Pain is Fear Leaving The Body

The therapist raised the table up so that she could slowly jerk my stiff ankle from side to side. It didn’t hurt, but the sensation was definitely uncomfortable. When she was done, she pushed her fingers into the outer ankle bone and lifted it up for a few seconds at a time. The pain I felt was on the inside ankle bone. It was excruciating and I cried out. Amelia asked if she should stop, but I told her no, that pain was needed to heal. She then palpated the inner ankle bone and I felt the tendons crack. When she was done, she shook my ankle from side to side again. It felt good, even though I knew it would ache a few hours later. Physical therapy is a special kind of torture that needs to be administered in order to heal. Now that the ache of it has finally settled in, I must remember that this pain is merely fear leaving my body……

Meggie called during her lunch break and asked me how I was doing. I explained that my ankle ached and I was bitchy because of the pain. Her comment was she didn’t feel sorry for me since all she’d been doing is throwing up for the last 3.5 months. Yes, my lovely daughter is going to make me a grandma in June. That gorgeous blonde haired, blue eyed wild fire that I gave birth to 24 years ago is going to grace us with another living soul to walk this planet. So how can I complain about learning to walk again, while she’s growing a new life within her body?

We hung up while she let her dogs out and hoped they’d come in quickly so she’d get a chance to take a good nap with all three of her Huskies. I latched the leash on Eddie the Rat and took him outside, and he lifted his legs on the bushes just outside my apartment entrance. Because of the pain, I couldn’t walk very far, so we headed back inside. My text alert went off and I entered my password into my phone. Meggie informed me that she’d thrown up before she could get the dogs outside. I replied that I was so sorry and wished there was something I could do to help her. Unfortunately I couldn’t but she knows if I could, I would. After all, I am her mother. And what mother doesn’t want to take care of their child, no matter what age they are.

Meg’s final text to me told me that she was going to take a nap. I told her I was going to wrap Christmas presents. I hate shopping, and I’m not very fond of Christmas, but I figured while I still had my gym shoes and brace on, I better get as much wrapping done as I could. I knew the pain from my therapy session would settle in before too long, and the tears would flow.

My friend Lori has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her battle is much more in depth than mine, because her’s is for her life. While mine is for the chance to be able to not walk with a limp. I watch Lori’s battle closely and I cheer her on every single damn day. I know she has watched my battle closely and though she’s got her own fight, she cheers me on. I’ll fight for my chance to walk without pain. But I’ll fight for Lori too. And I’ll also fight for Megan’s struggle too. We are in our own kind of pain. We can’t discount the hurt. We can only fight through it.

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This Morning

The autumn wind is a pirate. Blustering in from sea with a rollicking song he sweeps along swaggering boisterously. His face is weather beaten, he wears a hooded sash with a silver hat about his head… The autumn wind is a Raider, pillaging just for fun.

~Steve Sabol~

Awoke this morning to sloppy puppy kisses on my forehead and a brisk shuffle walk outside. Old coffee was warmed in the microwave while I fed the dog and cat. With cream added to dark roast I sat down and watched the sun rise from my sliding glass door. I accidentally spilled coffee on my chest when Eddie dropped a tennis ball in my lap. Setting the coffee down I did as he silently requested and played fetch. After a few balls were caught in mid air he walked to the door and gave me a pleading look to go back outside. With my coat on, I painfully shuffled out the door and headed down the stairs. I opened the door and walked out into the chilly air to walk my little terror knowing that he was saving me and helping me heal.

**I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted on my blog. It’s been difficult to be inspired, or when I do write I think the words are trite and utter bullshit. I have to write to get better at it, and I assure you I’ll try. Have a great day and stay warm.**

Four Little Children

Tom my new friend and taxi driver, dropped me off this morning at Domino’s Farms for my Pre-Op appointment. Once there, I checked in, completed forms. Next, I was poked and prodded. I sat in the lobby and waited for the physician’s assistant to explain the surgical process to me. In two weeks, hardware that held my ravaged then rebuilt ankle will be removed. Tendons will be unwrapped from freshly healed bone in hopes that it will alleviate some of my chronic pain. I am tough, but I am scared. I am scared, but I am strong. I pick up my phone and the heat from my fingertips bring it to life. As I begin to play a game I mutter in frustration, “I’m so fucking tired of this injury sucking the marrow out of my very existence.”  

