Link to the First Page that details the first six (1-6) months
Link to the Second Page detailing the second six (7-12) months
Link to the Third Page following the third six (13-17) months
Week Seventy Five - Sunday, June 13 2010
I have been feeling a little guilty about the lack of effort that I have put forth in working in my Mom's yard. I planted the tomatoes but I'm pretty sure that doesn't count as "working in the yard." Each Sunday since the planting I have provided some care and in the process, trimmed the roses that are close at hand, but no real yard work. So today I loaded up some tools and endeavored to repair some sprinklers by digging up some broken galvanized risers that needed a pipe wrench to remove. Somewhere between two and three hours later I noticed that I was hobbling instead of walking and wisely decided not to start any new holes and to finish up the holes that I had open so that I can wrap this up.
When I got home I went straight to the tub for a soak and then the red chair to relax. When I got up to go to bed my back was sore enough to effect my walking and keep me from making any unnecessary movements. What a lightweight! Seventeen months of doing nothing and I can hardly dig in the yard without feeling the repercussions. You would be proud of me though with my digging prowess while using the broken leg and a shovel.
My walking is getting back to normal today from the weekend. There is some swelling at the break site but not much at the ankle which I found a little surprising.
Week Seventy Six - Sunday, June 20 2010
I rode my bike both yesterday and today with my ride today including the Walnut hill. In the morning before I get much swelling I can feel lots of "stuff" around the break area, like screw heads and plate ends. I guess the good news is that the swelling is down far enough to allow that stuff to show through.
I have a new theory about the remaining swelling and its location and while it still has some holes in it, it goes something like this. The break area is not healed and as a result, gets some motion when I do something other than walk normally, like descending stairs. This is based on the Doc's comments about broken bone motion and swelling and since I only get swelling in the break area and not in the ankle I am led to believe that the current injuries are only in the break and not the ankle.
Another conclusion that my theory leads me to is related to the swelling that remains in the foot and why the foot is still swollen. There are two clues here that I am unable to explain without drawing an unpleasant conclusion. The first clue is the swelling in the foot itself. The second clue is the continued soreness on the bottom of the foot. I can walk pretty well with a shoe on but not worth a dang when barefoot. The bottom of my foot is extremely tender and doesn't like pressure points like a ladder rung (is that your idea of a thinly veiled joke?) or a doorway threshold. The tenderness and the swelling lead me to conclude that there is some sort of an injury remaining in the foot. We never looked in the foot for problems and besides, one would think that after 17 months, any damage in there would be healed. Just like the leg, right?
I spent a while standing today while I was at a funeral and this afternoon I can feel it. The ankle is plenty stiff and I can't really tell if it's the dress shoes and the foot being sore or just the ankle.
Week Seventy Seven - Sunday, June 27 2010
I took the bike out for a little putt around the city and the ankle feels pretty good after that. No flat tires and I managed to get up the Walnut hill in the middle chain ring for the second time. It's nice to be getting some strength back in my legs because since I got off of the crutches I haven't been getting any where the same amount of exercise during the normal day.
On a slightly different note we got our first two tomatoes off of the plants over at my Mom's house today. Very nice.
Week Seventy Eight - Sunday, July 4 2010
I've had an interesting development recently although I'm having a tough time quantifying my feelings. On one hand the foot is continuing to swell, often in the afternoon making the shoe tight, but on the other hand my walking and stepping is improving. After two weeks ago's diatribe on the bottom of the foot and its inability to withstand specific pressure points, that condition appears to be improved. The swelling continues but the pain is reduced and the motion is increasing. This lack of pain and increased motion is best observed on stairs in both up and down directions. And I'm fully aware of the contribution that additional strength adds to my walking.
My improved walking is most evident by an increasing stride and my willingness to lead down stairs with the broken leg. The ankle still gets stiff when standing or sitting with it in a compressed position but it seems to be quicker to respond and loosen up. Overall, the last week or so has seemed to introduce a nice improvement and helped restore my confidence in my ability to heal a broken bone.
I'm taking the day off from work to visit a long time buddy of mine (let's call him Tom) that has been diagnosed with leukemia. Tom is responsible for my second real job or more importantly, me leaving my first real job. This would make it the early eighties time frame but the friendship predates that by several years and probably belongs around 1976. I haven't seen Tom in probably 13 years but we have a couple of mutual friends that we've used to stay in touch with. Tom has good and bad days and he was having a good day today and we were able to visit for a couple of hours and catch up. Suddenly, my broken leg pales in comparison to a real health issue.
