Affects of Recovery

I was hoping last Friday I’d have my stitches out but since I’ve been in recovery my appetite has waned. I’m not as active so my metabolism has adapted and slowed down. My Dr. suggested I eat lots of protein supplements, like bars or shakes etc. Not interested. So it may be encouraging a slower healing response. So my incision wasn’t decently healed and I still have them. They were a little prickly/itchy last week but this week they’re not so bothersome. They may get annoying by next Friday though.

I’ve also noticed how badly my right calf has atrophied. It’s… UGHHH… I once had this beautiful taught calf muscle and now it’s limp and just HANGS off my leg bone. I’m so happy to be slated for Physical Therapy by next week. It will be nice to be active, but I’m also afraid that my Dr. just wants me to stretch and get massaged. I can’t wait to go back to class.

I have also been struggling lately since I’ve been healing. My nerves are reconnecting and it’s a little agonizing. It’s just a searing pain but not intense, it’s kinda just annoying. So it burns there for hours and there’s no way I can get comfortable with out pain meds. Which isn’t bad, normal IB is usually enough. It takes me 8 IBs to get through my monthly so this is nothing. It’s just distracting. My big toe and 2nd toe used to be really numb, I was always wiggling them and rubbing them against each other so proper feeling would come back. They’re finally on the mend, last night they hurt a little as the nerves were reconnecting.

What do I mean by reconnecting? Well during surgery they have to slice through all that tissue and small capillaries, etc. Including nerves. Hard to avoid them. So while you heal, just like your other tissues they repair themselves. Except nerves are meant for feeling. Capillaries resupply blood/oxygen/nutrients – there’s no feels there. Nerves on the other hand though are all about feeling. My Husband had some oral surgery that has left him numb in a particular part of his mouth/jaw region on his face. It at first really bothered him and some feeling has come back but he’s adjusted. He looked into it a lot so I have him for great reference. He’s told me that when nerves reconnect the first sensations are pain and tingling. OH do I get that randomly.

I didn’t realize this entire time but the bottom of my heel is more or less completely dead to touch. I can feel very dull pressure but it feels like there’s a stack of bandages over my heel. That’s what I thought it was at first, and my incision was far more painful so I wasn’t too concerned with it. Not until recently when my incision is actually feeling better and my nerves are firing up. It bums you out a little because nerve damage is a possibility from any and all surgeries. Just like my husband. I guess it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I couldn’t feel my heel to an extent. But today, it has started to regain feeling. It was burning earlier and now it feels warm- where beforehand I didn’t feel much of anything at all. So I’m thinking as my incision continues to heal from the inside out the nerves will continue to connect and I’ll get feeling again just like I have in my toes.

Of course, being Black Friday here in the US, I was never going to go to a sale. Jeopardize my heel for towels? I think not. I am pouting though over all the pretty boots and shoes I’d like to buy. Oh to wear two shoes again.

Advertisements

Os Trigonum Recovery

The following days after my surgery were kinda weird. The night after my surgery was probably the worst. I was given what I call Super Ibuprofen. It really is, just a super hyped version. You can only take it once every six hours. It destroyed the lining in my stomach despite taking it with food. I had an RX for Vicodin, but I don’t ever feel like my pain is that bad to ever take it, despite always being prescribed it by Drs. That night though, as all the pain meds and everything finished coursing through my system. I was left with a swollen and hot foot with searing pain. It was a little intense; my cramps are worse. It woke me though in the middle of the night and it just seared, which just isn’t a pleasant feeling. All I could do was bear and grit it and try go back to sleep. Which eventually I did because an hour before hand I had taken Super IB. It finally kicked in and I was out but up early. I can best describe it as being really sick. Those two week knock outs where it’s a week of being bed ridden ill and a week of recovery to get your appetite and strength back. So the first three days I feel have been the hardest. It was a struggle to get ready for my post op appointment on Friday after my surgery. The whole bathing, and brushing your teeth, trying to not get your leg wet, getting clothes on and off, brushing your teeth. So much work and your poor hip gets tired of hefting around your dead leg, and your left leg gets tired of working the hardest. I was exhausted after getting ready. I finished early so I had an hour to lay down and recuperate lost energy spent on getting ready for the trip to downtown.