I’m an observational writer. Two and a half years ago I would have laughed if you’d said such a thing. Most of my young and adult life, with the help of ADHD, OCD, married life, parenting, and plain old rushing around, I couldn’t observe more than five things at once. Once I realized that my dream was to observe and write about it, I couldn’t stop. Life was a rush. I was constantly stimulated, and inspired. I say passionate, everyone else in my life said I was obsessed.

This morning, as the lives diminished in my game, I remembered who and what I was.  Placing my phone in my purse, I began watching four little children. One boy and three girls ran wild up and down the hill outside in front of Lobby C. The girls, ranged in age from 8-11, and wore short skirts with little shirts. Their feet were clad in sandals and their long blonde hair whipped around their faces as they ran. The little boy, about 7 was clad in shorts, t-shirt and black flip flops. He ran up and down that hill, faster than his sisters did. He didn’t seem to care that  he lost his shoes in the process.

The oldest girl walked away from her siblings to stand in the stone and ivy garden. The foliage and ceramic toadstools made her look a bit like Alice when she spoke to a hookah smoking caterpillar in Wonderland. Her young charges continued to run up that hill, around the tree at the top and back down.  I’m sure if there wasn’t concrete at the bottom of that hill, they would have rolled down it. Staining their knees and elbows green, as their little brother lost his shoes again.

I sat in a comfy armchair inside, but I wanted to run with them. I wanted to walk on stick thin legs made tan by the summer sun. I wanted to be the young girl standing in the ivy garden that looked like Alice. I wouldn’t have even minded being the little boy that lost his shoes as I jumped to touch the arbor at the entrance of Lobby C.

I don’t wish to go back to that age, but I do wish I could let the wind whip my hair as I run. And to feel confident that when I run, there wouldn’t be pain. I want to suck the marrow out of life again. Maybe after this next surgery, I will.

Two Days Til Touch Down

Pushing Forward

‘You look so pretty’, I told Lo as she walked up the stairs.

‘You do too’, she replied. ‘Why are you wearing a dress?’

‘Because none of my shorts fit.’

‘They will again, ya dork.’

I gave her a tiny smile while I put the brakes on my chair and lifted it over the threshold of my apartment door. I have to admit, I feel pretty bad ass when I do that. Who knew I’d be able to lift a wheelchair while standing on one leg? I stood at the top of the stairs as Lo walked past me and took my chair down the stairs. I laughed as she banged the damn thing down every step. She laughed as I hopped on one leg down those same steps. I’m sure my neighbors hate all the noise I make. When I run into The Old Lady that lives beside me, she often gives me the stink eye for absolutely no reason. Bitch! I digress.

Lo waited for me at the bottom of the steps. I hopped and fell into the chair.

‘I’m so damn sick of this shit!’

‘Think about how I feel’,  Lo exclaimed. ‘I have to carry that damn chair of yours everywhere.’

We laughed as I hopped yet again and maneuvered into the passenger seat of her car. As we traveled to Saline, we caught up on the events of the night before. She went to visit a mutual friend of ours and I hung out with Bette. I tried not to cry while she told me of her happiness. I sat next to her and smiled, but behind my sunglasses the tears flowed.

‘I often think it would be easier on everyone if I died in the accident.’

‘Nae, God saved you for a reason.’

‘What is that reason though?!’

I for reasons I can not fathom think it would have been easier if I’d died. My family and friends would have grieved, and I wouldn’t have felt any more pain or loneliness. I would have stopped incessantly crying, or the constant wishing for things that are never going to come to me.

‘Lo, I feel so broken.’

‘Honey, we are all broken, in our own way.’

‘At least you have the prospect of someone to love you.’

God saved you in that accident. He hasn’t shown you the reason you were saved, because you’re not open to Him.

Our conversation died when her phone rang. I sat with my hands crossed in my lap and tried to compose myself. Rolling down the window, I let the fresh air dry my tears. I inhaled the scent of summer and freedom. All of a sudden, I was slammed with the urge to tuck and roll out of Lo’s car and find a pool to jump into. Wheelchair and advisement from my surgeon be damned! How I’ve missed my rebel spirit.

