, knowing my knee just isn’t ready for powder yet.  In the meantime, I’m happy to be mobile, able to keep up with my kids, able to participate in outings and family dance night, and able to work up a good sweat at the gym.

Having a significant injury changes you.  Hopefully in this past year, my children have witnessed bravery in the face of challenges, and I am a better person for the challenges that I have overcome.

Getting Back Up On That Horse

3 Jan

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We went up to Mt. Rose three times over the holiday break to get the kids skiing.  The first two times, I simply helped shuttle kids and equipment to JB, who was working patiently with both of them.

Mt. Rose where where I injured myself, and from where I stood, I could see the scene of the accident, where I fell within sight of the lodge and the lower mountain, and had to ride a snowmobile down to the ski patrol.

Yesterday, I finally got up the courage to try skiing again.  The doctor told me I could ski 9 months after surgery, and to start slow.

Eleven months, three weeks after my initial injury, and nine months, two days after my surgery, I made my return to skis.  I did three beginner runs, and got to ski with the hubby and both of my kids.

I still have a lot of work to do to get back to “normal”, if that will be possible, but the first major hurdle in conquering my fears has been cleared.

Gimpy Momma Goes To Gimp Class

20 Dec

Six weeks ago, I started a class at the Reno Orthopedic Clinic designed to help people recovering from injury (me!) prepare for ski season.

Before heading to the first class, I thought I was doing really well with my recovery.  I thought I was ready to ski — after all, the doctor said I could ski 9 months after surgery, and I was walking up to 6 miles a day, and even starting to run.

The first night of class, we did an assessment, which included measuring how far we could jump with both legs, and then single leg jumps.  The results were eye-opening.  My left leg could hardly jump at all, and jumping was very initimidating for me.  I left class that night, and melted into tears in the car, feeling frustrated that I still had a long ways to go, and a lot of work ahead of me.

I don’t think I realized how much work this would be after I completed the initial physical therapy.  But thanks to this class, I got direction on how to start pushing my knee and strenghtening it through a lot of different balance exercises.  The physical therapist teaching the class told me two things:

1.  I am NOT ready to ski.  I have a lot of work to do before I should even try, or else I risk injuring myself again.  In fact, she told me I am NOT ready to run.  I’m favoring my left knee so much that I could do more harm than good by running.

2.  I need to work my left leg every day. She told me to go to the gym daily and do only left leg exercises.  I must look like a dork, but that is exactly what I’m doing.  I guess I look no more dorky than I did getting into the gym on crutches and using the arm bike.

Last night was the last night of our class, and I have made a ton of progress.  So much that the PT leading the class hugged me after measuring my gains.  The goal of the class was to “close the gap” of the performance of my injured leg compared to my good leg.  The gap is definitly smaller, but there is still a significant gap to close.

I think reading all the knee injury forums of people with ACL repairs gave me the idea that it was more of a time constraint to recovery than actual strength and agility exercises daily.  I think I’m now realizing that my injury, with MCL, meniscus and ACL damage was more severe than the typical ACL tear, and hence, it is going to take longer to get back to normal.

Part of me wonders if I ever will get back to normal.  I’m determined.  I work it every day.  But the idea of skiing like I used to ski scares me to death right now.  It is sad, but I am at least thankful that I have so much of the recovery behind me.  I’m thankful that I can actually break a good sweat and work aggressively at the gym (as it wasn’t so long ago when I was relegated to the arm bike with senior citizens picking up on me).

I’m looking forward to 2012.  2011 was hard for me.  So hard.  I had some significant blows this year.  Granted, there was a lot of good (just look at my two adorable children to see how much GOOD there is in my life), but truly, 2011 can suck it and go down in the history books.

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Two Wheelin’

25 Oct

Two months ago, my husband took off my daughter’s training wheels and they made a few attempts at her trying to learn to ride on two wheels. It didn’t go well, and neither of them was interested in trying again for quite a while. I also assumed that with my bad knee, I wasn’t the best person to help her, as I couldn’t run along beside her very well.

Two weeks ago, I was hanging out with a friend who has a daughter the same age, and she let me in on a magical training technique.

“Put her on a steep driveway, have her put her feet out to the side, and tell her to wiggle her bottom to balance the bike.” Then, you just have her ride towards you and you catch her.

Well, this was something even a Gimpy Momma could do! I could catch her! We started on a Saturday, and by Sunday, she was riding on her own.

I also used some positive visualization techniques I learned at a seminar a few years ago. The speaker had said that your brain will do what you concentrate on, so concentrate on what you want to do, NOT what you don’t want to do.

I used this with my daughter, looking her in the eyes, and saying, “you can do this. You’re a biker.”

I’d then have her repeat to me what she was going to concentrate on, “pedal, pedal, pedal, then push back to brake and put my feet down.”

It worked! It worked so well! It was exhilerating being the one to teacher her. It was as exciting as her first steps! Being a parent is truly a wonderful experience. I came back to work that Monday thinking that teaching her to ride her bike felt just as much of an accomplishment as my graduate degree or getting a promotion at work.

