Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hello Goodbye

As we say goodbye to 2013, I reflect on all that happened to us throughout the last 12 months. Every month something new and exciting happened. We created more films, we traveled, we settled further into our house, we added family members, and we lost family members. Life happened, as it should, and while I am pleased to see 2013 slip away, I will also cherish the memories and remember this as a life-changing year.

January: I started the year off right by officiating the wedding of one of my dearest friends. We also shot and edited a short comedy called, "Chug - A Cautionary Tale," and formed a new production company with a couple of friends called Split Level Productions.

February: Husband and I learned how to brew beer!

March: We both celebrated birthdays! Husband turned 36 and I turned the big 33. The first of March, we were in our first dance performance together. In mid-March we attended the Sun Valley Film Festival where our music video, "When Frida Became," was shown amid other great music videos and films. It was a weekend to remember with wonderful friends and independent film.

April: On April 4, we said goodbye to my Other Mother who passed away when a drunk driver hit her on her way to work. She will never be forgotten and I can still hear her laughter on the wind. Mid-April, Husband and I took our first trip together to the Big Island and had one of the most relaxing vacations ever.

May: We trekked to Seattle for a weekend of film festival fun to watch the showing of our music video, "Everybody Masturbate," at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival. During that weekend I got to spend a day at the beach with my cousin, my Other Mother's beautiful daughter. On May 21st, the world was graced with new life - my little niece was born to my brother and his incredible wife.

June: We got to meet our most favoritest band ever, Barenaked Ladies, before their concert in Boise and we celebrated 9 years of marriage (14 years together) on June 16th. In early June we flew to Vegas, rented a Fiat, and drove to sunny southern California to visit my family and meet our new niece. We had such a blast! Nearing the end of June we protested the Shrine Circus for an entire weekend and met incredible people who have changed the lives of many animals and humans.

July: For the early part of the year we were in pre-production for a three-part music video. The first weekend of July found us on our first day of shooting for that music video, which we are still editing at the time of writing (late on Dec. 31, 2013). This is one of the most epic film projects we've ever worked on and I cannot think of anyone else I'd rather be doing this with (I'm looking at you Husband and our two crazy friends). And I rode a motorcycle for the first time - a Harley.

August: We ran the Dirty Dash again with our friends and continued shooting our epic music video. We also harvested some major awesome crops from our garden. I was in a film called "Bikini Hot Tub Girls," saved a dog who got hit by a car and was laying on the side of the road one morning while driving to work, and went camping.

September: We were blessed with a new family member, Frodo the Dog! He has certainly changed our lives and we couldn't imagine life without his puppy nuances. We continued shooting our epic music video and took a second trip to Seattle to watch our short film "Chug - A Cautionary Tale," at the Local Sightings Film Festival. On this same trip, we also transported two dogs to their new forever homes from Boise to Seattle and beyond.

October: We wrapped shooting on our three-part music video and took a second trip of the year to Hawai'i. This time we found ourselves on Oahu for my young cousin's wedding to her best friend. I got to see family that I haven't seen since I was a little girl. There were hugs, laughter, apologies, and ohana. It was the best ohana trip I've ever taken to Hawai'i and I am so blessed that we were able to make it work. While in Hawai'i, our film teaser, "Retreat," was accepted into the International Movie Trailer Festival and "Everybody Masturbate," was shown at Pollygrind Underground Film Festival in Vegas, where it won Audience Favorite Music Video.

November: We had our second meeting for BFUG: Boise Film Underground, an underground film festival that we are launching in Boise the spring of 2014. It's going to be a FUGging kick in the pants! On Thanksgiving morning we ran our first 5k (and my last for a year) with Frodo the Dog. He enjoyed himself. On Friday after Thanksgiving, we rescued our fourth cat named River, who we are trying to find a good home for.

December: Well, on December 4th, I slipped on some ice while running with Husband and Frodo and broke my fibula in three places and the bottom of my tibia just above the ankle. My adventures for the next three months (at least) will be from a chair. Since I can't go anywhere, I started writing a novel. I don't know where it's going, but I'm having a great time getting there.

Thank you to the friends and family who have been involved our lives. Not only this year, but in years past and years to come. I've left out quite a lot on this list of fun happenings in 2013, but that doesn't make those moments any less important to the shaping of my life and, I'm sure, the life of Husband and our animals. 2013 happened, now let's get ready for a raucous 2014!!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Adventures in Healing: Gym Time

Before I broke my leg, Husband and I would go to the gym four times a week (Monday through Thursday). On the weekends we would go hiking. The word active could definitely describe us and our lifestyle. Go. Go. Go. The last time we were at the gym was on December 4th, the night I fell. We did our usual - warm up jog on the track followed by upper body weight lifting. That night we discussed if we should just do our cardio run on the track or if we should take Frodo the Dog out for his run. It was cold, but it wasn't awful and we had just run outside the night before. It was settled, we would take Frodo for a run and do our cardio in the neighborhood. 