The first trip down didn’t actually seem so bad, but I was having troubles since I was sitting sideways in the back seat. No wonder kids get car sick. This trip wasn’t too bad, but last Friday was a near hurl worthy excursion. Maybe this Wednesday I’ll work it so I’ll sit in the front. While it won’t be safe if I lay my car seat so far back, I’ll at least not want to throw up. Most things are better than throwing up in my book. It’s nice though that the office Lady helped me right away to one of the Drs chairs which elevates and kicks back. Oh how I wished I had one at home. It was a relief to get my leg up. The Dr. just checked to make sure I wasn’t getting feverish or feeling sick and changed my dressings. It wasn’t bothersome to look at my incision, if my leg was pried open and I could see bone – then I’d have issue. So I watched him clean it up and then redress it with a fun pink bandage.  Then sent me on my way. I was also given a pictogram list of exercises to do at home. Things like trying to pointe into a pillow against a wall but your toes flexed up. Flexing your foot up, and pointing your foot down. Rotating your ankle and so on. The worst part is how much your body freezes up your ability after a surgery. Everything is just so tight, with the exercise and now the “continuous passive motion” machine I’m getting my flexibility back to just normal. In a couple more weeks I’ll hopefully be able to get back to dance class and physical therapy.

Now that it’s almost been two weeks since my surgery I’m feeling better. Having baths doesn’t take so much out of me any more. I’m just itching to do more than just lie in bed. I keep to it though because I’m still recovering and if you over spent yourself your body won’t heal as fast. So I’m taking it a day at a time. I sleep in a lot, not because I want to really but because my body demands it. I am going to bed late, and the first week I required naps mid day. So my sleep schedule is a little off, but I wake up pretty groggy. I just think my body requires a lot of rest for all the work I’m doing in the CPM machine.

Husband and I were trying to go to a friend’s gathering for the Seahawks game. I was stoked, but exhausted when I woke up. So we decided it would be better that I was home, otherwise I’d just get exhausted and may have to leave early anyways. I’m keeping myself entertained with movies, reading, video games, sleeping, and being on the internet. I’d like to get more done but I need to be a little stronger and able to use my right foot (especially for sewing.)

Recovery so far hasn’t been so bad. It is difficult to get back into simple working order and needs a lot of perseverance. Like I said, Wednesday is my latest post op and I hope I get the OK to go see some Nutcracker performances with my Mentor.

In the mean time I’m going to keep reading my Hunger Games trilogy and keep at my CPM machine. It’s a 20 min on 20 min off process all day. I’ve been told to consume more protein, but I hate protein powder and protein bars in mass quantities will congest you lol. So I’m trying to figure out what to do. Any suggestions or recommendations?

Day of Surgery, my Os Trigonum story.

It’s officially been over a week now since I’ve had my surgery. I’m very happy with modern day medicine, it makes recovery so much easier.

Wednesday early morning. I have to get up and shower in a special solution had hebicleanse. It’s a surgery soap. The worst part is, is that you have to stand in the shower- with it off and scrub up. Making sure to stay away from your bits. So you’re cold, and you’re sudsing up, and you’re trying to be cautions and in the back of your mind the anxiety of your impending surgery is looming. I was instructed to wear loose comfortable clothing to my surgery. So I wore some simple loose and comfortable yoga pants, from back in the day when yoga pants were wide legged and made of really super comfy fabric. Despite it being comfortable it was a little cold. We had a cold snap during that time so it was pretty chilly. Husband-san had picked up a pair of crutches for me and loaded up the car, including myself.