While there is still some pain and stiffness associated with walking I have recently noticed that I am able to push through the discomfort and actually get a stride out of this thing. I can easily walk the ankle into submission to the point that I can only wish that I was in the red chair but the basic motion and the muscles that provide that motion are getting better. This thing is definitely getting better.
I don't know if you've noticed but I continue to refer to my ankle in the third person and I'm pretty sure that there is a good psychological reason for that. I'm just not sure that I want to know what it is.
Week Seventy Nine - Sunday, July 11 2010 - 18 Month Anniversary
If I didn't know better I'd think that this thing is ready to heal. I can see progress every week measured precisely with my special ankle metrics and analogs that include swelling, motion, color, sensitivity, soreness, and pain. The foot is still swollen but any of my shoes will fit and the swelling is not what most people would consider more than "slightly" swollen. The toes are less swollen and generally pointed in the proper direction. They generally bend well although they still seem to have some limited motion. I work on the motion each day after dinner while sitting in the red chair and it is continuing to improve.
The swelling around the break is improving (getting less swollen) and I would classify that as "somewhat" swollen. When you look at the two ankles side by side it is obvious that there is something wrong with the right but the general shape and direction of all the pieces is fine. Motion in the ankle is still improving as is the strength of the calf and as a result descending steps has greatly improved. Steps have become comfortable and normal enough that I occasionally catch myself with intent to bound up the steps two at a time and ratchet back to single steps while ascending. I'll add that I NEVER get confused as I approach the steps to descend about how many steps I'm going to bound down at a time. I actually stop and place both feet together before descending. Pretty wimpy, eh?
All of the 3D effects surrounding the scars at the wound site are pretty much gone. There is one remaining dimple (okay, it's more of a dent) right in front between the break and the ankle. I think it has more to do with the tissue damage where the bone exited the skin than the bone structure itself so it's probably going to stay and as such, we shouldn't count it. The scar on the outside of the leg, the fibula plate service panel, looks great and is difficult to see unless you are looking for it. There is one location near the top of the plate on the tibia where one can feel an irregularity, maybe just a 1/16th of an inch high. This protrusion, as I have come to tease my Wife with, is more than likely a screw backing out. It of course, is not a screw backing out but the tease is worth the price of admission when she drops what ever she's doing to vehemently defend The Doc with No Watch and his work.
I can walk without a limp and I can even get a decent stride going on most days. I can walk a mile without a problem and probably further but I would have to try first. I can ride my bike to the point that I now need to "suit up" for a ride because my rides now tend to take long enough and go far enough that I need to carry water and bike repair tools. They don't include any dirt traversal yet because of the fear that I have of finding myself in a situation where I need to put the foot out or down while the bike is not exactly under control. I'm afraid that both Docs might nullify any warranty if they found out not to mention that my Wife might get a little upset and she would without a doubt we-tip on me.
I have canceled my ticket to go fishing with Warren in mid-August because of my inability to stand for extended periods of time and my inability to walk well on a pitching boat deck. I felt that if I wound up being in the way or falling and getting tangled up with the old codgers that I might not get invited back for future trips and that will just not do. And that leaves just one endeavor that I need to check out before I give it a clean bill of health and that is kicking with my fins. I'm saving that test for the calm of the cove on Lake Mojave in September.
I almost had even me believing all of that spew about "all healed up", right up until tonight that is. We traveled to my Mom's house to barbecue hamburgers this evening and since she's stopped getting around all that well recently her large lawn needs manual watering attention. Between rotating the sprinklers and trying to get my old, stale, and apparently damp charcoal to light, I basically walked and stood for three hours and I'll be honest, that baby is a little sore tonight.
The ankle feels great today. I occasionally will realize that I'm walking with a normal stride and that there is no tenderness or stiffness associated with the stride. It doesn't happen often but it happened today.
I took a nice little bike ride today that included up and over the Cannon hill.
Week Eighty - Sunday, July 18 2010
Jer and I are shopping at Target in the frozen food section when I notice that on the outside of her ankle is the same, exact scar that I have on the outside of my ankle. The ankle owner happens to be my age and wearing sandals so I can see her entire foot. I promptly abandon the cart and book it on over and ask her if she has broken her leg. I'll spare you all of the gory details but I did recognize The Man of Few Words' work and she confirms that he in fact doesn't say much. Her ankle (it is unknown if her ankle was damaged) looks fine, her leg looks normal in shape and size, and it's been six years. She thinks that it might have been two years before all of the swelling went down and she still will look for a place to sit down it she finds herself standing for any length of time. I'm sure that part doesn't apply to when strangers approach her in the market.
