Thursday, May 28, 2009

Like a Football....

Day 7!

And that, my friends, will be the final exclamation point of the evening.

I've been back to work for 2 days now. At 2pm this afternoon, my foot turned purple and my whole leg started throbbing. My sister, the vet tech who actually knows her stuff, told me to get my bandage OFF and to get home ASAP to elevate it. So I left work a few hours early, put on some shorts, and took off the compression bandage my physical therapist had wrapped.... And my kneecap was swimming in a bowl of goo!! Not to mention the sutures....ugh, the skin was so swelled that the sutures were puckering like the seams of a football. It was disgusting.

So, here I am, laying on my back, elevating, icing, and being a "get me more Diet coke!" kind of person while my family looks after me. I feel guilty about it, since I'm technically supposed to be better. I guess returning to work 2 days early really didn't do me any favors.

On the plus side, I made it half the day without crutches. I am slow, but I try. When the swelling gets bad, I can feel the pain under the kneecap and walking hurts too much, so I have to crutch again. What a pain in the rear.

Am on the fence about work tomorrow. I may bring an extra pillow and see if that does the trick...but if not, 1/2 day for me and then it'll be a weekend on the couch. I'm determined to get these stitches out and walk into the Dr. office on Monday without the crutches!

Aside from that, our offer on the house goes hard tomorrow. Apparently 2 of the 3 bigwhigs have signed it, and the 3rd is just a technicality, so hopefully I'll have it in my hot little hands tomorrow. Part of me just wants it over with. The other part looks at the mortgage rate increase today and wants to cry. DH is over the moon thrilled, so I continue to smile at that thought alone. Now all I need to do is bust some balls at the design center to get what I want!

With that, I'll quit my bitchin' for the night. Day 7 goes to the knee. Here's to a Day 8 victory for me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Things I've done under the influence of Percoset

1. Almost thrown up while riding in the car.
2. Fell "up" the stairs and had to be picked up.
3. Giggled hysterically for 3 days straight when not in excruciating pain.
4. Bought a house.

Ha! Yeah, #4 gets me every time. DH and I went under contract on a new construction home this weekend. I was 12 hours off the opiate, so I wasn't totally out of my mind....but I do have it written into the contract that I have until Friday to get my money back. So far, it still isn't seeming like too bad of an idea..... (Did you see that?? I weaned myself off the painkiller after only 2 days!!! Hurt like hell but I am strong like OX!)
Now, to the guy on the internet who had Plica removal surgery and said he was golfing the next day? YOU ARE A LIAR. Swear to God, he must not have had his knee innerds removed or something, because I have been a swollen (although according to my physical therapist, not bad at all), pained MESS over the past few days. I'm only bending 30 degrees. Shoving my leg into the car is a pain in the rear and hurts, so I dread driving tomorow. Still can't get the dressing wet, so I'm taking modified bathes and washing my hair in the kitchen sink. My back kills from sitting on this horrible couch all day. My Advil wears off like clockwork at 4:00am and then it takes a whole hour for the new dose to work so I can get back to sleep.

What a freaking nightmare this has been! To top it off, everyone says I don't "need" the crutches after 3 days. And while that might be true if all you are doing is going up to go the bathroom, I'm touring construction sites and walking through design centers and asking questions at Home Depot!!! Seriously, my throbbing knee calls it quits halfway through the day and I get so frustrated with my limping speed that I crutch the rest of the day just to catch a break. I know that every day gets better, but I feel sorry for myself.

Physical Therapist who I wasn't supposed to see yet took my dressing off and DH snapped a few photos. Wounds look really good and this morning, the swelling wasn't too bad. Of course, I feel more swelling in BACK of my knee, but you can't see that at all. Here are a few fun ones....skip to last if you get queesy:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I'm a whiner

Am rapidly approaching the 40-hour post surgery mark, and I am undoubtedly a whiny, bratty patient.