I had discussed with my Doctor and the Nurses of the hospital where I’d be having the surgery about my anxiety of IVs. I have no fear of needles, not bothered by being pricked. I have a phobia of having a needle stuck in me for an extended amount of time. I find it unnatural and it just appalls me. I had my wisdom teeth removed and I have serious anxiety from dentists, so I had been double dosed for my anxiety. I was in loopy ville and I have an audience to prove it. Talking about Pandas and talking to fish. So they got me into the chair and just as they were about to give me my IV, my heart rate accelerated and my brain kicked into survival mode and adrenaline was waking me out of my drugged stupor until they put a gas mask over me and I blacked out. SO, despite talking to my Doctor they figured that even trying to drug me beforehand wouldn’t do much other than make me drowsy. We arrived at the hospital and the check in. Easy enough to check in, didn’t even wait long for them to bring me into the surgery recovery area. The Nurse was very nice but very efficient. I had to get out of my clothes and get into that wonderful butt showing gown. Except I was allowed to keep me undies on. Also these oh so fashionable socks that worked either way with no slip grips in green and white. Then I got into the hospital bed where the Nurse proceeded to lay out this fold out inflatable blanket, that hooked up to an air intake that output warm air into the inflatable blanket. To keep me toasty. They also laid over me a blanket that had been in a warmer. I wish there was a sheet warmer at my house. I’d most certainly never get out of bed unless to get another blanket. While the Nurse was doing all this she asked me if I stumbled or if I was clumsy. I just kind of looked at her incredulously. She said she needed to know so that in case she needed to change my socks to yellow.  So I’m tucked in nicely with my inflatable blanket and the sun is beginning to rise right outside my window. Then Nurse decided to lay all these instruments across my legs. She managed to mumble something and walked out of the room. Then Husband-san was like “I’m surprised you’re taking it so easy after she said she was going to put your IV in.” So then I decided to freak out. She came back and then I asked about if she was going to put the IV in and she said confirmed to which I said I have a horrible anxiety concerning IVs and I had told almost everyone I could beforehand about it. She left the room and spoke with the anesthesiologist and came back with a small pill. I tried to dissolve it in my mouth but it turned out to be near impossible since I haven’t had any liquids for the last 5 hours. A few minutes later still not feeling any affect of the pill.

So the Anesthesiologist pops in and I’m floored. Like his face is sparkling, like I feel I should know him from some mid day sappy soap opera. He was TOO HANDSOME. He was the CLICHE OF CLICHES. He wasn’t my cup o tea, but I respect a persons genetic advantage. Guy was blinding me with his unusual-ness. I tell him about my anxiety and He’s kind enough to listen yet feels that what I’m asking for (to be knocked out before an IV is even in place) but says that’s only reserved for children usually. In my brain I go “yes, that’s why I need it, my brain will revert into a childlike state in .0 seconds.” So he decides to start putting my IV in and I just remember going limp, with him taking my right arm, He tries to distract me with conversation but my anxiety is beginning to take over. The Surgery Nurse pops in to introduce herself which Handsome Anesthesiologist decides to take advantage of this and have her talk to me on my left side. I already turned away from him and was beginning to hyperventilate and was staring off into space while tears began to stream down my face. While Surgery Nurse is trying to talk to me about being wheeled away and in the surgery room I’m miles away to the point she realizes I can’t hear a word she’s saying so she just decides to coach me about my breathing saying I’m taking deep breaths and doing good. Handsome Anesthesiologist gets the IV in and it doesn’t even hurt, he’s really gentle about it all, so that was positive, but like I said it was just the fact that I have a giant needle sticking out of me (okay it wasn’t that giant I think because of my size). He super secured it and quickly injected me with a sedative. Where I quickly just lulled. He left the room and talked with my Doctor who said I was still anxious- SO THEY GAVE ME MORE. Which sealed the deal and was out cold. Husband-san told me that during the whole ordeal Handsome Anesthesiologist and Surgery Nurse were nervously looking from me to Husband. We assume they were afraid Husband-san would get aggressive. While Husband-san didn’t like to see me in distress he knew they weren’t hurting me and that I wasn’t hurt. There’s just no point in him intervening.

So I woke up in the recovery room to my name. It was dark and there were other people with heart monitors on. Other Nurses were talking to their patients who had also gotten out of surgery. The first thing I did as I was blinking bleary eyed was to wiggle my toes. It was awkward and strange but it still moved. My leg was… not in pain. It felt really warm. I remember going back to sleep and waking up again with my foot wrapped in a “cryocuff”, it’s like a waterbed mattress in the shape of a booty that you fill with ice water.  I had gone through two IV bags during surgery so I had to PEE. I was still bleary because I was super sedated, remember, I had a pill beforehand and two sedative injections. I also weight 110lbs and had nothing to eat since 10pm the day before and water at 12am. I was “intoxicated” with sedative. It was so hard to go the bathroom that the nurse who was with me just hooked her finger into my pants and undies and just pulls down. I just didn’t care because I was so drugged up and I had just gotten out of surgery and I had to PEE. So I did so and got out and they put me back into my recovery recliner and gave me another bag of fluids. They gave me more time to recover because I was a “light weight”. I wanted to sleep there all day really. I just wanted people to pull down my pants for me and set me down and get me back into bed to sleep honestly. Wasn’t so though. By the time I was ready to leave the second time I had to pee, I started to complain audibly about my IV in my hand. It was SO uncomfortable to have it in my hand while I used my crutches. They were afraid I was going to rip out my IV so they took it out asap. I think I remember right after I got out of recovery I asked for my iPhone to check things but I was still too sleepy so I took a photo of my IV… what’s wrong with me?

