I love gross pictures of wounds and surgery scars and cysts being popped. I peak at them through my fingers, watching the videos while cringing and nauseous and squealing. Heck, I have a picture of my womb in a special file on my phone to share with those like gross minds. But the mess that was my right leg yesterday was almost too much to take.
I am usually on the Internet seconds after something has happened to me or a family member or friend or someone on the news, checking out the good the bad and the ugly. Tell me you have an Anal Fissure and I'm looking that sucker up. Sebaceous Cyst? I'm all over the videos of that. But for some very smart reason, I didn’t look up anything having to do with Broken Ankle.
First, it was because I was drugged to the eyeteeth and couldn’t even operate the Internet. But then it was because I didn’t want to know. I needed to focus on the immediate future – how I was going to get from the bed to the bathroom and back. That was such a process and was so dang exhausting that I couldn’t fill my mind with anything else especially pictures of what Broken Ankle might look like under the splint. Then, after few days, when the depression set in, I couldn’t look up gross broken ankles because I was never getting out of this tiny world I was now living in. A world where grumpy Husband, now known to all as Nurse Shrek, had to do every little thing for me. Asking for help is hard. You can imagine if I were having a hard time asking Nurse Shrek for help, asking friends would be even worse. And I had months of this helpless drama ahead of me. So I just didn’t look.
Which would be why, when the splint came off four weeks ago, I was more than a bit traumatized at the mess that was my right leg. If that sucker hadn’t been attached to me, I would have denied it was mine. In what world could my pretty right leg be this hairy fuzzy yellow muscle-less bloody mess?
At first, I couldn’t even feel much except the lack of weight from the splint. But when the stiches came out, I felt those, every tiny snip. And when the cast dude bent my foot into place, I felt that. Nurse Shrek was in the corner trying to ignore the whole removal process, turning green every time I squealed. Why Husband went into nursing, we’ll never know. Oh yeah, that’s right. Because he was forced to when the dumbasses slammed into me and snapped three bones. Poor guy. Nursing is totally not his calling.
Anyway, three weeks of splint, four weeks of cast and I got complacent about what the leg looked like. I babied Broken Ankle and its massive cast. I made sure not to bump it or tap it or jostle it in any way. And every time I thought about what it might look like, I pushed that image to the back of my mind because I could do nothing about it…
Then yesterday, I went in to the doc’s office to get the cast removed and the big tall dude with a sense of humor drier than my skin came at it with a saw. And every time I flinched, he laughed and said, “It won’t get you. I promise.” But his definition of ‘get’ was different than mine. His definition of “It won’t get you.” was “I won’t cut a bloody trail in your leg” and my definition was “don’t put pressure on my skin in any way at all because I will scream little high pitched screams and make faces and die.” And believe you me, his saw pushed on the cast and the cast pushed on my skin and the skin hurt and flinched and BOY did I not enjoy it.
Finally the stupid green cast was off and my hairy stinky mutilated leg was free. And it was good.
For about two minutes, and then the reality set in. My leg was even worse, even more dead than the last time I saw it four weeks ago. And yes, I mean ‘more dead.’ Sure, I expected hairy and stinky. Of course it would be hairy and stinky. It’s not been bathed for seven weeks. But purple and mutilated? Yeah, I hadn’t counted on that. I don’t know what I was thinking.
Yeah I do, I was focusing on getting the cast off not on what happens next. I knew putting weight on it was going to be a challenge but I didn’t think about the scars and the pain and the pain and the scars.
And then the lovely lady who fit me for my boot told me to take each step like I was stepping on a jelly donut and to not step to hard and squish out the jelly. Worst. Imagery. EVER to give someone who already thinks that a step is going to cause the bones to break and stick out the sides of Broken Ankle. I mean I was already worried that my little hops from the couch to the crutches might break Left Ankle and now I’m imagining stepping on Broken Ankle and jelly squirting out the sides of the incisions. Horrifying.
But what's worse than my possible jelly donut squirting ankle? That would be the layers and layers skin that came off Broken Ankle once it was free.
