More, more.

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I know that winter has just begun but for some reason I feel like spring has suddenly bloomed inside of my head.

It must be the fresh start I feel coming. I just keep waiting for it to peek it’s head around the corner.

I have a tendency to hit a refresh button this time of year. The holidays are over and a new year is upon us. I’ve usually obtained some form of sugar addiction by this time and have had a few weeks off of work to contemplate how I could be more present, more organized… more, more.

Don’t get me wrong all of those things have happened this year as well. I’ve got a million unrealistic expectations listed out in my head for the new year. But it’s also very different.

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This year my hibernation pattern has been compromised. I missed the final opportunity to frolic outside and smell the rotting leaves before the earth was coated in snow. Every winter I get into a bit of a winter time funk due to my inability to play outside, but this year the funk hit early because of my leg injury.

I took so many things for granted before I had this surgery. Each week after the surgery I could feel my inner light shining dimmer and dimmer as I waited for my freedom of movement to come back. I felt like a butterfly stripped of her wings. And I couldn’t bare to write to you and tell you about it. I didn’t want to pull you down into my little dark chamber.

Each week seemed to be worse instead of better and I was unbearably frustrated because of it.

Until finally… I turned a corner.

Yes, my leg looks like a patch work quilt but after having surgery again I no longer need to worry about a gaping wound on my leg. I no longer have to wear a brace, and I don’t have to use crutches anymore.

My leg aches everyday as my muscles struggle to make a return, but every day I can feel myself getting stronger and stronger. My physical therapist said that I’m doing exceptionally well. She said that she’s never seen anyone undergo the same surgery and recuperate as fast. (Thank you Haus legs of yesteryear.)

Over the fast two months I have had a lot of time to sit and think. I debated on whether or not I would continue to write this blog. At the time I didn’t really have anything nice to say, and honestly I felt like a failure as I sat there in the worst shape of my life.

Then suddenly I began to bloom again and I couldn’t wait to write just to say hello. It seems I had forgotten why I write in the first place…

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It has nothing to do with perfection because perfection is boring. Nor does it have to do with success because how exactly do you measure success?

I write because I like you. And because apparently I am compulsively drawn to new beginnings…

So, as you may have noticed this little section of the internet looks a little different. I figured a fresh face for a fresh start was appropriate. Especially considering that I will be starting from the beginning all over again.

 

My answer to that is… shut up.

Welp… it’s been nearly 6 weeks since my surgery and I’ve finally gotten to where I can walk without crutches. This is a good thing because I have proven to be a questionable motorized cart driver.

A few weeks ago I was cleared to drive a car. That morning I dropped Penelope off at preschool for the first time in a month and was so excited about my newfound freedom that I decided a little trip to Target was in order. I figured I could grab a coffee and roll around the store looking at home decor.

I had, after all, spent an entire month watching HGTV. I had big plans for the house by the time my couch stint was over.

Once I got to Target I crutched my way into the store next to three other moms that I recognized from Penelope’s preschool. Not being part of the stay-at-home squad I shyly smiled at them acknowledging that I had just seen them… and that I was indeed still wearing my pajamas. Once I made it through the door I hobbled my way to my motorized grocery cart and headed toward Starbucks.

The next thing I new my granny cart was crashing into a mug display and I was being extricated from the rubble… I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Ultimately, I opted for laughing even though I seriously contemplated the crying option. I joked it off with the employees, got my coffee and scootered my way away from the scene as fast as I could. Unfortunately the cart only had one speed… painstakingly slow.

This may cause you to ask how I managed to crash if my cart was so slow. My answer to that is… shut up.

I slowly made my way through the aisles of the store alternately cursing myself and laughing at myself for the scene I had caused at the front of the store. (I’m sure I looked quite manic.) As I scootered I kept running into one of the women from Penelope’s school. We would smile and carry on, until we bumped into each other again. Finally after ending up at the same spot in the store for the fifth time in a row she asked me if she could help me with anything.

