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Doing the Work

I had my first physical therapy session yesterday and boy was it amazing. The first half felt like being in a spa. The second half was basically boot camp.

We were actually in a hurry because I was late for my first session. Even after the receptionist reminded me not to be late. Will not happen again. Tomorrow, I will actually be early.

After we arrived, I didn't know what to expect. My therapist, Eliosa, introduced herself and took my blood pressure. When everything was in the up and up, she took me into one of the therapy rooms and asked me to get on the bed. She made me remove my sock (since my foot is still swollen, I couldn't wear shoes yet). She examined my foot and asked me questions about how my injury happened. What was the nature of my injury. Then she started explaining what we were going to do.

To address the swelling, she attached electrodes to my ankle and the opposite side. The electrodes shot electricity into my leg to stimulate circulation. It felt funny at first, almost ticklish. Then when she wrapped it with a hot compress it felt really nice. I actually took a nap during the session.

Afterwards, she introduced me to the ultrasound machine. This one is a little different since it's not for diagnosis. It's goal is to introduce heat deep into the tissues of my foot. All it felt like was cold on the surface of my leg. Apparently, this was normal because the heat is deep inside. This one also felt nice.

The massage afterwards? Heavenly. I didn't feel any pain at all, which eased most of my fears. I'm starting to see that I can actually walk again.

The boot camp followed soon after the spa moment.

First, we started with exercises. The moves were so simple, but the stiffness of my foot really made it challenging. But I was able to do as she asked, for ten counts each!

Second, we moved from the bed to a chair. Eloisa taught me how to stand up without putting too much pressure on my injured foot. This was repeated ten times. Then she took out a scale and measured how much weight I can put on my foot. Currently, it's between 20 and 30 pounds. Not bad for the first time, she said.

Then my worst fear came. Eloisa, made me walk! More like shuffled. It was more steps than I had taken on both feet in two months. It felt good and scary at the same time. Achievement unlocked, baby!

I say my first session was a success. Eight more to go!

The swelling actually went down a lot after the first session, so I'm hoping that I'll be in shoes soon. Please continue to send your healing thoughts. I appreciate all of them. 

4 Days Later

The cast came off on Wednesday. Since then the swelling has gone down a bit, but the side where the break is still looks puffy. According to two doctors and Google (because I can't help myself) this is completely normal. I'm trying my best to remain calm and positive.

I mentioned in a prior post that I thought I was a good thing having to wait until Saturday to go and see the physical therapy doctor. It gave my foot time to look less angry. At the same time, Dr. Domingo really put me at ease when he looked at my x-rays. When he looked at the latest one he said it looked good.

I love nice doctors with great bedside manners. They really know how to put a patient who might be prone to freaking out at ease. That's very important to me. Dr. Domingo even commented on the fact that I was in high spirits. I liked that.

Today was quite a milestone. I was able to take 11 (count them, 11) tiny steps. Of course, I was freaking out inside the entire time, but that's progress. I might have even over done it. So I'm going to chill for a bit.

Also, I was able to cook myself some lunch. Imagine that? Noodles and some spam, but still! That's because I'm starting to feel comfortable standing on both feet. My healing foot is still awkward to stand on because of the stiffness of not having been used, but I was able to move around in our kitchen. That made me so happy.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of nine sessions of physical therapy. I'm really praying that everything goes well and that I can start walking again. School starts soon and I'd really like to teach without having to be in a wheelchair anymore.

It's go time. I'm taking my life back. Body, heal!

DFA FAIL!

In the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs is one of the most broken. The fact that they insist on an appointment system before you can renew your passport then their website can't even support the load of the people trying to snag slots shows how inefficient and incompetent they are.

I have been trying to renew my brother's passport for months. Every time I check the site, all the appointment slots are full. DFA says they open slots every day, yet not once have I seen an available slot no matter how many times I check their website.

Today, DFA promised 100000 slots will open. Yes, that's five zeros. The first half was opened at noon, which I missed. So I told myself I would wait for the 9PM slots. Because surely I would be able to snag one slot. Boy was I so wrong.

At exactly 9PM, the site crashed. No matter how many times you refresh, it would not load. Then when the site did load, the tabs to get you to the next step would not work so you'd have to start over.

Determined as I am, I kept trying.

An hour later, I managed to snag a slot, but when I was filing in my brother's information, the site crashed again! Of course, when I had to start over, the slot was long gone. That is how fucked up the system is. The DFA doesn't even have decent coders that can keep the site from crashing.

I wonder who was the genius who thought about releasing so many slots that they didn't consider the deluge of attempts that would crash the site. Getting tickets to Comic Con is so much easier.

For two hours I tried and I tried and nothing. I am flipping the bird on the DFA. Seriously.

Cast Off!

Today is a great day! If not a slightly scary one too.

After Dr. Lopez reviewed my new x-rays and compared them to my old ones, he has deemed that it was time to remove the cast. The bone hasn't fully fused together, but the alignment has not changed, which according to him is a good thing. So I sat through the sawing off of the cast. The vibrations tickled. The lack of pain was a good sign.