Before grocery shopping we met T at Cancun for lunch. I was so glad I’d done my hair and makeup. I felt pretty, even though I was sitting in a chair, and had gained so much weight while I’ve been recuperating. T’s daughter joined us and Lo and I made sure to talk about inappropriate things while we we ate. Sex was often the topic. T admonished us more than once, which seemed to make Lo and I act even more lewd. T’s daughter didn’t seem to mind, though she did blush a time or two. The young woman was so fair complected, I bet one could see her red glow from a mile away. She had a gentle but guarded smile, and all I wanted to do was hug her.

At Wally World, Lo brought around scooter for me to shop with. I drove the thing like a pro. I didn’t have my brace on and was constantly hoping other shoppers didn’t think I was using it because I was too fat to walk. I have no idea why I gave a shit what perfect strangers thought of me driving around in a Walmart scooter, but I did. I made sure to smile at the people that stared at me. Often, I balanced on one foot to grab items from a high shelf. Lo may have to drive me, but I did my very best to be independent when shopping.

After checking out, Lo took me home. I waited while she took my groceries up to my apartment and placed them on the table. Her car radio blared because we needed to hear how the Tigers game would end. While Martinez struck the ball with his bat, I raised my face to the sun and breathed in my last bit of summer and freedom for the day. The Tigers won while she wheeled me to my door. She dragged my wheelchair up the stairs, and I went up the steps on my butt. I slid into my chair like Lieutenant Dan and lifted that damn chair over the threshold on one leg. My BFF and I hugged and said our goodbyes.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was the last time I would be lifting my chair over the metal molding in my apartment doorway. It was the last time Lo Lo would have to drag my chair up and down the stairs. It was the last time I would have to take my wheelchair on a shopping excursion. It was the last time she’d have to push me around in my chair while I stubbornly tried to push it myself.

Two days till touch down…I hope I find out why God saved me on that snowy night in March…Maybe it’s something as simple smelling the aroma of summer and freedom…Maybe it’s for something greater…Maybe it’s to experience the joy of becoming a grandmother…Maybe, maybe, maybe…

Five Days Til Touch Down

Woman Walking on Tracks

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

How can it be that I get a buzz from regular Tylenol?
That was the first thing I thought of when I opened my eyes this morning. I was lying in bed with a pillow wedged between my legs to keep my post-surgery ankle from rubbing against my healthy one. Cinders, the devil kitty was lying next to me and she gave me a low growl as I stroked between her ears. My middle-aged body creaked as I stretched and shifted my weight to sit on the side of the bed. Cinders yipped and snipped at me as she bounded her fat self out of her side of the bed. I tightened my core and stood up on one leg. With practiced finesse I turned my entire body around and seated myself in my old friend, a metal wheelchair.
I went through my ritual of morning self-care. Dammit but I sure do love a shower. Leaning against the wall, I stand on one foot and let the hot water run down my entire body. It’s the closest I get to having a lover touch me. You don’t know how much you need the touch of another human until you are incapacitated with an injury and have no prospects. My left leg began to shake so I sat in my shower chair. I washed my face, shaved my legs and washed my hair. Cinders peered around the side of the shower curtain and mewed. I flung water at her and she ran away like her ass was on fire. My laughter echoed on the ceramic tiles. Afterward, I dried off and with my walker hopped back to my wheelchair.
I drank coffee.
Used my bone stimulator.
Did some banking.
Sat and waited to go to physical therapy.
That’s the story of my life these days.
Hurry the fuck up…
And wait….
I’m sick of only being able to wear one damn shoe at a time.
30 minutes of cardio left me sweating like a whore in church, but dammit I felt good! Amelia and I worked my right ankle and foot so hard. I was proud of the fact that we increased the reps of the work out and the size of the ball on the BAPS board. Amelia rewarded my efforts with a massage. We took measurements and found that my Range of Motion had greatly improved in the last month.
Look at me, I can point my toes!
Does that hurt?
Nope, but I’m sure it will later.
She and I said our goodbyes and good weekends. I won’t see her until Thursday of next week. I hope to be walking when I do….Wearing my gym shoes….And pushing my walker.
Tom my usual cab driver, picked me up and whisked me back to my apartment. To my cage, and my perch. Icing my ankle, I zoned out and watched crappy t.v. Cinders the devil kitty, snuggled around the top of my head.
I called Mom.
Shared texts with friends.
Took meds.
Fell asleep.
Tonight, I celebrate that I have five days left in this cage. I’ve learned why the caged bird sings. He sings of freedom. I miss being a biped. I miss going wherever in the hell I want. I miss doing whatever in the hell I want.
I’m finished.
My foot’s on fire.
I laughed while I watched National Lampoon’s Family Vacation.
My Dad looks like Chevy Chase.
I miss John Candy.
And I’m happy I didn’t cry today.
In a private message exchange Red and I chatted about our days. As our convo wound down he asked me, where are you going to walk first? Right the fuck out of my surgeon’s office, I quipped.
I’m spent. Goodnight Moon and goodnight Word Press. This Sparkly Bird has had it!

