Friday, September 9, 2011

Monarch Watch Tagging: The broken foot version.

You take a butterfly that you've caught while in a boot for a broken foot. 

Figure out whether it is a male or female.

Get your sticker on.

Get it set to fly away.  Good luck PMA 928!  We hope you make it to Mexico!
 Smiles in my day:
-  K- won first place in her category at the Garden Fair today!  She was so excited!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Life doesn't stop for the orthopedically challenged.

I've been busy making daily updates to the Just Between Friends PTA membership software, because I'm the Membership Chair for our PTA.  I'm currently having a membership drive and staying on top of all of the information is a very good thing.

I was busy organizing the Garden Fair this week, because I'm the Garden Fair Chair.  That's tomorrow.  I've had to send forms out to all of the staff and students, get ribbons handled and as much filled out on the backs of all beforehand as possible, made and copied a certificate for participants, told the janitor how beautiful he is today so that he gives us less flak for needing tables for the plants tomorrow, arranged for transportation for a carless board member to come to GF judging, had Hubs pack our two shepherd's hooks into my truck so that the two girls who grew tomatoes in Topsy-turvies will be able to have their plants judged hanging in a pot and not sprawled all over the ground and got Mr. B- to smile.

That alone has been a work in progress.  You see, Mr. B- has been stressing.  Today is the absolute first day in probably 4 months that I've seen him smile in an unforced way.  He was laughing. 

The swing space has required all of our elementary students to be bussed regardless of distance to the school.  The transportation has been such a nightmare that Mr. B- was telling us today that he has been going to bus stops to hang out with the kids in the morning to try to get the challenges handled.  Add to that the 94 degrees that we've dealt with this week in a school that is not air conditioned and not well ventilated.  The children and staff looked like they had walked through a shower when I was there last Friday.  Day to day administrative gunk goes on and Mr. B- is on every single thing.  He walks the halls, knows every single child by name and takes his principal job more to heart than anyone I've ever seen.  It is good to see that his stress is starting to lift and that once again, he is able to be the smiling principal that we know and love.  Whew.

I've been busy getting back and forth with the tutors in charge of 100 Book Challenge.  I'm unable to set our update board for the kids (you have to stand on a bench) and the other tutor is doing it.  It is making me twitch, because she isn't doing the classrooms in order, and she hung a class up in opposite alphabetical order.  She's good with it, but I'm going to have to switch it.  The principal isn't thrilled that she's putting the rooms up out of order and the lack of alphabetical order is going to tip him over the edge.  I fear that I'll be resetting the board when my foot is better.  I won't do it unless Mr. B- requests it.

Speaking of, I'll be meeting with Mr. B- over the coming weeks to plan our fall fundraiser.  I'll be organizing a fundraiser for 505 students, 60 staff members, PTA board members and parents who would like to attend.  To incorporate healthy living, Mr. B- decided that a walkathon would be good, and it was quite a success last year.  I can't hike the walkathon route right now, but perhaps I'll be out of this boot come Sept 29.  (My next doctor's appointment.)  If not, I'll be booting along in the walkathon.  To quote Mr. B-, "This boot is made for walkin'."  I know not to overdo.  I'm following the doctor's instructions and am only heel walking if needed.  I haven't actually walked on my full foot yet.  I don't plan on that until Saturday, Sept 17th, when the two week point has passed.  Even then, I'll be very gentle. 

The PTA peeps and I tackled the PTA room today.  Kay and I had worked on it last Friday, but we finally got everything squared away today.  Our room used to be the teacher's lounge when the school was the middle school.  We had to wash the walls down from as high up as we could reach to the floor.  There was coffee splattered everywhere.  I understand that they were moving into a new building and that their dregs were being passed off to us as a swing space while our building is built, but have some pride, people!  Geeze o' Pete was that place disgusting.  Is that typical of teacher's lounges?  Gross.  I spent 15-20 minutes alone just cleaning the phone.  I don't know that it had ever been cleaned and I think that people drew in the handset cradle with pen as they talked.  Nastiness. 

Tonight is the first night that I've prepared dinner in over a week.  It has been catch as catch can in these parts.  Between the break, the walking on a "raw" break for two days before casting, the casting, the uncasting, the booting and the starting back to work has really put a crink in my general weekly routine.  Laundry can be washed, but I can't get it upstairs without help.  K- has been good about bringing it up to me.  I've folded but I'm behind on putting it away.  That has nothing to do with the foot, but the general pace of life I'm living lately.  I'm taking my one trip down (one trip only, Rachael) to drop some laundry into the wash.  I'll take a one trip down tomorrow to flip things.  I did about 4 round trips yesterday and felt a bit of the too-much-done burn on the foot.  Nothing serious and a good propping and some Advil settled it.  I'll give myself one round trip and if that doesn't do it, I won't.

