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Archive for December, 2007

So what have I been up to? Not much. I’ve been hobbling around the house a lot, mostly without crutches when I can. The knee is much improved, thank-you. I saw the orthopedist again on Thursday and he’s going to schedule me for an MRI. Apparently he was expecting me to be able to bend my knee more at this point and wants to rule out any cartilage or ligament damage. He sent me home with some new exercises which have helped tremendously and instructed me to be a little more aggressive in trying to get the knee bent. By “aggressive” he means I have to lie on my back, lift my bad leg, wrap a towel around my thigh and pull it towards my chest while I slowly bend at the knee and let gravity do it’s thing. Not the most comfortable exercise, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get my mobility back. The leg has felt a bit stronger these past couple of days so I’m hoping I’ll be able to return to work on Wednesday sans crutches. I’m holding onto that handicap parking spot as long as possible though no matter how many times that lady in the PT Cruiser gives me the stink-eye.

Being unable to move as I normally do has given me a new appreciation of my very small bathroom. I’ve never liked the bathroom. It’s a little cave of a room squished in between our bedroom and Autumn’s and has no windows or proper ventilation. The toilet is way too close to the tub and there’s virtually no storage for towels and wash cloths. What’s even worse is there’s really no way to make it bigger without making the bedrooms smaller, so we’re kind of stuck with it the way it is. This past month though, I have made great use of the toilet’s proximity to the tub when getting in and out of the shower. After the first week I had my shower entrances and exits so well choreographed that I needed no assistance whatsoever. Baths were a different story. I’ve taken three since the accident and still cannot haul myself out of the tub very easily. Before the accident it wasn’t easy either, but now it’s all that much harder and an ugly sight to boot.

I tried not to let the injury taint the holiday so much, but the holiday was bound to be crap for reasons other than my bum knee. Christmas Eve was spent with Nathan’s family, though we only saw his dad and the wife for a little over an hour that night. Neither Nathan or I liked that Autumn’s gifts from them were addressed from “Grandma and Grandpa.” I asked Nathan to say something to his dad about it, but Nathan’s not the type of guy to initiate confrontation so I ended up calling his dad myself. I talked to him for a good half hour, probably the longest conversation I’ve ever had with the man. We both cried a bit and I told him how much it hurt to see his new wife referring to herself as “Grandma” already. It felt good to be honest with him and he appreciated the call and I think we might be at a point where it’s just best to move on and give the woman a chance.

Christmas Day with my family was good. We went to my mom and dad’s house for brunch and Autumn made out like a bandit. A good part of their family room was full of gifts for the girl, and when all was said and done, it looked as though a Toys ‘R Us had exploded in the room. I can’t begin to list everything the child took home, but here’s a picture of the loot packed into the back of our car:

Autumn's Christmas haul

That’s all hers, man. Every last bit of it. Yes, my mother is insane, especially when it comes to her granddaughter. The next day she called me up and asked me if there was anything we wished she hadn’t bought for Autumn. I said everything was nice but there was just so much of it and I’d hate for Autumn to come to expect this kid of windfall every Christmas. Mom knew she had gone a little overboard and promised to reign it in a bit next year.

While we did not take home the haul Autumn did this year, Nathan and were treated very well and Santa, in the guise of various relatives, was extremely nice to us. Nathan received gift cards to his two favorite stores; Best Buy and Barnes and Noble and I received gift cards to Ritz Camera. We both received cash to do with as we pleased and I was finally able to scrape enough together to buy the flash unit I’ve been coveting for my camera this past year. If you’re looking for a hobby that will drain your wallet or quickly suck up all that Christmas cash, get into photography. I love it, but man is it expensive.

