Week 11 Non-Surgical

First physical therapy session was today. Alex and I went through a handful of different band exercises and stretches. Upon watching me walk to the bathroom he remarked, “Hey, that’s not as bad as I thought.” I’d say it went well.
His tone did change a bit once I told him I’d been following a yoga physiotherapist on YouTube. Which I understand. Somewhat. I’m sure that doctors get irritated with patients coming in with WebMD diagnoses. But in a lot of cases, you can find more helpful information on the internet than you can with just one professional. It’s really a matter of being able to asses the situation and then filter through the massive gloms of information out there. In my case, I have been utilizing lots of internet info to help guide my recovery process and I also wanted a professional opinion on the specifics of my particular injury/recovery. I’m not going to go to PT as frequently as they want me to, mainly because it adds up quickly at $60 a pop. Of course actually going to a place and having a professional guide you through exercises is extremely beneficial. But I can make do without the twice-a-week sessions they recommend. I’ll be going every other week instead.
Ok so I let Alex talk me into coming back next week, but after that it’s every other week. I’m putting my goodfoot down.

Don’t Forget Your Body

[Yoast tells me I need more headings to improve readability. Do you feel like you’re having an easier time??]
My right foot has been feeling pretty good lately, but now the rest of my body is screaming. Hobbling around in a boot is making my hips and groin and back…really the rest of my body pretty angry. This bit of yoga helped immensely: https://youtu.be/7UGHZCoqm9s

Brace Yo’Self

I’ve been wanting to get a brace for a couple weeks now, but couldn’t really find a whole lot of people who’d used a brace during an Achilles’ rupture recovery. I just feel super wobbly without the boot on at the moment so I wanted a bit of support while I redevelop those millions of muscles in my calf and foot that are currently hibernating. I asked Alex about it and he said it’d be fine, just a simple one from Walgreens would do. So I snagged this sassy little lace up number on the way home. It provides just enough support so’s I don’t feel like I’m going to topple over while unloading the dishwasher.

Emotional Rollercoaster

I’d like to blame my mood swings on the whole recovery process, but then I remember that life is just mood swings and I can go ahead and enjoy the ride. And then I forget that and get real angry because I’m angry for no reason but actually there’s lots of reasons cause that anger’s just a coverup for some unprocessed emotions that there’s just no time for because I’m too busy watching Criminal Minds and mancrushing Spencer Reid.
This process certainly is a strange beast. Every time I hit a milestone, I feel like I’ve arrived. Everything is back to normal. But then I realize I’m still miles away from the tiniest of calf-raises. And then I remember I don’t have to think about all that right now. I can walk around this whole stupid house with no boot or crutches. I am a champion. https://youtu.be/TIPWayUP67s

Whheeeee!!

So yes. Moving right along. Let’s wrap this up with some visual comparisons of my left and right lower bits before the first day of PT.

full point

full flex

Thanks for reading!!

ATR Recovery Week 9 Non-Surgical

It’s been 9 weeks since I busted my Achilles’ tendon!

I put on a shoe!

I see a baby calf muscle peeking!

I was actually able to make several laps around my house just now with two shoes and one crutch. Kinda like that YouTube phenomenon from college. Two shoes one crutch. As with most things, the idea of it was much scarier than the actual thing [except for that actual YouTube phenomenon. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’d rather not]. I’m now in the process of slowly weaning out of the boot and back into two shoes. I have one heel lift in my shoe when I wear it since my Achilles’ is still pretty tight. My foot will flex MAYBE a tiny bit past 90 degrees at this point. Slow n’ steady.

On Friday I had the privilege of teaching a yoga class on a pleasant hillside next to a lovely little lake. Which meant I drove myself and 3-year-old Micah an hour each way left-footed and then hobbled around in a boot on uneven terrain and taught a yoga class on a slant and then splashed around in a lake for a while. Two months ago, I couldn’t stay upright for more than a few minutes a time. PROGRESS. Then I spent Saturday on the couch, sore and half-crying most of the day because my period’s about to start. ALSO PROGRESS.