Did you know that your body gets rid of 30,000 to 40,000 old skin cells every day? Every freaking day! And that the top 18 to 23 layers of your skin, well those are made of dead cells. I'm not one for math but thousands of skin cells shedding layers of dead skin cells each day is gross. Seven weeks of a million plus skin cells gathering in a dry warm cast and dying off but not having anywhere to go until that stupid green cast came off and I rubbed my hand gently over the leg and it came off in sheets. SHEETS. OF. SKIN. PEOPLE. Well, that's the grossest thing ever!
There was so much skin that when I took a bath yesterday to try and warm (trick) my ankle into bending more than half an inch, I shed enough skin from that one leg that I could have made a whole person!!!
I know I tend exaggerate but I’m not kidding here. I could have made whole freaking person out of the millions of dead skin cells sloughing off my foot alone. Sitting and stewing in a bath of hot floating skin is the grossest thing ever. Grosser than that picture of my fibroid tumor filled womb. Grosser than having to pull the sandal strap from my shoe out of Joe Boxer’s ass. Grosser than the mess that is my scabby scars and mutilated bruises and misshapen calf. SO DANG GROSS!
And that’s been my last two days – pain and skin. And more skin. And just when I think I've got it all, even more skin. I don’t have pictures of the bath skin person – you’re welcome - but if you’d like to see some gross hairy leg, purple mutilated Broken Ankle pictures, they are below. I'm off to attempt to 'flex' my ankle and pretend this isn't happening to me.
Bones broken: Three.
Days since break: Forty-nine very long days.
Days since surgery: Forty-two even longer days and very uncomfortable nights
Number of Oxy pills taken: One hundred and two. Which is a terrifying amount but because some of those were 10ml and some were 5ml, if I were to break it down into just 10ml doses, it was really only 80.5 pills. Which isn’t really better but I did have a drill shoving screws INTO my anklebones which flipping hurt so pills totally justified.
Days since last Oxy: TWENTY-TWO!!!
How long withdrawal took to get off the freaking Oxy: Six long-ass twitchy, skin crawling, bitchy days
Cost of my new jewelry i.e. the shiny plates and screws that are holding the mess that was my ankle together: Three thousand, eight hundred thirty-seven dollars, and ninety-nine cents.
Cost of injection into sciatic nerve: One thousand six hundred and fifty dollars. Best $$ spent ever.
Times I’ve fallen with crutches: ONE!!!
Times I’ve dropped crutches and Husband has shouted “You Okay?” That would be about MILLION times – even thought I’ve told him over and over again if I fell, I’d cry out and he’d know it.
Nightmares I’ve had about my ankle getting infected and falling off: Twelve bone shaking nightmares.
Dog fights: One absolutely viciously terrifying dog fight resulting in an ER visit for Pepper, two ER visits for me and one for Husband.
ER visits for me including June 9th: Three
Total ER visits in my life: Five. That is five too many, folks.
New allergies since surgery: That would be one itchy freaking mess of Penicillin with a possible side of Clindamycin.
Size of left leg now above the knee: 16”
Size of right leg above the knee: 14.75 “
Size of left calf now above the cast: 13.5”
Size of right calf now above the cast: 12.25”
Amount of hair on my leg: WE’RE ABOUT TO FIND OUT! Sqeeee!!! Pictures of the gory mess on Friday…that is, if Husband – who is creeped out by all things feet, hair and smell - is able to take them.
Amount of $$$ we’ve spent on medical bills as of today since meeting Joe Boxer and Pepper the Wannabe Cat January 28, 2016 - including spay/neuter, Broken Ankle, Dog fight vet visit, ER visits and Valentines chocolate etc but not including food and dog beds: Fourteen THOUSAND, five hundred five dollars and twenty two cents. !!!! Approximately, Ten thousand of that was Broken Ankle. I shudder to think what that number would be without Obama Care. Without it, that total would be way WAY higher and surgery would have been a luxury not a given. Honestly, I can see how people lose homes over medical issues...
