Update #Whatever

I have been properly fussed at for not saying much here lately. So here’s some updates.

– Knee is doing better. It’s only been 9 weeks but I think I expect it to be normal already. I started PT (finally!) and although it is painful and I gripe a lot, I know it is for my own good.

– Mike is great! He’s not a year yet and is on that cusp between puppy and adult. He’s still only about 50lbs but he should put on muscle mass soon. He may get to 70lbs tops. I don’t need him for weight bearing so it’ll be just fine. I keep wanting to get started on his official training but haven’t. Not sure why. My gumption level is low for most things.

– Joella has fully recovered from her own joint problems. Well, as much as she ever will. We give her an anti-inflammatory each day and she gets a ton of supplements. Joint wise, she’s doing good. Skin wise, however, she’s having a tough summer. We were late with the flea stuff and I think she is reacting to them. She’s chewed a chunk of her back raw. It’s about the size of my hand overall. She’s had several baths with lots of cool rinsing afterwards. We are using Calendula cream on the wounds and started giving her benedryl to help control the itching. No, we won’t do steroids.

– The Johnson Horde descended and retreated last week. We had a blast! Kev, Col, and Ryan went on a Segway tour of the NC Arboretum while Lorna, me, and Kelli explored the Bonsai Exhibit and explored some of the gardens; Lorna, Kev, and Ryan went to Gray, TN for a day long fossil dig while me, Col, and Kelli went to the Silver Armadillo to get beading stuff and then to the Asheville Aquarium to see the fish tanks; all of us plus a young friend went to see the Asheville Tourists (an awful game that rained so we left early); and we played Uno, talked, and laughed (usually all at once!) at the cabin they rented. At times their visit was relaxing while at others it was exhausting. I was tearful when they left but didn’t let that stop me from napping most of Friday. I wished they lived closer but perhaps the distance is why we still like each other so much.

– In June, Lorna and I celebrated our 19th anniversary. Wow. 19 yrs. Bless her heart.

– Writing – well, yes, I am writing. Truly I am. I missed the GCLS Con this year because the Johnson Horde was here at the same time (and the choice between the two was easy). I miss the battery charge I get from attending. I am working (still) on Simple Sarah. I keep wanting to make the Setting more real. At the moment, it is just a flat surface, like a green screen in the movies. I need to help the reader see what is going on behind everything.

– We have some sad news but I will share that later, perhaps tomorrow. Not ready quite yet.

Stuff stuff

Knee is doing much better. Still can’t straighten it out all the way but I can take as few steps using the toes. But then it hurts like the dickens later so I don’t do it very often. I see the bone doc on Tuesday. Hopefully I’ll get to start PT soon and get back to my usual crippled up self instead of this new version.

My bro and his family arrive in a month. We’ve been busy making arrangements for stuff since several things changed with my busted knee. Ryan was supposed to stay the week after and attend dinosaur camp at Gray Fossil Site but since we didn’t know if I could drive him there each day, we canceled it. We also had to cancel a trip to the Charleston Zoo with Kelli (we wanted her to see Penguin Planet) for the same reason.

Ryan, Kevin, and Lorna will go do Gray Fossil Site’s Dig For a Day. Kelli, Colleen, and myself are still trying to think up something we can do instead of the zoo. The TN Aquarium is just over the hill in Chattanooga but it takes nearly as long to get there as it would getting to Charleston. We may do the WNC Nature Center instead. It may be small, but it is packed with cool stuff without being crowded like zoos. They are one of the few places working with Red Wolf relocation. They do animal rehabilitation, too.

Kev, Colleen and Ryan will do the Segway tours at the NC Arboretum. While they are doing that, Kelli, Lorna, and myself will be at the wonderfully air conditioned Biltmore Mall.

Other than that, I don’t think we’ll plan anything else. We’ll have a list of stuff (Mt. Mitchell’s new observatory is a must at some point) to do but usually we just sit around and talk, eat, and laugh. They rent a cabin that is on Lorna’s mail route. We know the people who own the two cabins and they give them a discount. The view alone is worthy of doing nothing but gazing. And cooking out.

Hump Dump Umpdate

An update to this update is found at the end.

Knee: The overall pain has dropped dramatically, unless it rains then it’s a heap o’ goodness. The swelling has finally gotten to where it looks more round like a basketball and less lumpy like a football. I still can’t straighten the knee out, though. And I can balance with the toes but cannot take a step.

Hip: My hip is giving me a lot of grief. We’re trying to figure out what the problems are so we can eliminate them as much as we can. I think most of it is the entire weight of the leg is on a so-so hip socket. The tendon on the front (groin?) is very tender, hates to be moved, and isn’t happy no matter what position I try to sleep in. I can now only sleep on my back with a pillow under and to the side of that leg to position the hip and to support the un-bending knee.

Other Knee: the brace I got is great! I can wear it all day and not get the usual grossness underneath. This proves it is the latex/neoprene and it is an allergy, not heat related. The knee is very tender to the touch but it is easier to stand and hop on it now. I have a groove on the side that includes the knee cap. I’m going to have the bone doc check it out when I see him one the 23rd.