That whole “two steps forward, one step back” thing makes it seem like that step back is moving you further away from your goal which just isn’t true. It certainly FEELS that way sometimes, but that “step back” is still just part of the process. Any time I’m in that “step back” part, I have this absurdly competitive little demon on my shoulder that wants to berate me for being “less than I could be.” Which doesn’t even make sense. I am everything I can be in this moment. And in the next moment, I’ll be a little different. Unless you wanna step down the Jim Carrey rabbit hole [WHICH I ALWAYS DO] and talk about how I technically don’t even exist.

Let’s just stay here for now.

SOMETIMES I WAKE UP ANGRY

7.10.2019

Ever slept on your folded-over ear? Like somehow in your sleep you managed to shift your head in such a way that your ear ends up folding itself shut? And then you wake up with this godawful burning pain at the side of your head and you just have to lay in bed writhing for a good 20 minutes until the stupid sensation passes? This is an honest question. Up until a few years ago, I’d never experienced this particular phenomenon but now it happens like every couple months and I’m wondering if I’m alone in this struggle.

That same pain has happened a few times in my calf during this whole healing process. One of those times was this 5 am. Sometimes I wake up angry. Like the ear pain, it passes after about 20 minutes or so. I think it just happens when my foot’s been in the wrong position for too long. Not the best way to greet the morning, but better than that time I rolled over onto a wasp.

A Floppy Sack of Meat

meat sack.

My 8 week post-ATR orthopedic appointment went quite nicely today. Healing is coming along. I passed the Simmond’s Test, but barely. “Your calf is nothing but a floppy sack of meat. When I squeeze it, your foot twitches a tiny bit. That’s not because your tendon’s not healed, it’s because your calf is gone.”

So now, we strengthen. Doc says I can stand on two feet and start trying calf raises on both legs. I have not done this. It sounds very scary. We’ll get there.

I can also start to ween out of the boot and back into a shoe. Again. Scary. I still spend most of the day with at least one crutch. So it’ll be a while before I’m putting weight on a bootless foot. We’ll get there.

Doc basically just set me free today and said I can call or come back if there’re any problems. I got the number for a physical therapist and I’ll give them a call when it feels right.

Slow n’ steady.

IT WALKS

ATR Recovery Week 8 Non-Surgical

So far it seems like healing has happened in two major leaps. I spent much of weeks 1-4 on the couch because any time my foot dropped below heart-level for more than a few moments, all of the blood would rush in that direction and it would start to hurt. Being horizontal for the majority of a month was sometimes nice and often super dumb. I’d feel damn triumphant if I was able to make myself a sandwich during that time.

Somewhere around week 5, I turned a corner. I could be upright for extended periods with only minor discomfort. Which was super convenient because a few days later we packed up and drove 15 hours to Florida for the big Shocklee vacation. We unfolded ourselves from the car after the journey and scooted upstairs to our condo. My foot had started to swell a bit from the long car ride so I was eager to sit down. A handful of kids and I went out onto our patio [which was practically IN the ocean and amazing]. I noticed the ground was a bit slippery so I tried to carefully sit down but somehow managed to fall instead. Hard. Onto my foot. “Shit.” I said. “Shit.” said my 6 year old niece. I made my way onto the chair to inspect the damage. Everything seemed to be intact and the only thing that hurt was my pride. I’d been pretty scared of falling since I started this ordeal, so it was nice to get that out of the way.

Fear and I have certainly been hanging out a bit lately. Having a major injury is scary. And so is the healing process. The pace of this healing is such that as soon as I get comfy in one particular stage, I bump along into the next. The Major fear that’s been floating over my head through this whole journey is the idea that my Achilles’ could re-rupture. Early on, I was watching some guy’s video blog on his recovery process and at week 9, his Achilles’ just popped. GAD. I can’t imagine. I’ve broken an Achilles’ tendon twice, but I had about 7 years in between. Doing it just as you’re starting to feel confident about walking again just sounds awful.
That’s all I have to say about that.