Since I cannot remove my dressing, I have no idea how swelled this lovely knee of mine is. But I do know that every four hours, it starts to throb, and a deep aching sensation overwhelms the joint and then travels up my thigh to my hips. Holy SH*T it hurts! So then I have to take a Percoset. Now, they gave me 3 days worth, assuming I'd take 2 pills every 4 hours. Yesterday, I had to take one every 3, I'm hoping to go back to every 4 hours...but we shall see. Instead of getting less painful, I feel like it's a tiny bit worse. My sister says 48-72 hours afterwards will be the worst.... I hope she is wrong! Here's my lovely back-lit knee. And my sexy TED compression socks. I'd wear my Skins, but I don't think I could pry them over these honkin' huge bandages.

I can weight-bear, but I don't like it. It seems to create more throbbing when I finally get back to my spot on the couch. I have NO IDEA how I am supposed to get along without crutches after tomorrow.... I guess I just do what I can, and when it hurts, pull them out for some relief. These are my crutch ponies....I got them from Amazon and they are the best crutch accessory EVER!!! My sister was embarassed walking around with them at the surgery center, but I heart them. So cushy and cute. If you know of any kids stuck on crutches, they make all sorts of stuffed animals for them:

At this point, I don't care about how long it takes to run again. I just want this immediate pain to go away and to regain full mobility in the leg! My hubby asked me if I would do this all over again....and to be honest, I am withholding judgement until I find out that this was the cause of all my pain in the first place. If it's gone for good, then hell yes, this is worth it.

It's only bad every four hours, anyway....

So, I'm a little stank today. Haven't showered since Thursday morning. I can't get the dressing wet, and it's my left leg....all our tubs are "right entry" tubs, so it's not like I'm going to be able to lay in the tub with a leg out. Do you just tape yourself into a garbage bag and have at the shower?? French bath for a week with hair done in the kitchen sink??? We clearly have not given this much thought, but I'm getting a little self conscious and can't tell if the smell is the leftover iodine under my dressing or ME. :)
I guess with that I'll quit my bitching and take my smelly self back to my dizzy happy place. How people take Percoset recreationally is BEYOND me. I cannot wait until I don't need it! As soon as the throbbing disappears, so does this insane opiate that makes me nauseous when I stand up and giggly as all hell. Who wants to laugh all the time?! Ugh. It DID make for interesting dreams after finishing Book 10 of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series. Eric and Bill and very vivid on Percoset. :)

Thanks for the good whine.....

Friday, May 22, 2009

All done!

So, 20 hours post-op....sitting on my couch with the throbbing left leg up in the air. But I have good news.

My meniscus was intact!!! Total shocker, actually. The PA said that sometimes the MRIs aren't right....that a signal abnormality could be an error in the image. They pulled on the posterior horn and took a picture with the scope, and there was no tear present. ACL was gorgeous. MCL was intact.

But they discovered that I had plica tissue that was absolutely shredded. I have a picture of it and it's really stringy and gross. I guess it's a shelf of tissue in your knee compartment, leftover from fetal development. It attaches to the femur, and my femur was really pissed off at this damaged plica. The surgeon removed the plica and shaved the damaged part of my femur. Stiched me back up in a 1/2 hour......I was his "happy" case for the day.

General anesthesia was a piece of cake. A nice older German lady was my anesthesiologist, and she was so cute and funny. She talked to me about my tooth (bonded, prone to chipping) and decided to put me under via mask instead of intubation. I swallowed an antacid drink that was totally gross, and then they wheeled me in. I remember the surgeon telling me that he heard I was friends with Sarah, and that he had to take care of me....I laughed, then felt the burn go into my hand and knew I was going to be out from then on.

Woke up in recovery, totally fine. I was warm, lucid.....I think it took 10 minutes and I was drinking apple juice and eating graham crackers, in exchange for my 1st Percoset. :) My sister came in to be with me, and then I got dressed and was wheeled out.