I smiled at her and politely declined her offer, but told her about my mug display crash. She laughed with me and said, “I just had to ask. You are just the most joyful person I’ve seen in weeks.”

As soon as she said that I could feel the threat of tears rising up against me. Because joyful is that last thing I’ve been since going through this surgery and  I felt like a liar smiling at her the way that I was. I wanted to tell her so just to clear my conscious. But then again, I didn’t want to ruin her illusion and instead opted to smile even harder and thank her for her kind offer.

Slowly things are getting back to normal. A few weeks ago I started walking with crutches and then I graduated to one crutch. It didn’t take long to build my strength and before I knew it I was walking off without my crutches. I still have to have my leg locked straight, however.

The Thursday before I was scheduled to return to work I started to feel sick. By the time Monday rolled around and I had a full on cold. I thought I had reached the worst of it. But it only got worse. That Tuesday morning I woke up at 3 in the morning because I felt so awful. I made my coffee and cried in my chair as I waited for the day to begin. I couldn’t call in a substitute because I had been gone for so long. It wasn’t fair to my kids. Then to my surprise, we had a snow day.

I swore I heard angels singing when they made the announcement.

I returned to work the next day but my voice was giving out on me. By Thursday I had absolutely no voice. My poor students felt so bad for me. Every time I tried to tell them something they would answer me in a whisper and every time I dropped a crutch they scrambled to pick it up for me.

On Thursday afternoon I went to my family Dr. for my cold, but while I was there I had her take a look at the wound on my leg. Shortly after my surgery it had become apparent that I was allergic to the steristrips that they had used to close the bone deep cut. I kept developing blood blisters over my scar. Lately, it had been my main source of discomfort but I thought it would eventually go away. Unfortunately it didn’t.

Over the past week my physical therapist was becoming increasingly concerned with the way my leg was looking and wanted me to get it checked out anyway. As it turned out, under my nasty scab was a gaping wound which explained why it was oozing. (Yeah I know… gross!) It wasn’t healing properly due to the reaction I had to the strips. My family doctor called my surgeon and I had to take off of work on Friday and go in to see him.

(This is typically where I would insert a picture of my leg, but it’s gross so I’ve decided to spare you.)

Upon looking at my wound he decided that another surgery was in order to fix it. He said that there was a good chance that if my scab were to fall off I would be looking at the screws he had put into my leg. EEEW! What?!

My surgery is tomorrow. Wish me luck!

 

Post-Op Hysteria

 

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I’m trying to go with the whole Thanksgiving vibe and say that I am grateful for my good health and I appreciate the fact that in the not too long future I will have two functioning legs to go along with my strong and able body. The bullshit faker in me will also tell everyone that I have a whole new perspective on life since having the ability to walk taken away from me. That this tibial tubercle osteotomy was a blessing in disguise because I needed to stop and appreciate the little things.

But I’m not really feeling it this year. Instead I’m going to go old school Thanksgiving. Think pilgrim pulp fiction style. The kind where you aren’t satisfied with the kindness of others and you want what you want and you won’t be grateful until you get it. Because the truth of this whole situation is this…

I hate it. I HATE IT. I HATE IT!!!!

If I could kick my leg freely without popping a screw I would definitely perform the melt into the ground groaning fit that turns into a twisted screeching mess that heaves its fists and feet into the unsuspecting carpet. I imagine myself to be the damsel of hysteria who would contort her face and pull out her hair in her despair.  I want to scream until my throat is sore and my face is red and sweaty. Then, maybe just maybe after getting that all out, I would be okay with sitting down for another two weeks while everyone else merrily goes about their business.

I tried to throw such a fit during Thanksgiving preparations…  I kept accidentally flinging mashed potatoes around the kitchen while trying to balance my crutches and whip potatoes at the same time.