10801469_10204391366639876_1787602577455903427_n

They had tied a bandage around my hand to cover the IV. I handed it to my Husband-san who stuffed it into his pocket. I still have it… I was happily wheeled away in a wheelchair to our car and was stuffed into the back seat where I slept on the way home. Get home and pile myself into the downstairs bedroom and put my foot up and call it a day.

Final Class Before Surgery

It’s been 5 days since my surgery. Right now I’m fighting with my cat in how he wants to sit in my lap while I type…like butt on my right arm. Or his forepaw over my left hand and his butt in my face… just- finally he sat. Technically I’m not supposed to have my pets around me, but I can’t help it. They do give me a certain calm that I need in my life, just as long as I keep them from trampling my ankle and messing up my incision. Digression-

SO. Because Momma WeDo like’s nitty gritty details here’s Tuesday night’s class first:

I had class at PNB Tuesday night. I was being a floor snob, people weren’t dancing on the diagonal and they would run into me. Except I was the person behind them so I should’ve been watching for them, but… I wanted to dance on the diagonal. That’s no excuse for being rude, I hope I didn’t hurt their feelings because they left the class early; the two who I collided with. So when I arrived and paid for class there were a few people who were eyeing me. Several of the men who take the more intermediate advance class stretching about outside in the lobby. There were some younger girls, early 20s, eyeing me as I too took off my signature sneakers and put on my soft shoes and stretched a little. 15 min before class was to start no teacher (typical) so I went in to the studio where another person was warming up. I had to fix my non existent squirt of a ponytail, I have yet not figured out a cute configuration lol. It was nice to see I was still limber since I’ve only been going to one class a week and had skipped last week (partially because I didn’t want to subject myself and the other part was because the instructor was sick.) I could still easily lift my leg to the high barre and stretch which was pleasant. People started to file in as I was stretching. The girls eyeing me came in, some people I remember from last fall, and others from the summer were there as well. Also Spaniard friend showed up! He danced behind/infront of me. I had the two 20-somethings dance on the other side of me. They were the last of the barre but I think because they were on the other wall they didn’t feel the pressure to do their best as they seemed new. Spaniard thinks I should move to the intermediate class, and he’s probably right. I felt I intimidated a lot of the people in class. I wasn’t trying to be mean or ballet bitch-y; but people say I have one of those nasty rest faces. Barre was simple enough, a lot of tendus from first. We did do one exercise with releves and rond de jambe en la air. I think that was a little much for some though. I really need to work on my turn out in extension. It’s hard at this age to locate, manipulate, and work them. Especially those who aren’t naturally flexible. Though I do think I was the one with the highest extension (and that was just 90°) I did notice as soon as I started critiquing myself I would forget the combination. This unfortunately messed up the two 20somethings who ended up following what I did. After barre was over we came out to the middle. I found people filled in the right and left of the studio but left a nice hole behind the teacher. So I took up behind her since that was the only place I had space to see myself and that was left without being to close to others. After I found my spot it seemed a few people were waiting for me to find my spot and then fell in behind me. We did a tendu combination in croise, en face, efacé. In en face people got confused because we would tendu L/R then would go forward and start with the same foot that ended up back. So R/L on the way back. Then we would devloppe up the leg and back to croise on the other side. The Teacher was looking to see if anyone had picked up that nuance, and I had (thank you last two years of working SO hard on understanding ballet!) So when we went through it at first she exclaimed and was watching my feet and pointing and exclaiming “yes!” *blush* yesssssss. Good feelings :D! We did spotting practice, since everyone was supposed to start doing pirouettes. I’ve learned a lot of the teachers today do not like you opening your arm in a pirouette for one turn. I’ve also been nearly tackled for this after almost hitting my partner during SKD. So I heard her correction for me though she addressed everyone. I think it is an important thing to learn, pirouetting with out the use of your arms. My Mentor emphasizes the method of swinging one arm out, while it’s excellent for multiples. Having the ability to do one or two with pure core ability is an excellent jack of all trades. So when I get back to class I’ll work on it. We also did petit allegro including 4th. I normally didn’t do this, but it was nice because we kept the same arms from the previous tendu exercise. I usually get confused about arms. I messed up a little the first time because going from 4th, to 5th, to a la second, then 4th to 5th. Brain teaser! This teacher was one of those types that expected you to work it out while thinking about it in-between the exercise. So she asked us all to try again, just try a jump in 4th. She then exclaimed when I did it- being one of the few and only to do as she asked. (So shy my little beginners) We did super basic across floor combinations, I did like the balance, balance, waltz turn, hold in fifth and then repeat. Overall it was a nice night, I got to dance and do what I love. I will try and be better about the floor. I had only a few hours before my dinner cut off so Husband and I drove away into the night to find nourishment as the next day was surgery day.

