Friday, February 18, 2011

Gratitude

For those of you who are friends on Facebook or talk to me on the phone, you know that I've been doing a lot of complaining lately. I've been a regular whine bag.

I'm sorry.

My circumstances are not ideal, but they are far from terrible. Here is a list (albeit incomplete) of what I am grateful for.

1. I am so grateful for my family. My mother flew down here as soon as she could after the broken leg x-ray went up. My father and his girlfriend allowed me and my kids to crash at their house for days while I moaned in pain and sadness on the recliner. My husband has been supportive and humorous. My daughters have been caring and sweet. My extended family has been calling regularly to check-in. It is nice to know I am cared for. I am truly blessed.

2. My friends. Missy has offered to play with the kids, and even invited me to stay with her family during recovery. Sarah came to my house to drain the beast in my back and brought me a delicious pot pie after my surgery. She has also offered some great advice on dealing with my life in general. Jewel called and told me the straight dope on this type of surgery, just to make sure I had all sides (thanks for scaring the shit out of me).

3. Modern Medicine. Had I not seen a doctor about my infection, I might have suffered with it until it was too late. The doctors got me on the right meds to deal with the infection and the pain. The doctors at urgent care stopped me from walking on my leg and recommended a good orthopedic doctor. The orthopedic docs looked closely at my injury and determined the best plan of attack to avoid pain in the future.

4. Insurance. My meds have never been more than $10. Antibiotics, pain killers, and a wheelchair have all come at little to no cost. My copays have been $20-$50, and since I have had to visit the doctor nearly daily for the treatment of the infection, I've only paid one copay.

5. The internet. Cuz duh.

I just wanted to send this out, because I am very aware that I am privileged. I have an extended network of family that helps me, I have a job that provides very good benefits, as well as time off. I have the money to go to a doctor when necessary. I have internet and cable to keep me occupied when I'm trapped on the couch. I am grateful for all that I have. And I want to thank everyone who has been helping me.

Thank you!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What hump/limp? TMI

Well. Let's start at the beginning, shall we.


About a week and a half ago I noticed a little red bump under my bra straps on my back. It got bigger and begged to be squeezed. I begged my squimish husband to squeeze it, and nothing came out. We both agreed to let it wait and come back to it later.

For days it burned and ached. I would look longingly in the mirror for a head, only to find a growing patch of angry red skin without a head. I finally went to the grocery store for a head of cabbage. I was determined to get this thing to a head so we could squeeze it and give me sweet relief. That night (Wednesday, February 2nd) my husband folded and taped a leaf of cabbage on my shoulder in hopes that it would draw this to a head so we could drain it.

The next morning, I awoke as if it were Christmas. I was so excited to unwrap my shoulder to reveal a giant white head, indicating sweet relief. My husband peeled off the bandage, I peered over my shoulder into the mirror, only to see the skin was more red, more irritated, and larger than ever. No head.

I had to soilder on, as the 3rd and 4th we were having parent/teacher conferences. When I arrived at school, I was in so much pain, the only answer was to go to the nurses office. She peeked at my wound, gave me ibuprophen, and told me I needed to leave immediately, as my infection should have had me on my ass.

I left and went straight to the doctor's office, and my doctor agreed, I had a nasty infection. She could not see squeezing it, as there was no head. She wrote me a perscription for antibiotics and Loratab. I was instructed to come back on Saturday if my fever or the pain hadn't subsided by then.

Well, Saturday came and I had a fever and more severe pain. I went to the urgent care hours at my doctor's office, which means I will just be seen by whoever happens to be there that Saturday. This particular Saturday I got to see Dr. Payne. No, for real.

Dr. Payne agreed that it was the most horrifying infection on the planet. He tried to squeeze it, but to no avail. I began weeping, as I couldn't believe that I was still going to feel the burning and stretching of my skin for days to come. Dr. Payne had a plan. He was going to attempt to extract some of the buildup of pus with a needle. He numbed my skin, inserted the needle, and began extracting. Immediately, I felt a release of pressure. I could tell that he was working magic. He let out a surprised "Oh my," and then said, "Well, that could be why you were feeling so terrible," and showed me this...





I was disgusted, but pleased to see it out of my body. He told me to expect it to leak and to come back on Monday.

Well, on Sunday, my great friend Sarah came over to change the bandage. When she looked at it, she couldn't help herself.
"Michele, this is ready. I've worked in wound care before. I'm going to work on this." She began to apply pressure to my back and clean what felt like gallons of goo off. I felt even more relief. We made an appointment for her to come back the next day before work, as my husband was out of town, so she was the only one who could change my bandage.

She came by, and yet again the wound was ready for more. I felt like I was surely about to be healed. Monday after work, I went to the Doctor, and she insisted that we lance the wound, drain it and pack it. If you ever have the opportunity to do this, DON'T! It burns like crazy.

I asked my doctor if I could still go to roller derby practice, so long as I took it easy. We are still in the beginning stages, so we mostly work out doing stretches, lunges, and jumps in shoes. I had missed the last practice due to the infection, but I wanted to show I was serious. The doctor agreed that physical activity would be a good idea, so I went to practice.

I got to practice, told my coaches my situation, and they both agreed that I should only do as much as I can do. They told me to take it easy and even step outside if necessary. I was excited. The coaches told us to strap on a pair of skates and do a few slow laps. We just needed to get used to being on skates. I put on my leisure skates and slowly skated around the perimeter of the rink. I even held the wall a few times. On my second lap I was still going slow, but I suddenly found my self losing balance.

My body does this ridiculous thing when I fall. It debates with itself. This way? That way? How bout over here? Meanwhile, gravity is still at work and I am rapidly falling. I fell and I saw my foot do a weird circle. I also heard a loud POP! I knew things were bad.

A couple derby girls came over, checked my foot, gave me ice and told me to rest for a minute. Another girl asked if I needed a ride. I thought surely I had just sprained my ankle, so I decided to drive myself. I hobbled out of the skating arena, to my car, and began the drive across town to the urgent care. When I got there I got an xray, and this is what I saw...




So. There you have it. February has started off a little rocky for me. But I'm on the mend. The doctor pulled the source of my infection out of my back today, so that should heal quickly. I have an appointment with orthopaedics on Thursday, so that should put me in a more appropriate cast.

Wish me luck.

About Me

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Farmington, NM, United States
Old enough to know better, young enough to change.