Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hey- Where's That Chair With Wheels?

The wheelchair has been taken back to the wheelchair corral today. :C....

I've been using the cane most of the time the last couple weeks. And when I haven't been using the cane I've been walking on my own. My balance is just a bit off if I try anything fancy (turning quickly, hopping on my left foot, square dancing, or any other highly skilled walking-related maneuvers) but I'm almost ready to get rid of the cane.

Maybe not for awhile. Plus the cane is really cool and heavy enough to take out most opponents with one well-placed swing.

Also, there are some days when I feel really tired and achy. Especially when it's hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. The other day with the hellish heat and humidity I was really run down and glad I had the cane to help out.

SO a fond farewell to the wheelchair (and more space in the Element!). We'll miss you...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Recovery Update & Sadistic Sullivan

Dr. Sullivan is cool. But he likes to do stuff to my feet that could be considered torture, by some. When you hear a CLICK as you bend a toe violently back-- well it's not pleasant even if it doesn't hurt too much...

I was having an issue with a hammer toe (the pointer toe next to the stump) because of walking more and more. I got in to see Dr. Sullivan's partner at the Lafayette Foot Center (or whatever it's called) last Friday. Dr. Oliver used a dremel-type thing to obliterate the pointer toe's funky nail and then he wrapped it so it was huge and sorta straight. There was a little bit of a wound on the tip of the toe because of the hammer-ness. So I got a course of antibiotics to help knock out the infection too.

This Friday I got to see Dr. Sullivan. It was a joy to see him because he's got a sense of humor and he's blunt if there's something horribly wrong that needs to be chopped off. Plus he's an IU grad so he's one of the few sane people in Purdue-ville. He said the pointer toe looked good and then did a horrible procedure to the tendons in the pointer toe to straighten it out.

He took a needle-thing (that's the technical medical term, I'm sure) and poked it into the joint and wiggled it around some. This snapped the tendon, at least that's how I understood it when Dr. Oliver explained it last week. Then he did it at the other joint!

Dr. Sullivan loves his work.

He then straightened it out and pushed it back what seemed like WAAAY too far for a toe to go back comfortably. He wrapped it and said I was good to go.

Like the kid in class who reminds the teacher she forgot to give out any homework, I asked if the other toes looked okay to him. With glee, he pushed all of them, one at a time, WAAAY too far back. Most of them made snapping sounds and the pinky toes on both feet are bruised today. That should teach me to ask if my toes look okay- they're butt-ugly and they're fine...

Now for some possibly disturbing toe shots from Sullivan's office. The stump has been described by some as looking sorta 'snout-like'- you be the judge:

I go back in a couple of weeks for more torture follow-up on the toe straightening. He may do the procedure on some of the others then, but let's hope not....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Driving? Maybe Not

I love to drive.

I really love to drive.

I mean I LOVE it! The magical forward motion and the near-anti gravity on a curve or a hill. Driving is one of my few vices.

I haven't driven since maybe early February.

I drove the other day.

Driving is hard.

I drove for maybe 20 minutes total (probably actually less than that) and my legs were unhappy with me.

I was so tired I couldn't wait to become a mere passenger again.

I've been trying to use the cane for walking as much as I can stand during the day. And then I still use it to push myself.

I've been taking small flights of steps when I feel adventurous. Up is easier than down, but both ways are tiring.

Some simple in-town driving (downtown nonetheless!) took as much out of me as a whole day of walking around with the stick.

I still love to drive, though.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Meijer Epic Journey

I've been to Meijer in the wheelchair a few times. When I used to go to Meijer before the chair I could buzz through the whole grocery section pretty quickly- walking. So I figured I should try it with a cart to lean on and the cane as backup the other day...

I'm not as far along in walking as I thought I was.

It took much longer than I realized and I was very tired and achy at the end. But I barely went down half the aisles! It started out pretty easy with the cart to lean on like a wheeled walker thing (I hate those). But after the Produce area and into the cold meats area I was starting to feel it. My legs and feet started to hurt. A few times I thought I wouldn't make it out alive, but I managed to survive.

A quick trip into a store is one thing-- almost an hour of grocery shopping is a whole different beast. I think I'll stick with the chair for that kind of shopping trip for a while...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Recovery Update And Scooter/Cyclists Suck

I am still slowly relearning how to walk. I've been tending to get ahead of myself and walking too fast (5 steps a minute rather than 3). Then I realize that way lies possible tripping and falling, so I slow down to a more reasonable pace.

I've climbed some short 'flights' of stairs (the most was maybe 4 steps) and went down one looong flight (that was exciting!). Down stairs is much easier than up, but I'm getting closer to bounding up and down steps again (as well as trampling flowerbeds and kicking up dirt).

