Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Big Fall, part 6

It has been one month today since Scout's and my fall. My routine has changed drastically but hopefully, temporarily. I use a wheelchair because I cannot put ANY weight on my bad leg and I am not very good at playing flamingo. I have fallen off the crutches several times so, when the doctor okayed the wheelchair rental, I got one. I am still going to work but I have one of the other workers come out to meet me and get the chair and leg extenders out of the car. They wheel me in to the office because I cannot go over the big stoop in the doorway. After that, I'm on my own until it's time to go home, when I ask someone to wheel me out to my car. I have found that taking the leg extenders off the chair while loading and unloading it is a big help because they are very heavy and awkward when lifting the chair and putting it in the car. During the day, I sit with my leg extender up so that I can elevate my leg and, becauyse I have a back part under my desk, I have to sit either sidewise to the desk or away from it and lean way forward. My wheelchair won't fit very far under. Needless to say, my poor neck, arms, and back get very sore and I am more than ready to head home after 7 or 8 solid hours of work. I don't take lunch away because it's too hard, so I eat at my desk while I work.

Going to the bathroom is always challenging because it's out in the office complex hallway and locked. Once, on crutches, when I put the key in and pulled, the key slipped out of the lock and I fell backwards. That's when I decided that I'd be better off in a wheelchair. Sometimes, I'll meet someone who holds the door open but usually, I have to finagle the door and the chair together. I feel like a competitive trail horse backing around an obstacle. Even though one stall is handicapped, my wheelchair doesn't fit all the way so I have to lock the brakes and hop over to the toilet and then hop back to the chair. Also, I have found that my bladder isn't as good as it was before the accident so I really have to plan my trips. My sister tells me it's a temporary thing from inactivity. I sure hope so.

My son and I went to WalMart and I used one of those motorized carts. It worked okay, once I got the hang of it, but if I ever wanted to shop by myself, how would I get on one of them from my handicap parking space? They keep them parked inside the store and it's a long hop across the road over to them. It's the little things that really matter. My gas tank is on the far side of the car so I wait for my son to fill the tank. What if I lived alone?? My sister tells me that gas stations will pump for you but I've yet to find a station that's not all self-serve. It sure would be nice to live in Oregon right now where you cannot legally pump your own gas. I haven't tried Sam's Club. I do know they have an outdoor attendant supervising the pumps...

I won't even mention that I haven't had a shower since?? Well, I guess I did! I can stand on one foot and lean over my deep laundry sink to wash my hair, which I have to do quite often, but I can't do much more than use a washcloth every where else.  The bandages are somewhat looser on my leg now so I can sneak a tiny peek and the skin is just flaking off in layers. It should be really pretty (NOT) when I go to the doctor next week.

Yesterday, I began to have the strangest sensation in my leg. It almost feels like the incision area is oozing or something. I can almost feel something drip, wet like, down my leg. Hopefully, it's just my imagination. I sure hope all is well down there. Most of my pain is centered around the incision area now. Sometimes, it feels like it's burning. Otherwise, I am getting more comfortable hauling my chunky leg around and, unless it gets knocked, it's very tolerable. My poor toes are still fat sausages and they tingle when I try to bend them. I sure notice it when I leave my leg down too; my toes turn purple from the blood rushing down there.

My bottom is feeling just a little better so at least I know that was only bruised and not a broken tailbone. And my ring finger is still very sore but improving. I have stopped taking pain medications except for occasional ibuprofen. Conclusion- I'll live.

I still haven't ventured out to the barn. The wheelchair is not easy to push under adverse conditions, like uneven gravel pathways, and there is an arroyo to be traversed. Feeding the horses has been challenging, needless to say. Nadia needs her mash daily and I think my children know how to fix it now, but I wonder... Twice now, my poor horses had to do without food because all my children deserted me for their own agendas, each expecting one of the others to do the chores. My youngest son is most dependable because he lives at home, but he sleeps late, sometimes till almost noon, and I hear the horses calling for their breakfast each morning. I wonder how it all got done the other times I was hurt and I remember that my husband was around and most dependable. I had a horse fall on my legs two different times, a year apart, and both times I was incompacitated for three months with a swollen, black leg, from the knee down, opposite legs, mind you. Since this is my third fall with a horse, I hope never to have it happen again in my lifetime. All in all, it's a very humbling experience and I am tempted to say this might be my worst experience, although not the most painful, by a longshot.