I guess this is the best possible outcome for me. He is reasonably confident my issues were caused by this plica, since everything else was fine. I will be on crutches for 3 days until the swelling goes down and it's more comfortable to walk. I'm "weight bearing while comfortable," so I suspect that means if I have to go far, I'll use the crutches.... I go in 10 days from now to get the dressing off and take out the stitches...then I get the "plan."

He mentioned to my sister that it's a 6-week recovery. SO, let's hope he's right!! I suspect I'll get cleared for swimming first, and then biking.... I've gone around him and scheduled physical therapy for this coming Tuesday. I find it hard to believe he didn't let me do it post-op, so I'm paying on my own. My PT wants to do some iontophoresis for pain management and also work on strengthening my quad with some electrode action....maybe look into my range of motion. I do trust him, so hopefully he can get me back into things more quickly than just the surgeon alone.

I am doing okay pain-wise. Every four-eight hours, when the Percoset and Advil wear off concurrently, I get some pretty bad throbbing and wonder why I've done this. But most of the time, it is tolerable and I am glad I am on the road to recovery.

I'm lucid, right? You understand this post?? Ah!!! I love being functional. I was actually hoping the Percoset would knock me on my ass, but this works just as well....

With that, it's off to sleepy-sleepy time. Amanda, Leah, and Amelia, thanks for all the well wishes!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Last day of mobility

I'm cleaning all my underwear and moving everything down a shelf so that I can reach it easily. I've positioned the couch so that I can play Guitar Hero comfortably. I even bought 4 books with over 3,000 pages to read, so hopefully I shall be occupied. Work is ticked and tied. My swimsuit has been hung to dry. My beautiful bike sits on the trainer, anxiously awaiting my return.....

I go in at 12:15pm tomorrow for a 2:15pm surgery. At that time, he'll decide if he can do anything at all, repair it, or just shave it/remove it. So I can't really predict what my recovery will be like, since this is exploratory for all intents and purposes. But I'm hoping it's going to be a repair so that I'll have many years of meniscus pounding ahead of me.

Sixtwothreetries, I hope to be one of your comeback kids in 6-8 months!

Peace. :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Winding Down

I'm calling this week "A Celebration of Mobility."
Today at work, I made my minions take a 20 minute walk with me. Part of our "go the extra mile" mantra, only I took it literally. Knocked that sucker off the management list....

At swim practice, I'm finishing up training with more marker sets to figure out if I've improved over the past few months. I can now do 10 x 100 on 1:45 and hold it....... I can hold a :43 50. I can hold :20 25s. Slow for most, but an improvement for me. When I started the season, we did an all out 200 to place us in our swim groups. I did it in 3:30. Today, I swam a timed 300 and at the 200 mark, I was at 3:25. I'll take it! I feel like I've worked really hard this winter at my swim, and it seems like such a shame to be throwing it all away. I'm sure I won't be back in the water for at least a month, and even then it'll be open water so I don't push off the wall.....

I look at my bike every morning and feel sad. It's so pretty. They are both so pretty. And I think about how I'd love to call in sick and take a ride in the gorgeous 80 degree weather. This weekend is all about the bike. I am going to bike until my girl parts can't stand it anymore.

And I think on Wednesday, I might cry.

Starting to get scared about it now. I wish it had happened on May 11th, to be honest. I would have been so stressed out about the race and the drive that I never would have thought twice about the actual surgery. Having time is a little freaky. I've never gone under the knife before. Heck, I don't even know what type of anesthesia I should get! So freaky.....

At any rate, on a happier note, I have a few Iron Girl photos with more to come once hubby gets to downloading.

Monday, May 11, 2009


No surgery today!

Surgeon went to the Bahamas and neglected to tell anybody until late last week. May 21st is the new day.

