Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Joys of Physical Therapy

Yep, I'm in PT.  The results of my MRI are in.  I've done an excellent job.  My motto: "If you're going to do it, do it well!"  It seems I followed through on this one.  I have a few torn ligaments, a messed up tendon and a badly bruised bone - all on my left ankle.  Yep.  I did a good job.

I went to the yucky doctor, got the MRI results and scheduled a follow-up planning to cancel it (well before the date).  He looked at the MRI disc and told me about the ligaments and bone finds (as I think I already wrote about).  My good doc appointment was set for 8/9 and I was good to go.  I woke up on Monday, 7/15 to a call from the good doc's office - I was on the cancellation list and they had an opening at 2:30 THAT DAY and could I make it.  SOLD, I'll be there!!

He had a hard copy of the results and I had the CD with the films on them.  He looked at them and added the tendon injury to the already job well-done.  He ordered PT with an immediate goal being to get out of the boot.  For some reason, I was up for it when he ordered it.  I called the PT place the next day and had an appointment for the next day to have an evaluation!  He also addressed the right ankle and gave me a brace for it.  He is a podiatrist so can only deal with the ankles, but I knew that going in and am willing to suffer through while these specific injuries our dealt with.  Yes, my knee causes pretty severe pain but I just can't put up with finding another doctor to handle that right now.  If it gets worse, I'll think about it, but being in PT three times a week and mental health therapy twice a week, I'm pretty busy.  I know, it sounds like excuses, but I can only be so busy!

I had the eval and when I went to leave found out that my secondary insurance claims I am not on the policy.  HUH??  I had asked the facility when I scheduled if they took both of my insurances.  They did, but for some reason I'm suddenly dropped?  I've had many other claims since the beginning of the year (when the new plan began) and have been arguing with them over a number of claims for months.  I called the insurance and they said that I am indeed on the policy but that this PT facility isn't capitated for my specific coverage.  They gave me the name and number for a new place to go - someplace more than my current 5 minutes away.  Oh. My. Gosh!  Is this happening?  I called the woman at the facility and told her what was going on.  She spoke with a manager/supervisor and was told that they would essentially eat whatever isn't covered by my primary insurance.  WOW!  I realize that this is a new location for this company but they sure don't have to be this wonderful about it!  In doing this, since my secondary insurance isn't being billed, I no longer have to get a referral!  It doesn't get any better than this.

So, my ankle measurements, as far as flexibility, are pretty bad - not a surprise.  I have a number of exercises to do here at the house and even more to add to it when I'm with the therapist.  Last week, he added 6 minutes on the bike.  I lost 65-70 lbs a number of years back with my main exercise being the bike (recumbent bike, specifically).  Perhaps I can get motivated to use it on a regular basis - we do have one in our spare bedroom.  My injuries were hurting after having the boot on ALL day on Sunday and my knee had had enough.  There was a surprise party for my father on Sunday and I was working all day until he showed up - and then I had to visit with people and was on my feet a lot.  Anyway, my left ankle and right knee were killing me a minute into the bike, but I pushed through and made it all 6 minutes.  Whew!  Now if I can only make it up to 25-30 minutes or more, that would be ideal.  In the meantime, working on it....

If it's possible, I'm getting less exercise than normal since I got hurt.  I'm walking less back and forth to the kitchen or even standing.  Just moving causes extreme pain.  Putting all of my zillion pounds onto my ankles and knee is not good.  I am, however, thankful that the therapist hasn't mentioned once that if I lose weight it would help.  Frankly this isn't a chronic condition, it is an acute injury and he sees that.  Praise God!

I do have the Rollator but have only used it once to run errands.  I find myself always putting more weight on my right side since my left ankle hurts so much, making my right side pain increase.  The physical therapist mentioned that at some point I may require a cane.  I talked with a friend who uses a cane to get her review of The Hurry-cane and she loves (!!!) it so I ordered it.  I got it a few days ago, but haven't yet tested it out.  we'll see how that goes (especially since I'm more than 50 lbs over the weight limit - but I figure I won't be putting all of my weight on it at once so it should be fine).