No bike ride today but a fair amount of walking with all of my shopping exploits.
I'm considering icing the ankle in the evenings like I used to do because I'm finding more evenings when I can't wait to get off of the ankle because its gotten sore during the day. What I don't know is why its sore: healing? not healing? too much walking? too much standing? What I do know is that if I get out of bed in the middle of the night it is still tender to walk on and that's new.
Week Eighty One - Sunday, July 25 2010
The closest that I've gotten to icing the ankle or leg is writing about it last week. So this week in lieu of riding my bike I'm walking in the sand. At the beach. Okay, it's not good exercise (unless I walk to a different city) but it is A good exercise for the ankle and the foot. Not to worry, both the ankle and the foot did fine. So well, that I'm thinking about how to add that into my weekly exercise regime to help build ankle strength. Jer and I found ourselves at the beach house of a friend of a friend for a relaxing day at the beach in Oceanside. Very relaxing right up to the point where we attempted to drive home and wound up in the middle of weekend traffic returning home from San Diego and Mexico up the 5.
For those of you that enjoy anniversaries, today is the one year anniversary of re-breaking my leg. It was a year ago today that we walked up to the San Dimas Car Show and pretty much solidified the demise of the mend job.
Other than walking barefoot in the sand for 100 yards and walking a mile or so in shoes on Sunday, I haven't done much recently that would account for the soreness that this ankle is giving me.
We're off to see Inception with the Kelly's from Upland. As the movie ends I find myself grinning from ear to ear. You'll have to decide for yourself.
Week Eighty Two - Sunday, August 1 2010
When I looked at my feet this morning in the shower I could hardly tell the difference in size. You can thank your lucky stars that I didn't have my new underwater video camera with me or you would have some hi-def video to see for yourself.
Up and over Ken's Cannon hill in the afternoon trying to get the ankle in shape.
What I notice the most is that now that the ankle and break are healing and feeling better in general I am taking more liberties and getting more feedback in return. As I move faster down stairs I can feel the pressure at the break. Not the pain like walking on a broken leg but more in line with smaller, shooting twinges. Stuff that keeps you from forgetting that it is still healing. My Mom's back yard is a good testing ground for ankle rotation and an excellent opportunity for this sort of workout. Between the roots from her large trees, my sprinkler holes, and years of large dogs chasing cats and possums, walking across her yard is a challenge for my fledgling ankle and after a few passes I find it screaming for less.
The knowledge that the break and ankle are healing comes from the results of these abuses and the ensuing recovery period. I can abuse the ankle to where it's screaming for ice but be back on it the following day ready for more. As it feels better I get more rambunctious and we get more twinges. I back off, it feels better, I forget and get back on it, and it remembers :-).
Don't confuse my babbling for complaining because it's not. Far from it. After 18 months I couldn't be happier with the progress and as I lie awake in bed in the wee hours of the morning gently flexing the ankle (and annoying the dog), I thank my lucky stars that it's still attached and moves at all.
The 50th Birthday Party for the city of San Dimas is tonight and we're making the pilgrimage to Civic Center Park on foot. That's right, you heard me correctly and since I've got support gear to tote, I'm packing the hand truck for the journey. I thought that Jer might kill the idea because we would look like Jed & Jethro Bodine but she got on board and she and the dog walked right along side of me. The trip took us right by the Subway store that happens to be on our work lunch rotation schedule so the Manager came out to say hello as we passed by. That was nice, don't you think? Right up to the part where he asked me if I was moving into the park. Just to make a long digression longer, that same Manager was locking up to leave for home when we passed by on the return trip so I told him that we had been thrown out of the park and were looking for a different place to live. Sometimes I'm surprised that Jer goes anywhere with me.
Week Eighty Three - Sunday, August 8 2010
On the way home last night I slowed my pace because my ankle was lagging and when I got home and took my shoe off I was stunned to see there was virtually no swelling. And when I got out of bed this morning I was again surprised at the lack of swelling and discoloration. Maybe this thing is actually healing!
I putt up and over Ken's Cannon hill in seriously nasty gear just because the ankle is not complaining.
Jer and I are then off to the market for the week and I _may_ have gotten confused with where to put my truck key and where to put my sunglasses because when we got back to the car with all of the goodies both my sunglasses and my truck key were on the console in the locked truck. I don't think that many of our neighbors noticed me pushing the shopping cart up to my doorstep but I could be mistaken. And if I thought for a moment that yesterday's trip with the hand truck in tow was a potential embarrassment then today I'm certain. And she's still speaking to me. After one trip on foot and two trips in various cars today I'm happy to report that the ankle has had enough exercise for the day.