Thoughts

It’s interesting to see how, a year or so ago, there were so many enthusiastic adult ballet-ers. Really proud of all their accomplishments, happy to share to the world. Now, we’ve seemingly gotten OLD, and tired of dance, and of writing about it. More of a personal assumption.

Not that I don’t understand a lot of the reasoning behind it all. Some people have families. There’s jobs. Finances (pointe shoes and leotards aren’t cheap). So so many things. I remember when I first started dancing again. Injury was big, except I had it backwards to an average working person. I was more worried about being injured for dance than for work. Otherwise lets say you’re working, to feed yourself- kinda important. Then you go to dance for recreation and aghh, you go and twist your ankle on that jeté temp levé combination. No surprise there; stupid temp levés. Now though, you have to go to the Doctors to make sure it’s not worse for wear; that’s $$. And time you didn’t want to spend watching a sick child cough 2 feet away from you with an open mouth that you could swear you can see the minute germs were floating directly towards you as you inhale. All while you contemplate work the next day. If you’re in an office and you can sit, work will be difficult but you’ll get by, that is- if the injured leg is your left one. You still may be able to drive- oh, but not unless you have a stick shift. Which, dammit, now you’re calling the woman in your office you barely know who lives the closest and can give you a ride to work every day where she slowly drives you crazy with her constant breaking habit. OR you take time off from work, time you don’t have and money you needed to earn. So swizzle sticks! Ballet recreation has gotten in the way of LIFE.

I mean that is just ONE exaggerated (or am I?) example of how things could go down for someone. It’s no surprise to me the turn over rate of adults in class. Not to mention, why bother trying to frustrate yourself with the Waltz step while you’re balancing your checkbook, your work life, you home life, and maybe your kids? Just- why bother? Would be way easier to not have to understand the complexities of a waltz step- THEN learning how to do it backwards too.

Though, there seems to be those who take dance to another level. Dave Tries Ballet has made some leaps and gains I’ve never seen before. Other dancers too report that they’re frequent and important in roles for productions at companies- heck they’re in COMPANIES. May not be extremely prestigious or glamorous as ABT, etc. but it’s farther than most adult dancers thought they could even dream about.

This post isn’t to say I’m leaving. Far from it. I’m digging in my heels and about to get serious. I’m looking for educational courses on becoming a dance teacher. I’m looking for job opportunities as a dance teacher. I’m even getting ankle surgery to not only make my life better, but to dance to my full potential. I’m considering the possibilities of a dance degree from my local university. All while trying to manage my personal life. Right now my biggest obstacle is my surgery. Just right now. I’m determined to be over it by spring. Then I’ll decide what to do about the possibilities of another intensive, while also looking into online courses for general education credits at a community college.

So, I haven’t given up. I’ve made some new goals and I want to share as I learn and grow.

Tonight I’ll be dancing at the PNB. I’ve been languishing and having bad dreams where I’m dancing in utter anguish because my dancing is not dancing. I think my inner dancer was saying that I couldn’t torture myself with horrible unartistic ballet drab, that I needed to let myself be myself in dance. Tomorrow morning I’ll be in the city again for my surgery, and then after 3 hours I’ll be whisked away back to my home for recovery.

Thanks to all my blogging ballet friends, and all the ballet friends I’ve made through dance. I would not have the courage and the passion with out your encouragement and support.

10″ for Locks of Love

IMG_9103.JPG

I cut my hair. 10″ to be exact. Still left me enough to frame my face. It’s been 3-4 years since I’ve had hair this short. I figured someone else could have my hair so I didn’t have to struggle with it during my recovery. Now I have to figure out how to make it cool and not in my face for when I go back to class.
Wednesday morning is my surgery.