The rest of the vacation was just wonderful. Mike found these lovely sand pads for my crutches so I could maneuver around the beach without sinking. https://justwalkers.com/products/sandpad-landpad-beach-stabilizer-tips-for-crutches-1pairgclid=EAIaIQobChMIuuH186284wIVjcDACh2F3gLREAQYASABEgKNjfD_BwE

I couldn’t really put weight on my foot yet, so I got my daily workout crutching to and from the beach. My arms haven’t felt this strong in a good while.

that’s not pee I promise.

The waves were super rough for the first couple days so I was only able to put my toes in. But on the third day, the ocean was suddenly more like a huge salty lake. Mike carried me out into the deeper water so I could bob around in a tube. It was very romantic. He even got a round of applause from a group of beachers when he brought me back up to shore. My hero.

Micah preferred the “quiet pool” at first because the waves sort of terrified him. But by the end of the trip you couldn’t get him out of the ocean.

After vacation, I spent week 6 of recovery murking around through the post-beach blues. It was just SO NICE to be outside most of the time. I usually suck it up and sweat out the St. Louis summer, but wearing a fatty spaceboot tends to keep me indoors more than not.
Once I stopped moping, I realized I could put all of my weight on my bad foot. Which meant that I could basically walk without crutches (in the boot) for very short distances. A couple days ago I used Shelly Prosko’s gait training video to help remember how to walk again: WALK

And just like that, I CAN WALK. With a limp. For a couple feet.

who wore it better?

But I can’t even begin to tell you how empowering it is to be able to carry a plate of food from the kitchen to the table without having to smush a crutch under my armpit. I was even super stoked to pick up dog poo yesterday.

I’ve still been using the crutches as needed. I usually have one under my left arm and I switch to two when my leg starts getting sore. But knowing that I can walk across the kitchen carrying a chicken is definitely a game changer.

I go back to the Dr. tomorrow for my 8 week appointment. The last time I said that I was pregnant with Micah. That was much more fun.
At my last appointment he made it sound like tomorrow would be my last day in the boot. Currently, I disagree. I mean maybe if I’m switching to a brace and still using crutches I guess.
TOMORROW WILL TELL!

Achilles’ Rupture #2 Recovery Weeks 1-4

Weeks 1-4

After my Achilles’ tendon ruptured, they stuck me in a plaster cast for 2 weeks. A week into that cast, I stumbled across this:

PhysioYoga for Achilles Tendon Rupture: The Missing Link in Rehabilitation

That woman is Shelly Prosko, a yoga physiotherapist who just so happened to rupture her Achilles’ tendon a week before the picture was taken. Her website outlines her entire non-operative recovery and includes links to 11 different YouTube videos of her physiotherapy process. She talks about how she was put in a cast and told that she’d start therapy at 8 weeks. She decided to start right away instead.

It’s been SUPER helpful to just listen to her describe her process and see how much movement is still possible with a busted Achilles’ tendon. I’m not quite as brave (or dedicated) as she is, but I always feel much better when I can manage to get myself onto the yoga mat and follow along with the majority of her movements. But, there are many days when I don’t make it that far. And that’s ok too.

I felt pretty confident in the plaster cast. 2 weeks into the recovery, they sliced that right off. They stuck me in a big ol’ space boot and told me I can start some easy movements outside of the boot for about 15 minutes a day. Also, I can start putting weight on my foot. If it starts hurting, Dr. said, back off.

Oh! And the day before that 2 week appointment, I got a bill in the mail for $1,172. I was expecting MAYBE $500 for a cast. But there were a jumble of numbers on that bill including a $640 office visit fee. They even charged me for the X.Ray I attempted to opt out of but was informed that I’d already paid for it with the cost of the appointment. Rude.
I wasn’t home when Mike opened the mail, so he immediately called and asked for an itemized receipt. I called back first thing in the morning to tell them that I would need to pay for everything in my next appointment up front since I just got a bill that was much higher than I was led to believe it would be.
“Let me go check on that….Oh that was a mistake. You don’t owe any of that. Everything was covered with the $150 you already paid for your appointment.”
“PERFECT! Let me just tally up my bill for THE NIGHT OF SLEEP I JUST LOST.”
Apparently we received the bill that they would normally send to the insurance company. But since I don’t have insurance, that bill ceases to exist. Our healthcare system is just so strange.