Speaking of longshots, here are some zooms I took of the horses, Annie and Yalla! Not very good, but the best I can get for now.

It sure looks like the horses need a good grooming. I'm curious what color Yalla! is going to be. She looks like a dun bay, lol, as if that were a true color. She still has the primitive markings, dorsal stripe, stripes on the legs, and she's kind of a mud color with very black points (legs, mane and tail). Will she darken into a black over time?

Update on the alpacas- we're debating the names Colombia and Magenta or Thelma and Louise, the first of each pair for the light brown one and the other for the black one. What do you think?


Cheryl Ann said...

Val, I don't mean to intrude on your blog, but WHERE IS CARSON? She hasn't posted for two days....???? Is she okay?

Cheryl Ann said...

I DO hope you will get better soon. I know that after my fall, I went through a lot of pain, too. Finally, two cortisone shots eased it, but I now have permanent nerve damage. My feet are always tingling, but at least I can now walk normally. It has taken me two years and I haven't been back on a horse...maybe this summer. Hang in there...I feel for 'ya!

Shirley said...

It sure makes you appreciate what people who are permanently disabled go through every day of their lives, it's a blessing that you will be done with this soon.
Perhaps you should phone the doctor about that oozing sensation? That would have me worried.
Thelma and Louise!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I don't know. I was just checking over there and noticed that too. I worry about her, being all alone.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

The combination of the dripping and burning sensations around your incision have me a little concerned. It could be that it is in the healing stage in which it's trying to dry out, but if you suspect you may have an infection, you should get it dealt with right away or you'll have bigger problems.

When my mother broke her leg, I had to help her to the bathroom when she was in a wheelchair, on crutches, and using a walker. It was quite an ordeal for both of us. It was really tough when there was only one toilet and people were waiting. We had to drive 400 miles with her broken leg to get her to a hospital that was covered by her insurance, and she wouldn't use the bed pan in the car even though I offered to cover the windows with blankets. Once she was walking again the following year, I sent her a birthday card with a cartoon or an old man who had a toilet in the place of his passenger seat.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I just got this message in my email:

I wanted to point out Carson's Twitter feed indicates she is away for the weekend with Lucy. Her pre-planned posts aren't working due to Blogger's major problems the past couple of days. I can't post this as a comment because my Google ID is chronically effed up.
Hope you can share this with others that are concerned about her,

I'll bet she's at a clinic or something.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Yeah Linda is at the Steve Edwards Donkey and Mule Clinic down at my friend Colleen's ranch. I was supposed to be the photographer for the clinic, but didn't feel up to it. Colleen told me that Linda was one of the 5 who showed up for the clinic.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh and I forgot to add that being helpless made me much more appreciative of my family, but also made me lower my standards and expectations. No one is going to do as good of or the same job as yourself, and although it drove me a little nutty, I tried to just zip my lips and just be thankful for any help they gave me.
Like you said, it would be so much worse if one were alone with no one to help.

I've heard your horses calling for breakfast in the late morning a few times and sometimes they call out to me, as if to say "Will you come over here and feed us?" I'd be happy to go over there and feed your horses and alpacas if T wants to sleep in. Really. Just let me know.

I hope the leg sensations are just caused by the healing. I had many similar feelings and I was always peeking under the wraps to see what they were, but it ended up being nothing serious...just tugging, stretching and healing. I also had some nerve damage and my left side of my leg was numb after the surgery. So as the nerves began to come back to life over a few weeks, the pain and discomfort and tingling just about drove me crazy.

I hope the Dr appt goes well and you'll be on your way to having a normal life again.

Oh. And I vote for Thelma and Louise! :)


lytha said...

Thank you so much for posting this - the details of your ordeal are important for anyone who rides.

I worked for years with disabled people and I still, to this day, note when sidewalks are not wheelchair friendly.

fernvalley01 said...

I would get the incision checked,I know it is difficult to get to a doctor ,but...I like both name choices for the Alpacas. I am sure they will tell you what suits them best when you can get to them.
I spent most of my carreer assisting disabled adults, and just had a conversation about Handicapped restrooms with an architect frined of mine . Bigger bathroom, is not enough , needs a bigger door and support rails to accomodate BOT sides of a pesron .Not everyone is disabled on the left side!Hope you continue to heal well and are back on your feet soon

Mikey said...