It's funny.  I didn't want to waste my one round trip on skittering down to the basement to retrieve my raincoat.  It was pouring when K- was due to get off the bus, so I drove the lot and a half down to the corner and sat.  Between the lack of raincoat, the umbrellas stowed in the under belly of the truck and running crutches over wet and partially crushed acorns, I decided that if anyone wanted to make fun of me, I was good with it.  I don't think anyone blamed me!  I do feel bad that the neighbor, with an umbrella big enough to cover the entire bus stop, was talking to me, I flicked on the windshield wipers and everytime they went back and forth, he was getting flipped in the face with water.  Eeek!  I apologized!  All he could do was laugh.

So, there you go.  Not stationary, though I should be a bit more.  I sit on the floor a lot and crawl on my knees a bit.  The PTA peeps finally stopped looking at me with a sideways stare.  I think that they figured that if I needed to quit, I would.

And yes, if I need to, I promise that I will.  I'm trying to be good and "listening to my body" as we've taught K-.  I'm doing my one round trip and I'm out for the night. 


Smiles in my day:
-  Dinner together at the table.  Turkey kielbasa, mac & cheese and peas.  Nothing high end or fancy, but it served the purpose.
-  Going through the yard with K-, helping her to select her lovelies for the mixed vegetable basket that she'll be submitting tomorrow. 
-  Many things accomplished.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tales from the Trenches: Just remember how well I told you that I HAD been doing.

It was 2 AM Monday morning when I woke up hot, sweaty, uncomfortable and in an absolute panic attack.  My ankle felt like someone was continually rubbing an emery board against it and my leg felt as if it was wrapped in a wet blood pressure cuff that was continually tightening.  I envisioned a sore that was developing beneath the cast.  No care or air could get to it.  Most certainly, it would get gangrenous.  My leg wasn't swelling, but it felt as if the cast was shrinking.  I had fallen asleep watching the 9/11 88th Floor program, remembered hearing people screaming in my dreams and I woke up absolutely losing it. 

I had to wake my husband up to come talk to me. 

A pair of scissors weren't far from me.  I had seriously considered trying to cut my cast off. 

The more I tried to NOT think about my discomfort, the more I thought about it.  The more I thought about it, the more it drove me absolutely mad.  To say that all my marbles were nearly gone from my mental state is definitely not a lie.  I had made the decision that the cast had to come off.  Hubs said that they wouldn't take it off, but would probably give me drugs instead.

I got myself sufficiently worked up to think that I was going to have to go doctor shopping to get the purple rhinestoned cast cut off of my leg.  My friend Kay offered her assistance.  "We have tools!"  The dremel tool in my studio was looking mighty fine.  Rest assured, I was getting the cast cut off today no matter what. 

I hobbled down to K-'s bus stop with her.  As we waited for the bus to arrive, I phoned the doctor's office.  Dr. W- was on a few days of vacation, but she asked me, "How about Dr. R-?"  I told her that he would be great.  He cared for Hubs when he had rotavirus and seemed like a truly understanding and caring soul. 

Dr. R- walked in.  "What can I do for you today?"  I explained my rubbing discomfort, then I launched into my bigger complaint.  "Dr., I suffer from pretty severe claustrophobia.  Never did I ever think that would effect my having a cast on, but it has.  I have had panic attacks and have been brought to tears.  Is there anyway that you can take this cast off?  Is there any other option for me other than the cast?" 

"Did you break your ankle?" 


"What did you break and do I have films?"  (No, he wasn't being lazy.  He had truly just walked in the room and I had never come to see him before.  Obviously, he checked out the records after he figured out that I was a part of the practice and had received care there/at the attached hospital.)

I told him that the films were done just down the hall and that I broke my 5th metatarsal near the base.

"Oh!  We can put you in a cam boot for a 5th metatarsal break.  I'll take the cast off."  Then he shared a story with us about his daughter.  It seems as though she suffered from the rubbing problems that I was suffering from.  He said that he changed her cast every 2-3 days because of her discomfort. 

We changed rooms and he set to task.  He cut and cut and cut.  Then he asked, "Who put this cast on?" 

"Dr. W-."


"Yes.  He really did do a very good job.  It isn't his fault.  I had no idea that I wouldn't be able to stand having a cast on."

He went on to say about how very thorough Dr. W- was, as he had bound my foot with layers and layers of casting material to be certain that it was kept immobilized and would heal well. 