After the cast was removed, there was some swelling observed. This is normal, according to my doctor and Google (I couldn't help myself, I had to check because I'm a hypochondriac that way). The Doc felt around and I felt no pain along the site where the fracture is. The pain came in the form of stiffness. This is also normal since I haven't used the foot in almost two months.

Dr. Lopez asked me to stand on my left leg, but of course my fear overtook me. I was able to lay the foot flat on the ground, but I was still putting most of my weight on my right leg. This is mostly psychological on my part. Plus the foot was still swollen. What could I do? Hop around?

It's on to physical therapy. The doctor we were referred to won't be in until Saturday. At first, I was nervous again because all I want it to start my PT as soon as possible. But, once my nerves have calmed down, I've come to realize that it's good I have a few days to recover a little more. Get that swelling down with ice packs.

I could already rest the foot flat on the ground when I'm seated, which I say is an improvement. I was even able to watch Ocean's 8 without fidgeting. No pain except for the stiffness I mentioned. This small achievement made me feel good. I'm staying positive and will take all the small and big successes as they come.

When we got home, the best part will have to be finally washing my left foot after having it in a cast for nearly two months. The skin was starting to peel. Being able to soap and scrub it felt so good. A few more days and I think the skin will stop looking flaky.

Oh, one thing. My mom made me ride the escalator! She forced me, actually. I was so scared. At first I thought I couldn't do it because what was I going to hold on to? But my mom came over to my injured side and gave me a shoulder to hang on to. I survived. Although, going down I insisted we use the escalator. Small victories. 

X-Ray

My check up with my doctor is tomorrow. I had it set up in my head that I would get my x-ray tomorrow before the check up. Unfortunately, since it was a holiday today, my mom wanted to take advantage of the fact that the line to get an x-ray wouldn't be long at the hospital. This did not go well for my nerves.

Anyone who's ever gotten one, x-rays don't hurt. My anxiety didn't come from anticipating pain. It came from the fact that I wasn't ready mentally. I don't like not being ready for something. I refused, but my mom was adamant that we would go today.

So with a prayer in my heart for strength, I went. I was nervous the entire time. Put on a brave face. But I did express my nervousness to the tech that was wheeling me in to get the x-ray. I told him that a lot was riding on the images he was going to take this afternoon.

As I lay on the table, the nurse arranged me in the different poses needed to get the angles my doctor specified. There were a few more than the last time around. I don't know what to make of that. Good, bad? What?

When we were done and the tech handed me the images that I would show my doctor tomorrow, my mom asked him what he thought. His answer was a diplomatic one. He said the doctor would be the one to interpret the results. I liked that.

As I was waiting for my mom to bring the car around, I said another prayer. I didn't look at the images. Not like the last time. I didn't want to know until the doctor tells me tomorrow. Because, again, I am not a doctor. It's not my place to be interpreting something people go to school for years learning.

At least I don't have to wait days before I go see my doctor. Tomorrow I will find out if my fact comes off. I'm staying positive. I'm bringing a pair of rubber shoes that I can slip into. For now, because I don't know if I will get any sleep, I will continue watching the 5th season of RuPaul's Drag Race.

Fears

On Wednesday, I will find out if my foot has healed enough for the cast to come off. Of course, I've been praying really hard that the bone has finally mended and I can start walking again--after some physical therapy. But, at the back of my mind, there are several fears swimming around. I think it comes with age because had I been ten years younger, I don't think I would have thought about this injury all that much.

Removing the cast will certainly be a welcome reprieve. It's itchy and I'd like full use of my leg again. It would indeed be a celebration after two months of having my independence stripped from me.

The first fear has to do with the break itself. Maybe the bone hasn't healed. Maybe I'd have to wear a cast a little longer. That's the worst case scenario because classes are creeping closer and closer. I need to be on my feet ASAP.

The second fear has to do with breaking the bone again. I'm a clumsy sort of person. The what ifs buzzing around me are so annoying. I need a huge can of Insecurities Begone just to vanquish the irritating gnats.

I will be more careful. Maybe even more conscious of the foot. But I also don't want to live in constant fear of going down stairs. I want to be able to tackle a flight of steps without having to sit down and hauling myself up or down. It's childish to be so scared, but I can't help myself. When did I become so fearful?

The last fear, smallest of them all, has to do with going to physical therapy. Will it hurt? Will I be able to walk again? This is the irrational side of my fear. There hasn't been pain on my foot for weeks. Stiffness on the ankle, for sure, but the doctor said that is to be expected since I haven't used the foot in two months.

How fast time flies. It was as if only yesterday that I fell. I honestly don't want to remember that day anymore. I do have some PTSD moments. I may not wear my beloved heels any time soon, but I must preserver.

I have to woman up! I have to conquer these fears and stay positive. The bone is fine. The foot is fine. The cast will come off on Wednesday and we will celebrate by watching Ocean's 8. Believe this with me!
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