On Thursday, December 26th, I returned to the gym. Three weeks after the big event in my cute gym pants, sports bra, comfy shirt, and one running shoe. I was also sitting in my Delorean. Before we left the house on Thursday, Husband and I got into a little tiff about what shoe I was going to wear. He wanted me to wear my snow boot to get from the house to the car (we can't take the Delorean from the front door due to the way our front walk was redesigned - by us, this summer - so I crutch it). I told him that I wanted to wear my running shoe. His argument was that I was not going to be running at the gym and might slip on our front walk. My argument was that NO ONE wears snow boots at the gym, no matter what the circumstance. Plus, it didn't match my outfit. I won.

We go to the gym at the local college, meaning that we are some of the oldest people who step foot in that facility. At 33 that's saying something. We workout with teenagers and twenty-somethings. It can be awkward, I won't deny that, and it can also be intimidating. I finally had to admit to myself that I don't look like a cute co-ed any more. My boobs have discovered gravity (to a degree) and my ass loves to jiggle when I run. But it's very close to our house and we get a great deal on membership because Husband works for the college. Plus, it keeps me in check and makes me feel young. Until they call me ma'am.

"Ma'am, how many more sets do you have on this machine? I want to wail on my pecs and then I'll do my back." 

When we arrived at the gym, I asked if I could take the Delorean for a spin on the track and they gave me the go ahead. I really got some speed behind me! I was able to accomplish about half the laps that Husband did during our warm-up, which means I wheeled myself around the track for about a quarter mile. Not bad! Then we moved onto upper body weight lifting. Getting on and off the machines proved to be a bit of a challenge, but Husband helped me adjust the seats to my height and I worked those machines like they'd never been worked by a girl with a bum leg. I let them have it!

I know people looked. It's not every day that you see someone roll into the gym in a wheelchair only to actually workout and work up a sweat. I may be one of the oldest people at the gym, but with my wheelchair in tow I'm a badass. No one called me ma'am and everyone waited for me to finish with the machine instead of asking how many more sets I had. When this leg heals, I might just keep this wheelchair business going. A lady needs her respect.

Once we got to the cardio portion of our workout, we found me a nice hand-bike. I don't know what else to call it. You sit and you pedal these pedals with your hands. There are also pedals for your feet, so I put my good leg to work. I finally figured out the controls by the time Husband was done running the track, so I think I only pedaled for a quarter mile, but it does pay to start small. They only have one of those machines at the gym, so if I ever catch anyone using it, it'll be my turn to say, "Excuse me, sonny, how many more reps do you have on that machine? I need to wail on my pecs then work my back."

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Adventures in Healing: Stitches Gone

It was a blessed morning - I got my stitches removed. I went in afraid of the pain I may have to endure, but left having felt very little pain and relieved to find that everything is healing the way that it should be. We took new x-rays and for the first time I got to see the plate and screws in my foot. For the last week-and-a-half, I've been under the impression that I had two plates, but I was able to walk away with only one plate and nine screws! I really screwed up my ankle. GAH!

According to my orthopedic surgeon the healing is progressing smoothly and I should be able to start walking again in about three months. I am not allowed to put pressure on it yet, but she gave me some exercises that I need to do to keep my Achilles tendon and muscles in working order so that I can run again. I have another appointment mid-January and at that time will take more x-rays and she'll be able to tell me when I can actually put pressure on it. This is certainly a long journey. Every day that I spend sitting with my leg elevated is another day gone, but the future seems uncertain and far away. As it should, no matter if I have a broken leg, or not. Uncertainty is the experience of life.

This past year has been difficult for me. At 33 years of age, I have felt as though I am not where I was meant to be. I am not doing what I want to do. I am not the person I saw when I planned out my life while in high school. The life I lead is not mine.  When I fell and broke my leg and ankle that thought process changed. It has forced me to be where I am. It has forced me to live in the NOW. I can't move. I can't go anywhere. I can't do the things I used to do. Because of this, I am forced to live every moment as it happens. It has changed the way I view the world and my life. I can honestly say that I am now living the life I am supposed to be living, because there is no other life that I can be living. This is it. This is where I am. I am not depressed about it, but completely encouraged by it. I have learned to be where I am supposed to be. I am 33-years-old. I broke my ankle three weeks ago. I make movies. I work from home to pay for the movies I make. I am sitting in my living room on Christmas Eve writing about my ankle, while listening to the only holiday album I listen to every year - Barenaked Ladies, our favorite band - and texting my youngest brother. I am me.