Changing to the cam boot has taken me from a 4 week recovery to a probable 6 week recovery, but I told him that my mental well-being was quite fine with that. 

When we went to leave, Dr. R- said, "You know, I've never broken anything, but I don't think that I could do a cast, either." 

I told him to make sure that he doesn't break anything, then he doesn't have to find out. 

Rachael got many e-mails from me.  Bless her dear soul.  At one point, I told her that I thought that they were going to put me in a beautiful white coat that allowed me to give myself a psychiatric hug.  She worked hard at not only listening to me losing it, but also praying that I didn't lose the rest of my rapidly fraying mental status.  A friend offered the vodka in her freezer or the fine chocolate flavored wine that she had.  It's been probably 9 years since I've had anything with any alcohol in it (family history of alcohol/substance abuse), but I did seriously consider her offer just as a calming effect.  Hubs offered melatonin and had me sleep in bed with him, even though sleep wasn't something that he knew that I would actually be able to do.  Kay offered to help me cut the cast off.  Mom kept calling in a very serious tone to see if I had taken the dremel out yet. 

My claustrophobia is no light matter.  Hubs made me promise, as I was soaking in a hot tub while giving BOTH legs a shave, that I would never ever be put in any type of cast that I couldn't exit from on my own ever again. 

Poor man.  Poor child.  They were both very supportive as I cried and panicked and apologized for my irrational behavior. 

"Honey, you need to distract yourself.  Don't you have PTA things that you could do?"  I ended up working on PTA things for 2 hours in the AM and 4 hours in the PM.  At least my attempt at distraction did accomplish things. 

:deep breath:

Claustrophobia is a bad thing.  A very bad thing.  Who knew that a cast would cause me to flip a lid?  My lid is now turned back upright and properly screwed back on. 

Praise God!

Smiles in my day:
-  I'm free!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A thankfulness post: If you've got it, be happy and accessorize it.

Okay, obviously I didn't get a professional pedicure.  Just pardon the excess glitter top coat polish lopped over the sides.  If someone is looking that closely at my foot (y'all fall under the exception here), they deserve to see some over polish. 

K- and E- had a good time treating the cast as a canvas.  K- helped me to glue rhinestones to the top.  I was going to go overboard, but the neighbor mentioned that when they run films again to make certain it has healed, they will reflect on the film.  Oops.  The lower ones won't cause a problem. 

Hubs and I had a discussion earlier about my foot, his habit of injury and the fact that no one else has the odd issues that our match provides.  I told him, "People might not understand when I say this, but I hope that you do.  I'm glad that I broke my foot."  Being the husband he is and knowing how my mind works he said, "Tendons and ligaments would have probably ended up in surgery."  "Exactly.  And, I hear that a severe sprain is worse to get over than a break."  Truly, I am very thankful.  It hurt when I first did it, but nothing that brought me to tears.  The lump that instantly appeared on my foot paired with the loud crack upon landing pretty much sold me to the thought that I broke it, but it really could have been much worse.  All the bones lined up.  No setting or surgery were required.  I could wait until the next day for medical intervention.  I have insurance.  Let me repeat that.  I have insurance.  So many other people don't.  I have a doctor who could handle my care in office.  I have wonderful people at work that have e-mailed to say not to sweat it, they'll find desk work for me to do.  I had worried.  I had worried that I couldn't find the "permission slip to work" from the doctor and that Tuesday, they would turn me around and send me home.  They are happy to have me come to hang out.  My mom kept calling to see what she could bring.  My aunt came over on her mobility scooter to drop off 3 giant dark chocolate bars, because she couldn't think of anything else to do.  (She felt a little useless.) The neighbor drove me several places for hours while my foot was casted, I retrieved crutches and tried to find the illusive cast boot.  (I finally did find it later on my own.)  My PTA mama friend, Kay, helped me to start cleaning the PTA room at school.  (We're in a swing space and our room is not a closet anymore, but the previous teacher's lounge and it is gross.)  My in-law's had us over last night for dinner, even though they were supposed to come to our house.  My daughter has kicked in and really helped and is currently in training to become a laundress like her mama.  (No Cinderella here, but it doesn't hurt for the child to learn how to do some basic laundry helping.)  Hubs is always a big help around the house and he's also picking up my slack.  He's out shopping at Sam's right now.  (And has called me twice already.)  My SIL and BIL in the Chicagoland area are calling in pick up for us at a local Italian restaurant tonight.  And again I reiterate, I can drive.  That I worried about, as well.

It's all good.  It'll be a short month and sooner than I know it, I'll be shaving two legs at the same bath time again.