Two Wheelin'

Riding without training wheels!

Walking While You Work

8 Sep

I am walking as I type this.

No, really, I am. At 2 miles per hour.

I recently became the owner of a TreadDesk, which is a treadmill specifically designed to be used in an office. My employer raised my desk, and I now stand or walk the entire day, taking only short sitting breaks.

To say this has been life changing is an understatement. I truly felt that sitting all day in front of a computer was slowly killing me. My derriere literally hurt at the end of the day. As I recovered from my knee surgery, sitting also made my knee get extremely stiff, causing me to limp around for 5-10 minutes every time I got up.

In July, I was at our company headquarters in Redmond, WA, where I saw a coworker with a treadmill desk. I knew immediately that I must have one.

Our bodies were made for movement. I can already feel an amazing difference. I don’t get stiff. I don’t get energy drops, and it seems to have made my afternoon sugar cravings less severe.

But mostly, I found that work seems more exciting now, and that I can concentrate more and actually get more done. I am a natural fidgeter and multi-tasker. This treadmill desk allows for an outlet for such energy, allowing me to more fully concentrate on the task at hand.

I walked 25 miles last week in my office. For a working mother of two, this is an amazing shift for me. If I have a lunch meeting or my schedule doesn’t allow me to hit the gym during the day, I don’t feel guilty. Although I’m not really elevating my heartrate much, I’m moving — up to 6 miles a day.

It has also done wonders for my knee. I am no longer stiff, and my knee feels so much stronger, as the muscles surrounding it are engaged for the entire day.

I believe that I am at the beginning of a culture shift within corporate America. You should see the reaction of my co-workers. Everyone comes by to talk to me about my treadmill, and I have numerous people planning to join the trend.

“Vacationing” With Kids

2 Aug

This last weekend, our family met up with my brother and his family for a quick getaway to Mammoth. We love Mammoth. It is beautiful, with cool weather, and there are lots of fun things to do for everyone in the klan.

But oh, my kids are not so good at road trips right now. Even though it’s a quick 3 hour drive, there was much screaming and crying and bickering coming from the back seat.

I recently heard on the news that one of the most annoying sounds in the world is a toddler whining and crying. I live with that sound every day, people. After hours in the car with it, I swear I am ready to jump out of the car while it is going 70mph on the highway.

We stayed in a lovely condo, which was three levels and happened to be built on a mountain-side. That meant that two of the levels of the condos had amazing decks with tiny split rail fences and then a death defying 50 foot drop to the rocks below. In other words, if my adventurous climber of a toddler got out onto those decks unattended, it was truly a death sentence.

Who picked this death trap of a condo anyways? Oh, right, that would be me.

As I was trying to relax this weekend, I always had the thought in the back of my head of “where is Little Man?!”, and I ended up going down the stairs to locate him, as he was usually following around his ultra cool boy cousins (who were such sweeties in humoring their much younger cousin and trying to keep him safe for me).

Add to that the fact that my kids got up at night as much as a newborn, and then woke up at the crack of dawn…

My sister-in-law ensures me that vacationing with the kids will get easier down the road. Right now, it makes me daydream about taking a vacation WITHOUT the kids, but that truly isn’t in my near future.

Regardless, we celebrated two birthdays this weekend, I caught up with my brother’s family, whom I hadn’t seen since before my knee injury in January, and we enjoyed refreshingly cool weather with afternoon showers.

Speaking of showers… I took the kids to the top of Mammoth on Sunday via the Gondola, which was a fun time, and Little Man had a blast being “in the air”, per his very own words. I hiked around with them at the top for a while, then ate a liesurely packed lunch with them, while watching thunder clouds roll in and not thinking much of it. I’ve been in PLENTY of storms at the top of Mammoth mountain.

But those were in the winter. When I went to board the Gondola for our ride home (after a perfectly planned morning outing that would get us back to the condo in time to pack up before checkout at 2), we were the first people turned away, as the liftie said that the gondola was shut down due to lightning.

Ah, yes, lightning.

You know when the kids are so tired that they keep getting more and more hyper? That was my two on Sunday afternoon, trapped in a lodge with it raining and sleeting outside. Thankfully I will never see those people again because these kids were running around like wild banshees, and there wasn’t much I could do to stop it, given the trapped nature of the situation.

I got wind that Mammoth was sending up trucks and busses to drive people down the mountain, and determined I needed to be on the first truck. We were told to line up by the door of the lodge (the OPEN door, mind you, with wind and sleet coming in, and did I mention I neglected to pack anything but summer clothes?!). While we were waiting, a woman was in front of us with this adorable little puppy. Irresistable to kids type of puppy. Yet she said she didn’t want my kids touching her puppy. And she didn’t bother picking the puppy up. So, for 45 minutes, I had to keep repeating, “get away from the puppy. Don’t touch the puppy.” Each time, the woman would glare at me. Grrrrrr….

