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I took a little time this morning to relax and play some Guitar Hero: World Tour and it got me thinking about how this game can reflect things about life itself.

How Guitar Hero is Like Life

  • You can only play the notes you are given at the time they arrive.
    Much like life, you can only deal with the things that are directly in front of you at the time they are there. Sure, you can plan for the future but it’s only through your actions at the moment. If you spend too much time worrying about what’s coming, or worse, what’s already past, you can’t stay with the moment. If you miss a note in Guitar Hero, it’s gone, don’t let it through you off hitting the next one!
  • Perfect is nice, but you don’t need it to still rock.
    Perfect is such an odd term and if you try to constantly achieve perfection without enjoying “good enough” then you won’t ever enjoy anything. So you didn’t hit all the notes, you still got through to the end and rocked. Have more fun enjoying the actions than worrying about the outcomes!
  • Bring in the band!
    Sure, you can play Guitar Hero by yourself and it’s still fun but add in some extra band members (friends/family) and it becomes something more amazing. Make time to connect with the people around you and be interested in what they have to offer. Friends and family are there to keep you sane, support you when you are done, joke around when you are bored and otherwise make life worth living.

Things went pretty well today and I made almost a whole day at work. I’m slowly transitioning around on the crutches but I’m just not sure how to know what things should feel like. I can vary from totally non-weight bearing to a few steps around without crutches so it’s confusing. My heel feels really weird still and it starts to hurt if I walk on it too much – similar to before surgery, so that scares me a little.

Yesterday did not go very well and I think it was due to the medication. I even called the nurse and she’s having me cut back to taking half a pill at a time. I basically slept all day and didn’t feel like I could even get out of bed. I didn’t even have lunch and it was the first time I had feelings like maybe I couldn’t take care of myself. Things were better by evening once the medication had moved out of my system.

So it still hurts to walk but I can tell my calf muscles and such are healing up because now at least I have support and can actually put some weight on it without it buckling. This is progress so I’m taking it. I just have to wait out the pain I suppose at this point. I’m going to do whatever I can to heal but sometimes I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing. I’m so ready to get to August 9th so I can move into the next stage of healing.

About the only thing I really post about these days is post surgery because not much else is going on. The biggest issue I’m having now is eating healthy. I know how to eat healthy and for the most part I’m doing fine but I snack a lot more than normal. I think it’s coming from boredom with sitting around and not doing anything else. I’m not getting the high I was getting from exercise so my mind is trying to recreate that with food, possibly. Recognizing the issue is great because it means I can work on it and I have all the time in my life to do it.

I also haven’t weighed in for weeks for obvious reasons. I’m a bit worried about how much weight I’ve gained but whatever it ends up being, I’ll have to live with it.

I’ve been trying really hard to keep my own spirits up – I know it’s important to stay positive and that in the long run, large scale of things, it’s not so bad. That aside, I’m getting frustrated and worried. The healing as pretty much slowed to the point that I’m not seeing daily progress like I’d hoped for. My biggest fear is that the surgery won’t have fixed the problem, or made things worse. The pain is still there and now I don’t have strength enough to walk even with the walking boot. I’m still very dependent on the crutches and I had expected to be further now.

I’m going to try and get back to my normal life – back to work, etc, but I still worry that I’m going to overdue things and it won’t ever heal correctly. I’m feeling pretty direction less with my recovery plan and that further frustrates me. All I’ve been really told is to just play it by ear, do things “as tolerated” and use the crutches as long as I need them. I thought I was going to get off the pain medication today but by the end of today I was back on them. The pain really is bad and it’s partly my fault for going to Target – I guess.

I’m using the blog right now to vent so take that as it is. I know that I need to “hang in there” and “not get discouraged” and “things will happen with time” and etc. But right now – I’m feeling down and I’m going to own up to that emotion. It’s not the end of the world.

It’s weird to think that just two weeks ago I was coming home from the hospital post surgery and now I’m finally back in my own home and mostly taking care of myself. I even went into work for part of the afternoon. I mostly went in to touch base with everyone and to see how I felt. Unfortunately it felt like it was too soon so I’m taking the rest of the week off. I’d really like to be less dependent on the crutches and I missed my afternoon nap.

I did spend most of today walking with a small amount of weight on my left foot and that was great progress. This evening I even took a couple of steps using only one crutch! That isn’t something I can do well yet but I’ll get there. Just need to keep taking small steps and soon I’ll be healed up and back at it.

With that in mind, it’s time to focus on my long term goals again. I want to get back into caring about my health, I’ve really let the eating choices slide the last couple weeks so it’s time to get that back on track. I need to get back to planning out my meals and sticking to that plan.