Six Days Till Touch Down

Feet in Puddles

 

Yesterday, Amelia wrapped her fingers around the arch of my right foot and began to gently massage the tiny bones beneath its surface. She tugged and stretched the atrophied ligaments and tendons too. I could feel the bones cracking and every once in awhile we heard a popping sound. They surprised us both, but I told her not to worry, she was not causing me any pain. More and more tension was eased as she worked her way down to my heel. I closed my eyes and laced my fingers behind my head. Shifting in her seat, Amelia began to move my foot outward and down. She told me I had to reeducate the signals of my brain.

The signals in my brain have become numb, and I feel like a drone. I’ve numbed my brain and body with food, mundane television and an addiction to Facebook. I’d hoped to write a book while I was off on medical. It didn’t happen. Instead, I wallowed in ice cream and fast food delivery. I’ve gained weight while being sedentary. Food didn’t make feel any better. It didn’t fill my soul.

I think in abstract instead of full sentences. Thoughts and ideas start, then stop. They become dead ends and hide somewhere in the synapses of my brain. Romance. Love. Anger. Doubts. Pain in the ankle. Pain in the heart. Thoughts muddled. Scarred soul along with the ankle. Loneliness. Independence. Faith. Fear. Prayers.

I worried about being dependent on pain meds so I weaned myself from them as quickly as I could. Tylenol does the job when taken regularly. The bones have healed, and so have the incisions. The original trauma site continues to heal, from the inside out. I ingest supplements for hair, skin and nails in hopes that it will heal more quickly. I’m tired of being reminded of my stupidity, and the fact that my body and car were totaled. That my insurance was canceled. That I have no idea when and if I will be able to walk normally again. Whether or not I will be able to drive again. Or how the hell I’m going to buy a car or insurance anyway.

I worry about my weight and the fact that none of my clothes fit. Will my newly knitted bones be able to hold up my fatness. Will I be loved or held again. Will I have a partner in crime and in life. Will I have to fight to find love, while I fight to regain my body again.  Or will only creepy old dudes find me attractive. Will I be able to point my toes normally.

Will all of this damn work be for naught. Will the Talus bone die. Will the ankle be fused and my recovery start all over again? Where are my high heels?

It’s raining right now and all I want to do is run out into it. I want to run away. I want to smell worms and springtime. I want to be myself again. A free spirit, effervescent, sparkly and unafraid of tomorrow. I want to bear weight and walk into the deluge outside my window. To feel it drench my skin and wash my soul clean. I want to live unencumbered by weight, a walker, or a limp.

Life is to be lived. Not by sitting on my couch and staring out the door wall, but by participating in it. The rainstorm has left puddles that I’d love to splash in. Ah, to feel the rain and grit cover my calves would be heaven.

Heaven, I tell you!

Sliding Glass Window Oberservations From A Grenade

Yesterday I watched from my sliding glass window, five young men wearing the same color suit. Four of them wore ties folded in Windsor knots. One of them wore a slick bow tie. There was a sixth man. A photographer wearing khakis, took candid shots of them as they changed from gym to dress shoes, straightened each others ties and goofed off, like young men do. My guess was, they were the groom and attendants for a wedding. Or maybe they were an a cappella group. Who knows?

My apartment complex is set back in a wooded area, so the photographer took them behind the building to get more shots. They left their gym shoes and back packs resting on the hoods of their vehicles. Their doors were left wide open. When they returned, they grabbed all their crap and jammed themselves into their vehicles. They and the khaki panted photographer headed off to parts unknown. I was excited to observe them as they smile radiantly and wore the same color suits. Four of them with ties folded in Windsor knots. The other, maybe the groom, wearing a slick bow tie.

Often, my observational posts begin on my personal Facebook page. An idea hits me and I have to write it down. I’m sure it drives many of my friends crazy because my posts can get a little lengthy. Whatever, then take me out of your news feed! On second thought, please don’t, because I want you to read my observations. Looking at my window is about the only place I can draw inspiration right now.  I’ve kinda been stuck in my apartment for 70 days.