Breaking my body was the only thing that could have happened to me on December 4, 2013.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Adventures in Healing: To the Unsung Hero

My husband has had to deal with a lot of shit lately. And I do mean literal shit.It would seem that ever since I broke my leg my husband has had to clean up more shit than this household has ever seen. Granted we do have four cats and a dog, and I don't know if it is always like this and we're just noticing it now that we're home ALL.THE.TIME, or if this is something out of the ordinary, but these animals sure do make a mess! I won't go into any detail, because really who wants to read about animals and their shit, but I will say that the cleaning products are now sitting in a place that is easy to reach within a split second. Now, that's the actual stinky shit, but he is also dealing with a lot of other shit.

Since I am pretty much immobile, I haven't been able to do much around the house. I can't do the dishes, I can't sweep, mop, or vacuum the floor, I can't make any meals and I can't clean up after our cats and dog. There are a few things I can do such as fold the laundry and scrub the toilet and bathroom sink by sitting on my shower chair, but those are few and far between. When I fell, the whole house fell, and poor Husband is feeling the pain now. He's kept a great attitude about it though and while I do love listening to the beautiful sounds of dishes being done for me, I look forward to the day when I can take all of this off his hands and give him an hour to soak in a bubble bath (something else I'm unable to do at the moment).

He has really stepped up his game and surprised both of us by his exquisite cooking skills and ability to not shrink my delicates. He is able to keep a smile on his face and even whistles while he works. He helps me pick out my clothes in the morning and lays out my pajamas at night. He moves Frodo's bed from the bedroom to the living room and back again, and he helps me wash my stitch site every morning and evening. When I met him 14 years ago, I never envisioned him to be this type of person. Hell, two-and-a-half weeks ago I didn't envision him like this. I am truly blessed by his willingness to do everything for me and our pets and house, and his unwavering support. BOTH of our lives changed on December 4th and not a day goes by that I don't appreciate all that he does.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Adventures in Healing: Yule

Today is Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. The days will now become longer as the Sun returns to us. Today is also Yule, a day that I celebrate in my own spirituality. While I may not have been able to walk outside today to enjoy the fresh-fallen snow, I did get to watch Frodo the Dog tromp around in our backyard. Until he saw us watching him from the bedroom window, that is, and he all of a sudden developed performance anxiety.

As the snow fell last night, I asked Husband to open the living room blinds so that I could watch. I am not a fan of winter, but I do love to walk in falling snow at midnight. It is almost like walking on the beach, except not as warm, and there's no waves crashing at your feet, and it's not as warm. This winter will pass me by as I sit beside the window and witness life moving forward. It is difficult to push a wheelchair in the snow, so I am unable to go for "walks." Even with a Frodo pulling my "sleigh" the deep snow makes it almost impossible for Husband to push me.

My dad told me that I need to stop calling this thing a wheelchair. He doesn't want to hear me say that word, so he helped me come up with a new word for it. This is my Delorean. I don't just have a wheelchair that gets me from point A to point B, I have a Delorean. I do intend to make a flux capacitor and hang it on the back of my wheelchair Delorean. We even got the "go ahead" from my youngest brother who poo-pooed the suggestion of calling it my Imperial Tie Fighter - ITF for short. When I asked what the problem was he told me to go to Urban Dictionary and look up ITF. From now on I will defer all my acronym ideas to him first and await his approval. He knows better than to let our dad and me come up with catchy names for things without first checking with someone who is a bit more hip than the two of us combined. I am really glad that he was in the same room as our dad when I made that phone call this afternoon.

I did actually leave the house on this beautiful Yule day. We went first to the post office to mail a couple of packages to my niece and nephew for the holiday, then we stopped by the house of the wonderful woman who let me lay on her floor after I broke my ankle, while Husband went to get the car. We took her two jars of homemade jam - one green and one red. She wasn't expecting us and didn't recognize Husband when he first knocked on her door. Since there were a couple of inches of snow on the ground, I had to stay in the car. She let him in and he answered questions about my recovery and what the verdict was after we left her house on December 4th. Once they were done with the chit-chat, she came outside to see me.