For exercise, I’ve found some videos on Youtube that show various exercises that can be done from a chair or bed. These aren’t high end workouts but any movements are better than sitting around doing nothing.

I still hope to start running before the end of the year but I have to also work with the fact that it may not happen as I have planned. So if I can’t do the running then I’ll have to fall in love with something else – like biking. I do like biking a lot so I suppose if that has to be my thing, then I’ll live. The important part of life is to be happy, healthy and just take what comes my way.

This morning, at 7:30 AM, I had my two week follow-up from my surgery. We arrived on time and didn’t have to wait very long before going to the back. The nurse took a little information and sent the cast technician in to remove the splint. This took a little bit of time but nothing major and it was nice to get some freedom even though I could barely move my foot. After the splint was off they rolled me down to get an xray done which was pretty uneventful.

After getting back from the xray there was a bit more waiting for the doctor. He was already in with another patient so we just waited and my foot was starting to hurt. I still had my stitches and staples in at that point. The doctor came in, looked it over, tested that I had feeling and said everything looked good for two weeks. He then said the staples and stitches were coming out and I was going to move into a walking boot, compression sock and new arch supports. It sounds like, post surgery, I will have to always have the arch supports. I can’t see that being a major problem, just something I have to remember.

He told me a little more about the surgery he did and in the end he thought the base of the problem was nerve entrapment but since the symptoms are hard to diagnose on its own, it was best to just do all the procedures as planned. He said that the tissue surrounding my baxtars nerves was really tight so that was probably the main source of my pain. I’m actually happy to hear this because I had been suspecting a nerve problem all along.

I asked him a few questions about pain medication and such and he said it was perfectly normal to still be on pain medications at this point after surgery and gave me a refill prescription. I hope I can get off the pain medication soon but I also know they are important to the healing process and the medication he has me on is a fairly low dose and I’m not taking the higher end pain killers any more, so that’s good. He said that foot surgery is really painful (it is) and most people stay on the pain medication for awhile. The downside to this is that as long as I am on this medication, I can’t drive.

Speaking of driving, I applied for a state handicap parking permit today that will be helpful once I am back into driving. I also went down to the parking services at work and got a special parking permit that will allow me to park really close to the building. I don’t know at this point when I’ll be able to drive again but I have at least another 4 weeks of limited mobility, maybe longer.

So I now have the walking boot and he said I can begin to put some weight on it as long as it feels ok but to keep using the crutches as long as I needed. So far nothing magical happened and I’m still pretty much stuck with the crutches. I can balance a little on my left foot but walking really isn’t much of an option at this point. I’ll just have to keep working on this for the next couple weeks and I really hope to be without the crutches by the time I go back in for my next follow up on August 9th. This is when the evaluations happen and we figure out what happens next as far as rehabing. Right now he said I’m still in the healing stage so there’s not much I can do but wait.

Here’s a picture of my awesome new boot (the red part is the arch support):

Walking Cast Boot

If you would like to see pictures of my surgery wounds, they are here (click at your own risk).

I am happy that I can take the boot off to sleep and shower, so that makes life a lot easier, even though I can’t walk still. I’m not sure why I thought I would be off the crutches after moving into the boot but I sort of thought I would. I guess this is going to take longer but that’s ok – I can wait it out. It will be worth it once it’s healed up and I’m finally able to do the things I haven’t been able to for a long time.

Oh and as a side note, getting the staples and stitches removed wasn’t a pleasant experience. It seems that the stitches may have become a little, embedded, so she ended up cutting some skin while removing them and that hurt. The staples weren’t horrible but it did sting and I was happy when the final one was removed.

So now I focus on healing and getting back into my normal routine. It looks like I’ll be returning to work on Wednesday for a short day and then going from there. I’m getting a little too used to not working so it’ll be an adjustment but it should be fine. There’s a lot of work to get done so it will be nice to get back.

The process has been slow and my routine has been messed up but I think I’m getting there. My foot has started feeling odd the last couple days and I think it’s due to the ligament healing.

I see the doctor Monday morning and hopefully move into the walking boot which I’ll have for another 4 weeks. I’m really hoping the staples and stitches can come out too.

I want to continue documenting my recovery, especially as I move into my rehab stage. I still don’t know for sure if the surgery fixed the problem but I am hopeful.

The last couple days I was actually able to leave the house but I’m pretty sure I overdid it yesterday. We went to Hy-Vee to get groceries and I ended up having to leave before we were finished and go sit/lay down in the car. I know it’s only been a week since surgery and I think my expectations on how quickly I’d be back to normal activity were set too high.

