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Me and My Trimalleolar: Cast of Characters

Me and My Trimalleolar: Cast of Characters

Re-learning to take steps is like having a new toy.  Exciting stuff.  I want to take them (my steps) out on the town and show everyone!

September 11, 2010

This past Wednesday out of sheer frustration, I put my crutches aside so that I could prepare myself a bowl of food in 2 minutes and 3 steps or less as opposed to the 6 minutes and 10 steps to which I’ve been unwillingly subjected.  Frankly, I was amazed that I could do it and with relatively little pain compared to the ‘steps’ I took with PT Eric two weeks earlier.  I called out to Scott, “Honey!  Meet me in the hall!  Quick!”  I hobbled out of the kitchen and took about 10 awkward steps – arms flailing about – into his arms.  He bellowed, “My baby is learning to walk!”  I was quite pleased with myself.  Now I practice it as often as I can.  It’s very slow going, and I have to keep my hiking boots on out of cautiousness and because of the fact it hurts twice as much in stocking feet. YET I can take steps!  At EIGHT weeks post-op, I am taking steps!  Hooray!  On some days, I can take steps for several minutes at a time and on other days for several seconds, but did I mention I can take steps?

On a less-than-lighter note, I also learned that my PT folks are concerned about my poorly moving talus.  Apparently, so much so that they called the surgeon.  I still don’t know what she said about the matter.  I was measured at only 5 degrees past neutral this week.  Just to give this some perspective:  My right ankle can go to 25 degrees past neutral.  Supposedly this is very good, and PT Eric told me that 20 degrees for the left ankle would be just fine – unless I want to become a contortionist when I grow up (that part is my thought).

Well, I’d be downright lying if I said I was not bummed about this.  Darn it!  How is it that I can work THIS hard with such little dorsiflexion results?  What, Pain – No Gain?

Add to it I had another new and odd experience Friday morning.  I awoke and prepared myself for a big, glorious, morning stretch.  The delight of being able to fully stretch in the absence of Betty Boot!  Only, I turned my head to the left, and the entire room began to spin.  I was frozen in this spot confused and wondering if I was having an aneurism or a stroke or something.  I know.  Save the drama for my mama.  Thank goodness for that Stroke email I receive about every 3 months, because I could test myself.  1) I could raise my arms above my head (they were actually already in that position), 2) I could speak (I yelled out for Scott), and 3) I could smile (even if I didn’t feel like it).  What was this thing?  I gathered myself together and managed through it.  Later that day in PT, I was on the table doing hip exercises, turned to my left and I’ll be darned if it didn’t happen again.  Only this time it was more intense.  It was like I was caught in a kaleidoscope. The room was spinning and turning in and out many colors and patterns.  Eric saw that my eyes were twitching from left to right.  He quickly diagnosed it as vertigo. Wha?   Apparently the eye twitching is called Nystagmus.  Unfamiliar with this sensation, I panicked and broke into a dizzying sweat.

I cut my session short and took every ounce of focus to get home.  I kept all the car windows open and my hand near the Hazard lights button just in case I had to quickly pull over.  Hobbled in the door, bee lined to the bathroom, and proceeded to throw up several times.  For three days, I’ve felt like I was on the verge of motion sickness yet am not feverish or ill-feeling otherwise.  I’m so perplexed and just when I had come to the conclusion that I could not possibly feel any worse than I had these last 10 weeks.  Whammo. I stopped taking the Wobenzym N on Friday just in case that was the culprit.  I’m hoping hoping hoping it’s not my WPW Syndrome.  And yet, none of this stopped me from my walking practice.  I even managed to run a vacuum in my office.  Never before in my life would I have thought that vacuuming and other mundane house chores could be so fulfilling and even exciting.

This brings me to the exciting cast of characters in this Trimalleolar Cirque du Ma Vie.  The following characters have all played important roles.  The wheelchair is not pictured here, but I loved her nonetheless.  Recently I reflected on the progression of medical devices that were strewn about the house.  I used the wheelchair for the first couple of weeks and then began using Jimmie the Walker.  When I was too tired and feeling lazy, I would pop back into the wheelchair.  After seven weeks, she went away (returned to her original home – the pharmacy), I began using the crutches full time.  When I was too tired or too lazy for the crutches, I would go back to Jimmie.  As I grew stronger and more comfortable with the crutches, Jimmie became an abandoned orphan in the closet.  As I’ve grown stronger and using just one crutch, I revert to two when feeling tired or lazy.  Now that I am ‘walking’, I revert to one crutch when I am tired or lazy.  Still, first thing in the morning and last thing at night, I use both crutches.  I am most sore and unbalanced at those times.

I need some help naming the crutches.  Please share your ideas in the comments section! Any and all ideas are welcome keeping in mind this is a PG 13 blog – let’s keep it clean folks!

Update: I had a contest, and the winning name for my crutches: Starsky and Crutch

On this day, September 11, 2011, the world stood still as together we witnessed a horrific tragedy on American soil.  The fear and sadness I’ve had with my current situation are absolutely nothing compared to those people who experienced first hand the panic of that horrific day.  My woes hold no weight when I think about the thousands and thousands of people who tragically lost a loved one and who might still be trying to make sense of their pain.  Heroes emerged from the dust, and heroes were laid to rest.  Today, I stopped and thought about the lives eternally changed on 9/11.  Today I stopped and honored the heroes and mourned the losses.  Rest in peace precious people.  The eyes of the world were upon you, and we still see you.  You will be forever remembered.