So as it stands, I'm trying to work out of the boot and pray I don't need surgery.  A peripheral goal would be to pump up the cardio while I'm there and have to respond to someone.  When this is all said and done, it's off to find a personal trainer.  Oh, and OT is still on the table but hasn't taken the forefront with as busy as I've been due to my pain.  Whatever...

Monday, July 15, 2013


I have the chance to spend time with my brother and his family, including 2 boys (soon to be ages 13 and 11).  They don't live locally... in fact they are in an entirely different country, switching to a different country every two years (my brother works for the government).  This means that unless I travel to them, I only get to see them every 2 years.

Given that, the last time I saw them was 2 years ago.  In those 2 years, I've gained an enormous amount of weight... probably close to 100 lbs.  I was very anxious about seeing them.  They are children and life has shown me that someone of my size gets stared at by the littlest humans.  I've had kids not only stare at me, but be scared of me.  I think I already posted about one 3-yr old who asked if I was going to have a baby.   What can I say to that other than "no, I just don't exercise enough."  I mean, if the kid could learn something by this socially inappropriate (not that I'd expect any different, given his age) question, that would be great.  Get more exercise!

What is your experience with kids (if you're overweight)?  Do they stare at you?  Ask questions?  Act frightened?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Saga Continues

Yes, more drama...

My injuries have created a difficult time.  I have been instructed by the yucky doctor that I am to begin non-weight-bearing.  What is this guy thinking?  First of all., my "900 lb" body cannot be held up by my arms (on a walker or crutches).  In addition, my other ankle and knee are also injured!  So, I am supposed to put all of my weight onto a sprained ankle and knee.  Sure.  No problem...  Well, I was WRONG.  I have to say, I have a Rollator so I was still weight-bearing on my injured leg, but attempted to at least lessen the amount of my fatness being put onto that ankle.

That was yesterday.  There were some errands the hubby and I ran.  For a normal person, it would have been fine, in fact it would have been very few stores.  For me, let's just say that I was virtually unable to put any weight on either leg by the end of the day.  I wasn't able to make it to church today and wound up in bed until 11:30am.  I think the pain wore me out and/or kept me sleeping because it was so bad.  You know, pain can be exhausting!

Hubby has been great!  He isn't letting me get up from the chair for the most part since he got home from the supermarket.  However, he can't get me to the bathroom and sure can't carry me up and down the steps.  I have a therapy appt on Tuesday and his office is on the second floor.  I'm not sure I can make it - especially when I take into account the hour's drive to get there.  Wednesday is a haircut.  Friday I have to do a ton to get ready for a party for my Father on Sunday.  Just writing it is making me tired and causing my knee and ankles to throb.

I am scheduled to see the yucky doctor in about a week and a half.  He danced around the idea that he'll order PT for me at that point (but that I'm too fragile for that right now).  I think it's best (maybe) to wait and see what the good doc says - though that isn't until 8/9.  I don't know... do I wait that long so I can see the good doc, or do I go with the yucky doc and try PT, even though I'm not entirely non-weight-bearing, so don't feel like I"m ready for that; I need to rest my ankle more since I am putting weight on it.  Any thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks, y'all!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

We All Do It

Yes, we do... and I, for one, don't enjoy it!  It's painful, it makes me feel stupid, and I've done it enough for a lifetime.

My guess is you all think I'm talking about sex, or that I've lured you into reading this hoping it's about sex, but it's not.  It's about falling.  Indeed, the simple act of falling.  Being fat alters one's ability to maintain a good center of balance.  While I've had weight issues almost my entire life, I'm most embarrassed about it at this moment.  It's the fattest I've ever been.  It's the most at risk I've been for injury (and I've had a LOT of injuries in the past; it wasn't a big deal for me to enter my High School on crutches... nobody took a second look).

I was at a baseball game two weekends ago.  No, I'm not a huge fan, but it was a birthday gift from my parents to my husband.  Anyway, I have a handicapped permit due to my arthritis and disk disease so of course we parked in those spots.  I noticed that the only ramp I saw served probably a dozen parking spaces.  I was in the middle of making a comment to my husband about it (and how the curb in front of the many handicapped spaces should really be ramped) and the next thing I know I'm on the ground.  I'm yelling "ouch. ouch."  Now I go up steps every day at home and I successfully navigate ramps all the time at a variety of stores but this one had to get me... it had to win.

