Chapter II February 2011
Early Jan 2011, – Not driving means someone has to take me to the doctors appt, physical therapy, and a little shopping now and then. Not driving is a HUGE downer, I would love to be able to drive and go somewhere. Once I am healed from the hernia surgery and the resultant little setbacks, I will take longer walks just to walk and get out of the house. If I drive, I’ll definetly go visit a friend or two, go hiking, and run meetups even if I can’t run. Have no idea when driving becomes a reality, right foot is somewhat better but vision still sucks.
I did get out to Black Star Canyon with Micki for our annual New Year’s Day Run. The goal this year for most of the runners was 20.12 miles. It’s a tough run, mostly uphill and 3,000 ? ft gain. Actually did about .6 miles round trip and zero elevation gain/loss, Gawd I miss my trail running and my friends, gonna try like heck to at least walk some of the easy trails later in the year. Right now I’ve got to heal from the hernia surgery before I really start abusing myself with long walks. 2 miles? J that’s a start.
Stole this from another runner, “Look, I don’t want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you’re alive you’ve got to flap your arms and legs, you’ve got to jump around a lot, for life is the very opposite of death, and therefore you must at very least think noisy and colorfully, or you’re not alive.” Mel Brooks
It is now February 6th and just got home from Coast Community Hospital recovering from a staph infection, MRSA, at the hernia incision. I went in Jan 2 in for a week at Fountain Valley Hospital and then 3 weeks at Coastal Community Hospital. I will readily admit I was bored, bored, and bored. Being tied to an IV for a couple hours every day and then being tied 24 hours daily to a wound vac for 3 weeks really kept me on my back for like 22 hours every day. Ugh! During the week I did get to do a little physical therapy and a tiny bit of walking. Really helps that two the physical therapists were cute, and the young lady that took care of the wound vac was also great lookin and had a great personality. I’m just a semi dirty of man!
Speaking of a wound vac, this was the first time I even heard of such a thing and I sorta envisioned something like a shop vac! Not to be, the vac itself was a little smaller than a shoe box and no discomfort at all. But, it worked and between in strong antibodies and the vac I healed nicely. Time to get back to walking, a lot, as soon as I get home.
Most of the time one does not willing go to a hospital but Coastal Community Hospital was pretty darn good. All the staff was very professional and friendly and the food really quite tasty. A lot of the staff members that were a on duty came by to say Goodbye before I left. Several went out of their way to say Goodbye and wish me luck. That’s nice. I guess I was a pretty good patient!
Speaking of hospitals. If one has any modesty or sense of privacy, forget about it, ain’t gonna happen in a hospital. You are at their mercy!
Started walking a little again the day after I got out of Coastal. Got me thinking about walking a couple 1/2 marathons this summer. But, I really need to check with Ron, our attorney, to get his ok. I most certainly don’t want to be a superman and appear all my physical challenges are under the bridge, they’re not. And, I’ve missed, as of right now, a little over a year of my life. It’ll be months before I can really get back out there. Plus with the pending lawsuit I want every dollar I can get. Just getting to be a greedy SOB because of the accident. To say nothing of my current physical challenges. The most important one is the loss of vision in my right eye. Yeah, I can see a little at times but it is like looking thru a keyhole with Vaseline smeared cheesecloth on the other side. Oh, everything is tilted a little which double sucks. Not real good and not much hope for improvement till retina stem cell therapy, or something, is available in a few years.
Thur Feb 9 Did walk uphill in the alley twice today and I can tell very much I am lots weaker than before the hernia. Did a lap and rested for a few and then took Heidi out for the 2nd lap. That was the very first time in a year I’ve actually walked Heidi. We did good. Need to wait a few days before attempting Bella. She could drag me for 50 ft and not even know it!
I think with time, and lots of work, my hip and leg might get better. It is lots better than back in June when I needed a walker. My balance is better but still need to be cautious and safe. Still want the sauna and if my balance continues to improve, the Ellipitgo bike.
Still not sure about the noise in my head, sounds like, uh maybe a little higher pitched whinning sound? Hear it all the time but if I am busy it seems not to bother me too much. If it is quite I can see how it could drive some people crazy. A neurologist suggested taking b vitamin complex and that may help. She just said that it can be difficult to cure. Oh boy!!!!
Sunday Feb 12 Jumped on the treadmill for 5 minutes with the house shoes and no ankle brace. Just trying to see how the foot/leg operate w/o the ankle brace. Doable, but the brace helps a bunch!!! Doing some walking this week and really not doing too badly. Time seems to be good but going up the alley is now a bit of work and breathing harder. Those weeks off really set me back endurance wise. Vision in right eye seems like it is really coming and going. Some days I do see pitifully poor and others, really not at all.