She looked nothing like I remembered. She was a lot younger than I thought and more "hip." She probably could have told me to look up ITF in the Urban Dictionary too! She reached into the car and gave me a hug. She was so happy to see me and see my progress. She looked at the boot strapped to my foot and told me to heed the doctor's advice and keep up with my recovery. She seems to be an active person as well and wants me to be able to hike and run again next year. A connection was made the night I fell in front of her house, and even though none of us recognized each other this afternoon because in the heat of the moment none of us really cared what the other looked like save for the foot hanging off of my leg, I believe that this relationship will grow.

Life is funny and interesting and crazy and beautiful and awesome and frightening and sad and peaceful. It can be everything and it can be nothing. Viewing life from my Delorean makes me realize that these things I'm seeing now have always been there I just never took the time to really experience them. We knocked on a stranger's door and she offered comfort, a floor to lay on, a pillow to prop my back up, and a glass of water to keep me calm. Basic essentials for surviving after slipping on ice. I have never liked winter, but now I can see the snow and I can appreciate what it means. Our earth needs this time of darkness and rest so that She can once again bloom and grow and create. If we all take a moment to appreciate life and connect with people, I think this world could be a much happier place. And if we all consult the Urban Dictionary when trying to name things like wheelchairs we could save ourselves from looking like fools.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Adventures in Healing: Working from Home

I should probably title this one: Be Careful What You Wish For. When I said that I wanted to work from home, I didn't mean because I had a broken ankle. I envisioned working from home to be this magical transition where I had a going away party at work and everyone was happy for me because I finally made it. I was finally working from home. Sure, I had my ideas of what I would do as a person who worked from home, but I hadn't fully fleshed those ideas out. Most of my ideas involved writing and making movies.

Now, one must understand that Husband and I did work from home for five glorious years from 2004 to 2009. The economy crashed and so did our home business, so we went "back to work," and have been office rats ever since. There was my quick summer stint flipping burgers at the zoo right after we closed our business, but I HAD to have a job and that was the only one I could find. It was character building that's for sure. Especially when my manager asked me to buy him beer. I was 10 years his senior. Ever since then I've basically been sitting in a cubical. That's the past though, and now is now.

I work from home.

I "went back to work" yesterday and it has been an interesting couple of days trying to catch up on a week's worth of emails plus setting up my new work laptop with everything I need to conduct business from my home. There is a lot of database software involved in my job and that has been the most difficult aspect of the last two days - I have to reset all my database settings to be just the way I like them. It's almost like starting a new job, but you know everything you're supposed to do and you know how to do it, but your brain still tweaks out because you're not sitting in a cubical staring at a gray wall. You start up your computer and your brain says, "what the hell is work? I do not remember this. Does not compute." I just have to find my groove and I'm hoping to get it back by the end of the week. What used to take me a half hour to complete now takes an upwards of two hours. Granted I may spend some of my time throwing the ball for my dog, talking to Husband while he "works from home," and popping a Percocet, but I still get my work done.

(As an aside, just in case anyone I DO work with is reading this - I'm not slacking off and I'm not just "popping" Percocet willy-nilly. The network connection between my laptop and the computers at work is less than stellar and it can often take up to 10 minutes just to open a file. I have now switched meds and am taking something weaker than Percocet and my ankle STILL feels amazing. There, I've covered my legal bases in case anyone should ask.)

It is pretty cool working from home, though. Every morning we move Frodo's bed into the living room with me and he snoozes next to me while I work. We let River, the stray, out of his bathroom and he sits behind me on a little kitty pedestal, while Ashy, Bandit, and Stella roam around the house, sit in windowsills, or clean themselves on the couch, which is also next to me. I sit on a wheelchair from 8-4:30, and my ass is sore by 9am. But it gets sore whether I sit in a wheelchair or on the bed. That is just a lot of sitting. I hobble around the house from time-to-time to stretch my legs, and don't have to wear makeup or fix my hair. It's a pretty sweet deal save for the broken ankle and the fact that I was forced into this situation (by no fault but my own), but I could get used to this!

The first text we sent after I broke my ankle was to my job to tell them that I wouldn't make it in the next day and probably not the following day either. Neither of us realized I'd be told no pressure for six weeks. That means I can't even drive because it is my right ankle that I broke. And no pressure means I can't go anywhere without my Husband Helper. Last night we had a meeting of the minds for our film festival and nearing the end of our meeting I had to pee. Not a big deal, normally, but when you're confined to a wheelchair and you can't sit on a toilet without help, it gets a bit tough. I had to hold it because I didn't think it would be appropriate to have my husband come into the women's restroom with me, or vice versa. Now that I think about it, one of my girlfriends was there, I could have asked her. But the thought didn't occur to me until just now. Next time. I'll let her have that privilege next time.

