Thursday, June 28, 2007

I'm As Tough As Pudding

Physical therapy is a lot harder than I thought it would be. When Chuck, my handsome physical therapist with the trendy hair, gently pulls or pushes on my legs, I smile through gritted teeth and clenched fists. Geez, this hurts! And then, a couple hours after I leave, my whole body aches and I really need to sleep.

Yesterday, an older lady (she appeared to be in her 80s) came in for therapy. She was very slowly moving an arm exercise machine while I moved my legs from side to side, holding myself up on grab bars. As I hobbled out the door when I was finished, I heard her say about me, "I had no idea she was as bad off as that!" An 80-year-old lady with physical problems is feeling sorry for me. Great.

Today, another older lady was in for shoulder work while Chuck worked my legs. She asked how I was injured and I told her and asked how she was injured. She's a BIG sports fan, you see, and she was watching the Manning boys in the SuperBowl and didn't want to miss a thing so she ran to the restroom during a commercial. On her way back, she slipped on her oxygen tube and broke her shoulder.

Chuck probably sees a lot of old folks.

If an 80-year old and a woman on oxygen can do this, so can I.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sheesh! I need a nap!

The last two days have been quite eventful.

Yesterday, I bought a car, and today I started rehab.

The car decision was the result of a long internal struggle with whether to buy a car that I truly like and want to drive or to buy a car that makes a strong statement about fuel efficiency. I think I hit a nice compromise with the Mazda3 hatchback.

The Mazda3 is great fun to drive (or so Len tells me, since I won't actually get behind the wheel until it is delivered Tuesday), has loads of space for such a small car, and has great styling inside and out. I'm very excited! The Prius just didn't thrill me, once inside the MINI I found it to be cramped and weird, and the Honda Civic Hybrid was my top choice until I got inside the Mazda. At 30 or so mpg, it's not as fuel efficient as some of the others I considered, but it is more so than some of the other cars I considered for their drivability. I was not officially able to drive, so Len did the testing for me. We have similar driving likes and dislikes, so I trust his judgment. Besides, I really loved my Madza Miata, and Len tells me it has similar road-hugging qualities. The first place I'll get to drive my new wheels is to physical therapy.

Which brings me to today. My PT guy, Chuck, checked me over and moved my stiff muscles and had me do several exercises. Then he gave me a home exercise program and instructions on proper use of crutches. I walked around the office on the crutches for a bit and then we made arrangements for my future appointments. Easy, peasy.

Well, easy until I got home and slowly started using the crutches here. Oh man, does my body ache from this morning's movements! And, using the crutches is hard work! I'm beat already!

But, as I've said before, this is so worth it -- and a long time coming. I was beginning to think this day might never arrive. But it has, and I'm okay! Normal is just a few weeks away!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

I've really tried not to fall into the "when this happens, my life can begin again" trap, but my physical therapy starts Monday and I really feel like my life is about to begin again. As it is, I can't even go out the front door to pick up the mail, but once I'm using crutches or a walker I can exit any door I choose. A lot has happened these last three months, so it's certainly not like my life has been at a standstill. I've experienced quite a lot, I've learned a lot about myself and the people around me, and I've changed as a person. As I recuperate, I'm moving back to my body-modest ways, but I'll never be as concerned about hiding myself as I once was. In fact, I kinda like my giant scars -- they are part of who I have become.
So tomorrow is the big day. The physical therapy will be painful and difficult, but so worth it. I'll never be the same, but hopefully I'll be better in some ways and just different in others.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cancer Blows

My brother-in-law, Dennis, was diagnosed with Bladder cancer last year and underwent surgery to remove his bladder and prostate in December. He was to start chemo, but was too ill until recently. Unfortunately, the cancer has spread to his legs and he starts chemo in a couple weeks. He's been my hero since I got into the wheelchair, since he's been in one for the last 24 years. He's helped me not feel sorry for myself and he and my sister Paula have been very supportive.

His doctors are not very hopeful, but he is, and he feels good right now.