Later that day I made my way to my appointment prepared to shell out a couple hundred dollars for the boot. I was handing my credit card over when one of the nurses waved her hand and whispered some magic words “It was a sample boot.”

Free boot! No massive bill! I’ll take that as repayment for the lost night of sleep.

There’s a tendon at the back of my heel again! After only 2 weeks! The human body baffles me.

The next day I started some gentle up and down movements with my foot using a red band. Micah helped.

Thought it might be nice to wear a sock to minimize the boot stink and boost my foot’s self esteem. After it took about half an hour to get this sock on and back off, I ordered a roll of stockinette (the bandage stuff they put under casts) to use instead.

I’m a chronic over-doer. I felt pretty good the day after I got my cast off. Mike and I went out for dinner at Mission Taco in the Loop and afterwards we made our way over to the top of the MoonRise Hotel. I crutched the my way over, working on putting a little weight on my foot as we went. A couple of times I felt a little twinge around my Achilles’, so I backed off accordingly.

We got to MoonRise and my foot/knee started radiating some heat and swelling a bit. The next morning I was pretty sore. The next few days I was pretty sore. I was pretty much laid up for a good 2-3 days after my bout with walking. Even when I try not to overdo it, I over do it.

Since that first stint with walking I’ve been taking it super slowly. I put zero weight on my foot for several days, and then just started setting it down now and again as I was walking. I also laid off the red band movements for a few days, but I’ve been trying to do that at least once a day since that movement is supposed to bring about a more robust healing and decrease the rate of re-rupture.

So far, so good.

Achilles’ Rupture #2 Day 1

6.14.2019

Day 1

Mike half-carried me into our house as I hopped on my left foot, trying not to jostle my floppy right ankle. I eased onto the couch and stared at the divot at the back of my heel where my Achilles’ tendon was supposed to be. After surfing the waves of guilt and dread the whole ride home, Mike’s presence calmed the waters.
“Here’s what we’re going to do.”
I got home around 10 in the evening, so the next morning I was going to call around and find a place that could put a cast on my foot. I had my first Achilles’ tendon rupture surgically repaired and was then in a cast for about 6 weeks. I was not going to get surgery with this one, so I figured I’d just be in a cast for a bit longer than that since the recovery time without surgery is generally a bit longer.

Once that was settled, I called my mom. Mike works full-time so I was going to need a boatload of extra help for the next several weeks. We have a 3 year old named Micah and I also watch a few other children at my home. Mom’s a teacher and, as luck would have it, the school year just ended. “I’ll help with whatever you need.” My mom is wonderful.

A quick aside: this whole ordeal has certainly made me appreciate my mom and Mike. They are stepping up and doing all sorts of extra work these days. Likewise, it’s made me appreciate myself. Watching the amount of work they’re both doing has made me realize the amount of work I normally do on a regular basis.

I couldn’t handle doing any sort of Achille’s research that evening, so I spent the night on the couch watching Star Wars and trying not to move my foot. Mike stayed out on the couch with me just like I did with Micah when he was barfing a few months back. I used to resist this sort of help for fear of becoming too dependent on something outside of myself. There’s still a part of me that resists, but now I understand the value in a symbiotic relationship. I even managed to doze off a bit here and there.

In the morning, I just sort of waited anxiously around for normal business hours. I skimmed the orthopedists in the area and found one that looked fairly small but quite legitimate. I feel guilty typing this, but we don’t currently have insurance. I feel silly that I feel guilty typing that. Mike and I are both self-employed, so decent insurance cost us 12 grand last year. Decent meaning about a $4000 deductible. Which basically means that we would have to pay 16 thousand dollars before the insurance would really cover anything other than making Dr. visits and prescriptions cheaper. After weighing those odds, paying for insurance seemed to be more of a gamble than not. We’ve just been putting that money into a savings account instead.