Hours until I see my hairy old dead lady leg: ONE. Good-bye Green Monster. Hello, Bionic Right Ankle. Here. We. Go.
I am now apparently allergic to penicillin. Taken it all my life, have one broken ankle, get very expensive ankle jewelry and now I'm allergic to penicillin.
And by allergic I mean turn into one horrible massive big itchy hive. And by horrible I mean hives in my ears. And hives on my scalp. And hives INSIDE the stupid big green cast that made the damn leg swell into an irritated inflamed mess and cause me to contemplate cutting the sucker off at the knee. After having scratched all the skin off the rest of my body, that is.
And Pepper the Wannabe Cat is now a shivering growly mess whenever Tigger the Dog is near while Joe Boxer is still trying to figure out what the hell happened. My life right now is trying to monitor smelly dogs while stomping about on crutches - which isn't as glamorous as you might think.
And this morning, while Husband was drying the dog dishes with a paper towel, I informed him that he just used a dishtowel to do that, he’d save on paper towels.
He smiled a smug self-satisfied smile, and said, "I like my system. I’m in charge. I have all my legs."
One. More. Week.
We became members of Fight Club Friday night. I can talk about it because I wasn’t a willing participant. Frankly no one was a willing participant except the instigator, Tigger the Dog, but since we’re all part of the fight, I’ll do my best to blather out about the war.
I was on the couch, bright green covered leg elevated, minding my own business perusing the Internet for something new while Husband took the dogs out front for the post dinner pee. All was well as he came back in and I heard the chaos of the four-legged beasts milling about the entryway.
And then the growling and shouting began.
A sudden growl and yip and Husband started shouting at Tigger the Dog. There was cussing and growling and mayhem. I tried to see what was going on from the couch but only got glimpses of elbows and dog parts as the cussing got worse. I pulled myself up off the couch, flung the stool that was doubling as my table onto the couch, fumbled my crutches up off the floor and awkwardly shoved them under my armpits and stomped my way to the fight.
Tigger the Dog had Pepper by the neck and was shaking her like a rag doll. Pepper, obviously terrified, was doing her best to get free. Husband was shouting and trying to pull Tigger off Pepper. I stumbled my three-legged self into the skirmish and immediately realized it was a mistake. In the least graceful way, I lowered/threw/splayed myself on the floor and tried to get Pepper out of Tigger’s jaw while keeping Broken Ankle out of the fray. It was at this point I realized that Tigger had shook Pepper so hard, shit flew out of her and around the room. And I was not sure I wasn’t sitting it.
The fight continued and I had to put my possible shit covered ass aside.
By this point, Husband, still shouting, had Tigger up by her hind legs and was pulling. I grabbed Tigger’s jaw and tried to pry it open. Pepper, not understanding I was on her side, bit my thumb. It was about two minutes of pulling and shouting and snarling and shaking and yapping before I finally got the jaw open and Pepper pulled free and Husband had wrestled Tigger to her crate and pinned her in. Joe Boxer, having watched the fight in confusion, came over to check Pepper out. Pepper was having none of that and attempted to crawl up my body and into my shirt leaving a trail of blood. Holes in her forehead and two large holes in her neck gushed.
Husband crated Joe and I got on the phone for the Vet. It was at this point that he realized his hand was totally swollen and I realized that my thumb was bleeding and we both realized we were shaking. Pepper was wrapped up in a towel for the trip to the emergency vet and, while I waited for Husband to bring the car around, I wiped shit off my butt and the floor.
When we got home later that night, hundreds of dollars poorer with a shaved and stoned Pepper in tow, we were too tired to bother going to the ER for our own injuries. I soaked the heck out of the thumb and Husband iced his now Stay Puff Marshmallow sized hand as we sat on the couch in a stupor. We’d be fine, we thought.
An ER visit to prevent a possible infection in the thumb bite that could settle in my new ankle jewelry and rot off my leg, a bad hives reaction to medication, another ER visit for me and for one for Husband and his possible broken hand, another very bad hives episode and we’re still dealing with the repercussions of Fight Club.