Finally, a pickup truck appeared out of the fog, and we were told that 10 people could go in the first two trucks. We were number 8, 9 and 10 in line. I bounded out to the truck, and the lady with the puppy got to the first truck, snarling, “there isn’t room for THEM.”

Oh, I had some choice words for her in my head.

Luckily, the other truck had plenty of room, where we road in front without child seats, and Little Man rode in my lap as we 4 wheel drive rode down a ski resort. That was riveting!

Anyway, this weekend I was proud to graduate to activities such as hiking with a 30 pound kid on my back (once while leading a horse, mind you), and riding an actual bike outside (on a paved path, but STILL, much better than the spin bike in the garage). The house was three levels, so I got lots of stairs in to help continue my therapy while on the road.

To my brother’s family, it was grand seeing all of you again, and thank you for your patience with my high maintenance children!

And now, some pictures…

Proof that I hiked with 30 pounds of kid on my back.

The kiddos at the top of Mammoth. July 31, and note all of the snow.

Here is my daughter on a horse. Yes, me with my bad knee, I wore Little Man in a backpack, and led a horse on a hiking trail. I was anxious the whole time, but so glad to be able to do fun actitivies with my kids again!

To Run or Not To Run… That Is The Question

19 Jul

Oh, boy, I’ve been slacking. You can always tell when work and personal life gets busy, as this is the first thing to go. Sorry about that. It has been a lovely summer so far, filled with lots of pool time (both me swimming laps and taking the kiddos to play), concerts on the beach of Lake Tahoe, and lots of small trips in July.

I took about a month off of physical therapy, as I really enjoyed simply walking, or working out on my own schedule, and doing laps in the pool. My knee is feeling great. It definitely continues to get better each day.

I finally went back to therapy today to check in, and my PT was very pleased with the motion of my knee and my ability to flex my quads. I told him how the doctor had given me clearance to start running again in a few weeks, and his response was, “why would you do that?”

I explained how I’ve always liked running for the convenience and the awesome calorie burn. He told me that he highly recommended that I didn’t return to running. He said I would wear my knees out, and I already have weak tissues in my knee. “If you don’t get paid to run, you really don’t have a reason to run.”

This really took me aback. I have always measured my level of fitness based on my running abilities, and returning to running was a key milestone in my mind. But now, I’m just not sure if it is worth it.

I had a friend who had meniscus surgery a week after I had my knee repair, and he tried running last week. He went 2.5 miles right out of the gate, and his knee hurt more and more in the following days. The doctor (who is also my surgeon) said he has likely re-torn his meniscus. That story with the warning of my PT really has my head spinning today, reconsidering my return to running. As I type, I am picturing how much I enjoyed trail running, and it makes me wonder if I’ll ever do that again.

One Fin is a bit Dorkier

27 Jun

We had a lovely summer weekend, with two days of pool outings and an evening trip to Tahoe City for a concert on the beach. I swear, these are the days I live for.

Sunday, JB went to ski Tioga Pass, which is just outside of Yosemite. Nutty man. Anyway, I slept in a bit, and woke up to two sticky kids jumping on my bed.

Yes, I did say sticky.

Little Miss decided to feed her brother honey for breakfast so that I could keep sleeping. While I appreciate the thought, it sure caused a lot of work cleaning carpets, floors, and kiddos.

Anyway, at the pool, I let Little Miss play with my kickboard, which I only just found last week from its winter hibernation spot in the garage. We managed to leave it at the pool, and when we returned the next day, it was gone. I do admit it was a total loser looking kickboard — covered with rainbow cloth. It was the only one I could find at the sporting goods store last summer!

Anyway, evidently someone else really wanted my dorky rainbow covered kickboard. The thing is, I really need a kickboard right now to work on rehabbing my bum knee. So, this morning, I grabbed the next best thing… My daughter’s miniature Ariel kickboard.

Can you imagine how hideous I look at the pool, doing some swim sets with only one fin on my good leg, and other sets with a miniature Ariel kickboard?! Oh, if my teenage self could only see me now! I must make my way to the store to buy a decent kickboard ASAP!

Gimpy Momma Swims

22 Jun

I spent my lunch break swimming laps at the outdoor pool by my work. It was divine. It is heaven on earth for me to be swimming outside in the summer.

I’m now 12 weeks post knee surgery. My knee seems to get a little better every day. My first attempts at swimming, I refrained from using my surgical leg at all, but I now can move it more and do some light kicking (light = SLOW). Today, I swam with one fin on my good leg. I found it was a remarkable solution for being a gimpy swimmer… I could balance better using the one fin, and it also freed up my gimpy leg to do some lighter kicking without pushing it too hard.

IM sets (individual medley for you non-swimmers) must look interesting to the people suntanning on the deck. I can’t really do butterfly or breastroke kick, but with my one fin, I’m able to do modified strokes and get by rather well.