To celebrate, we drove to Las Vegas and I participated in the 2009 Iron Girl Sprint. (Shhh!! Don't tell the surgeon) I'm somewhat mobile at this point. I can swim without kicking, ride my bike easy, and walk without pain....most of the time. So with that in mind, we packed up the car and drove 13 hours to the host hotel.

I cannot explain what possessed us to drive so far when plane tickets are so reasonable. I guess I just really wanted my bike, and since I'm total crap at assembling it, my choices were limited. By the time I got out of the car, I was hobbling. My knee was a wreck! I honestly thought there was no way I was going to be able to make it to the starting line of this race.

We spent that night catching up with my old teammates and walking around the Loews resort, to see if my leg would feel better. (No chance!)

The next morning, I went to packet pickup. I have to admit, it was a little depressing. All sorts of samples of energy drinks and shot blocks, but since I'm out for the season, there was no point in getting them! Rather than stay for a course talk or check in my bike, I decided we should go be tourists and see the Hoover Dam.

Folks, it's a Dam. We couldn't do the tour, since it involved lots of stairs and I was still crippled at this point. So we walked between Nevada and Arizona in the blazing hot sun, then called it a day. Been there, done that, bought the Dam Mug.

That afternoon, I got my bike in order, took it for a test ride, and then checked it in to the transition area where it would sit overnight. I actually took Jezebel the tri bike with me. Her seat KILLS me, but I figured I bought the damn bike, so I ought to ride it in my one and only 2009 race. Actually, the forward geometry puts less stress on my knees when I ride versus the road bike. Sounds crazy, but I brought the tri bike for sheer comfort to my knee!

After check-in, we went to dinner with friends and then went to my old team's meeting. Oh, how awkward for me! My Colorado team was in Vegas, but they were staying at the Palazzo together, sans husbands. I was with my hubby and staying at the Loews, so I kind of felt a little left out with them. (Not that they didn't invite me to stay with them...) My old team has been somewhat controversial as of late, but I still have several close friends who race with them and I thought I was close to the Coach. I guess I still am, but she had 65 women to tend to on race weekend so we really didn't have much time to catch up and just be "pals." She had the Coach hat on...kind of drove me batty. At any rate, at the team meeting, when she announced who I was, she also gave me a chance to say something, so I proceeded to clear the air about my knee injury because I suspect she has tried to use me as an example of overtraining. Since I have NOT overtrained and became injured just BECAUSE, I thought I should defend myself. So I did. I don't know what she thought of that, but whatever. I am very sensitive about this meniscus problem!

Woke up at 4:30am the next morning, made a few cups of coffee, and then met my friend down in the lobby to go into transition. I set up pretty quickly..... When I pulled out my wetsuit, it was all manky and stiff. I don't think I've used it since I moved from California! I chatted up a few of the girls in my row, then headed back to my room to use the restroom and wake up my hubby. We walked down to the swim start 1/3 of a mile down the road, and I wasn't really all that nervous! I was walking better than I had in days, and all in all, things were good. OH, except my expired Gatorade AM. I was wondering why it tasted so off. I drank 3/4 of the bottle before DH pointed out it had expired 3 months earlier. Oops! I tasted it all morning.

The Olympic waves went off first, and I was relieved that I was not amongst them. I jumped into the water and did 5 minutes of "test" swimming, as I hadn't swam without a pull buoy in 2 months and wasn't sure how I'd do in the wetsuit. Guess what? You don't need to kick in a wetsuit! Thank goodness.

When it was time for my wave to go off, DH asked me to get in the front so he could take photos. I was worried about getting trampled since I was going to be gimping into the water, but I ended up staying out in front! I jumped in, cleared the girl in front of me, and then had a pretty clear path after the first hundred meters or so. A lot of the girls who came out fast faded very quickly, and before long, I was mostly alone. I caught the previous wave at the first buoy, and before the 2nd buoy, I caught the last Olympic wave that went off 15 meters prior. Had a GREAT swim, even though I couldn't kick. Came out of the water in what I thought was a slow time, but it was good enough for 6th out of 115 in my age group! Either everyone else was slow, or that course was loooong. I'm liable to go with the latter. I do better the longer we this makes more sense.