My focus waned and I didn’t write much more till I arrived home from My Trivia last night. At 1:00 a.m I began writing a lengthy email to a friend, when the following quote popped into my Sparkly little head:

 I wanted to know that he would be okay if I did. I wanted to not be a grenade, to not be a malevolent force in the lives of the people I loved.–John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

I wrote to my friend, I am a goddamn grenade.

I realized that in my married life and when I was raising my kids, I was a grenade. I was a malevolent force that ruined everything in my path. I was an F5 tornado or category 5 hurricane. And I was hell bent on self destructing. The self destruction included being a horrible drunk, a slow suicide with food and conversing with men that I had no business talking to.

I don’t want to be a grenade, anymore.

My ultimate goal is to try to find peace within my stormy, passionate and romantic heart. My ultimate goal is to not judge others and somehow rise above the transgressions of my past. I’ve sought forgiveness from God. I can’t go back and change anything. I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m not even looking for forgiveness from Roger Darling, Meggie or Adam Boy. All I can do is keep my mouth shut, my mind clear and try to be happy.

I wish for the three I’ve hurt the most to be happy, because I don’t want to be a goddamn grenade, anymore.

I talked to my mother today and I asked her when I should stop saying I’m sorry for all the havoc I wreaked? Her response was as soon as put down the bucket of guilt I continued to carry around. I may never be completely forgiven by my children or the man I shared 24 years of my life with, but I’m going to put down that bucket. I’m sure there will be times in my life that I will pick it up again. There will always be a part of me that knows that I fucked everything up.

I’m also acutely aware that I will probably be alone for the rest of my life because of what I’ve done. I have to be okay with that.  I have to realize that there is no such thing as unconditional love, except for the love we give our children. On this journey to myself, I’ve discovered I am a child of God. I am a sinner, but even sinners need to forgive themselves.

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches over me…

He watches over Meggie and Adam.

And I know, He watches over Roger Darling.

 

An Open Window

Window

The Velcro bites into the fabric of the ace bandage that holds the Fiberglas square in place. After a few fierce tugs, the teeth yield to my whims and I’m able to remove the binding. I put it aside, pop out the square and set that next to the bandage. My fingers unfold the cotton and lightly stroke the tender skin that lies beneath. I grin from ear to ear, excited by the sensations that I feel. Heat, heartbeat, pain, and nerve twitches. I tickle the tender skin on the arch of my foot. I feel electricity in my fingertips, as they bring the pale skin back to life. Often, I experience little bee stings around the surgical sites. I welcome the feeling though, it means the nerves are reconnecting.

My tattoo of Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas is hidden by the half cast on my right leg. The cast serves as an anchor, holding my injured leg and ankle in a neutral position. I miss being greeted by her melancholy face when I stretch my shapely legs, as I awaken each morning. My hand slides into the cast, and I caress her face. The skin is flaking, from Fiberglas and cotton that wicks all the moisture from my skin. There’s atrophy in the muscles, already. I try not to focus on it though. Eight more weeks my leg will be encased either in plastic or Fiberglas.

I peer back into the window and scoot the cotton around to find one of the three incisions. It’s still pink, but completely heeled. Excitement runs through me as I realize that the numbness at the site is gone. Replaced with warmth and a pulse. I pinch the skin, just to be sure and realize all of the feeling has returned. Joyously, I grab my ultrasound bone healing system and begin the 20 minute process of stimulating bone growth.

With the ultrasound fastened on the opening in my cast, I depress the on/off switch. The machine comes to life and sound waves seep into my skin. 20 minutes, twice a day and lots of prayers are what help the broken Talus bone stay alive. If it stays alive, it will regrow stronger than before. I may never dance or run again. But the use of the ultrasound may give me a better chance at walking without pain. That’s my main focus right now, putting weight on the right foot and taking a step. Finally, the machine shuts off and I wipe the conduction gel from my skin.

I need to close up the window, but my curiosity gets the best of me. I want to keep touching my skin. Touch is a balm for me, calming my anxiety about the future. Putting the Fiberglas square back in place, I begin to wrap the ace bandage around it. The end of it is fastened back in place with hooks of Velcro into material. I lie back on the couch and continue drinking strong, hot coffee laced with cream and Sweet and Low.

And so begins each day of waiting. Waiting and healing.