I saw my doctor yesterday, who is very pleased with the progress on my knee. He said I still have another month or so before I can start jogging, but as long as I can swim, I won’t feel like I’m missing much (though I have to admit looking at runners enviously as I drive around town). He directed me to work on walking, move to power walking, and then slowly work up to jogging. Considering my walking is still SLOW, especially going downhill, I realize I do have a good amount of work in front of me. I think by late summer I’ll be able to do some jogging and perhaps some light hiking.

Things are looking up. It’s finally warm here in Reno and I’m regaining my mobility, which is all good for the body and soul.

10 Weeks Post-Op and Other Ramblings

9 Jun

I presented to a Vice President of my company today. Now my mind feels a bit like mush, so looking to blog as a purge of the mush.

Today marks 10 weeks post-op for my knee. Right around 8-9 weeks, things got a lot better for me knee wise. The limp is gone, and the pain subsided, and I have been able to ramp up my cardio on the spin bike. I have also been able to take walks around the block, which sounds simple, but is something I missed dearly.

I haven’t been swimming much, mainly due to work constraints and the weather around here resembling November more than June. Thankfully, the weather broke yesterday, and I don’t want to jinx things, but I think Reno will actually get about a week of spring before the calendar officially switches to summer.

Little Man has words all of a sudden. It’s like someone turned the faucet on, and now words just gush from his mouth. A month or so ago, the boy spoke mainly in sign and grunts/cries. But now, he surprises me daily with words like helicopter, basketball hoop, ketchup, sister, etc.

Last night as I was putting him to bed, I decided if he could say helicopter, the boy could sure as heck learn how to say his own name. Each time I asked him to say his name, he smiled and said, “Honey.”

Adorable, I tell you.

This morning, I woke up early to prepare for my big presentation. I got Little Man up, and he then went in to his sister’s room. He walked right up to her bed, and I saw one of her eyes open as he gently patted her head and said, “hi, sister”.

Not much else has been happening around here. We’ve had snow and rain the past several weekends (“snain” in my head), and I’m thrilled to start making outdoor pool plans for this upcoming weekend! Watch out, world — white girl is going to don a bathing suit in the light of the sun!

As you can tell, I’m a bit slap happy. Must go now.

Gimpy Momma Goes to Tahoe

23 May

This weekend, I bit off a bit more than this Gimpy Momma can or should chew. I signed up to take the kidlets to an overnight camp with the preschool Little Miss attended last year. I know, a bit strange, but the venue is AMAZING. We went last year, and staying in a facility on the beach in South Lake Tahoe is divine, plus it is enclosed, has multiple play areas for the kids, and it is attended by a bunch of parents that watch out for eachother’s kids.

What I didn’t factor into the equation was me being pretty gimpy still, and trying to manage a toddler in this space. Trying to make sure he didn’t kill himself while stumbling around and trying not to tear my ACL graft was a bit nerve wracking.

What kept replaying in my mind was that my physical therapist had warned me my graft is weakest right now. He also said he had a patient tear his ACL graft in sand. So what was I doing? I lot of walking on sand with a lot of rocks, trying to carry 30 pounds of wriggling toddler, lecturing myself in my head that this was NOT a good idea.

And then there were the sleeping arrangements. The kids and I ended up getting placed in the same room as a family of 4. I had arranged to bunk up with this family, but we all thought we were getting separate rooms. Not so. The other family was a husband and wife with two kids, a girl of 5 and a boy of 2.

Have you ever tried to sleep 4 kids ages 5 and 2 in one room? No fun. Add to that the other two year old woke up almost every hour on the hour, in turn waking up the other 3 kids. None of us got much sleep.

Our wake-up call came at 5:30am, when we woke to the cries of “Daddy, monster under bed! Daddy, monster under bed!” I didn’t move, assuming it was the other 2 year old. But no, the other mom in the room said that child was sleeping in bed with his Dad, who confirmed it wasn’t him crying.

It was Little Man. My child of few words… That speaks mainly in grunts and pointing, and never says more than one word at a time. That child is the one who woke us all at an unGodly hour speaking a complete sentence!

And of course, the sun was coming up, so all four of the kids were up for good. I quickly got up and dressed my kids, shuttling them out the door and to the dining hall, where I knew I could keep them contained and fed until breakfast (a long 2 hours away). Plus, I knew there was coffee there.

Sounds miserable, right? Why on earth would I do this to myself?

Because even when you’re waking up at 5:30am, seeing this first thing in the morning is simply breath-taking.

Plus, the food there is amazing as well. All locally grown, organic, freshly prepared, I ate like a queen. And all of it was worth the misery (mostly) after I got to spend three peaceful hours on the beach with my kidlets on Sunday morning. The water was smooth as glass, Little Man generously stayed close to me making it his mission to throw all of the rocks on the beach into the water, and I got to sit back and enjoy this amazing lake. My kids are so lucky to be growing up close to Tahoe. I didn’t see this magnificent lake until I was 21.

We left camp after lunch (oh, what a lunch it was!). The kids promptly fell asleep in the car, and when I got home, I transferred them to their beds, where they slept another 3 hours. I caught up on sleep, and once everyone got the sand and dirt washed off of them, we were pretty well recovered from our miserable night of sleep.