Anyway, my first text was to my job because working is very important to me. This isn't my career, but it is what helps pay for things and as I'm lying in the ER wondering how the hell we're going to pay for all of this, one's job does tend to cross one's mind. I am incredibly grateful to the people who have helped get me work-from-home access. This isn't just granted to anyone, so I feel very fortunate that they consider me an integral part of the team to keep me working while my leg heals. The only other option we would have had, if I had not received the go-ahead to work from home, would have been to actually send me back to work. We talked about me riding the bus to work, but that scared Husband more than me because he didn't want me to get stuck in the snow as I wheeled myself from one bus to the next at the transfer station. Plus, it takes about an hour each way meaning I'd be wheeling myself down the street in the dark both before AND after work with a foot that can't take any pressure whatsoever. I also ran out of pepper-spray. There just weren't any other options, so my gratitude reaches far to those at work who have helped me in this situation.

Well, I should probably call it a night. I have to roll out of bed in about eight hours, hobble to the living room, turn on my laptop, get to work, and listen to the sweet sounds of a dog's favorite squeaky toy instead of my coworkers' laughter. I guess wishes do come true. ;)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Adventures in Healing: Cleansing My Wounds

A fair warning: I fear this post may not be as entertaining as the previous ones. This one might get a little emotional, so either grab some tissue or back away slowly.

On Thursday evening I cleaned my wounds for the first time. I popped a Percocet and Husband helped me remove my new boot, unwrap my gauze, and peel off my bandages. He helped lower me onto the new shower seat we bought, turned on the water, and slowly adjusted the water temperature. I sat there on the chair in the tub, fully clothed, pant legs rolled up above the knees, and watched as he did this, my foot dangling above the floor of the tub. It felt weird to have my foot exposed like that. Any movement scared the shit out of me. A slight bump, without any protection, and I could set back my healing. I am surprised that the doctor trusts me enough to make me do this twice a day. Remove bandages. Clean stitch site. Replace foot in boot. It really is a scary situation.

Once the water reached the perfect temp, he directed the flow at my foot. I flinched. My foot jerked. And an orange color began to drain into the tub. It looked to be a mixture of blood and iodine? I'm not sure if they use iodine for surgeries, but my leg was, and still is, a nice shade of yellow. Sadly, it is not cool looking enough to call a tan.We wet the surface of my leg, pumped two pumps of antibacterial soap into my hands, and I created a lather of soap. I couldn't bring myself to touch my stitches. I didn't want to touch my broken ankle.

I started with washing my knee, trying to remove the dye, and slowly worked my way down my leg. I finally reached my stitch-site, took a deep breath, and gingerly ran my hand over my stitches. It felt weird. My skin is incredibly numb, so I can't feel my fingers, but my fingers can feel my stitches. I didn't linger long and moved on to cleaning the stitches on the outside of my ankle - the longer stitches, the stitches that cover the broken-in-three-places fibula. I moved on to the back of my ankle and gently reached my toes. I hadn't washed my toes in over a week and I am a stickler for clean feet. Every slight movement my fingers made on my toes could be felt throughout my swollen foot. I hadn't realized that my toes could create pain in my broken limb. Once I had finished soaping, Husband turned the water on again, tested the temperature and gently rinsed, starting at my knee and working his way down to my toes and eventually the bottom of my foot. I watched as soap and orange dye ran down the drain. The first remnants of my surgery disappearing into nothingness.

After rinsing, he handed me my towel and I dried my leg. Patting the entire leg, I didn't want to disturb my ankle, and finishing with my toes. Then he soaked a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and handed it to me. I need to apply this after every washing to keep the stitches clean and free of bacteria. Up until this point the cleaning of my leg and ankle was very methodical. We discussed how I might shower - should I leave my ankle unprotected? Or should I put the boot back on after cleaning, wrap it in a garbage bag and duck tape, and shower that way? This was our only conversation while we stared at the disaster I caused to myself. As I held the cotton ball, braving myself to apply the rubbing alcohol to my stitches, I started to cry. Seeing my wounds and the dark purple bruises really brought home the fact that my ankle is broken and I cannot walk on it for another three months. I can hardly touch my foot without cringing from pain and the memory of what it looked like when I first fell. I fucked up my life when I decided to go running that night. And cleaning my stitches brought it all to a very harsh reality. My calf is already looking skinny and limp. I am supposed to do "exercises" on my foot twice a day when I remove the boot. I have to move my foot up. Then I have to move my foot down. Just this summer I was doing ballet-style toe-lifts in dance class. I can't point my toes. I can't move my foot. Every movement is a difficult chore.

