Tuesday, August 31, 2010

R.I.C.E. & Risotto

I'm lounging in a position with which I've become quite familiar over the months - laptop in my lap and my foot wrapped with an icepack in an ace bandage elevated in front of me - Rest Ice Compression and Elevation. Still. This weekend marked the three month anniversary since I fell walking down a steep hill and tore multiple ligaments and other soft tissue in my right foot and ankle. When I finally admitted it wasn't healing and went to the doctor ten days later, she told me it would take six-12 weeks from that day to heal. She expected six-eight weeks, and warned I could make it eight-twelve if I didn't "dial it way back" and take good care of it, working R.I.C.E. and my physical therapy.

Well, I'm at 11 weeks today, but not because I screwed up my rehab. Anyone can tell you how thorough I've been with first crutches, now a cane, R.I.C.E., and PT. I am now of the opinion that I had closer to a Level 3 sprain than the Level 2 sprain with which the nurse practitioner originally diagnosed me. And this misdiagnosis is completely and totally my fault. I am finally pulling myself the rest of the way out the denial that kept me from seeing the doctor for so long in the first place. I fully accept responsibility for downplaying the severity of my symptoms with the nurse practitioner. I did not do this knowingly. Looking back, I see that something - be it pride, or a false sense of toughness, or stupidity, or just human nature - kept me from admitting even to myself that I was in far more pain and in much worse shape than I let on. I told her my foot and ankle could support my weight, though not for extended periods. And I thought that was the truth when I said it. But, now that I've been working the PT and am conscientiously aware of everything going on with that area of my body, I know how many weeks it took before I could actually, truly put my full weight on that foot. And I'm still working on keeping it there for an extended period. Heck, I'm still working on standing with my weight distributed evenly between both feet for more than a few minutes.

But this is a positive post. After weeks of a plateaux in healing despite all my hard work and faithfulness to the R.I.C.E., I finally seemed to break through some sort of barrier in my progress today during my PT in a private Pilates apparatus class. Today, I was able to complete exercises I was literally incapable of performing even last week. It was exhilarating, and exhausting. And I'm shocked by how scary it was. For months, my body has instinctively guarded me from worsening the damage by telling me when to stop, what not to do. And I have listened. But that instinct becomes habit fast, and it was terrifying to not just stop listening to it, but to outright defy it, even with a trained professional guiding and spotting me on safe equipment in a safe setting. It's been months since I've put any type of faith in my foot's ability to support me. My nerves were jangled. The rush of emotions drained me as much as, if not more than, the physical work. Fear, trepidation, and anxiety, but also excitement, giddiness, and pride. It takes a lot out of a gal.

I've still got a long, hard road ahead of me before I'm at 100%, but at least now I've regained the faith that I'm closing that distance and not walking in place. I am just so thankful that I was already strong and in good physical shape when I fell. I can't imagine how hard this would have been if I'd been starting from nothing. Thank you, Pilates! I'm now looking forward to the day I can walk a long, hard road in reality instead of just metaphor. That, and a long, hard run on the elliptical with the settings on max. Now that would feel good. For the first time in weeks, I actually believe that I'll get there eventually.

In honor of both the three month anniversary of my fall and the progress in my PT, for lunch I made myself some risotto. Get it? Because of three months of R.I.C.E.? Hehehe. Congratulations to me!

Image from Stonewall Kitchen's website.

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