Comedy of Errors

19 May

My life lately has felt a bit like a practical joke being played on me by someone upstairs if you know what I mean.

For example, last night after dinner, JB suggests “let’s all go for a family walk!”

Momentarily underestimating the extent of my gimpiness, I enthusiastically agreed, excited for the kids to bike (Little Man on his brand new push tryke).

Of course the weather here is screwed up, feeling much like the dead of winter if you don’t take into account that it stays light later and the plants are getting green. So, we all bundled up in our jackets, got the kiddos on their bikes, I got our geriatric lab, Shadow on the leash and we were ready.

We hadn’t gone 200 yards when it became apparant that this gimpy Momma was going to seriously impede the progress of this outing.

“How far can you go?” JB asked. I had no idea. I had thoughts of maybe today is the day I finally walk around the block again! He picked a street to go up with a large hill.

I didn’t think Little Miss was capable of biking up that hill, but she was doing great. Until the asthma kicked in, that is. I ended up pushing her while she hacked up a lung, and limping way far behind JB and Little Man. At the top of the hill, we decided to take a shortcut home, which on a bum leg, even a shortcut feels like a long haul.

Little Miss coasted downhill on her bike while I discovered that walking downhill on my bad knee is much harder than walking uphill. I limped along slowly. Little Miss waited for me, and her hands were freezing. Because I just didn’t think to put gloves on her in MAY.

Minutes later, it started to pour rain. Oh, lovely. I felt like looking for hidden cameras. There I was, limping along, with a girl who is asthmatic and coughing in the cold, and as much as I wanted to rush home, there is no rushing when you’re gimpy.

This morning, the comedy of errors continued, when we were gathering her dance shoes and tights for her VERY FIRST DANCE RECITAL EVER tonight. She got ballet shoes for her birthday in February, and I’ve been tripping over these things, and constantly picking them up as she left them strewn all over the house for the past three months. Now, this morning, when I’m running late for work, the darn shoes were NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.

I finally dug them out, and in between giving her all of her different nebulizers, antibiotics, allergy medicine, breakfast, etc., I was super late to work… But I couldn’t leave until I did her hair in a “high, tight bun”.

Oh, Lordy. It is a chaotic life I lead. I wouldn’t trade those kids for anything in the world… But some days I sure wish I didn’t have to contribute to bringing home the bacon.

5 Weeks Post-Op

6 May

5 weeks down, too many left to go to count… Progress is slowly happening. Today I measured at 135 degrees flexion, and my extension is good. I’m getting some new exercises, and my limp is decreasing a bit. I honestly thought I’d be a lot further along at this point than I am. I can’t walk far right now, and I’m very slow.

I was looking at a chart displaye at PT today, and it shows that the ACL graft is weakest from weeks 6-12. My PT agreed, saying this is the most likely time that people tear their graft.

I WILL NOT TEAR MY GRAFT. No way in hell I’m going through this again!

Slacker

5 May

The outdoor pool at my gym opened this week. Today at lunch, I felt obligated to be inside the gym doing my physical therapy exercises, but I couldn’t resist the draw of the pool.

I managed to swim a mile, dragging my dead fish of a leg behind me, and instead of doing flip turns, I pivoted at the wall and pushed off with one leg. I’m strictly not allowed to kick, as it could stretch out my new ligament grafts.

It was the most normal I have felt since the surgery. Plus, it was a highlight of my day to be outside in the glorious Spring weather under the sun and smelling the fresh air.

I didn’t do my physical therapy exercises today, but swimming was good for my soul.

Being Put to the Test

3 May

Sometimes, I feel like there is just too much on my plate. Yesterday and this morning were some of those times.

Over the weekend, Little Miss was having coughing fits. Coughing fits that last an hour, give her a headache and leave her in tears. Coughing fits that strike at 3am and have us both up for over an hour. Coughing fits that her asthma medications just weren’t helping.

So, I made the call yesterday to keep her home and get her to the pulmonologist. Even under the pressure of missing work, as I just missed a lot of work for my own issues. Turns out getting her to the doctor was the right call. They did a lung function test on her. A normal score is 100. My daughter got a 39, with what the doctor termed as “significantly decreased lung function”.

Cue the in-office nebulizer treatment and steroid dose. Luckily, it made some improvement. It also hopped my daughter up so that she was bouncing off the walls. When we went to check out, she took off running down the hall and around the corner out of sight. Being very gimpy myself still, I just looked helplessly after the direction she went, and thankfully saw her round the corner again and sprint back towards me. This is very out of character for my normally well behaved daughter when we’re out in public.

We left the doctor’s office with prescriptions for oral steroids, inhaled steroids, nebulizer treatments, allergy medication, two nasal sprays, and a course of 10 days of antibiotics that the doc said we’ll most likely be refilling for another 10 days.

Thank God for my good insurance. I can’t imagine how much that would have cost out of pocket.