What a hard time it is being laid up. I'd be frustrated! Do have it checked out though, those feelings like something is dripping are worrisome. Wish I was closer, I'd come help you out too! Get better soon!

Grey Horse Matters said...

I hope your Dr. appt. goes well and you can get around more easily sooner than later. It sounds like a real ordeal.Especially, being at work and using the bathroom. Feel better soon.

Thelma and Louise have my vote.

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

I vote for Thelma and Louise - definitely.

Lisa's right about being grateful and not too picky when you need help. When I was recovering from my prostate surgery the kids who helped Betty were a great help. But they didn't clean up the way I clean up - I'm anal about it. Yet, I was grateful for all they did.


cdncowgirl said...

For those who haven't noticed Carson's Twitter feed, she's away on an adventure with Lucy and Blogger's issues prevented her from posting before she went...

FV I feel for ya dear. Hope your spirits aren't too down. Bet you appreciate this being a temporary thing!
Why the heck doesn't the handicapped stall accomodate your wheelchair? That doesn't seem right.

Breathe said...

I'm sorry you're still stuck in that chair, but I agree with the others- make sure to get that oozing feeling checked. Infection is surely one of the dangers when you have that kind of procedure.

Wish I could be there to help.

Callie said...

Geepers... I hope you are doing better and that you heal fast. Sounds like you are much better off in the wheel chair. Take care. Sure hope you have a good weekend!

Ed said...

Deffinatly Thelma and Louise..perfect..:-)

Maery Rose said...

I'm with several others - I'd have the leg looked at now. I'm so sorry for all that you are going through. I've never been through an injury that bad, just a broken collar bone and wrist. Even with that, I felt pretty helpless and vulnerable. One of the things I do wonder, being on my own, is what happens if I'm injured or sick for a prolonged period? I hope your recovery starts to progress at a better pace and you can start to get around more easily.

Michelle said... sorry to hear it's been a rough go lately. I can't imagine how tough it would be to be in that situation. I think about it sometimes, being alone. I have no idea how I would manage! I guess you figure it out though... But I'm glad you're overall feeling better. I sure hope you don't have some weird leaking thing going on tho!

mikki925 said...

You poor thing. I've been feeling sorry for myself, being out of commission for 7 weeks now, but my broken foot was nothing compared to surgery and all. I agree with the others - you need to get that looked at. There shouldn't be burning and oozing under there!
Also, maybe my little gadget would work for you - Google "knee walker". We found mine on cheaper than anywhere else. It was a lifesaver for me. I couldn't do crutches either, but a wheelchair wouldn't have worked in my itty bitty, non-ADA compliant house. ;-)

Rising Rainbow said...

I'm with Nuzz Muzz and worried about that dripping sensation. I hope you've maybe checked in with the doc on the phone about it. The possibility of infection is nothing to mess with especially enclosed like that.

After spending time with Lindsay in a wheel chair, I see all the "unfriendly" sides of life for the disabled. Most service stations will have some kind of sign that tells you to honk or call or something if you need your fuel pumped. I believe they're required by law to accommodate those with disabilities.

I can imagine your frustration having to rely on others to care for your horses. I've been in that situation too and like Lisa, I learned to lower my expectations a bunch.

The alpacas are very cute.

Merri said...

wow - all those difficult and almost impossible things to deal with when you're on crutches or in a wheelchair that none of us thinks of, until it happens to us. I'm glad you at least have some help some of the time!
- The Equestrian Vagabond

achieve1dream said...

Wow being injured sucks totally doesn't it? I guess I never really thought about how it affects every single thing you do. I hope your leg is getting better and than the dripping sensation is nothing. I'm with the others though about getting it checked out. I wouldn't wait a week.

Too bad you can't get gas at the station where I work. It's a pay inside station but I help the people if they need it. There are several older people who need help getting their gas caps off because they don't have the strength in their hands. There is also a disabled man who lives in a house right behind the station. He drives around front, waves at me through the window and I take his stuff to him, bring his money inside, ring it up and take his change back out. Sometimes we even go around back to help him get his groceries inside his house. I couldn't imagine not helping someone who needed it.