As I try to get up, I hear someone yelling at me to stay where I was.  It turned out to be a security guard.  As I hear her, I see ballpark paramedics coming towards me.  The next thing I know my parents, along with her pastor (also a PA) and bunches of professionals have surrounded me.  Fortunately I was far enough away from the actual park that my fall didn't cause a huge hullabaloo.

It takes two medics to heave me up onto the curb (you know, the one which should be a ramp).  "What hurts?  Are you okay?  Do you need an ambulance?"  The barrage of questions continued for a bit.  "I don't think anything's broken."  I'd have to agree, I can move all of my extremities and there are no bones sticking out from under my skin.  My right shin was pretty cut up and my left ankle hurt (later my right ankle took over as the pain-ridden appendage, so was the one to get medical attention).  As for the ambulance - how silly would it be to take the ambulance to a hospital I don't even like?!?

The medics squished (and I mean Squished - with a capital "S") me into a wheelchair and we took the elevator up to the box my Mom's church had gotten.  The next thing was to pry me out of the chair - an adventure all of its own.  They iced my abrasions and my right ankle and I spent the entire game in our air-conditioned box.  As time went on, I noticed my right ankle causing me more pain, but I didn't think it was worth hunting down the paramedics.

Oh, did I mention they did an incident report?  I mean, I guess they had to, but it all seemed so over the top.  I fell.  So what?  Yeah, and I had to sign a "refusal of treatment" form.  My father was there to make sure I wasn't signing my life away.

That was Saturday.  Sunday comes along and I'm barely able to walk, with my left ankle swollen as if there was a baseball under the skin.  I try to get up and nearly fall to the ground.  My lower half has been beaten up, or so it felt.  I decided that after church I needed to have x-rays done.  Off to OUR ER we go.  The x-rays were negative, but both ankles and my right knee were sprained.  Since my left ankle and right knee were the worst, I was given an air cast and immobilizer, respectively.  They gave me an ace bandage for my other ankle.  And off I went.

Fast forward to over a week later; Tuesday.  I see a new doctor who gives the most attention to my worst injury, giving me a (huge, ugly) boot for my left ankle and ignored the rest of my injuries.  He wanted to do an MRI and PT (with PT first), but I let him know the severity of my pain, so he ordered the MRI.  Oh, did I mention that he wants me to see some friends of his at a local family practice to test me for diabetes.  Yeah, more joys of being fat.  Yes it runs in my family.  Evidently given those two facts I must have fallen because my lower extremities were numb.  No, they are far from numb - they hurt like the dickens!  I've not done anything about the diabetes.  I just got out of 3 weeks in the hospital and am certain their bloodwork included a sugar level!  Remember, I'm fat and it runs in my family.  Everyone assumes, yet somehow I've managed to avoid the beast.

So, the MRI was Friday and I await the results.  I haven't scheduled a follow-up with this guy.  I did NOT like him.  He didn't listen to me and a medical student spent the most time with me.  He was in and out and spoke so fast I couldn't follow.  I was overwhelmed and didn't even have time to process what he had to say enough to tell him that even Vicodin wasn't helping the pain, so I said it to the student, who ordered an anti-inflammatory (yeah, Aleve didn't work either).  Just so there is no confusion, I don't mind having med students in with me, but when he spends three times the amount of time with me than the doctor himself, I have a problem.  I'm paying to see the doctor!  Anyway, I had ligament surgery on my other ankle several years back and loved that doctor.  I sent the MRI results to him, but unfortunately his first available appt isn't until early August.  Ugh.

To sum up: being fat leaves one vulnerable to falling; being out of shape makes the likelihood of injury greater.  If one is fat, s/he is bound to have diabetes so we'll just chalk this up to that and essentially ignore the pain of said fat person.  Actually, I wonder if often my ailments are assumed to be fat-related.  I KNOW losing weight will improve a lot of my pain issues, but in the meantime, I'm still in PAIN!  I rambled about that in another post, so I'll let you go back and read that one - haha.

And I leave you with a word of gratitude for making your way through this incongruous post - in which the topic was far from your initial suspicions.  Once again, I say that I will try to post more often - and hopefully with shorter posts and good news of any sort!  :)