Jimmie Dy-no-mite
Scar-pe Diem O'hairy
Scar-pe Diem O’hairy
Scarlett O'Tibia
Scarlett O’Tibia
Betty Boot
Betty Boot
Canine Caregiver - Stella Luna
Canine Caregiver – Stella Luna
Starsky and Crutch
Butch and Sundance? Fred and Ginger? Louis and Clark? Bonnie and Clyde? Nope! Starsky and Crutch!
Lovah aka Master Chef Bean Maker and all-around Wonderful Hubby
Lovah aka Master Chef Bean Maker and all-around Wonderful Hubby
Meet Estelle’s Canes! Estelle is one of our readers. Being an artist, she decided to hand paint her canes to make her smile and feel happy.

What are you doing to help yourself feel happy?
Do you have any cast of characters to share?

To see all the  posts in the trimalleolar series, click away!  Things DO get better!

Post #1 Me and My Trimalleolar:  A Life-Changing Tripulation
Post #2 Me and My Trimalleolar:  Transcending the Funk
Post #3 Me and My Trimalleolar:  Tiny Bubbles of Progress
Post #4 Me and My Trimalleolar:  A Healing Ankle
Post #5 Me and My Trimalleolar:  Talus All About It
Post #6 Me and My Trimalleolar:  A Week of Firsts
This is Post #7 Me and My Trimalleolar:  Cast of Characters
Post #8 Me and My Trimalleolar:  9 1/2 weeks…
Post #9 Me and My Trimalleolar:  The Screw, Some Scars, and a Busted Uvula
Post #10  Me and M Trimalleolar:  Walk a Mile in My Screws
Post #11 Me and My Trimalleolar:  11 Months and Moving Right Along
Post #12:  Me and My Trimalleolar Go to Mexico…with my husband and our pooch


  1. Estelle

    Thanks so much Kenda for sharing pictures of my hand painted canes! I decided one day to experiment on painting my cane. It was challenging painting on a curved surface but once I got the hang of it I there was no stopping. It makes me feel happy and I certainly don’t misplace it in PT! As a jewelry designer, being able to eventually get back in my studio while in my recovery was so helpful for my emotional and mental health. It was more difficult to navigate in my wheelchair but I managed as best I could. Find the things that bring you joy everyday during your recovery! If you want to see some of my designs my website is

  2. Karen – that’s fabulous! You’re walking! Are you walking without crutches too? If so, wow! You did that very quickly. You’re doing so well!

    My OS let me put the boot away and instead gave me permission to wear hiking boots. It’s SO nice because both feet are at the same level, and hiking boots are a lot more comfy than that nasty ski boot. If that’s an option for you, it might be worth checking into.

    I know that ‘weird’ feeling. I actually have it more on the top of my foot and sometimes on my heel. I think it’s nerves trying to repair themselves. So many interesting and odd sensations! I cannot imagine this thing happening while on vacation. Talk about an abrupt end to some R&R!

    With each milestone, we return one step closer to our ‘normal’ lives! Oh! Sneakers! I see them here everyday and cannot wait to wear them again! One day we will be wearing sneakers again! Cheers to you and your fabulous progress!

  3. Had my appointment and it went great! I am weight bearing as tolerated!! So I have been a walking fool. I am walking with the boot and both crutches and then I have a pair of slippers that are fairly thick in the sole so I wear them around the house and walk as well. The bottom of my foot feels weird. Kind of like an odd version of pins and needles. I am still pretty swollen at night and it is definitely hurting towards the end of the day. (Mostly where the screws are) I had my ORIF the day after the fall. The doc wanted to wait a week but I was on vacation and staying in a hotel and there was no way I was going anywhere till he fixed me! He reluctantly did it and obviously it all worked out just fine. I also read your post about the shower and had the same fear. I still keep the shower chair in there and actually will bend my knee to rest on it if I get tired of standing. And I am still sitting on it to actually get out of the shower.

    Glad your appointment went well. You keep up the good work too and soon enough we will be walking with our sneakers on and no crazy apparatuses to help!

  4. So nice to hear from you again, Karen! I was wondering how you’re doing. Wow – I’m impressed. 35 degrees with pointing your toes is fabulous. Now I’m curious to know what I am with that, but I can tell you it’s not that good. My ROM overall is poor. It looks like you’re in good shape!

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you get an excellent report on Thur and get that A-OK to bear weight (WBat!). It’s an exciting stage and since you’re already practicing the walking movement, I imagine it will be an easier transition for you. IMAGINE: you will be able to go to the loo and not have to worry about what to do with that leg! You’ll be able to stand! Something that I experienced and want to share with you: When I could first bear weight, it was very odd standing b/c of the ROM and my knee locking up. It threw my hips out of whack. That will gradually change and get better. Stretching helped a lot and still does.

    I have an appt. tomorrow and hope to get the OK to immerse my foot in water. I SO want to take a full shower!

    I’m curious to know – when was your ORIF?

    You keep up the good work too! We shall overcome and be the better for it!

  5. Haha, no name for your crutches, but I will certainly give it some thought. I am excited to hear you are walking!Slow as it may be it is more than I am doing as of today. Although I have to admit I cheat a bit and do the balance walk thing with the crutches where I put the foot down and make the movement as if I am walking but I am probably only putting 2-5 pounds of actual pressure. I am at -1…pretty close to neutral, and 35 when it comes to pointing my toes. I was pretty excited. I go to the Ortho Thurs and expect to get an ok to become wbat (weight bearing as tolerated) Since we are only three days apart in our injury I kinda am looking to you as an inspiration in my recovery! Keep up the good work.

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