I called the small/legit-looking orthopedist as soon as they opened and they said if I came right away, they could squeeze me in. My mom walked in the door just as I finished that conversation, so we wrangled Micah and swooped out the door.
I knew I’d have to make sure we didn’t end up paying a crapton of money just to get a cast on and I was terrified. Advocating for myself is not one of my strongpoints. I’m a bit of a people-pleaser (see also: praise junky) so I tend to go with the flow even when the flow wants to drown me.

I went in with the intention of paying for everything outright so I wouldn’t end up with some crazy bill, but between the fear of moving my right foot, the lack of sleep the night before, trying to remember how not to fall down the stairs on crutches, making sure my credit card had been activated because the sticker was still on it, and trying to get information out of a Dr. who seemed to be in a rather large hurry—I managed to walk out of the door after only paying the $150 visit fee. (Now I don’t mean to put the good doctor down. I’m super grateful that they were able to squeeze me in right away. It’s just tricky sometimes to get all of the information you need without annoying the person who’s going to be manipulating your super-injured foot.) I didn’t even realize my mistake until about halfway home. Wups. I figured I’d probably end up with a bill for around $500 to put on a cast which seemed fairly reasonable. More on that later.

The Dr. told me that I’d be in a cast for 2 weeks and would then switch to a boot and begin “aggressive physical therapy.” [As I write this, I’m 6 weeks post-injury and the therapy has been anything but aggressive.] Since I was thinking I’d be in a cast for a good 8 weeks or so, the idea of aggressive physical therapy at 2 weeks sounded terrifying. But I just let that simmer on the back burner for later processing.

Once my foot was safely secured in a snazzy purple cast, I felt much better. If you’re ever hungry for a big old chunk of vulnerability, try letting a majorly injured body part flop in the breeze for a while.

We headed home and I settled into the couch to let the healing begin.

Achilles’ Rupture #2

6.13.2019

The Incident.

Seven years ago I ruptured my left Achilles’ tendon. More on that over here. Three weeks ago, I ruptured my right Achilles Tendon. Let’s compare and contrast.

It was a long winter. Every time I bring up this past winter to anyone, a dark cloud falls across their eyes. The never ending frozen and dreary weather was almost as oppressive as the political climate. Almost.
This was also the first winter I began working entirely from home. And right in the middle, our dog sustained a semi-serious foot wound that meant we couldn’t leave him home alone for over a month. By April, our normally cozy home began to feel awfully dungeon-like.
I desperately needed an outlet so I signed up to retake a class at The Improv Shop.
Two weeks ago I was good’n ready to head to the second class of the session when the tornado sirens starting blaring. In my pre-mom life, I wouldn’t have thought twice about jumping in my car as long as I could manage to keep a decent distance from the nearest funnel cloud. But now that I have a husband and a three-year-old, I find myself being a bit more cautious about such things. The thought of Mike spending life as a single dad crumples my heart in places I didn’t even know existed until I birthed our little bugger.

I wavered on the front porch for a bit trying to decide whether or not to go. Finally I jumped in the car because in St. Louis, if you take every siren seriously you’ll spend half the Spring in the basement.

Class was lovely. Near the end we started an exercise where one person performs a physical activity and his scene partner’s job is to help him in some way. In line waiting to perform my activity, I contemplated doing a handstand. “Nah. Don’t be pretentious, Julie,” my dumbass inner critic said. Unfortunately, I listened and decided to run a relay instead.

This image is watermarked but it’s such a perfect metaphor that I don’t care. THANKS DREAMSTIME!!

When my turn came I lunged a bit with my right foot behind me and reached my hand back as though I was waiting to grab a baton. I grabbed the invisible baton and pushed off with my right foot to run my leg of the relay.
Before I even took a step I was suddenly a little dizzy and confused and tingly and felt as though my whole body had just been twanged like a standup bass. Once the moment of confusion passed I thought, “I just broke my fucking Achille’s tendon.” I hopped down off the stage and sat down next to the teacher saying something like “I just really hurt myself.”