As pricey as that flash unit was, it’s probably the best thing I could have added to my camera gear. I really have no idea how to use it yet, but already my pictures look so much better. I’ve never been a big fan of using the flash and try to avoid it, opting for natural light when possible. It being winter here where the natural light is kind of scarce, using a flash is a necessity indoors, especially when you’re photographing a toddler. Here’s an example of a picture taken with the camera’s on board pop-up flash:

And here’s a picture with my brand spanking new flash unit mounted on the camera and pointed straight up to bounce some light off the ceiling:

I’m no pro, but I really like how this picture turned out. It’s warmer and her skin really glows in this one. I still have a ways to go before I get this thing figured out, but we had some fun with it today…



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Ever since I hurt my knee a week ago, I’ve been thinking there has to be some reason why this happened. I refuse to acknowledge this was just some random act of stupidity and I fell and hurt myself because of, you know, gravity. We had to miss Nathan’s cousin’s wedding on Saturday because I could not handle the 3-plus hour round trip, so I thought perhaps we were meant to avoid some horrific traffic accident that would have left Autumn an orphan. I still have the check the newspapers to see if that theory has any merit, but it doesn’t really matter anymore because today I think I was given an answer to my question.

This happened so an orthopedic surgeon could tell me exactly how fucked up my knees really are.

I had no idea the extent to which I am falling apart. Nathan and I were sitting in the exam room, and as the doctor walked in, he looked at my battered and bruised knee with some surprise and said, “Oh, it looks like you have an injury there.”

I felt a twinge of fear and thought perhaps I’d been referred to a quack. “Yeah that would be why I’m here,” I said.

It would seem the doctor was surprised by my injury because, from looking at the x-ray of my knee, he was under the impression he was going to be seeing someone with a chronic knee problem. My kneecap is not sitting where it’s supposed to be sitting, but apparently that was not the result of the injury. That’s just how I’m built and is probably a congenital condition. I guess another thank-you note to my mother is in order because this shit has to be coming from her side of the gene pool.

The good news is the knee injury causing me the most discomfort at present is not serious. The doctor determined everything was pretty much OK by sticking an 18-gauge needle into the tissue under my knee to see what color the fluid was that was extracted.

“Have you ever seen an 18-gauge needle before?” he asked

“Um, yeah,” I said, “They used one on last week’s episode of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and that sucker was huge.”

He smiled and reassured me I wouldn’t feel the poke of the huge needle because he was going to numb the area with two little needles first and that those pokes would probably sting more than the big one. And he wasn’t lying. They hurt like a sonofabitch and Nathan nearly passed out from the sight of it. He told the doctor he was feeling lightheaded and was immediately ushered into a nearby room to lie down and put his feet up. He was even given a cold, damp washcloth and when the doctor returned he found me in a fit of giggles. “My husband doesn’t like needles, so he’d best stay in the other room until we’re finished,” I said.

After the fluid was drained I could more easily bend my knee. Nathan came back into the room and we were told what I have to do to strengthen my knee in the next couple of weeks before we see the doctor for a follow-up appointment. But there’s still the issue of my fucked up kneecap. In short, I need surgery to correct the problem. I don’t need it immediately, but the doctor said he wouldn’t be a good surgeon if he told me this was something I could ignore. If I do ignore it, we’re talking total kneecap replacement and that’s something I’d really like to avoid.

I guess all of this is a wake-up call. Even though the doctor did say this was most likely a congenital problem, carrying around twice my healthy body weight can’t be good for my joints. So I must lose some weight. In light of this knee problem, however, I am no longer able to use a treadmill, exercise bike, elliptical machine or any other piece of exercise equipment that puts stress on my knees. The doctor said the only thing I should be doing for exercise is swimming.

When Nathan heard that he chuckled and said, “And we just decided to get rid of our pool.”

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Crutch U

I had my follow-up appointment with my doctor today. I don’t know which part of the visit was most unpleasant; my very large doctor telling me he and I are about the same size “or pretty close”, the doctor telling me I have to use the stupid crutches I took home from the ER, or the doctor telling me he can send me to a physical therapist to learn how to use the crutches, what he called “crutch school”, if I was having a hard time with them.

He really couldn’t tell me much more than the doctors at the ER, but he did make an appointment for me to see and orthopedist on Tuesday. Apparently I was very, very close to dislocating my kneecap and my patella is not exactly sitting where it’s supposed to right now. I can put weight on the leg without much pain, but the knee feels very unstable and I can hardly bend it. I was given the ok to return to work tomorrow as long as I stay off my feet and use the crutches. Have I mentioned yet how much I hate the crutches?