Writing: Eh, not much. Lots of ideas, though. I got Moon’s Deeds of Paksenarrion and am re-reading it. I love that book and it inspires me to write. The style is so simple, so real. There’s big info dumps because of the war strategy and stuff but overall, it is fantastic. I am re-gaining a visual image of where Sarah and crew are and that allows me to “be there” further and therefore write much more better-er.

Cats: The Tues. before I fell and broke my leg (that still sounds so weird), Lorna called me to say there were three kittens at the post office. I joined her there and we caught them. We brought them home and set them up in Mike’s Big Boy crate. They drove the dogs nuts. We had to cover the crate with a sheet at night. We knew there were going to be problems. Mike has a huge prey drive and chasing cats is fun. I could keep that under control if Sass didn’t egg him on. So when I fell and we realized how much it was screwed up, we also realized there was no way Lorna could take care of three kittens AND me AND the house AND the dogs AND our own 2 cats. So we called Mary at Asheville Pet Supply. She often finds kittens in boxes left on the store’s doorstep and has a huge cat crate set up. We called her and asked if she could take them for us and help us find homes. She did! AND then called the next day to say they’d all found homes already! All 3 went to the same home which was great. This lady decided a while back she wanted kittens but would only take any that Mary got, knowing they’d need homes. She happened to come in that morning and there they were. We’ve heard since then that they are doing great.

Dogs: Joella is now on full-time pain meds for her arthritis. She still has trouble getting up off the floor but is happier and more active. We played with the dosage for a few weeks and think we found the right amount. Mike is a handful and a half. What a teenager he is! No more snakes although there was the dead possum and the mouse. And bamboo. Lots of bamboo. And sticks. And lost toys. Lorna had to wander through the dog lot to find all the cat bowls he took outside. She has to pick them up each morning or they wander back out. Now that I’m not so stoned, I hope to re-re-restart his training again.

Friends: About a week before I fell, a close friend of ours was thrown from her horse. She broke her spine but had no spinal cord damage. She was in neuro-ICU for several days then in a room for quite some time. She’s home now and slowly recovering. It will be a long haul for her. Patti is the woman who takes care of the dogs when we both leave, like for trips up Nawth. Another friend, Elena, is doing “as good as can be expected”. Her husband is dying of cancer. Hospice has been working with them for a month or so now. The hard part for her is his mental capacity. Between the cancer and the drugs, he’s far from himself.

**I have found out that Lew died Sunday, at home where he wanted to be.

So there you have it. A big honkin’ set of updates. Did I miss anything?

Humpty Dumpty Goes to the Doc

Saw the bone doc today.

The fractures have not shifted/expanded since it happened (they took x-rays today). This is good news. The plan now is to continue to take it easy over the next 3 weeks. I can move it as much as it wants to and can start to use the foot for basic balance with light weight bearing but only as much as it (and I) can tolerate.

The pain and inability to move is from the swelling, not just the breaks themselves. As the swelling goes down, so will the pain and up will got the movement. He renewed my pain med and gave another script for an anti-hurling pill. Taking the pain med means I can move it more which can help the swelling go down as long as I am smart about it.

In 3 weeks, if the swelling is down enough or even gone, I will be fitted for a brace to support the joint so I can use it more. I got one today for the other knee to support it as I start to move around more. I already have several but this one is better in that it is latex/neoprene free and has metal stays on each side. This will raise my confidence level tremendously! I am assuming I will get the same type of brace in 3 weeks. From there, it is just slowly moving on, letting everything heal and strengthen.

So no cast, no surgery. Just slow recovery. If there is still swelling and/or pain in 3-4 mos, then we’ll do an arthroscopic peek into the knee to make sure all is well. I’m relieved that the fractures are solid enough that it won’t finish breaking. I’m frustrated that it won’t be a quick fix but instead this slow, creeping process. Eh, well, could be worse. I could have the leg stuck in a cast and be sitting outside with the miter saw about to cut it off.

Hump Dump 3

We’re messing with my pain med, trying to find a range where the pain is controlled and yet I’m not nauseous nor chasing butterflies (our playful term for that wonderful “wheee!” feeling). This means I am able to focus on things longer which is good. I’ve spent the past two days nodding off, hurling, and saying things like “oh, shiny!”.

I’m taking advantage of this focus by trying to figure out just what the MRI report is saying. I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to know about MRI and big words like chondromalacia.

The thing with this report is that there are two situations it is discussing. One is the actual injury and the other is the stuff that was already wrong with the knee. For example:

A few tiny subchondral cysts are present in the patella laterally……5. Chondromalacia patella

The first are little bubbles or cracks of stuff that forms from osteoarthritis (OA). I’ve got OA in most, if not all, of my larger joints. The other one name for “runner’s knee” and for “Patello-femoral Pain Syndrome” meaning the cartilage under the kneecap (the patella) is irritated, inflamed, or even peeled up. I’ve known about this for years since my kneecaps are off-track (no pun intended) and have been for years. This, too, then is just signs of OA.