Brent suggested I sit down and I managed to stomp off toward the couch downstairs (quite a feat considering I only have one good leg for stomping with). Once I made it safely to the couch I hurled each crutch across the room one after the other so I could revel in the sound of each individual crutch rattling as it hit the ground. Once I lugged my leg safely on the ottoman, I let out a grunt of frustration, followed by another more obnoxious one because the first grunt didn’t do justice to the amount of frustration I felt.

That wiped me out for a good hour where I remained with my jaw drooping open thanks to the pain meds, looking at the tv but not really watching it. Behind the catatonic facade I was planning my next outburst. I just needed to gather my energy and resources together.

Feel sorry for my husband, feel really really sorry. He has been my man servant throughout this whole thing. He not only has to deal with my tantrums but he also has to clean the house, take care of the kids, and prepare for paramedic school (which starts first thing in January- super big deal).

I cry every time he has to help me out of the shower because I don’t want him to see me this way. He doesn’t seem to mind but in my head there couldn’t be anything less sexy than seeing your wife helplessly sitting on a plastic chair in the shower. There just something too… geriatric about it.

I cry every time I make it back to my bedroom to wrestle my clothes back on. Tears are kryptonite to my husband. He can’t stand them. When he sees them he has to fix whatever is causing them, and if he can’t fix them then he gets super frustrated. There is nothing he can do, but hoist my leg out of the tub, help me out until I can sit on the toilet and watch me cry. Poor guy.

In the mean time I’ve been taking leg selfies so I can see the progress in my healing.

I had my surgery on Thursday November 12th. I was super nervous that morning and could feel the insides of my stomach contort as we drove to the surgical center. Before I knew it I was naked under a flimsy hospital gown wishing they would just hurry up and knock me out.

I wrote “yes!” on the leg that I supposed to have surgery on and rung my hands together while I watched them give me a nerve block in my leg.

Brent gave me a kiss as they wheeled me away. The next thing I new I was laying in my own bed admiring my Britney Spears socks (aka compression socks).

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The next day was a disaster. The pain meds made me throw up continuously and the only container I had to catch the mess was a glass bowl. This then made Brent gag which then made me throw up harder and simultaneously yell at him to stop gagging. It was awful… again, poor guy.

Later that day I managed to keep everything down long enough to take a nap. Brent left to get anti nausea medicine and I woke up feeling woozy. I didn’t have my handy glass bowl and couldn’t maneuver my body fast enough to make it to the bathroom. Even if I could make it to the bathroom I had no way of leaning over the toilet effectively. Fortunately,   my friend KJ kindly came over and retrieved some crackers for me to eat so I could ease the urge to puke every where.

After I learned how to keep the pain meds down I spent the first week in bed. 12240234_10207681127416880_2602744032673377177_o

Scout was very worried about my condition and yelped every time I got up to go the the bathroom on my crutches.

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My friend Andrea came over at one time and relieved Brent of his care taker duties so he could fit in a workout at the gym.

She brought me a goodie bag including her Keurig so I could fetch myself a cup of tea while safely seated on my ass.

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She also helped me safely take a shower which, entailed a lot more naked Nina than she had anticipated after my shower chair broke. After the shower debacle was over she put me safely back to bed. She kindly fetched me a snack and painted my toenails before I drifted off to my pain-med induced sleep.

After a week my dad flew in to help Brent with all of the duties that lay solely on his shoulders.

It was at this time that I finally got out of the house long enough to capitalize on the freedom motorized wheelchair grocery carts provide.

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I even snuck off to the movies to watch the new Hunger Games Movie with Bridget and my dad.

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Despite those snippets of freedom, I began to feel confined in my circumstances…. literally. My leg and foot was bruised and swollen. At one point both my knee and my foot had a muffin top.

I would wake up in the middle of the night and my leg would swell into my brace until I felt like it was about to explode.

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Then came the muscle atrophy. I was not prepared to see my leg muscles dwindle away as fast as they did.