I really don’t want to go back to work, mostly because I have no idea who I’m going to get myself there. I’m also prone to horrific gasps whenever my kneecap decides to shift in ways kneecaps don’t usually shift, which it has done three times since I sat down to write this. I have to admit one can only crochet so much and watch so many reruns of “Charmed” and “ER” before she gets bored.

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Happy birthday, Mr. Noah

Nathan turns 38 today.  I found this picture years ago while going through some old photos at his parents’ house and immediately asked his mom if I could have it.  Nathan hates the picture but I think it’s adorable.  I showed it to my dad recently and he laughed, saying Nathan looks like Harry Potter here.  I never saw the resemblance before, but yeah, he really looks like he could be Harry Potter.

I know this isn’t going to be the greatest birthday for him.  Aside from working and having to come home to take care of my useless ass, this will be the first birthday he won’t be receiving a call from his mother.  I think that’s going to be a little hard for him.

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The past few days have been the most miserable ones of my life so far. First, I’ve somehow managed to catch yet another cold. Third one in two months. Second, last night I managed to slip on the ice in my driveway and screw up my left knee. It was a horrible incident, one which makes me want to yak every time I think back on it. One moment I was walking out to the car to take Autumn to Kindermusik and the next moment I’m screaming in pain in my driveway as her sippy cup rolls underneath the car.

Nathan’s a big guy, but even he wasn’t able to pick me up and get me into the car, so my rescue was kind of a process. First I had to get off the ice and into the garage and then he had to stick a lawn chair behind me so I could hoist my wet ass up out of the snow. In between my gasps of pain, I instructed Nathan to get my purse and a pair of pajamas for Autumn so we could take her to my parents’ house. Eventually I was able to get into the car and Nathan drove me to the ER.

After we dropped off Autumn I finally let loose with the Meg Ryan breakdown. “This is the worst Christmas ever!” I wailed. “How am I supposed to finish my shopping now? And what about the wedding? How the hell and I supposed to sit through a Catholic wedding with all that kneeling?” Nathan kept trying to calm me down by assuring me it wasn’t Christmas yet and that everything is going to be ok. I was in full self-pity mode and would hear none of it. “It may not be Christmas yet, but this season sure has gotten off to a shitty start!”

We chose to go to a smaller hospital affiliated with my doctor rather than the big one downtown and I was wheeled into a room as soon as I got there. After the initial assessment, one of the doctors asked if I’d like some pain medication. “That would be lovely,” I said and a few minutes later the nurse came back with two Vicodin and a dixie cup. She was my new best friend for the night.

While I was there I wound up getting a few x-rays, and while we were waiting for the results Nathan kept saying, “I don’t think it’s broken. It doesn’t look broken.” After about the fourth or fifth time of him reassuring me my leg wasn’t broken, I finally just looked at him and said, “Yes, dear, I know it’s not broken because if it was broken I’d be a lot more unpleasant than I’m being right now.”

The x-rays confirmed what I had suspected; nothing broken or otherwise not where it was supposed to be. I was sent home with some crutches, a prescription of Vicodin and a tightly wrapped knee and was told to call my doctor for a follow-up appointment. From start to finish the entire visit lasted only a couple of hours and we were able to retrieve Autumn and put her to bed at a decent hour.

So this is where the real unpleasantness starts; the waiting. I can’t see my doctor until Thursday morning and was advised to keep off the leg until then. And wouldn’t you know the only thing I’ve wanted to do since getting home last night was take a bath. A nice, long hot bath. I’m pretty sure my extraction from the tub would be yet another process involving ingenious use of lawn furniture.

My mother screwed up her knee like this when she was about my age. I remember that night clearly. I was about thirteen or fourteen, and when I saw her hobble into the house with crutches I whined, “Does this mean you’re not taking me to the mall now?”

I suspect this might be karma’s way of saying, “No, Heather, you will not be going to the mall.”

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