Then we get into the highly technical stuff.

“decreased T1 and increased T2 signal intensity” and “dark T1, bright T2 signal intensity”

This one was a little more difficult to figure out. I’ve seen these terms used before on other MRI results of mine before, though. I found some articles that were way over my brain capacity. But after reading several different stuff, I *think* T1 shows material and T2 shows fluid. So a dark T1, bright T2 section would be fluid, such as edema. This is like where an x-ray shows dark areas where there’s no bone and light areas where there is bone. So basically the report says there’s a lot of fluid/edema on the knee. No shit! It looked like a football at that point!

BONES: there is a fracture of the proximal left tibia involving the plateau posteriorly and laterally. The tibial plateau fracture is depressed approximately 3mm……There is also a small fracture of the proximal left fibula with some surrounding edema.

– Proximal means close to the body, or the top end.
– Plateau is the part of the bone where it flattens off at the joint.
– Posteriorly means in the back
– laterally means to the side, in this case, the side opposite the other knee
– Depressed fracture usually means impact depth (ouch!)

So the left tibia (does he mean the left leg or does he mean the left side?) has a crack near the top plateau going from the back and around to the side that is 3mm (0.1181099 inch) deep and the fibula has a small crack near the top, too. This type of break is also known as a “fender” break from when someone is hit by a car. It is possible that I hit that leg on the sidewalk when I landed. I know, though, that I hurt something when I first stumbled but as much as my right knee hurts, it is possible I hurt it, fell, and broke the other.

The right knee hurts almost as much as the left minus the nasty swelling. It is hot to the touch and only today have I been able to prod the kneecap enough to determine its location. Hopefully when I see the orthopedist Tuesday, we can discuss possible damage there, too.

There. A bunch of words for “it cracked”.

Hump Dump 2

I see the orthopedist on Tuesday afternoon. Meanwhile, we got the prescription for Percocet filled and it has cut the pain back significantly. I managed to sleep quite well last night, waking up every 5 hrs or so when the drug wore off. I went to bed at about 6pm (shock, I know) and got up at a little after 8am. My rib cage is killing me! We tried to set me up on my left side but the leg couldn’t take the weight. At 6am we set me up on my back with my big wedge pillow and that helped the ribs some but the back was not happy when I woke up. But 14hrs in bed is long enough, thanks!

We got the house set up so that it is more accessible. We thought it was until now. Usually I can hobble to where I need to be if I can’t get there with the chair. Like the bathroom. Lorna had to take the two shelving units out of the hallway and move other stuff so I could turn around. She went out to do errands and got me a walker to use to stand up from the toilet and to use to balance in the small bathroom. I normally use the sink but its come loose from the wall. She also made it so I can get almost to the bed. I use one of my forearm crutches and the dresser to hop the short distance to the bed.

Lorna has to work Monday so we’ll know then if I can make it all day by myself. She’ll make me a sandwich and put it in a small cooler so I can have lunch. I’ll have to get up when she leaves but can sleep in my chair if I need to. We have one of those phone systems that has 3 handsets and I’m getting into the habit of making sure I have one of them on me at all times. My cell phone is hooked to the chair, too.

For most folks, a broken leg isn’t to big of a deal but for me, it’s turning out to be a huge thing. My left hip is getting tender from being the pivot point for the entire leg. The left knee is also injured and is hot and tender. My rib cage aches from laying on my side. My shoulders hurt from hauling my fat ass around. My right hand and forearm are bruised from the fall. I need to make this orthopedist understand how connected my body is. How even a sore toe can cause an avalanche of problems. What a PITA I am, eh?

Okay, I need to tilt back now. The swelling in the ankle got pretty bad yesterday so I’m having to spend a lot of time tilted far back in my chair so the foot is up.

Click on the images to view larger versions. This is from yesterday and looks great compared to what it looked liked while we were in the ER (it looked like someone had shoved a football under the skin). It looks about the same today.

Humpty Dumpty

From the MRI report:

BONES: there is a fracture of the proximal left tibia involving the plateau posteriorly and laterally. The tibial plateau fracture is depressed approximately 3mm. There is surrounding decreased T1 and increased T2 signal intensity in the marrow of the proximal left tibia from edema. There is also a small fracture of the proximal left fibula with some surrounding edema. There is a 3mm dark T1, bright T2 signal intensity lesion in the proximal left tibia. A few tiny subchondral cysts are present in the patella laterally.

IMPRESSION:

1. Left tibial plateau fracture laterally with minimal depression

2. Fracture of proximal left fibula

3. Moderate left knee joint efusion which contains a small amount of fat within it

4. Tiny cystic appearing lesion in proximal left tibia

5. Chondromalacia patella

I fell down with boom. I think it broke before I hit the ground. Not sure. I’m on drugs right now so as far as I know, the Drag King’s Horses are still dancing around me. See the orthopedist today.