I brought her home, where she took a three hour nap. After dinner, she got another dose of oral steroids, which hyped her up yet again, and at 11pm, she was sitting upright in bed wide-eyed.

Poor girl.

In the midst of all of this, and limping all around town on my bad knee, I have a really big presentation at work today. I opened my computer up to finalize the presentation file, and….

NOTHING.

The thing was dead. Completely dead. As in no signs of life.

Of course I hadn’t managed to put the latest version of said critical file anywhere but on my computer (initiate forehead smack now). This was about when I thought I might break.

Luckily, JB came home right about then, and took care of filling prescriptions and grocery shopping, and I was forced to just hang out with Little Man (as my daughter was still sleeping) and disconnect from work/stress. Later that evening, I got to try out a Netti Pot on her, telling her we were going to do a magic trick of pouring water in one nostril and having it come out another.

She did not like that trick. I thought it was pretty funny.

I woke up super early today to get to our Help Desk when they opened. The official diagnosis of my computer? “It took a poop.”

Which later was tagged in the work ticket as “Dead computer”. I guess I need a new motherboard. Cue the Star Wars theme song (just makes me think of mother ships).

But there is good news! My super critical file was retrievable! After two hours of waiting and waiting and stewing and stressing in the office of our Help Desk, I at least walked away with a loaner computer that has my critical files on it.

I am in a much better state than I was first thing this morning, when I felt like my head might elevate off of my body, start spinning, and then explode.

I just called home, where JB is hanging out with my daughter, and she was playing outside in her nightgown without coughing at all. I think she’s on the mend.

We’re both on the mend. Thank God for that.

Simply Gimptastic

27 Apr

Ha. I made up a word, and it makes me laugh — Gimptastic! That is my life right now! My knee measurements are back at my pre-surgery levels, with flexion of 130 derees. I have been crutch free since Monday, which is all great progress.

But oh, is this stage of recovery tedious. I reminded my physical therapist today that I hit the 4 week milestone post-surgery tomorrow, begging him for some new exercises. I’m motivated!!! But, he brings me back to reality, reminding me that it takes bones 4-6 weeks to heel, and I have four screws in my bone.

Well, fine.

He then said he tends to be conservative, as he doesn’t want me to tear my graft. He gave a patient as an example, who at the 6 month mark post-surgery, managed to tear his ACL graft while he was setting up a tent in sand. WHAT?! In my mind, I thought I’d be fine because I have no plans for crazy sports, and would wait 9 months to ski. But, no, he says, you can tear it just turning the wrong direction getting out of the car.

Like I needed something else to worry about!

So, back to the tedium of the geriatric exercises for which I am cleared. Right now, I’m just setting my sights for the day when I can walk around the block again!

Three Weeks Post-Surgery

22 Apr

It has been 3 weeks and one day since my surgery… But who is counting?! Things are better… The whole process is just slow. I was back in the office this week, and have found that having to move around more has left me confined to the recliner in the evenings with my ice machine for hours trying to recover. You wouldn’t think that the office would require that much more movement, but going to the restroom, getting a drink, and going to meetings all seem like miles of effort when you’re on a bad leg.

My measurements are steadily coming along. This week, I was at 122 degrees flexion and 0 degrees extension. My physical therapist is really concentrating on my extension, which is supposed to be around -10 degrees. The torture of the day was the prone knee hang. It looks like this:

Except add 5 pounds of weight to my bad leg and make me stay there for 10 minutes. The last 2 minutes have me writhing in pain, and I was amazed how out of breath I got just lying there, but I guess that is what pain will do to you.

I tried to ditch my crutches on Wednesday. I made it about 1/2 the day, and walking in between the buildings at work totally did me in. I ended up going back to two crutches the rest of the day, and have been trying to get by on one since then. I haven’t been using the crutches at home, but I also think I’m paying the price, as my pain in the evenings has escalated to the point where I had to pop a Percocet last night.

Today, I actually brought my ice machine into the office, and am loving it. I thought I could get by with just ice packs earlier in the week, but turns out the ice machine can deliver sustained cool temps for hours on end, numbing my pain and keeping the swelling in check.

This weekend is Easter. I really want to take the kids to an egg hunt, and perhaps even church, but I’m not sure that is in the cards. JB of course wants to go skiing, and I can’t do those activities by myself right now. Boo. Also, I am feeling some guilt around the fact that dying Easter eggs just seems like too much effort this year for a Gimpy Momma. Little Miss dyed two at school yesterday. Doesn’t that count?!

The inactivity is really getting to me. I just want to be able to go for a walk or a swim. Hoping those activities will be in reach very soon.

My New Hardware

14 Apr

Wondering if I am going to start triggering the metal detectors at the airport…

That is two titanium “buttons” at the top and a titanium screw holding my new double bundle ACL in place. There is another absorbable screw in my tibia, but that doesn’t show on the XRay.

I am Bionic Woman!!!

Want My Measurements?

14 Apr

Got my knee measured at PT yesterday. Flexion is at 110 (a 15 degree improvement in 5 days!) and Extension is at 0 (goal is to get to -10). Now if only I could ditch the darn crutches!

