Welcome to Anne's blog!

If you are new to the blog, you probably want to start at the beginning of the whole sad story. To get there, use the "Blog Archive" tool in the right column of the blog and click on "2009," and then "January 25." From there you can continue to click on each week to see the weekly entries.

I would love to hear from you! If you would like to leave a message, you can reach me at aheetderks@wcsmiami.org!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Well, hello from Marco Island!!  Some friends of ours from Chicago are letting us use their lovely condo on the beach for Spring Break (I know--we are really suffering).  So on Friday, my father loaded up his car with 8,000 saline syringes, 70 miles of gauze, a portable IV stand, a 35 pound box of antibiotics, a walker, a wheelchair, a scooter, and everything else necessary to keep me alive for the next week--and we drove over to Marco Island.  Doug and the girls came later and my Mom is coming in a few days. 

I could talk about the fact that it is Annika is turning 10 on Wednesday, or that I bought a New Balance shoe that has already changed my life, or that we have already been to the Urgent Care Center in Naples for a strep culture (negative--thank goodness), or that Elise can talk a mile a minute and play RummiKub all night long, but . . .

I would rather talk about my Dad.

My Dad has run two miles every other day for his entire life--never missed a day.  My Dad has called every member of his congregations on their birthday since he started his pastoral career.  My Dad finds everyone fascinating.  I don't think he has met a person he doesn't like yet.  My Dad has worn the same pair of swimming trunks since 1973 and still thinks of them as "new."  If you buy him a new pair, he will put them in a drawer for a "special occasion."  And . . . my Dad is the kind of guy who will load up his van with an obscene amount of stuff just so his daughter can have an encouraging week away from home.  Quite a special man.

My Dad is also a guy who does the same thing every day.  Same breakfast.  Same exercise routine.  Same mid-morning nap. UNTIL THREE WEEKS AGO . . . when he decided to grow out his beard.  Shocking.

I include here a picture of him as he appears now.  We are all debating where he should go next with his look . . . friendly mutton chop? a van dyke? what about a hollywoodian? What do you think?

Love to you all!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It really has felt like my ankle and I have been in a holding pattern for a while.  We have been waiting for my wound to heal so that I can start physical therapy and (hopefully) quit taking the antibiotics.  Last week, Dr. Carbonell said that he hoped the tissue would grow over the exposed metal and that the wound would close up on its own in about 2 months (maybe).  Tick . . . tock . . . tick . . . tock.

Well--guess what!?!  I went to my usual appointment at the Wound Care Center with Dr. Carbonell yesterday and THINGS ARE MOVING AGAIN!

Let me tell you what happened . . .

After saying hello to all of my friends in the waiting room (a lovely mix of people with crazy foot issues--we look like the Land of Misfit Toys), I was called back to the go to one of the examination rooms.  My favorite nurse, Judy (Shaun Cassidy's mother-in-law--no kidding), took the dressings off my foot and thought it looked great.  

Then Dr. Carbonell walked in and was amazed at how much I could move my foot around.  He told me that I should start "walking" on it as much as possible to strengthen the bone.  We decided that he would let me go to physical therapy ONE time so I could learn how to use the walker while being about 75% weight bearing. 

 Then he said that he felt like I could start DRIVING again!  Judy and I both were like, "WHAT?!?!?"  He said that the ankle is strong enough now to be able to apply pressure to the pedals (one more reason for you to stay off the road!!).  I think I will hold off on that for a while but it sure was a sweet idea.  Ahh . . . independence.

THEN . . . he noted to himself that the tissue is still having a hard time growing over the bracket.  Just then, he left the room and said to someone in the hallway, "I think this patient would be a wonderful candidate for your new product."  In walks a pharmaceutical rep (I had noticed him hanging out in the waiting room previously) who looks at my wound and says, "Yep, I just saw another patient who had exposed metal in his wound and the orthadapt worked great on it." 

Dr. Carbonell looks at me and says that this rep is introducing a new product and would like to donate one application of it to a patient of Dr. Carbonell's choosing.  I immediately got the feeling that I was about to receive the equivalent of a free kidney or something.  Turns out that orthadapt is a very expensive "bioimplant" made from the sheath that surrounds a horse's heart (it wasn't enough that I already have human newborn foreskin on my wound--now I have a horse's heart, too!!!).  The orthadapt is cut to fit the wound and is then attached using multiple stitches around the perimeter of the wound.  As a result, the now-covered wound begins to produce enzymes that accelerate epithelialization (growth of tissue over a wound).  

As the wound heals, the outer edges of the orthadapt becomes dark and hard.  Eventually, the entire orthadapt will be dark and fall off like a scab with my own skin healed underneath!!  From the research I saw today while googling, I can see that this is really great stuff and should increase the liklihood that my wound will heal on its own (and faster!).  

It was obviously such an amazing blessing that I would be there just when the rep was visiting, and that Dr. Carbonell would choose me from his other hundreds of patients to receive the one free piece of horse heart.  So awesome.  Of course, I still have all the scary stuff looming (infection, death, or shattering of the bone resulting in an ankle fusion) but for today, it was great to have some good news!

Of course when it was all over and I mentioned to Judy that I was hungry, she said, "I bet you could eat a horse!"  Then when I tried to get down off the bed on my own she said, "Hey!  Hold your horses!!"  Let the horse jokes begin . . .

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We had a great time at the Fair the other night.  A friend from school got us a VIP pass that allowed us to get in for free, and park right by the entrance.  So, my parents, brother, sister-in-law, Doug, the girls, and I all jammed into my parents' car with the wheelchair "securely" tied to the top of the car.  Hilarious.  

I quickly realized that one has complete loss of control when being wheeled around in a wheelchair.  I have never thought about how I "navigate" through a crowd, but being at the will of someone else's choice of movement was very interesting.  I spent the entire night reassuring frightened strangers that my outstretched leg was not about to impale them (when really I wasn't sure if that was going to be true). 

When being pushed by Elise, she would be talking about the cotton candy stand just as I was seeing a huge trash can coming straight for me.  It wouldn't be until we hit the can that she realized that she wasn't watching where we were going.  Other times I got stuck in front of the guy with the microphone beckoning me to try to get the ring on the neck of a bottle to win an ugly, overstuffed animal.  I can't stand that section.

The plus side of being in a wheelchair is the automatic connection you have with everyone else who is getting around without walking.  From the disabled guy in the battery powered scooter to the old lady in the wheelchair, we all kind of find each other and share a knowing smile. Being able to have the front row seat at every show is really nice, too.

The sweetest part of being at the Fair was hearing my kids squeal in delight when twirling and whirling on the rides.  Things always haven't been real joyful for them lately so it was great to see them having some good ol' fashioned fun at the Fair.

Good times.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I will write later about our weekend trip to the Miami Fair, but I first wanted to share the following email with you.  It arrived in my mailbox under the heading "How Smart is Your Right Foot?" 

I opened it thinking that it was some sort of inspirational poem about my right foot but it was something a little different.  I have to wonder what kind of friend (Judy Forjan) would send this email to someone who can hardly move her right foot in the first place (!), but I will let it go.  

Try it!  Here it is . . .

"You have to try this please; it takes 2 seconds. I could not believe this!!!  It is from an orthopedic surgeon and will boggle your mind. This is sure to keep you trying over and over again to see if you can outsmart your foot but you can't.  It's pre-programmed in your brain!

1. Without anyone watching you (they will think you are GOOFY!!) and while sitting at your desk in front of your computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles with it.

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number '6' in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction.

Isn't it weird that this simple task is such a challenge?  Send it to your friends to frustrate them too..."