With my first Achilles’ tendon rupture (ATR for short) I wasn’t immediately sure of what had happened nor of the repercussions. I was able to process things slowly as they came.
This time, I knew exactly what happened so all of the implications hit me like a goddamn semi: You IDIOT you don’t have insurance you have a three-year-old and a house and a garden and two dogs you are self-employed and your job is physically demanding FUUUCKKKK.

I sat for a moment before hopping out of the room to call Mike. “Sooooo, I think I ruptured my Achilles’ tendon?” is never something you expect to hear when you pick up the phone, and poor Mike has now had that happen twice. When I first delivered this message about seven years ago, he didn’t believe me. I didn’t believe me that time because WHO RUPTURES THEIR ACHILLES’ TENDON. But this time as soon as I said those words, all of the blood immediately drained out of his head. My second sentence was an effort to reassure him that I didn’t need to get surgery, but he doesn’t even remember that. Class let out at that point and I told Mike I’d call him back once I had a plan for the immediate future.

I spent a good 10 minutes just repeating the word fuck before deciding it was probably best if someone else gave me a ride home. And by that I mean someone had to tell me it would be very bad of me to drive home.
NOTE: If you ever sustain a major injury, let someone nearby make every decision for you. I was honestly plotting to drive 25 minutes home, in the dark, in a storm, using my left foot while my right ankle flopped in the breeze.

Footage from that night.

Luckily the teacher of the class is also a good friend and he arranged for me to be escorted to his car. There just so happened to be a lively game of dungeons and dragons going on nearby and two of the players just so happened to be rather sturdy individuals who helped me hop hobble out to the car.

After mentally berating myself the whole car ride home, Mike was a beautiful sight even though I was sure he was going to be mad at me. Which is absurd. Stress is a strange beast.

As soon as I got settled on the couch, Mike said some lovely words, “Ok, so here’s what we’re going to do.” I love this man. When we were first bonding over beer pong, I had no idea I was falling in love with the dude Most Likely to Survive the Apocalypse. Which is convenient considering I just got an apocalypse notification from my Google Calendar the other day.

Once Mike started talking, the mental beration subsided. I wasn’t an idiot. I hadn’t ruined life. I apparently have weak Achilles’ tendons or a propensity push those tendons too hard or a little bit of both. I was going to need some (a lot) of help in the weeks to come. And that’s ok.

My First Achilles’ Rupture

6.13.2019

Hi!

Three weeks ago, I ruptured my right Achilles’ tendon. Seven years ago, I ruptured my left. We’ll start with that one.

Someone lobbed a long ball down the soccer field and I took off towards the goal. The next thing I knew I was on the ground wondering who the hell threw a rock at the back of my ankle and why. In the time it took for that thought to enter and leave my mind, I realized that nobody had thrown a rock at me and something was terribly incorrect in my left foot.

I hopped over to the sidelines not knowing exactly what was wrong but that I most definitely should not put any weight on that foot. This was only my third time playing with this St. Louis pickup group so I hardly even knew anybody’s name. A few people asked me if I was alright and I said “I will be, just can’t walk right now.” Most everybody was still playing so I proceeded to strap my backpack onto my back and start the long hop back to my car. Hopping with a backpack is awkward to say the least.
I’ve been reading a bunch of Achilles blogs lately and there are several people who talk about hobbling around after the rupture or even this one guy who broke BOTH OF HIS ACHILLES’ tendons chasing after his runaway car and still kept going, stopped the car, and drove it to the ER. Just the thought of that makes me barf in my throat a bit.
There was NO WAY I was putting any weight on that foot, so I’d hop a few yards, pause, hop a few more, lean against a tree, hop a bit more. After a bit I noticed a guy at a nearby baseball game had turned away from the game and was watching me instead. He started to walk over and asked if I’d like any help. “Yes please.” I’m not the best at asking for help (which is perhaps the reason I keep ending up in situations that require that of me) but I’m halfway decent at accepting when it’s been offered. Halfway.
I was expecting him to offer a shoulder to lean on but instead he just scooped me up backpack and all and asked, “Where to?” I pointed in the direction of my car and thanked him profusely.
Cozy in the driver’s seat, I called my fresh new boyfriend (now husband) Mike and told him I thought I broke my Achilles’ tendon. “No you didn’t.” Even though there was a slight divot at the back of my heel where my Achilles should have been, I chose to believe him until a professional opinion told me otherwise.