Monday Feb 13 Nancy is fussing a bit at me cause I tend to say I have no, or very little pain. I do have a higher threshold for pain. My 4/5 for pain would probably be a 7/8 for someone else. Really don’t remember pain much except for the hernia. That did hurt some and readily took Vicoden. Not that much, just maybe 2 times daily and only for a day or so here and there. Not to say there are physical challenges. There are lots: both feet numb, especially the right foot. Elbow will not completely straighten, somewhat limited mobility in right shoulder, three little fingers on right hand are numb, fingers are stiff caused by arthritis from the trauma? Drop foot and leg is funky. Right leg stills needs a little bit more to straighten completely. And vision in right eye really sucks. Still have noise in my head and I think my hearing is a bit worse.
Have to remember not to downplay the pain too much. Want more in the settlement! Just saw in the paper where a biker who was hit by a shuttle bus at John Wayne airport got a 6 million dollar settlement. Looks like he was partially at fault: dark clothes, I think no bike light, and was on anxiety drugs and pot. He did have a broken pelvis, internal injuries, and supposedly constant pain. I think overall I might have more challenges.
If I sit on anything, particularly a hard chair, I have a heck of time being semi normal when I get up and start walking. My leg really goes to sleep and takes several moments for me to be back to walking condition. I almost always take a cushion into a restaurant so I’ll have something soft to set on. My skinny butt just does not have enough padding!
My bday is coming up soon and last year I was kinda out of it all. The coma interfered greatly with the plans I was hatching in early Jan. Don’t really need a big crowd, just 6 – 8 good running buddies and I’ll be happy. Almost waiting too late to do anything but it is coming together.
Saw the blood doc today and I may, just may get off the blood thinner in about 3 months if the little remaining little blood clots in right leg disappear. Hope yet! Walked around the block with Heidi today under 9 minutes, fastest yet so speed is slowly coming back.
I did mention earlier that I’m becoming sorta a greedy sob. Not really, I am losing 1 ½ years to 2 years of my life plus the ongoing aches and body parts that don’t function well but also. But also, Nancy has been through hell not knowing if I would actually make it and how I would be. Having to deal with a multitude of doctors, nurses, insurance, hospitals, medicine, live in nurse for 2 months, and of course getting me around everywhere for all the doc/ physical therapy appointments. And working a full time very responsible job. I am amazed she did was able to do all that and not break down. She’s tough!!!
Even if we get a good settlement I am concerned that I’ll not enjoy it very much. I’ve mentioned to Ron, our attorney, I’d give it all back for another 1 – 1 ½ seconds to get out of the way of that damn bus. I don’t really mind one broken something but everything together is a becoming a real drag.
Vision in right eye does not seem as tilted as it once was. Much more level so maybe that part will get better with time. Otherwise, still sucks very much.
Feb 17 went back to physical therapy for first time in 6 or 7 weeks. Good workout and needed it. Jumped on the elliptical machine for 5 minutes. Felt really good but was tired afterwards.
Feb 18 I walk like a drunken sailor If I was drunk I’d be really happy. But…..since I am not drunk I am happy just to be walking. At any rate, today is far, far better than a year ago when I was in a coma and there were doubts about me even making it. I am still here and trying to get better.
Party tonight at El Cholo for my birthday with family, Rick, Cliff and Selina. Very nice time but wished Yoli and Lo were able to make it. Got several bottles of wine and some cool sodas from Haley. Had one margarita and a much better time than a year ago.
The day after; I just feel kinda out sorts, not bad. Just not into anything!! Incision is a wee bit sore but not red so that is good, probably just tender from the treadmill workout yesterday so I’ll lay off for a day or two.
Not too bad today, but still not quite right. I hope we get a good settlement cause I am not having fun being only part me: lousy vision and nothing works very well. I say we, cause Nancy has suffered emotionally hugely and she deserves something too. Plus to say nothing of the financial drain. Nancy had to take a lot of funds out of the IRA to help pay for the nurse, bathroom remodeling, people to drive me around and so on.
I did physical therapy today and the wall pushups really took a toll on my arms, spaghetti for arms! Marc worked on my hip and I can tell he did something. Maybe in 4 or 5 months, longer ??, PT will be used little or not at all. Or??? Maybe I still go 3 times weekly. I’ll go however long it takes me to get better.
Feb 23 Thurs Went Dr. Asher’s office yesterday and went today for x rays on hip and ankle. I’ll go back next week to see the results. Hip is really funky and hurts some. Can’t describe but it just feels tighter and different than before. Ankle seems to bother me more at night, right across the top of the foot where the leg starts. It’s like I’m wearing shoes that are tied way, way too tight! Foot appears to be slightly swollen, I’ll get Dr. Folmar to look at it Friday when I go in. Also went to Dr Boyce, the ophthalmologist and he is supposed to write a statement stating my right vision loss is probably caused by the accident. He may charge but the attorney will recover any fees.