I applied the rubbing alcohol and let it dry. Then Husband helped lift me from the chair in the bathtub and maneuvered me onto the toilet where I could sit comfortably while he re-wrapped my foot in gauze. His strong hands gently touching my foot, over, under, over, under, he wrapped that gauze. It was now time to put my foot back in the boot. He pulled the sides open as far as they would go and I slowly slipped my foot in making sure that my heel could touch the back of the boot. This is not as easy as it sounds. This is not putting on a hiking shoe to go hiking. This is carefully and precisely placing my foot in the exact position so that my foot can heal. It has to keep at a 90 degree angle so my Achilles tendon can heal correctly for future running - my orthopedic surgeon made it a point to mention that. Once my foot was in, we strapped it down with the five Velcro straps - two covering my foot and three covering my ankle and shin. My foot was protected again and I could breathe. He helped me off the toilet and I headed back to the bedroom on my crutches knowing that I would have to do this again, twice a day, until December 24th when I get my stitches removed.

Since that first cleansing, I have washed my wounds three more times, and each time is already getting easier. I only cried that first time and we've gotten faster. Touching my stitches doesn't gross me out anymore, but it does still scare me. I tend to have all my best thoughts about my situation when I cleanse my wounds. I'm not just physically cleaning them, but I feel like I'm cleansing my soul at the same time. I am accepting my fate and the journey that we both have to face in the coming year. When I was first released from the hospital after surgery I was thinking about the tattoo that I want to cover the scars on my ankle. Tonight while I was cleaning my stitches I looked at how long they are and I realized that I don't think I want to cover my scars. I don't regret this life change and in covering my scars that says to me that I regret what happened. I can't regret it. It is changing my life.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Adventures in Healing: Field Trip to the Rite Aid

The cold air on my skin felt amazing. I have never liked winter, but today winter felt good. Aside from leaving the house for my surgery last Friday, then returning the next day, I haven't left the house since that night I splayed out on the cold hard pavement a few blocks from home. Today was a good day. The temperature was a nice 25 degrees F, the sun was shining, and it was COLD! But I didn't care. It felt good to escape the house for a little bit.

I had my follow-up appointment this morning. They removed my cast - I had no idea I was wearing a cast under my ace bandage wrap - and fitted me with a boot. A boot! This early in the game! I got to see my stitches and I nearly barfed. They look nasty. My foot is swollen and there is bruising forming under my ankle on both sides of my right foot. The unfortunate part is now that I'm in a boot, I'm required to clean my stitch-site twice a day. I'm going to have to learn to love my stitches as I won't get them removed until December 24th. I'm already planning the tattoo I will get over those stitches to remind me of what I have learned throughout this ordeal. I still have a year of learning to go...

After my appointment we went to the local Rite Aid to buy some bandages and rubbing alcohol to clean my wounds. Instead of waiting in the car, I requested that Husband allow me to accompany him into the store. On crutches. This was a great idea until about three minutes and half an aisle in when my body decided that it was tired. I hobbled along, listening to the drunk old man behind me tell me about how he once broke his arm and then instead of getting it fixed he just chopped it off, because "who needs an arm anyway?!" His words. Not mine.

I immediately found the aisle that carried the really ugly, yet incredibly comfortable looking, sweat pants and begged Husband to buy me a pair. New pants for a new me! Then we slowly worked our way to the OTHER END of the store to find the bandages and rubbing alcohol. Then we hopped (I hopped, he walked) back to the OTHER SIDE of the store to check-out and slowly walk me down the icy walk back to the car. That trip could have taken five minutes tops. We were there for a half hour and I had the sweaty brow to prove it.

This all happened before lunch and we spent the rest of the day doing our thing. Husband worked from home and I wrote several pages in a feature-length screenplay that I'm working on. Around 5pm, when the work bell tolls I asked if we could go for a walk. This got Frodo, the dog, all excited when he heard the magic word. And walk we did!

Using my crutches to get me downstairs and out the front door, I then waited in the snow covered street, while Husband went back inside to get the dog. He situated me on the wheelchair, using an old belt to secure my leg to the orthopedic leg support (this keeps my leg parallel to the ground while sitting in a wheelchair), we wrapped a winter hat around my injured foot, and away we went! Frodo pulling me, while Husband pushed me through the snow was a beautiful sight to see. At first, Frodo, our intensely skittish dog, thought I was chasing him down with my wheelchair, so he kept running faster and faster, glancing behind him every few steps to see if I was still following him. I finally convinced him that I wasn't going to hurt him, and he finally realized that I had a tight hold on his leash, so he slowed down. But his pulling was helping Husband get me through the snow! So, we let him pull and get the workout of his life.