That's everything.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Eco or Gas Hog? That is the question.

This car-buying thing has gotten to be a tougher decision than I ever imagined.

I want a fuel-efficient car, but I also want something fun and cool. None of the hybrids really make me excited, but I can't deny that 50 mpg for a Prius is pretty darned spectacular. I don't think the car is ugly, but for its spaceship interior, the outside is a bore. We drove a Prius, as well as a Highlander this weekend (Len drove, I just slid over from the chair into the seat). But the Highlander is an SUV and we just aren't SUV folk. They swish and sway too much and are simply too bulky. Not for us. The Prius we drove was a rental car from the dealership because they'd sold all they had in stock. Cavernous inside -- absolutely huge. But the cloth seats were pretty dirty, and we'd have to get leather. One trip and the hounds would destroy the interior. I'd be happy with leatherette, but leather is all that is offered.

Isn't there some disconnect between a car that was designed from the ground up to get super-efficient gas mileage -- a "green" vehicle -- that offers leather interior? Anyway, it bothers me.

But, does that mean I should go way to the other side and get a 2005 BMW 325i sedan? Same price as the Prius, with 4 years left on its BMW certified used car warranty, and to hell with the gas mileage and tree-hugging ideals. I used to have a 3-series, Len's hand-me-down when he got the Saab wagon. It's a really nice exciting car, but geez, talk about conspicuous consumption!

I've wanted a Mini Cooper for years. I almost got one when I decided to spend about 10K less and get another car I wanted forever, a Mazda Miata. I loved my Miata, but sold it because when we moved to Seattle and I worked from home, we decided we'd be a one car family. I bought the scooter while we lived there.

The problem with the Mini is Len. He thinks it's a kid's car and just doesn't like it. Fair enough. But it gets pretty good mileage at 35/40mpg, and it has reasonable cargo capacity for such a small car, and I really like it. I guess we just have to drive one. Maybe that will change his mind.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Two Weeks, Five Days

The night before my appointment with Dr.Furie, Len asked what I'd do if Dr. Furie told me I had to wait longer before getting out of the chair. I told Len I'd punch Dr. Furie in the face. When it came down to it, I chickened out.
I have to wait until June 25 before beginning physical therapy. Dr. Furie's face is intact.
My knee is great, but he doesn't want me putting all my weight on it -- by waiting, I'll be able to balance the weight between both legs. He's right and I hate it, but I don't want to risk prolonging the healing even more, so I'll abide.
My hip is re-growing way too much bone. When I have the hip replacement, Dr. Furie says he'll zap my hip with a little radiation to stop the bone from growing all around the joint. Yowza!
Still, I'm in good spirits about the wait to walk. I'm resigned to it now and I just have a new goal day. I made the appointment already for my first PT treatment at the hospital a couple blocks from my house. Two weeks after that, I'll see Dr. Furie again for a follow up.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Time Heals

When I first came home from the hospital, I was out of sorts. I was sad and in pain and not at all myself. I'd cry because Len would have to take care of my every need. I was humiliated by my lack of independence. He kept telling me that I just needed to wait things out and I'd be better and he was right.

I feel like my old self again. I'm sleeping in my own bed again. I need Len for fewer and fewer of my daily activities. I'm relatively pain free. And, I'm anxious to get back to work.

I just need to get out of this wheelchair.

Tomorrow, I see my orthopedic surgeon again for x-rays and an exam. Considering how well I'm doing, I believe physical therapy will begin then and I'll be learning to walk with a walker or crutches or something. I might finally get out of this blasted chair!

In anticipation of my getting out of said chair, I have ramped up my interest in a new vehicle. Len and I went to a Toyota dealer Sunday. They had sold all their Prius models, but had Camry Hybrids and Highlander Hybrids. Len was quite taken with the Highlander. Great gas mileage for an SUV, loads of room for hounds and accompanying hound stuff, and not too large (for an SUV). The Highlander Hybrid gets better gas mileage than our Saab wagon. Lots to think about...