My parents leave in two days. I’m not looking forward to being a fully functioning Momma on crutches. The help has been a total life saver!

Just like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of a Gimpy Momma

12 Apr

I went to the doctor on Friday. I was right in that my measurements for flexion and extension are ahead of the curve. I was at about a 95 degrees extension and 5 degrees extension, which is much more range of motion than after I came out of the immobilization brace.

The doctor reviewed my XRays (with my new permanent titanium hardware) and pictures from the surgery (which I hope to post here eventually). Anyway, the MRI hadn’t shown the three tears he found on my Meniscus, so there was a significant amount of Meniscus repair in addition to my double bundle ACL repair. He also fixed some jagged edges on my patella. This all equates to me needing more time on crutches than a typical ACL repair patient. I’m looking at another 2-3 weeks of crutches.

*Groan*

I am so sick of crutches. Nothing is easy when you are on crutches. I’m constantly dropping the crutches or things I’m trying to carry, and my house has landmines of kiddie toys that I have to navigate around. I have to admit though I am happy with the range of motion I have this early in the game, I am so frustrated at being on crutches for a whole month — which isn’t even half way over.

My parents are in town, taking care of the kiddos and Mom is cooking me the most amazing meals. I’m already dreading their departure this weekend, as the level of complexity in my life is going to take a sharp spike.

I’m riding my spin bike regularly, and trying to do my exercises as often as possible. I’m back at work, using my Lazy Boy as my main work station.

Here is the quote of the day from my phisical therapist yesterday:

He sees writing on my upper arm, which was a “tatoo” drawn in markers by Little Miss. Gesturing at my markings, he says: What, did you do a marathon this weekend?
My response: Yes, the crutches division!

I’m setting my sights to returning to races. I hope to participate in the 5K runs I do every October. At a minimum, I’ll walk them, but I really think I should be able to run 3 miles by October. No marathons in my future!

Not Permanently Crippled

7 Apr

Hello from the Gimpy Momma. I am happy to report that the surgery went well, and I’m in a lot less pain than I anticipated. That guy that told me his knee surgery was the worst pain of his life (remember from my previous post?), well, let me just say he has never been through labor or c-sections. Although the effects of this are longer lasting, not once has this pain brought me to tears, or had me writhing around. Plus, I don’t even have to get up to take care of a newborn!

It’s seriously like a stay-cation for me. I get to sleep in every day, and Mom has been cooking all meals for me, taking care of the kids, doing the laundry, and washing the dishes. She is amazing! I’m soaking it up, and doing my physical therapy exercises religiously.

Yesterday, I tried riding my spin bike, and was thrilled to discover I could easily do a full rotation of the pedals with hardly any pain. Back when I first started physical therapy after my injury, my knee was much tighter, and doing one rotation of the pedals took at least 2-3 minutes of warm-up of rocking back and forth. Getting a full rotation was excruciatingly painful. Last night, I sat there riding my bike with a surprised smile on my face, as I was expecting much worse.

The doctor also told me that getting full extension of my leg would be my biggest challenge, but I find that straightening my leg fully isn’t that difficult at all.

I have my post-op appointment tomorrow, and I am excited to get my initial measurements for flexion and extension, as I am willing to bet I’m ahead of the curve on these.

I ended up getting the double bundle ACL repair, taking one bundle from a cadaver and one from my hamstring. I am very thankful for the dead person who gave me their ligament. I kind of wish I knew something about that person, as it is strange to have a part of them in me without knowing anything about where it came from. I also wonder if when you sign up to be an organ donor if they harvest ligaments from you as well… As otherwise, how else would my surgeon have “a freezer full of cadaver ligaments”?

My hamstring graft is sore, but really feels more like I did a massive hamstring set yesterday… I was shocked when I took off my wound dressings not to find an incision on the back of my leg. It sure felt like there should be one, but evidently my surgeon accessed my hamstring ligament from the arthoscopic hole on the front of my knee, as there aren’t any marks where I feel the graft was taken.

I went to the gym earlier this week, rocking the arm bike once again and working out my good leg and my upper body. I swear working out at the gym with crutches is like an open invitation to the old men there to talk to me. I had one come up to me and say, “you’re having trouble getting around. Are you injured, or are you permanently crippled?”

I guess if you’re that old, you don’t need to worry about being politically correct.

I had another one approach me wanting to exchange battle stories (i.e. surgery details), as he had recently had a knee replacement.

I could be the next Anna Nicole Smith! I could find me a rich old man using my crutches and be set for life!

Just kidding…

Anyway, I’m in good spirits, reading a lot, doing my stretches in front of the fireplace, and loving this extra time with my kids and my Mom. I am so thankful for an amazing insurance plan that covered 100% of my surgery costs, and for awesome drugs to take away the pain.

Perspective

30 Mar

I have a co-worker who had the same surgery with the same surgeon earlier this year. He swung by my office to wish me luck tomorrow. Then he said, “I wasn’t sure if I should tell you this, but it was the worst pain of my life.”