We passed by several streets, dog pulling, Husband pushing, laughing all the way. The wind whipped through my hair and I felt like a Winter Queen with her jester and sled dog. I'll skip the Rite Aid next time, but I can't wait to get on my wheelchair sleigh again.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Adventures in Healing: Shit Talking

Yes, I am writing about shit on my second blog post. It's going to be one of those blogs.

My Percocet says I need to write about this. The part of my brain that is not on Percocet says I need to find something else to write about. I like the Percocet side, so I'm going to write about shit.

Everyone loves a good shit. Don't pretend you don't. The relief you feel once your body lets go is amazing. The cleansing that your body feels afterward is unparalleled. A good shit can make or break a day. My bowel movements (yes, I really am talking about this) changed after I cut meat out of my diet. I have honestly never felt better. My body is clean and I feel more alive.

During my post-op hospital stay the doctors and nurses made it very clear to me that the medication they were putting me on would prevent me from taking a shit. "Not a problem," I thought, "I'm a vegetarian. This'll be easy." Well, they were right. The medication I am on is doing some funky shit to my body. Not to mention the fact that I hardly get out of bed and move around, my body is just not getting the exercise it needs. That is another reason why I love running. It really does keep the body flowing correctly. Due to the medications stopping me up, the doctors also gave me two stool softeners. One I take once a day and the other twice a day. The one I only take once a day is a powder that can be mixed with water or any liquid of my choosing. So, I mix it with coffee. I want more bang for my buck.

By Tuesday, I hadn't taken a shit since Wednesday morning. They told me that if I am unable to go I may need to send someone to the pharmacy to get a suppository. My husband and I are very close. We share everything. But THAT just sounded unreasonable to both of us. On Monday evening I was starting to get concerned. So, we made some popcorn, which helps the solid waste in your body flow, and I ate it. Tuesday morning was a happy day. I felt like a child giving my parent a report card.

"Guess what?!" I shouted at Husband. "I took a poo!"

At that moment he would have picked me up and twirled me around the house if I was more mobile. He was just as happy as I was. That means no emergency trips to the pharmacy! Sadly, Tuesday's poo was not the best shit I had ever taken, but it worked. And I have been able to go consistently since then. Not to quote Forrest Gump, but it's true "Shit Happens." It is a natural event that happens in everyone's life. Hopefully more than once.

Shit does happen. This shit with my ankle happened. I can't help it. I am doing my best to make this experience unforgettable and worth my time. I have to. There is no way out. No way around this. I didn't go out jogging hoping that I would break my ankle. I didn't wish that my husband could take care of my every need. I mean, every girl wishes that, but not like this. This shit that happened to me is just a little ice patch in the road. The time that I have been granted is of great value to me. I am looking at this as a blessing in disguise. While I pop that Percocet and those stool softeners I remind myself that this a valuable time in our lives. Good shits or not, I will keep shitting.

Time for some popcorn.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Adventures in Healing: Part 1

Taking inspiration from my friend and fellow writer, Michael, I am starting a new installment on my blog called "Adventures in Healing," to document my journey after breaking my ankle. Welcome to Trial by Fire, a blog that I have been keeping for several years. It looks a bit bare at the moment because back in August I decided to try something new and give this blog a new voice. I hid all my old posts in hopes of rejuvenating this blog. Obviously, that didn't stick long because I haven't touched it since August. Now would seem as good a time as any to revisit my blog and actually start writing. Last Wednesday evening I went for a jog, slipped on some ice, and broke my ankle. By Friday afternoon I was lying in a hospital bed awaiting surgery. I broke my fibula in three places and broke my ankle bone under my tibia. My orthopedic surgeon had to put two plates in my foot and a few screws to keep everything in place. Up until last Wednesday, I was a healthy 33-year-old woman who had never broken a bone or gotten stitches. Today, I lay here in bed, unable to move, fighting off a cold, and wondering what will happen next.

I documented most of the events at the time I broke my ankle via Facebook, but I felt that if I continued to update everyone on my recovery that people would grow weary. There is nothing special about me. I'm not a marathon runner who lost sponsors when she broke her ankle, nor am I a young child who may never be able to walk again. I was the drama of the weekend and now that that's over, I'm just the same person writing about being stuck in bed. Besides, in my humble opinion, Facebook is not the place to go into depth about my situation when I know that most of my "friends" only know I broke my ankle because it was one of those updates that Facebook deemed "important" enough to let slip through. So, people who had previously hid my status updates were notified that I was in the hospital "GOING INTO SURGERY!" and that maybe they should pay attention for an afternoon. It's all over now and this is a better medium for me. A place to post my thoughts and know that they might actually get read instead of just glossed over.