Still don’t feel like walking much but may try to do a little Friday before physical therapy.
I can readily understand how people can get into a deep depression or funk after a serious life changing accident. I could pretty easily handle 2 or 3 things that don’t work well but since it is everything on my right side, and I do mean everything!, it is not easy keeping the spirits up, especially since Nancy works way too many hours and gets in late every night. I know she has to put in many hours but nevertheless it is tiring and getting old.
If I do get a little down all I need to do is read all the “get well soon” postings on Facebook and the Trail Headz site or the many cards I received. That always brings a smile to my face knowing how many friends are out there cheering me on. I did find out that there were quite a few visitors while I was in the coma. Don Gerdts, one of my running buddies, said he read a book about running to me sometime around my birthday. I don’t remember but I surely appreciate it. I do remember a number of visitors that came after I was out of the coma. J Before I forget: two cousins, Don and Morton, from the Dallas area made a special trip to see me in the nursing home. That was so nice and I’ll remember that for a long time.
Friday Feb 24 Went to Dr. Folmar and my shoulder is better and he mentioned I have a hairline fracture I did not know about is healed. He is not going to do anything with the elbow right now so I go back in 6 months for another check up. Speaking of elbows I do remember (May or June) when the nurses put a clean shirt on me and somewhat ignored my howls of protest when my elbow/shoulder was bent the wrong way. Hurt like hell and don’t know if it was Anaheim Terrace or Brea Kindred. But I do distinctly remember a couple of young (Asian?) ladies that were unfailing polite and courteous, wish they all could be like that.
Posted on FB today If you do not know where you are going, any road (trail) will get you there. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carol At least I know where I want to go and I will get there. Probably won’t be pretty or gazelle like or even all the way but I’ll do something even like a slug.
Went to pt today and had a good workout on the elliptical for a few minutes and lots more exercises. Balance is definitely better, can recover quicker and easier but I still walk like a drunken sailor! Maybe by this summer I’ll be good enough, sort of, to ride an Elliptigo.
Talked with my cousin in Dallas and I mentioned I really would like to do stem cell therapy for my right eye. Turns out he does know someone that does that very thing and is most likely pretty reasonable and good. I do need to go to DFW this fall to see my Mother and help her out so I’ll use the trip to talk with the person that does the stem cell therapy.
If I could get my head screwed on straight and better vision I’d be a lot better shape to handle my rehab. I just don’t know how to describe the problem. Noise in my mind, turning head too quickly makes me dizzy for a sec, eyes sometimes seem out of sycn with the rest of me. Don’t have a clue if it will get better with time or worse L Finally have a good description: I’ve been on a merry go round for a bit too long. That’s about as good as I can do. Or, just thought of another one: Being in a truck with loud tires but at a higher pitch.
Feb 26 Sun – Went to the first Headz meeting in a couple months and it was great. Walked with Mick 1.26 miles in 43 min and with hills and used cane. Actually did pretty good. As I’ve said before “I am so slow I have to speed up to stop.” They gave me a nice Trail Headz hoodie and Steve gave me a nice Chimera 100 mile coffee mug. It is so nice to have good friends and I can’t wait to really do a real walk, long of course.
I usually walk around in the morning a bit w/o the ankle brace. I can do w/o, just barely. Not sure if there is any improvement in the drop foot, maybe just a little. If I have to wear it permanently it will not bother me, too much. Course I’d rather not have it to facilitate running. Running, just don’t know but I’ll be happy just to do shorter on the fire roads in the mountains.
Feb 28 Discovered I can get down on the floor and get up w/o needing a chair or anything. Not pretty but it is doable. Always needed a chair or something to help me up so this is big progress.
Going to Snails meeting with Austin tonight and will take cane for just in case it is needed. Did 10 min on treadmill at 2.5 mph or 24 min mile felt really good and breathin a bit harder. Getting there!
Just remembered, I’ve not used the wheelchair since I got home at the end of Jan. When I did use it before I went back into the hospital it was primarily in the mornings since I was so stiff and barely functional till a hot shower made it easier to move around. Still stiff in the mornings but making myself do w/o the wheelchair and now it is doable, just barely!
Today is Feb 29! How to sum up for first 2 months of the year? The biggest disappointment in my recovery is of course the hernia operation and the MRSA infection. I did hurt some at the beginning of the infection but it coulda been lots worse and for that I am thankful. Seem to getting balance back, strength is better and flexibility is better but I still have months of recovery to work on but I WILL get better, there may be a detour here a there but so long as it is only a DETOUR I can live with that.