(We live in the future! I am typing on a Bluetooth keyboard that is plugged into nothing!)
It’s been six months since my surgery. Dr. Google says I should be “recovered” by now. I do feel better than I did before the procedure, so I’m counting it as a win. I don’t feel completely recovered from the problem that led to surgery, but I do feel recovered from the surgery itself. I still have some flexibility issues with scar tissue, and I my SI joint is still a pretty painful challenge (from all the limping), but the plantar fasciitis and peroneal tendon are both down to a pain level of 2 from the pre-surgery 7. There have been some setbacks along the way, however.
Once I started walking (six weeks after surgery), I was still having terrible pain and weakness in both arches. I had my physical therapist look at my prescription orthotics and he (reluctantly) admitted that the arches seemed pretty high. Looking back, I realized that the plantar fasciitis that started all of this only started mutating into all of the other problems once I got the orthotics. I switched to SuperGreen insoles and started feeling better almost right away. There was a brief flare-up of the plantar fasciits as the arches were getting stronger, but I’m doing acceptably well with that now.
My lower back has been angry since the week of surgery. Having my legs unevenly elevated for so long kind of twisted everything out of alignment. The stiffness and pain has risen and fallen over time. My office chair started exacerbating it just after Thanksgiving, leading to a distressing click in my SI joint when I walk. Then the week before Christmas, I was doing my scar massage, which requires me to sit crooked to reach my ankle. When I stood up, the pain in my SI joint was just awful. My chiropractor said that the fifteen months of limping, walking funny, and sitting crooked had just finally all caught up with me. Gentle stretches and sitting in a very precise posture has helped me progress back from that, and I feel about 75% back to normal in the backular arena.
A week after New Years I was doing some of my pt exercises. I don’t do them regularly anymore, but I could still use more strength. So I was finishing up with some calf raises – just raising up to my toes and lowering down again – when something went “pip” in my foot. I spent the next week and a half in terrible pain in the side of my foot, limping like I was before surgery. Whatever it was resolved itself just in time for January 23, the official six-month mark.
With the six month milestone met, I decided to take a class at the gym with Kala on Monday. I’ve been going to the Y once or twice a week with her and/or Gwen, mostly messing about in the pool or doing some time on the elliptical. I figured the “Beginning Yoga” would be a nice soft reentry into something more structured.
The morning started out well – at least as well as any morning of a day off where I found myself on a bus at 8 a.m., voluntarily dragging my carcass to exercise. Kala joined me on the bus and we entertained each other – so much so that I think we were eliciting resentment from the regular bus commuters. But then I dropped my silicone-covered glass water bottle in the locker room, which shattered everywhere. I babysat the dangerpuddle for twenty minutes after Kala went to fetch help – luckily she then went to stake us out spots in class, so at least I didn’t have to be at the front for what happened next. A lovely Y official took over the cleanup (and didn’t berate me at all) so I headed into the studio, which filled up with thirty-four other students, probably twice what the room would best hold. Being midmorning on a Monday, most of the other participants were older women, but it quickly became clear that as far as our body function was concerned, I was the oldest person there.
About halfway through the class, I lost my balance during a simple transition (when you move from down dog, bringing your right knee forward into a lunge). I was close to the ground so falling over should have been only mildly embarrassing. But as my pelvis fell to the right, my leg stayed right where it was, making it pop halfway out of the hip socket.
That was a nasty sound, let me tell you.
By all that is graceful and holy, it popped right back into place. So it hurt, but no one had to call an ambulance. The teacher was immediately checking on me but I convinced her to go on, spending the rest of the class mostly in child’s pose. She came over to see how I was doing after class was over (inner monologue: “oh God I’m fine stop it everyone’s looking go away go away go away”). I told her I was recovering from surgery and that my falling over wasn’t entirely unexpected. She said she was proud of me for staying through class and modifying the routine how I was able. So my inner approval-seeker was rejoicing at the same time I was just praying I’d be able to stand up off of my yoga mat. But I was indeed able. Kala and I limped our way back to the bus (an adventure for another time) and I spent most of the rest of the day with a heating pad on my hip.
It hurt so bad, you guys. But there’s no clicking, no restriction of my range of motion, no swelling, and our insurance situation is…complex at the moment, so I was determined to make it through. I slept like crap (despite a contraband leftover pain pill) and woke up yesterday near tears with the pain. We’re super short-staffed at work though, and apparently I’m stronger than I thought. I decided I’d go into work and if I had to flee for urgent care, then that’s what I’d do.
Weirdly (and with much gratitude on my part), the pain actually got better as the day went on. I went in at a pain level of 9, actually crying a little (hooray for mornings alone at the office), but by the end of the day, made it down to a 6.5. I guess moving about helped with blood flow, and I was super careful to go slow (and stay loaded up on NSAIDs). Today has been 3-6, so I’m confident that my body is going to fix this one up for me. Muscles, tendons, ligaments are all bound to be irritated by being jerked out of place, but I think it will be okay.
I’m so ready for all of this body-drama to be over. I’ve been variously out of commission for seventeen months now. I want to go on hikes, I want to try to learn to run, I want to be able to wander aimlessly around the goddamn mall if I feel like it. I’m way too young to feel this old.