Today we went out and got ice cream and drove around a local park around sunset. This wasn’t so bad because I never had to get out of the car. It was nice to go see some of the animals at the park and otherwise not be in the house. Today was also my first day since surgery that I was on my own for part of the day. I had to make my own breakfast which ended up being a lot of work. It’s really hard to transport things when on crutches but I managed by using various counters to leap frog things to the table.

The leg/foot itself is probably healing but it’s hard to tell. There is still some amount of pain and I’m still taking the pain meds the doctor gave me. My discharge orders are to keep taking them until he tells me otherwise so I’m going to do that. What I can do is lengthen the amount of time between doses so I’m working out a plan. It seems the pain was better for a day or two but has now changed and seems to get worse. The leg is pretty stiff and sore from lack of use already and I can really feel it if I go from laying down for awhile to standing up.

I’m not sure what the long term plan is other than going to the doctor on the 12th and seeing if I can move into the walking boot. Once I’m in the walking boot, I’m not sure how long it will be before I can be full weight bearing. Even partial weight bearing would be helpful at this point, just to take a little pressure of my right leg.

I’m hitting the point now where I’m frustrated with being cooped up and unable to do the things I enjoy. The splint itself has been bothering me more lately just because I can’t take it off. It’s like always wearing a big wool boot all the time and it can get a bit warm. Plus, I can’t check to see how the sutures are healing so it’s all a big mystery. I’m supposed to be watching for signs of infection but that’s not really something I can do since I can’t see them. I suppose if I get a bad fever or something, that would be a sign. And one last note – itching – I knew it was going to happen but man, it’s worse than the pain!

Curad Cast Protector

Before I had my surgery I decided it would be a good idea to plan for my showering needs when it came to keeping the splint dry. I found some different bags around but most were over $30 and then I found these Curad covers at Walgreen’s for $15. This is a two pack of reusable cast covers and so far it’s worked out great. The small opening expands to slide over the cast and then forms a seal around your leg above the cast.

The hospital actually sent me home with a giant shower bag that I never tried to use past opening it. The bag is very large, intended to cover the full leg, and looks like it has a drawstring closure. I trust the Curad ones more and so far it has not leaked in any way. So if you ever need a cast or splint, check these out.

By recent standards, I had a pretty busy day today complete with my first ventures out of the house. By the afternoon and now this evening, I’m pretty worn out and learned that crutches can quite the little workout.

Last night I was resting in bed with an ice pack on my leg and realized it was feeling a little wet and when I looked at the ice pack, it had leaked water out and some what pooled under my bandages. After some debate we finally decided to call the doctor’s office and check with the on call doctor on what we should do. The instructions said if the bandage got wet or dirty, to call for assistance. The on call doctor said it would be best to come by the office in the morning and have the bandages changed and cleaned.

So this morning I called and made a 10:00 appointment with one of the casting people. I went in and he removed the old splint and I got my first look at the wounds and they were impressive. There’s going to be some pretty nice scars when this is healed up. There’s a 3-4 inch incision down the side of my leg that’s currently being held together with staples and a long cut that basically runs from the side of my ankle, around the heel and to the bottom of my foot with at least a half dozen stitches. He removed everything, cleaned it all up and reapplied a new splint. My old splint was done with plaster but he made the new one using fiberglass so it’s a bit lighter now. He also wrapped my leg with a nice stocking first so the new splint really is a lot more comfortable.

After that errand we stopped by my house so I could pick up a few more things that I needed. I had originally planned on being home by now but it looks like it’ll be better for me to stay where I am for at least a few more days. After having my foot moved around a little by the new splint and after accidentally putting too much weight on it, I’m back up on the pain level. The accident was sad really, I was just turning on the crutches and felt like I was tipping backwards which cause my toes to just touch down long enough to shoot pain through my whole foot. It wasn’t fun at all.

For those that don’t know, this is the what the surgeon did:

  • Released 3/4 of the plantar fascia ligament from the heel of my foot
  • Removed a bit of bone spuring from my heel
  • Released (cut away) some of the tissue surrounding some nerves in my heel to relieve pressure
  • Cut and lengthened my calcaneal (achilles) tendon, I believe doing a Strayer procedure

My next follow up is July 12th and 7:30 am and should involve removing the splint and moving me into a walking boot with some additional supports, etc.

I knew that surgery wouldn’t be an enjoyable vacation but this has been rougher than I prepared for mentally. Mostly I just work on keeping the pain under control and sleeping.

I also have to make sure I get up and move around to prevent blood clots so it’s harder to get steady sleep. My follow up is on the 12th in the morning and until then I pretty much have to rest.

This surgery was a lot more invasive than the knee too. My biggest accomplishment so far has been washing my hair. I am thankful I have my parents to stay with, they have helped out a lot.

Vital Stats

Name: Angela
Age: 36
Height: 5'8"
Total Weight Lost: 46lbs

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