BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

And ...

Still not writing.

Hell, still not even reading much (of books - I spend hours on the web digging through info).

I do have a stack of books from last year which are awaiting my reviewing.

I also have an over-stuffed shelf-full (40 or so) of new books I'd love to get to.

But, in a year of living up here (yes, this is the anniversary of the move - I still wish I'd killed myself before it came), I have yet to find spaces in which I can read or write. I do occasionally read on the bus or the El, but I've not been out as much since breaking my ankle last fall, but there don't seem to be any replacements for Mariano Park, Washington Square Park, Connors Park, Watertower Park, or Seneca Park from my old neighborhood up here.

As far as writing goes - it's been ages since I was able to do reviews at my desk. I wrote most of them at the Starbucks on Rush at Oak, arriving at 4pm, and writing until they kicked me out at 11pm. Up here stuff closes at 8 or 9. Or earlier. I have contemplated taking the #151 down toward North Ave., and walking the 3-4 blocks over to the 24/7 Starbucks at North and Wells ... but given the issues around walking I've had (and the winter), that hasn't held much appeal.

Speaking of my leg ... I see that my last post here was about being freed up to walk, and to be in real pants. Unfortunately, I'm back into the sweats again.

Since I've not been doing daily blow-by-blow kvetching in LJ (lucky you - all that stuff's over in FB), maybe I should do a bit of catch-up on what's been happening. I fell and broke my ankle and fibula on Friday, October 19th, having just come from a "CyberKnife" cancer treatment, and heading to a lunchtime AA meeting up on N. Michigan Ave. A very expensive ambulance trip took me to NWM's ER, which got me stabilized but wouldn't release me until we had a wheelchair at home, so I spent like 4 days in an "observation" wing of the hospital. I had to turn around and come back down the next day, to meet with the Orthopedic team, and schedule surgery. They did the screws-and-plates work (see pic, click for bigger) on October 29th, and did a preliminary cast. I was back in on November 7th for them to cut off the initial cast, check how things were healing (I had incisions on both sides of the ankle), and put on a more substantial cast ... which got replaced on December 19th with a splint and a "walking boot". Now, from the point I broke it on October 19th till when I got greenlighted to walk on February 13th, I was not supposed to put any weight on it. I went from the wheelchair plus walker to a "knee scooter", to the boot (which I was still using the scooter with), but it was a long time (nearly 4 months) till I could actually walk.

Then things complicated themselves.

Now, we'd been living with a minimum of furniture since the move (The Wife opted to throw out what we had rather than move it ... go figure), and a few days after new years, we had a couple of couches delivered for the living room. I'd had a pretty clear shot for scooting prior to this, but was challenged by the now-convoluted access paths. On January 4th, I was trying to get around one of these, and fell off the scooter, ripping open a vein on the shin of my left (other) leg. Between the gaping hole and my blood thinners, I bled out a good quart or more onto the living room floor before we got me up and into the wheelchair. Given the enthusiasm of the bleeding, we decided that going to the local (Weiss) ER was probably a good idea, so out into the cold (me in shorts/tshirt and no footwear) we headed. They got me patched up and sent me home, but less than a full week later (January 10th), I was back (via ambulance) in the ER. For some reason, while I was sitting at my desk, the wound managed to open up and bleed through the bandages, creating another quart-plus pool under my chair. I hadn't noticed this at all, but when The Wife brought in our diabetic cat to get his evening shot, she said "you're bleeding!", to which I responded "Huh?" and looked down at the now-coagulating pool of blood and the gory stalactites hanging down from the gauze on my leg. Again, I got patched up and sent home.

But wait, there's more! I had scheduled an appointment with the wound clinic down at Shirley Ryan, which just happened to be the next day ... they changed around how that leg was wrapped and set me up on a schedule of coming in every week or so to check on the gash. At some point I decided to ask about my other leg, where the outside incision hadn't healed up yet, and so we were dealing with both of those until the left one healed up. On February 6th, I started on a 2-3 times a week course of physical therapy to get the ankle back working, which continued through mid-March. Everything was moving right along, right ... but the wound folks decided that I needed to address the swelling in my right (broken) leg. Back in 2015, I'd had laser stripping of the veins in the legs, which helped a lot, but both the Ortho and the wound team felt that the lymphedema was slowing the ability of the surgery site to heal, so I got referred to the specialist in that over at Shirley Ryan.

This is what has me back in sweatpants. The gal dealing with this suggests that all the surgeries I've had from the 1993 car crash, etc., have messed with my lymphatic system (which - I've been reading up on this - is very weird, for the most part it's just liquid under the skin that carries white blood cells around the body and eliminates waste). She said that any surgical intrusions can block the flow, and that's likely what I'm dealing with. The problem is, there is very little they can do about these things. It's primarily a matter of binding up the affected area, and on my most recent visit, that's what she did - like a sofa ... I have cotton batting and foam pads over compression hose, with my toes wrapped like an Egyptian mummy's, and three zones of stretch bandages holding everything relatively snugly, from my toes up to my groin. Not something I can get my jeans on over (dammit).

Back when I had the laser work done, the surgeon had written a prescription for a fancy-schmancy machine that did progressive leg massages to move the lymph back up towards the heart (or wherever it ends up in that area - I'm currently doing self-massages starting at my neck for the leg, so it's all very odd), but our insurance back then was disinclined to cover it. The Wife is very gung-ho for me getting a machine (so she doesn't have to mess with wrapping my leg), and had me bring in print-outs of units I was looking at on Amazon (there are many options). The lyphedema gal said we'd consider that, but they had a recommended system, and thought (she's checking) that our current health insurance would cover it ... but it sounds like this isn't a "primary therapy" option like the hip-to-heel upholstery that I'm currently sporting (and, aside for not having pockets for keys/wallet/phone, I'm also having to deal with going back to "sink bathing" rather than the relative luxury of the shower).

Anyway, that's about it on the leg. Happy (hah!) first anniversary of the worst day of my life (so far).

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