NuStep Step

Today for the first time in 11 months, I didn’t have to lash my thighs together with a gait belt while working out on the NuStep. It’s possible I could have done it before, but today I had trouble threading the belt under my legs and up the other side again, so I tried just going without. My right knee stayed put without flopping in and out as the leg pumped, which means the right quads are strong enough to hold the leg in proper position.

That sounds little but it’s huge to me.

One Year Ago Today I Moved

A year ago today I moved from my family home in Emerald Bay to an apartment at Meadow Lake. I hate moving and don’t do it very often if I can help it – all that sorting, packing, hauling, finding, unpacking, arranging, and rearranging of everything. But this move was necessary and timely, and I’m grateful beyond words that I paid attention when God kept opening a lot of doors one right after another last summer. Everything I needed was here, especially the cats. Emma did not want to get picked up and moved from the back of the corner kitchen cabinet, but we all made it safe and sound.

This has been a good place for me at the right time in my life. My home is spacious and comfortable – the largest apartment I’ve ever lived in – with a screened in porch for the cats and for me when I can manage it with the walker. I look out at grass, trees, a garden, and have blooming crepe myrtles outside my windows which make me happy.

I didn’t know when I moved here that I would be in a wheelchair within a matter of days, but this is exactly where I need to be. I have the tools I need to live independently – housekeeping, maintenance, lots of grab bars, wide doorways, roll in shower, and a medical alert system. Because I can no longer drive, I’m grateful that weekday transportation is available to doctors and grocery stores. We also get amazing meals once a day so I don’t have to cook much, though I have a full kitchen.

I’ve made friends here with residents and staff. Almost all the residents are much older than I am, but there are a few closer to me in age – and really, I don’t care. I’ve never been with a more friendly and welcoming group of people. In many ways it’s like living in a dorm and not apartments, because we all look out for each other. The hard part is the high turnover as neighbors die, move closer to children, or go to assisted living. There are nine apartments on my hall and six turned over in the last year, including mine.

Moving was hard but I’m glad I made this one.

Swollen leg update

This isn’t particularly exciting but I’m trying to keep track of what progress (or not) I’m making as I go through this recovery time.

As you know, I’m on Lovenox because I have a blood clot in my right thigh. I inject it twice a day on the left side in the mornings and on the right side in the evening for no particular reason except they need to be spaced out. No one mentioned several things that would have been good to know. First, I needed to get a sharps container for the discarded syringes. Amazon came to the rescue yet again. Second, those injections can and often do leave hard lumps under the skin, and with all of the injections, those lumps start to run together. I have one big lump about 4 inches long and 1.5 inches wide plus a few assorted scattered other lumps. Third, because this is a blood thinner, I’m ending up with lots of purple blood bruises. Bottom line is my tummy looks like someone beat me up except it doesn’t really hurt, it just looks bad.

It’s hard to tell if the injections are doing any good. Various medical people told me that the clot would dissove in about a month, two months, three months, or up to six months. So it’s really too early to tell if anything is happening yet since it’s just been two weeks. I do think my right foot isn’t quite as puffy as it was and in the morning, it looks almost normal. The leg is still very tight and swollen and there’s lots of pitting if you press the skin with a finger. But maybe there is progress.

I finish my 30 day supply of Lovenox before my next appointment with the vein specialist, so I need to call the office to see whether they want me to refill the prescription (at $252) or take Xarelto that I already have left over from the FIRST doctor to see the DVT. I know I have to keep taking something, just not what.

I would really like this leg to be normal. Beyond the clot problem itself is the heaviness of the leg because of all the pooled blood in the calf. I first noticed the difference between right and left about 10 days after my surgery last August, and it’s never completely gone away. Walking is more complicated because the legs don’t fell the same when they move. The right one feels big and clunky, as though it’s pulling through water. I’m hoping getting the clot dissolved, whenever that happens, will make the walking feel more balanced.

Image credit: Photo 58182878 / Sharps Container © Sherry Young Dreamstime.com

Counting Sheep Doesn’t Work

I’ve been waking up at ridiculous middle of the night hours after a few hours of sleep. Tonight, though, I’m still awake at 2am without ANY sleep. Yes, I take something prescription to help me sleep but tonight it’s not working. Neither did counting sheep. Okay, cats.

My right leg is spasming from knee to toes, clamping down in waves of pressure and tingling. This happened all the time right after my surgery but lately it hasn’t been around at all. I didn’t miss it and wonder what it means that it’s back. My lower back hurts, too, and my tummy hurts where I’ve been sticking myself with Lovenox.

On the other hand, I did figure out how I can roll over onto my left side, something I’ve been trying to do for almost a year.

… 5:25am. I got 3 hours of sleep and am now sitting with a big ice pack on my lower back. Never sure if it should be heat or ice, but at least I know it feels good. I have pain pills if needed. I’m also dealing with waves of nausea again, which I think are from the Lovenox. Planning to lay low today. Maybe take a nap if I can.

Birthday Cake for Breakfast

Today is my birthday and I had carrot cake for breakfast because, why not? My brother and sister-in-law brought it with them yesterday to celebrate my day a bit early, and there are carrots in it, so it’s healthy. It certainly is tasty. Cecelia gave me the best b’day present ever: a massaging foot bath followed by nail trim and foot massage. Honestly, my feet have been so unhappy (it’s been 3 months since the podiatrist was here and I really can’t cut my own nails because of the neuropathy) that it was the perfect gift. Plus I’m touch deprived and dearly miss regular pedicures and massages. At least I can touch and cuddle the cats, even though they’re not all excited about being cuddled.

For my birthday, I’m buying myself a loveseat for the living room. This was the original plan last year when I moved in but it never happened. Now it’s time. I’ve had a great time looking at furniture online and trying to find something that’s not too big, not too boring, and made of lighter colored fabric that the cats won’t want to immediately claw. They leave soft chenille fabrics alone so that’s what I looked for. I also bought a coffee table from Pottery Barn in wood and metal that will match my shelving unit. Both loveseat and table will give the girls more places to nap and change up the look of the space while still giving me ample room to wheel or walk around. I needed more space for that when I first moved here but I know what I’m doing now. It makes a difference.

My belly is sore from my twice-daily Lovenox shots, and I have lots of purple splotches. I do morning shots on the left and evening on the right to make sure I’m spacing them out properly. The first few days I had waves of nausea that I finally realized were from the shots, and on one walk in the hallway found myself in a cold sweat bad enough that I turned around because I was so shakey. That might have been low blood sugar which usually isn’t a problem. I’m hoping these shots are actually starting to work on the blood clot.

I see the cardiologist on Tuesday for my regular annual exam and will see what he has to say about the clot. But first I need to call the vascular people to have a report of my visit sent to the heart doc so he has all appropriate information. We shouldn’t have to do all of this checking and tracking but I don’t expect the offices to do it on their own anymore. My work experience in dealing with vendor customer service for a zillion different reasons helps enormously but I wish I didn’t need it.