I've been trying to walk more and more each day. The chair is still seeing use when I'm tired from the whole walking thing or when I want to get somewhere faster than a turtle with a limp. Being tall again is nice, though sinks and shelves that seemed impossibly high up from the chair are far too low from a standing position. Either way the world is not built for one so exceptional as I...

As I'm slowly weaning myself from the chair I've seen more and more offenses against those in wheelchairs (or who need handicapped parking and access). The most annoying and prevalent are those BLEEPs who park their scooter or motorcycle in the blue diagonal lined areas beside handicapped parking spots. Those areas are for people with wheelchairs to have space to get their wheelchairs out of their vehicles! But no- some moron doesn't want his bike to be out in a regular space where someone might scratch it so he parks in the area marked off for the handicapped. I've been tempted to push the offending 'bike' over many times but have adopted the policy of telling the establishment's person-in-charge instead. Some of the manager/dork-in-charge people have looked at me like I'm speaking in calculus or ancient Sumerian. Others are happy to call and report it to the police, but they honestly tell me that the offending bike will likely be gone by the time the cops actually show up (if they show up at all).

If you know anyone with a 'bike' of any sort be sure to remind them NOT to park in-between handicapped spaces. It's just wrong and next time I may decide to push it over 'by accident' because someone needs to be taught a lesson- I mean because I'm still not a good walker yet and in the chair I sometimes lose control of it....

Friday, April 22, 2011

Slowly Walking But Still Mostly in the Chair

It's been about 2 weeks since the Doctor told me to start trying to walk with a cane. I've not overdone it... much. I've been trying to walk a little bit each day, slowly progressing with each attempt. But it's slow... ssslloooowww. Actually I'm the one who's slow, the progress is actually pretty good. But if I were to race a snail it would be neck-and-neck until the snail got a burst of energy and left me in the dust...

Walking with a cane (it's not the cane's fault) is hard and tiring. I now know why it is that toddlers need to take naps. I've gotten about halfway somewhere and thought "I should go back and opt for the chair" only to realize that it'll be just as far to go back as it would be to keep going. So I've kept going.

The best thing about walking (even very slowly walking) is that I'm TALL again. I can see farther and on top of things too. I can reach stuff that I could only dream about reaching from the chair. It's good to be tall.

I have not yet tackled any flights of stairs. I am slowly (very slowly) working up to it. I've taken a couple steps up and down here and there (curbs, thresholds, etc.) but really no more than two or three up and down. That will be interesting.

It's going to take time and I'm supposed to go at my own pace, so I will. I want to be done with the chair so I can rejoin the legged society....

Monday, April 18, 2011

People STILL Suck... Except When They Don't

We've done this before, but it was a while ago and more impolite, unaware, or just plain malicious people have been revealed to me since then. There have also been genuinely nice and helpful folks but the jerkwads are the ones you need to watch out for....

++Other Wheelchair/Handicapped Sticker People++
An incident at a well-known grocery store parking lot made me realize that other wheelchair-bound people can be BLEEPers too. We were patiently waiting to pull into a handicap parking space (all the spots were full but the two old guys who seemed to walk fine just got into their truck and were backing out). We had to wait for them to pull away before we could pull into the space. Well a latecomer with a wheelchair tag zoomed up from the other direction and pulled into the spot even though we were clearly headed to it with the blinker on and a prominent red wheelchair tag hanging from the rearview mirror. They didn't pay any attention to a shout of: "What the- ?" The old lady was later seen in a motorized store cart but she seemed to have no trouble walking into the store...

Which brings us to ANYONE in a motorized store cart. I've noticed this phenomenon even before I was in a wheelchair- those people don't' pay attention to where they're headed. They slowly crawl through the rows in the absolute center to block people from getting around them. They crash into people and carts and displays and anything else they can crash into without so much as a "Oops, sorry." I have thought about using one of these things but I don't want to run the risk of turning into a totally self-centered ahole...

++Door Opening Dude++
This guy coming out a set of big glass double doors someplace saw me roll up as he was coming out. He walked through the door and did that fake "I'm helping" push of the door so it would stay open a second as he walked away. It didn't help at all and he should not be proud of his failed attempt...

++People Who Use Someone Else's Handicapped Sticker Vehicle++
...just so they can park in a handicapped spot while they run some errands! I've seen this more times than I can count. Able-bodied young people parking in a wheelchair space and skipping into the building for a minute or two. Perhaps they're mentally disabled...

++Pregnant Lady++
I was heading out of JoAnn's (looking for some thick felt stuff like the Doctor used for my 'horseshoe') and a very pregnant lady was headed out in front of me. She stopped and held the door open for me to get out. The whole time I'm thinking "Should I tell her that I'll get the door for HER next time? Or would that sound really creepy?" So I went with a simple "thank you." She helped restore my faith in the fact that not everyone is a self-centered BLEEPer-- and she'll probably raise a good kid...