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!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We are making progress, people!

Sometimes it is the little things that make all the difference: the cherry on top, the new windshield wipers, or the cold drink on a hot day.  For me, right now, the little thing that is making me so happy is my new, sleek, FLESH-colored compression sock that I bought yesterday at a medical supply store!  No matter what—I need to always wear an elasticized stocking to keep blood from pooling in my foot throughout the day.  But the one they have been giving me at the Wound Care Center each week--called a tubigrip (pictured here before I burned it)--always ends up looking so frayed and gross.  

The guy at the store told me the new stocking wouldn't work because it would run when I put a hole in it for my VAC tube.  He obviously has never used a bit of clear nail polish to stop a run in a new pair of pantyhose!!  Please!  I globbed on a ton of polish, poked a hole in the middle, and VOILA!, a custom compression sock!  Please enjoy the picture of my sexy leg in its new compression sock while being treated by my bone growth stimulator (are we sure this site is still rated G?).

My other big news is that I am having surgery on Tuesday!  As expected, my wound has decreased in size but my skin just doesn’t want to heal over the metal bracket.  Rather than create a new 5-inch incision to remove the bracket, he is going to do a procedure that he describes as “pulling purse strings.”  Basically, he will sew metal threads around the perimeter of my wound (it is now about the size of a nickel), and then pull the strings to close the wound.  Prior to pulling, he will remove some of the scar tissue that has caused the healed area to be so dense and thick.  HOPEFULLY, this will finally bring an end to my open wound issues!

He is also going to do a procedure to my big toe to allow it to flex again.  He said that it is common for the toe to become “frozen” as a result of an ankle injury like mine.  He will cut into the toe to release something or other (didn’t catch the name) that will allow me to walk better in the future.  He warns me that this will be the most painful part of the recovery.

Unfortunately, this will mean that I can’t go to see Margarita for at least two weeks while I heal.  I have to remember that this surgery will probably set me back for a while again.  I have been enjoying a period of time where things seem to be moving forward and I can almost actually believe that I might walk on my own again.  Being immobile again will probably be a little scary.  Remind me of this when I start whining on my blog at the end of next week, OK?

Love to you all! 


Mother's Day--Sunday, May 10, 2009

Loving me has been more complicated than usual during the last four months.  I could understand how my family was wondering, "Well, hasn't every day been 'Mother's Day' lately??"  Nevertheless, I woke up to sweet cards, a beautiful necklace, and a wonderful assortment of handmade plastic key rings.  We had Thai food for lunch, shopped at the Falls in the afternoon, and cuddled while watching TV at night.  Couldn't be sweeter.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I have been walking around for the last week primarily feeling like a huge, sweaty, blubbery beast on four walker wheels.  When I look down, I see that I am wearing the equivalent of a knee-high sock like I wore in Junior High (my compression “sock”).  The only problem is that I am only wearing it on one leg—and, this one is bone-white, frayed on both ends, and has a ugly hole in it large enough for a tube (carrying yellow body fluid) to fit through.  No outfit on earth seems to want to blend with the orthopedic-looking white sneakers, the ever-present black “purse” (which contains the collected body juice), and the hunched over body position I seem to be in 80% of the time. 

And then . . . just when I have deemed myself too despicable to take up space on the planet, I run into someone who says, “OH MY GOODNESS!  YOU LOOK FANTASTIC!!!”

One has to wonder . . .is this what people say when they really want to run away in complete fright and horror?

Amazingly enough, when I look into their eyes and see that they are genuinely delighted at the sight of me, I realize that they are “seeing” something different than what I see in the mirror each morning.  They see someone who had ashen-colored skin three months ago and barely had the energy to carry on a two-minute conversation on the phone.  They see someone who is now “walking” down a hallway instead of being pushed in a wheelchair.   Most of all, they see an answer to prayer and a reason to give God great praise.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Whereas my usual routine used to be going to the Infectious Disease office to get my blood drawn and to collect my cooler of antibiotics, I now take a usual pilgrimage to the Physical Therapist office at Baptist Hospital. 

Just like at the Wound Care Center, there is a lovely collection of people with terrible stories to tell. There is a guy I see regularly who lost his leg in a hit-and-run accident 24 years ago.  He wants my scooter so he can use it in the middle of the night to get to the bathroom without bothering with his wheelchair.  He is pretty much in a constant process of strengthening or “repairing” one part of his body.  Just when one thing gets better, another part starts to deteriorate.  Nevertheless, he is always in a great mood. 

Margarita shows me the most mind-blowing things about my foot.   Each tiny bone and tendon functions together so beautifully—until someone smashes one part to smithereens in a freak ladder accident.  Then all of a sudden, it is like a big line of dominos standing up on end . . . someone knocks over one domino and the rest fall down in defeat.  So now, we work each day to slowly tinker away at each part of the foot until it performs in perfect unison once again. 

I have a whole selection of exercises designed to strengthen all of the affected areas of my foot.  Some involve surgical tubing, while others employ the use of wooded wedges.  Each piece of equipment is ingenious in its simplicity.  My favorite tool is this big blue plastic saucer.  The saucer has a ball screwed into the bottom of it.  My job is to roll my foot forward and back so that the front and back edge of the saucer gently touches the ground.  Later, I do the same thing side to side.  It is a killer but it really works my foot in so many places.

Anyway—Margarita says that she has never seen an injury like mine in the 28 years that she has been doing physical therapy.  She is pleased by my progress and thinks that (if everything proceeds without incident), I should be walking in about 6 months.   Patience . . . patience . . . patience . . .

I feel like I am making things up because every day I have a different pain than the day before.  Thank the Lord, the majority of the pains seem to have fairly innocent explanations and are just part of the process.  Let the healing begin.