Pepper is now understandably terrified of Tigger the Dog. Tigger the Dog is now an unknown entity in our once happy home. And Joe Boxer is still an idiot.
What happens now, who knows? We’ve a call into the Vet for her opinion on the battle. I’ve got a call into my Doc for her opinion on the hives. Husband has lots of opinions and I don’t like any of them. Joe Boxer has no opinions because he’s dumb as a box of rocks.
Right now, the dumb box of rocks is my favorite and I'm still itching. This not at all boring life we're leading is expensive and exhausting.
Anybody want a dog?
I cried yesterday for the first time since I felt the snap of my anklebones. I ugly cry-blubbered louder and harder than I did in the ER waiting room when they took in the third person that came in after me leaving me and my ever-swelling ankle dangling off the edge of the wheelchair. I cried and I cried and I cried because I have a broken leg and I can’t do anything quickly or easily or right. It wasn’t pretty. But nothing about these last 5 weeks have been pretty.
It started with the dog food. I’ve sort of gotten a routine going with the feeding of the dogs using the scooter; food and a little water into the bowls, dogs in the crate waiting, bowls down on each dog ‘table’ and then scoot myself out of the way as they charge. But yesterday, I got cocky. I let the dogs outside and filled the dishes while they were outside.
I got Joe and Pepper’s food down without an issue but as I was scooting toward Tigger’s ‘table’, the scooter wheel caught the rug and the water saturated food spilled out of the dish and, in agonizing slow motion, scattered all over the white carpet in the dinning room.
I stood there on one leg; right knee balanced on the scooter, bowl dangling from my hand just flummoxed, no clue what to do next. I could get down off my wheeled leg and scoop the food up but the odds of my getting back up without using Broken Ankle to raise myself were not good. I could put more food in Tigger’s bowl and let them all fight over the food on the floor or I could scoot my cussing self over to the door with the other dogs bowls, let Tigger eat her food off the floor and feed Joe and Pepper outside.
I went with that last choice, having not thought through the major issue – getting a 70lb dog to go where I tell her to when food is involved.
The three dogs were at the front door, waiting. I tried to open the door and have Tigger come in but Joe wiggled his body around the door, squeezed by her and into the house followed by Pepper. With my knee precariously balanced, I bent down and tried to feed them before letting Tigger in to eat in the other room.
Tigger did not understand my plan. Pushing past the slightly open door, she slammed into my leg as she leapt over the scooter to get to Joe’s food. Joe, not being the smartest of dogs, stepped back and let Tigger have her way with his food. Pepper ignored the commotion and kept eating.
“DAMNIT!” I yelled and tried to pull Tigger off the food, ripping a nail. Frustrated with the non-budging growling dog, I changed plans and tried taking Joe to the dining room for a breakfast buffet off the floor. But Joe, who will eat anything, and I mean absolutely ANYTHING, totally refused to eat his breakfast off the floor.
At this point I snapped. Five weeks of no control over what I can do and when I can do it and I just lost it. At the top of my rather considerable lungs I cussed. “FUCKING DOGS!” I screamed. “FUCK!!! I HATE THIS FUCKING LEG!!!” And promptly burst into a thoroughly ugly cry.
My, um… minor fit woke Husband, who came in to see what all the fuss was about, took one look at me sniveling and set about fixing things. While Husband put a full Tigger into her crate and coxed Joe to eat every piece of dog food off the once white carpet, I sat on the scooter stool, stupid green cast hovering off the carpet per doctor’s orders to not let it “bear weight” blubbering.
It was not my proudest moment.
Nope, I was so pitiful; Husband took me out to breakfast AND then for a jaunt on the not-so-zippy scooters at Target. It doesn’t take much to put a smile on my face these days. Better yet, Husband was good enough to not mention my morning temper tantrum. The embarrassment was fading and actually liked the dogs again. Then, last night as I was getting ready for bed, Husband asked me what ringtone he should set his morning alarm with; “FUCKING DOGS!” or “FUCK! I HATE THIS FUCKING LEG!!!”
49 days since break. 13 days till cast off (I hope) and dignity is restored.
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me