Got out of the water with little pain. Forgot I was supposed to be resting. Ran to the timing mat. Then I walked up the hill to transition, and DH walked with me. I got passed by quite a few people and it really pissed me off!!! Damn this knee! But I stayed true to my promise to myself, and I walked into transition. Quick transition once I made it to my bike....before I knew it, I was on Jezebel and on my way.

Uphill. Damn, I forgot about getting out of the resort area. 1/2 the race, uphill, miserable. I still passed a lot of people, but it was just too slow. No point in using the tri bike at that point. I was so relieved when we made it to Lake Mead Parkway. I flipped it into the big ring and did my best to crank down the hill to the turnaround. I definitely negative split the last section of the course, but it should have been far faster than it was. Not sure if it was my lack of familiarity with the bike, holding back because I am afraid of hurting the leg, or just lack of fitness....but I was pissed with how slow the bike was. Nevertheless, it was good enough for 12th out of 115, so I'll take it.

I hobbled my way back into transition after the bike ride. Ouch! Running off the bike hurt a ton. Race officials freaked out a little, but I waved them off and went to rack my bike. Another quick transition later, and I was hiking uphill towards the desert.

At this point. I was joined by my hubby, who walked with me as everyone ran past. I was slightly out of breath from my bike, so it was kind of nice to walk at this point. But as soon as I was recovered, I was just so antsy!!! He left me at the start of the dirt trail, and I headed off into nowhere near the front of the pack.....walking like a granny. I really, desperately wanted to run, but I knew that I would swell for weeks if I did. So I behaved. So many people passed me, telling me I could "do it," that they would run with me, etc.... Do you know how frustrating that is?? PSA -- if somebody who is not sweating or breathing hard is WALKING the run, leave them alone!! Say hi. Ask about the weather. Tell them you are jealous of how dry their hair is after the swim. But DO NOT TELL THEM THEY CAN DO IT! I cannot walk. Argh!! Can you tell I've been stewing for days?

Did you know that a 5K is actually a pretty long distance? Man, I had no idea. I thought it might take me 40 minutes or so to walk the 5K, but I was totally wrong. 52 minutes later, I emerged from the desert, completely out of my mind and bursting with energy. My CO team was first to cheer me on and pat me on the back. They'd all passed me on the run, so I'd already said hi, but it was nice to have them there. Then I got the cheers from my old team, although it was really just my old Coach laughing at my granny walk. She was like, "you walked the run and are racing injured and yet you still beat half the field!" That made me smile. I limped down the short hill to the finisher chute, then picked up a little jog while the announcer said my name.

I'd done 15+ triathlons. Nothing can beat the feeling of finishing your first, but I have to say, this one felt DAMN good. I almost cried, actually. I worked SO HARD to get to race day, and even though I didn't make it in one piece and I wasn't able to race the run, I finished the race. I was so thankful to have made it to the finish line and to have that finisher medal in hand. Victory!

(Of course, after finding out that if I had run my usual 5K, I would have come close to hitting the podium, I was a little cranky......but I'll save it)

We unfortunately had to check out at noon, so everything after the finish was a bit of a blur. Had to say goodbye to everyone in a rush and then head to our new hotel on the Strip. But it was nice to see everyone. I miss them. But it was also exciting to be a part of my new team and know that the more time I spend with them, the more likely I'll end up with friends just as good as the old ones. :) Gotta love triathlon.

So with that, I am back home in Colorado. DH started his new job last week....he works swing shift from 2pm to 11:00pm, so unfortunately I won't see him much. But this is good for my blogging. And certainly will be better for my girlie tv watching and book reading.

Am nervous about the surgery next week, but hopefully it'll start my journey back to being 100%. Until then.....have a dam good night!