My stomach sank a bit. As mobile and good as I’ve been feeling, I have to admit I have questioned why I’m putting myself through this. But my gut tells me to get it fixed now, instead of dealing with issues in the future when I’m older and may not have as good of insurance.

I shared my co-worker’s statement with my mother and my BFF Amber. They both had the same response, “well, he has never been through child birth.”

Which is true. As I mentioned before, my preparations for surgery around the house have felt much like nesting, but this time, I don’t have a newborn to take care of while I’m recovering from surgery. I’ll have my Mom in town for 17 days, which is a very comforting thought. Even though I’m an adult and a mother myself, the first person I call when I’m feeling under the weather is my Mom. I’m so glad she’ll be here to help me navigate my initial recovery.

See you on the other side!

Nesting

28 Mar

I felt like I was nesting this weekend. It felt much like the preparations I did before the babies were born, trying to cram in all the laundry, cleaning and FUN that I could before my surgery on Thursday.

Saturday, after making pancakes for the family, we headed to the gym. I worked out for an hour with the kids in the daycare, and my bad knee felt felt SO good. I was doing many exercises I hadn’t been able to do since before the surgery… Oh, to go from that back to full on gimpy is going to SUCK.

Anyway, when I was done, I got the kids out of the daycare and took them swimming. We then went to a pottery painting place, as Little Miss was dead set on wanting to make something for Grandma, who arrives on Wednesday to help with the sugery aftermath. (Need I say how challenging it is to have a 20 month old in a place filled with breakable ceramics? Especially after he found the ceramic baseball?!)

We came home, took a nap, and then got the kids to my brother’s house so that JB and I could have a date night (thank you to my brother and sister in law!). We dined on sushi, and it was lovely to be able to sit at the sushi bar and not have to worry about my baby stabbing himself or other people with chopsticks.

On Sunday, our big outing was to the circus. It was kind of a let down, but I do think the kids enjoyed it. Little Man wore his tuxedo onesie (thank you, Aunt Claire), and Little Miss wore a dress and her dress coat… Of course they managed to spill an entire red snow cone all over their fancy attire. Oh well!

In the midst of all of that, I did about 7 loads of laundry, got it all put away, and made a pot of chili to help with dinners this week. Phew… Keep your fingers crossed for me as I go under the knife later this week!

What Would You Do?

10 Mar

My doctor’s physician assistant said she wouldn’t schedule my surgery until after I had my second (really third, but who is counting?) opinion yesterday.

I had the appointment, and really liked this doctor, who is also an avid skier and an open water swimmer. He was actually going into how my skiing technique would change, and gave advice on how I could change my swimming stroke to help my shoulder. I really liked that. He also said I should totally have the surgery.

I’m thinking I’ll have my previous doctor do the surgery, mainly because I’ve heard several word of mouth recommendations from him, and none from the second doctor. I wish I had more data to make a more informed decision, but there really isn’t much on the Internet regarding Ortho docs in Reno.

Anyway, I called yesterday right after my appointment to schedule my surgery. Of course, I had to leave a voicemail. The woman finally called me back today on my cell phone. And where was I?!

On the toilet.

I was torn… I didn’t want to be one of THOSE people talking on the phone in a public toilet, but I also had been waiting to schedule this surgery for over a week.

I opted to call right after I got done in the ladies room, which last literally 2 minutes. Of course my returned call went to voicemail. And here we are, over an hour later without a returned call.

Would you have answered that call?! I’m thinking now perhaps I should have…

Random Thoughts For A Monday

7 Mar

Well, hello, there. Just back from physical therapy, where my measurements are getting closer and closer to being surgery ready. That is, if I am doing surgery. I get a third opinion on Wednesday, but the more I think about this, the more I think I should just get this darn knee taken care of now, while I’m young and have insurance with zero deductables (because we all know that will soon be a thing of the past).

This weekend’s big accomplishment was setting up the spin bike I purchased last week. After much debating (as I wanted it in the house, and the hubby didn’t), it is set up in the garage. It is a huge win for me, though, as I rode that thing three times yesterday. Each time, riding the bike loosens my knee up and makes me feel a lot better. I even got myself out of bed 10 minutes early today to start the day on the bike. Our poor elderly dog looked a bit grumpy that I interrupted his sleep, but I found it was more effective at waking me up than caffeine.

While at pysical therapy today, there are two 10 minute static stretches I do, and I whipped out my super cool Windows Phone 7 to keep me entertained. I tried out the recently downloaded Kindle app, and was thrilled to be able to pick up the book I started reading yesterday on my Kindle and continue reading. That got me thinking to how much technology has changed in a short period of time! It’s nice to know I have my arsenal of Kindle books in my pocket at all times, in case I get stuck somewhere waiting.

Anyway, that’s about all I have to report. I’m waiting with baited breath for Wednesday’s appointment so that I can see what this doctor has to say. Perhaps we should start a betting pool on what I end up doing.