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I’ve been going to physical therapy which pretty  much entails having the therapist rub the crap out of my leg to try to get the swelling to move, a few quad contractions and icing and electric shock stuff.

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I am proud to announce that my quad has refused to give up hope. Most people’s quads shut down after a surgery like this. I was able to flex it and my Physical Therapist was super impressed. She said she’s never seen someone with quad skills like mine after a tibial tubercle osteotomy.

The worst part about this whole ordeal is not being able to do anything by myself. I have to rely on people to do everything for me. Sitting on the couch and watching Netflix on a snowy day sounded like paradise a few weeks ago, but the only thing I want more than anything is my independence back.

I can’t wait for the day that I can do whatever the hell I want- without the support of crutches. In the mean time, I’ll just continue to have my little temper tantrums you know… just to keep me preoccupied.

 

Ready To Hurl Dog Poop

It’s 4:30 in the morning and I’m waiting for the time to pass so that I can go on my last sunrise walk with my friend Andrea this morning.

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These past few weeks I’ve been planning for my leave of absence from teaching due to my knee/shin surgery. I’ve been really antsy to get this thing over with so I can finally work out again. I keep seeing instagram photos of people running through the fall foliage and it makes me bitter with jealousy. In fact, if I were somewhere in that photo I would probably be hiding behind a bush ready to hurl a clump of dog poop at said foliage runner just so that I can ruin their picture perfect pleasure.

I know. That’s mean. But it would make me feel better.

I want to run so bad! I can feel my muscles turning into fluff and I can feel the additional fluff fluffing up over my muscle fluff. There is no telling what kind of shape I’m going to be in by the time my recovery is over. Fortunately, I don’t really have much time to sit and think about how fluffy I am. I’ve been planning all kinds of fun lessons for my kids while I’m gone and second guessing whether I should give my sub all of my good material. I mean… it is integral for my self-esteem that my kids miss me while I’m gone.

I’ve also been busy spending time with family. Brent’s parents came in town for Halloween and we had a blast carving pumpkins, roasting marshmallows, and watching movies.

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They left on Monday and I still haven’t done any of the chores that needed to be done in order to have a smooth running week. Seeing as how it’s Friday I think we can call this week a success considering.

I went to my family doctor this past week for a sinus infection and ended up talking to her about my concern over my weight in the weeks to come. I had gain five pounds since the last time I had been in and was worried about being sedentary over the holidays. (Holiday Food + Pity Party + Netflix = Muffin Top)

She recommended checking out The Fast Metabolism Diet. At first I was skeptical because it does eliminate some foods PLUS anything with the word diet in it sounds gross, but after reading about it I’m considering it. I will need to be cognizant about what I’m eating. However, I feel like the probability of me actually successfully going on a diet right now is pretty slim.

In fact, I’m pretty sure I will find the most success with the “I’m Too Crippled To Make My Way to the Fridge Diet”. It’s a six week program that involves not bending your leg and supplementing with pain meds.  I’ll let you know how successful it is… who knows, I might even write a book.

Until then, I’m going to walk while I can…

(That’s my way of saying I’ve gotta go or I’ll be late for my sunrise play date.)

Crazy Schedule Mom Club

Yeah… so if you can’t tell, I’m still working on that whole balance thing.

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I’ve been running like a mad man. I remember when I first started out with this whole motherhood business, I would see other older moms wearing their crazy mom schedules like a badge of honor. The more they could juggle the better they were. And for some strange reason I couldn’t wait to join the crazy schedule mom club.

I remember looking at those moms and thinking, “How fun will that be? Driving my kids to different activities, having a career, a perfectly clean house, well thought out meals… Ah I’ll be perfect.”

I would look at these moms and be so excited for that time of my life when I no longer had spit up on my tattered t-shirt from my glory days as a high school soccer player, but instead had a polished organized look about me. And along with it I had an organized schedule, an organized career, and children who were unorganized but only in a comedic, commercialized pretend messy way. And instead of wanting to pull my hair out I would just do that commercial mom smirk and shake my head and smile lovingly at my children.