Since my right foot was fully functional, I drove home and waited for Mike to come take me to the ER. I really hadn’t experienced much pain from the whole ordeal. Just a strong knowing that my ankle was quite incorrect.

At the ER, the first doc came in and had me push down against his hand with my foot. I was able to put apply a bit of pressure so he told me it wasn’t a complete tear. Super. Two minutes later another guy came in and did the Simmonds Test ( most everywhere calls it the Thomson Test even though Simmonds coined it in 1957 and then Thompson came in and ganked it from him in ‘62) which is where they squeeze your calf to see if your foot responds. My foot failed. “That’s a complete rupture.” ATR for those in the biz.

They told me I had options: surgery or no surgery. With surgery, they told me, the risk of re-rupture is lower and the recovery time is less. I had insurance and zero prior knowledge of this injury, so I went the surgical route. (With this second ATR I’m going non-surgical. We’ll get to that later.)

A few days later I was post-op and in MUCH more pain then I ever felt from the injury itself. Enter Percocet. Now I’ve been incredibly lucky to never dip too deeply into the Opiod pool. But that deep end is certainly inviting and my heart goes out to addicts everywhere. With Percocet, everything was dandy. I could tell my foot still hurt, but it just didn’t matter. All of my physical and emotional pain was wrapped in a comfy little cloud.

[Coming off the pain drugs, however, was less than pleasant. My whole body had restless leg syndrome and my liver wouldn’t tolerate ANY alcohol for months. (Mike can tell you about the Rumple Minze incident of ‘13. ) I can’t remember how it felt when emotional pain came back because I’ve likely blocked that out.

I floated through my days reading Hunger Games and watching Community. It wasn’t a bad gig, really. Part of me is afraid that I actually LIKE being seriously injured which is why it happened again. I keep thinking about Andy from Parks and Rec keeping his cast on an extra two weeks so Ann would keep waiting on him.
AM I ANDY IF SO WHERE’S APRIL.

**Somewhat graphic description of an injury follows. Skip the next paragraph if you’re squeamish or just ate a bunch of Indian food or something.**

A few weeks into my cloud, I get a call from Mike:
“I’m on the way to the ER I cut the tip of my thumb off.”
Now when I heard “tip of my thumb,” I pictured like a sliver. Like maybe he’d need a couple stitches. I crutched my way to the ER to find a much different scenario. Bone shards. Accidental amputation just above the knuckle. Gross.

Mike post-accidental amputation and pre-surgery.
His sister Gracie is helping him remember how a healthy thumb looks.

He was taken to surgery later that afternoon where they filed down his thumb bone, stretched the remaining thumb skin up over the rest of his thumb, and stitched him back up.
I have an incredibly competitive streak. Up until I met Mike, I was used to winning and generally sought out scenarios that allowed me to be the best. But Mike doesn’t really like competition. He just always wins. He even one-upped my stupid injury. AND they gave him stronger pain pills.
This is one reason we’re very good together.

So Mike and I got to spend the next couple of months sitting outside Bread Co. [Panera for you non-St. Louisans], eating pain drugs and bread-sliced bagels, and playing Scrabble. I’m often nostalgic for those pre-dog, pre-toddler, no-job days. It was really the perfect way to get to know a dude. I knew it was love when he gladly helped me remove eight weeks worth of built up foot skin after I got the cast off.

Both of our recoveries were pretty much by the book. After a month or two of cloudy courtship, we started physical therapy and worked our way back to (almost) full function: I’ve kept off the soccer fields and Mike’s video game, bowling, and occasional cup-handling skills have been a bit compromised.

Once I got back to walking and jogging again, I sort of wrote the whole ordeal off as a freak accident. Until 2 weeks ago when I felt a familiar pop in my right ankle.