Jogging is something that I have been doing for a couple of years. The desire to jog came when I read that it was one of the best cardio workouts for keeping a slim waistline. I go to the gym, I lift weights, but I wasn't doing anything to get my heart rate up, so I started jogging. After months of hating it, I finally started to really enjoy running. I run after work to make me feel like a person again. Sitting in a cubical for eight hours a day is really hard on a person. Jogging allows my body to move and the stress to melt off my shoulders as I make those laps. Up until September, my husband and I would run at the gym, around their track, every night. In September, we adopted an energetic dog and began running outside. Frodo, the dog, LOVES to run and I love that he loves to run. So we go running together. Every night. After work.

Last Wednesday, both my husband and I questioned our desire to run outside. It was cold, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground, and it was cold. But Frodo needed his exercise. We honestly contemplated running at the gym and just taking him for a walk, but the roads were dry. No ice in sight. So, we ran. About half way through our mile, I slipped on the only patch of ice in the entire neighborhood and must have caught myself on my right foot, because as the foot came down, so did the rest of my body. I felt pain, but nothing unbearable. I let go of Frodo's leash, swung my leg around to look at it and noticed that my right foot was facing the wrong direction. I didn't yell, but I loudly called to my husband, "I think I just broke my ankle." The look on his face proved that I was correct and all hell broke loose on that dark, quiet neighborhood street.

The husband started chasing the dog around me in circles. When he finally caught the dog, they were both frightened and unsure of what to do next. I instructed my husband to go to the nearest house, knock on the door, and ask if I could sit inside while he went to get the car. An older lady graciously allowed me space on her kitchen floor and proceeded to take pictures of the craziest thing she had ever seen. The husband returned, minus dog, and we went to the ER. My ankle was reset and x-rays were taken. I was scheduled to see an orthopedic surgeon on Friday to allow the swelling in my ankle to go down.

On Friday morning, the surgeon took more x-rays and decided that she wanted to get me into surgery ASAP. Since I hadn't eaten since 8pm on Thursday evening, we were booked for a 6:00 surgery that night. At about one in the afternoon I got a call that someone had cancelled and they could move my surgery up. I didn't even have time to cry about it - I was whisked off to the hospital, meds were pumped into me, and I was lying on the cold operating table before I could count to 10. I was rudely awoken from my deep, deep slumber, by a guy pulling a tube out of my throat and yelling at me to wake up. I think once I was awake we talked about guns, but that doesn't sound right. I don't know anything about guns. I spent Friday night in the hospital and was allowed to go home around 5pm on Saturday. That is my weekend in a nutshell. Now, for the feelings.

As I write this, it is Tuesday evening, December 10, at almost 10pm. I have one of our cats, Stella, laying on my lap, and Frodo sleeping in his bed on the floor. My back aches. My shoulders ache. And my ass is sore. I have been sitting in this same position since about 8 this morning. I am uncomfortable and there is nothing I can do about it. I get out of bed to use the toilet, wash my face, brush my teeth, and let Frodo out to potty. Well, I don't let him out, but I go through the motions of getting him excited to go outside, while Husband actually opens the door for him and helps him back in the house when he's finished. I did some leg exercises in the living room before dinner this evening and realize that I should do them more than once a day. I am an incredibly active person diminished to sitting on my ass 24/7. This is as torturous as I could imagine. Tomorrow will be a new day. Tomorrow I will do my exercises three times! Or as long as my good leg can hold me up.

When I fell on that ice last Wednesday, so many things ran through my head. The first things were the two film projects that we are currently working on. How could I do this to myself? I am way too busy to have an injury. I am way too busy to let something get in the way of all of my projects. But there is nothing that I can do about this situation. I can bitch and moan about it all I want, but nothing is going to change. I am stuck here in this bed. I can't even go to work to sit in a cubical for eight hours because I'm not allowed to move. I am labeled a "Fall Risk" meaning that I can't even use the toilet without assistance. My foot is broken, but not my spirit.

I have to figure out what my priorities are now that life is different. As a writer I am always watching things. I love observing, but now I have to observe from my bedroom window. Although it is currently dark out, I know that I can see the electric wires running from my house to the poles outside. I can see trees, I can see birds fly by, and right now, I can see the moon waxing toward full. Today was a good day. Not only is my leg healing, but so am I. I am excited to do exercises tomorrow morning. I got a lot accomplished on our film production website - things that needed done for months, but we never had time for. I wrote in this blog. A few of my friends came to visit. My priorities are shifting.

Thus begins the start of a new life journey and my adventures in healing.