Can we stop there? Because that’s not my life…

Fast forward 13 years. I’m not her. I’m not that woman, I’m still wearing my tattered t-shirt and I’m drowning in maternal expectation.

And to add to the pressure I’ve got more than a hundred other kids, who I didn’t even give birth to, who are relying on me as their teacher.

More times than not this feels awesome, but this week. This week it is not awesome because I just scheduled a knee surgery that is going to take my feet out from under me for quite a while. And the pressure of all of the people who rely on me is getting to me.

Whoa… wait, what?

Lets back up to an incident that happened in late July that I never told you about…

One sunny day I squatted down next to Penelope to help her pull up her pants, or wipe off her face, or tie her shoes (I don’t remember which) and when I stood up I did something weird to my knee. I tried to walk it off but couldn’t walk.

This is when I first slowed down on blogging by the way. I was really bummed out by the fact that I had such a stupid knee injury and I was just waiting for it to go away so that I could carry on with my regular blogging schedule without whining like a big baby.

Two weeks later and I was still limping. Two months later and I was still feeling the pain. I haven’t been able to run since and even walking sometimes was even painful. I’m a Girls on the Run coach this year at my school and was extremely irritated at not being able to run with the girls.

The pain never went away but started to manifest in weird ways. It started to shoot down my leg and radiate out of my big toe. My knee cap felt like it was always on the verge of dislocating. (In high school I had a soccer injury when this happened a few times and after being told there was nothing they could do I finally had to quit.)  This constant feeling of anxiety was making me terribly irritable. My husband started to call me the lion with the thorn in his paw from Aesops’ fable.

At my first doctor’s appointment I was told that my knee was completely unstable and that the only thing holding it together were my leg muscles. (Thank you squats from yesteryear.) She thought I had torn ligaments either during my first injury in high school or this summer pulling up Penelope’s pants (I’m such a badass.)

But after an MRI, some x-rays and a visit with an orthopedic surgeon I discovered that it’s not that simple. My tibia bone is attached to my knee at a bad angle pulling my knee cap and all of that other good stuff with it. The only solution is to saw into my tibia bone, pull it over into the right position and then screw it back in. It can take up to a year to fully recover…

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Do you know how many pity me cookies I’m going to be tempted to eat during that time???

I can’t bend my leg or put any weight on it for 6 weeks and I can’t go back to work for at least three. I would wait until summer to do this but we’ve met our deductible, so I need to get it done before the end of the year. Plus, I can’t go any longer thinking my knee cap is going to pop out at any minute.

I’m terrified, I live in a split level house, this means I have to go upstairs if I need to pee, down stairs if I want to eat and even further downstairs if I want to relax and watch tv. How will I be able to put on my pants by myself, get out of the shower, carry a cup of hot tea? I won’t be able to pick up Penelope or pace around my classroom to make sure the kids are actually paying attention to me. It’s my right leg so I can’t drive, and Brent is gone a third of the time and can’t afford to take 6 weeks off, even after 6 weeks I won’t be able to chase after a toddler by myself. Getting ready for work in the mornings for the rest of the school year is going to be ten times more irritating than it already is if I can’t quickly go up stairs to get things together…

Now do you see why I haven’t written? I’m a nutcase.

The good news is that I’ll be forced to take time to just sit and relax. The weather will be cool so I can just snuggle under the covers have a tea and pain killer hot toddy and just read. The probability of me getting bored is high so you’ll hear from me a lot I’m sure. In fact, there is a good change that I will be blogging under the influence, so it could get weird.

In the next weeks, I’m going to try to adjust my outlook on this whole thing. Instead of freaking out about it I’ll enjoy the time I have not being completely disabled and spend the rest of the time preparing for whats to come so that I can go through this the healthiest way possible.