We are traveling to Crestline for a 5k race tomorrow morning. One of the girls that Jer is walking with has a house right on the lake and also right on the race course and we have been invited to spend the night before the race.
I'm not up for as much fun as the Crestline "Run through the pines" 5k might provide but I am definitely up for acting as the official greeter for all of the race participants. Must be my shy demeanor.
Week Eighty Four - Sunday, August 15 2010
My ankle is a little sore today after all of the standing around yesterday. Nothing is sticking out at a strange angle so I'm not worried but it's tender enough that I'm checking pretty closely.
Overall, the swelling has remained down and all of the pieces look good. I have been thinking that my next appointment in a month was going to show everything all healed up but with all of this residual soreness I'm no longer expecting such a bright report card.
Week Eighty Five - Sunday, August 22 2010
The swelling isn't going down any but it's not getting any larger either so I'm taking that as a good sign. Some days are better than others but the overall level of ability is improving. I find that I can move down stairs more rapidly and I seem to recover more quickly from a static position to walking without a limp, ofter just a couple of steps. I'm sure some of that is my memory and a tendency to favor the leg so I'm working on that too.
Up and over Ken's hill and in the process I _may_ have cheated and grabbed a little dirt trail action. Not to worry though as it was level and rut-free.
I've taken the day off to run a few errands, the last of which includes washing windows at my Mom's house, but before that I'm having lunch at Q Tortas in Placentia. Before I digress too far let me mention that I found a new owner for the boot. Mike of Coffee Klatch fame had a small mishap with his dirt bike and busted up five of the small bones in his right foot. His Doctor wrote him a prescription for a similar, fixed bottom boot and he has yet to drag his bruised body over to the medical supply store to fill the order so I jump in and offer up mine. Like the crutches, I would just as soon get them out of my house before I decide that I could use them in some weak moment and even better to find all this stuff a good home.
let's get back to washing windows and the support tasks associated with that sort of activity. I need to move a large glass patio table, a ladder, and a number of chairs to complete this task and there lies the rub - carrying stuff, especially heavy stuff. A lot of standing makes the ankle stiff but not necessarily sore. Heavy lifting makes the ankle sore. And angry. For several days. The problem is that this fact never occurs to the ankle owner until after he's done lifting or carrying.
Yea, that's right. This broken appendage is still a little sore. It was very sore Wednesday morning and has been getting better each day but I can still feel it this afternoon.
Week Eighty Six - Sunday, August 29 2010
You know all that babelishious that I've been trying to feed you? Well, it's just that. I demonstrated today that I can carry 110 lbs and not destroy the ankle so that means that it's not the extra weight but the standing. hip There's an entire story there that we're not going to cover but suffice it to say that my Mom fell and broke her hip yesterday. She's fine but the important part is that I managed to carry all 110 lbs. of her out of the house and into the car and the leg was fine.
Week Eighty Seven - Sunday, September 5 2010
I haven't made much progress on healing this last week but I can report that it hasn't gotten any worse. I expected to pay for the "carry out of the house" incident and was pleasantly surprised when that didn't happen. I did spend a fair amount of time standing this last week and that definitely appears to be the culprit.
Did I mention that the boot has made a couple of trips to Columbia and Brazil since I passed it on? I hope that unmarked van across the street is not the D.E.A.
We walked the L.A. County Fair this evening and I even parked in the boonies so that I could get the full effect. We were there about four and a half hours and I followed strict guidelines that included: 1) you must keep moving so there will be no standing; 2) no sitting, 3) you need to save enough so you can get back to the car, and finally 4) you lose points for breaking the leg. I didn't do too badly - I got two out of the four. It was still early, my Wife was having a good time, and I didn't feel the need to impose my rules on her and make her eat dinner while walking, so we sat.
Week Eighty Eight - Sunday, September 12 2010
Don't worry, there was plenty of ice last night and again today. There wasn't much, if any, swelling but there is plenty of soreness. Not enough to never go to the Fair again but enough to no go again this season.
Later in the afternoon I rode my bike around and that helped quite a bit.
Week Eighty Nine - Sunday, September 19 2010
Bike ride included a walk
Week Ninety - Sunday, September 26 2010
No bike ride
Week Ninety One - Sunday, October 3 2010