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Aug 22 2006

Gimp

Perp and victim. Photo by Stingray.

I must put all speculation to rest. The gripping details of my ankle surgery are as follows.

They appear to be sushi and/or teeth, but the chunks from yesterday’s winsome post-op foto are actually fragments of various ankle bones. The fragments gradually chipped off over years and years of more or less annual sprainings. The tooth-shaped object in the foreground does resemble, in terms of shape and size, a feline fang. A few of the smaller chunks used to be a single super-chunk, but Dr. Ankle had to explode it to get it out. A shame. It had shown great promise, for a chunk.

The sartorial issues resulting from my temporary one-footedness are several. My 46-pound knee-high Velcro boot, for example, was black for the first eighteen minutes I wore it but is now and forevermore enmeshed in golden retriever fur. This unkempt crustypunk look blends, I guess, with a few of my 80′s hair band T-shirts, but I shudder to think what the Manolo would say. Other than ‘Ayyyyy,’ I mean.

You know what else, my crutches effect awkward armpit-bunching of whatever shirt I am wearing, a glamour-don’t that is exacerbated by my not having any boobs to keep the fabric where it oughta be.

You know what else, I am outfitted, at all times, in an anti-embolism stocking. On my good leg. An anti-embolism stocking is a repulsive thick white thigh-high made of the world’s most unforgivingly taut spandex. Its purpose, as far as I can tell, is to cut off completely the circulation in the designated extremity. I may not take it off (like that would even be possible without scissors or a phaser or something) lest I ‘throw a clot.’ I don’t know what ‘throw a clot’ is, and I don’t want to know.

The good news is, there’ll be physical therapy 3 times a week for about 86 years. I can’t wait! Because I have the most excellent physical therapist in Texas. Her name is Lori Schwanz, words I utter with awestruck reverence. She is an artist. Her work is superb. I know because I am an old customer of hers. In between my assorted cancer treatments and various surgeries, Lori Schwanz can be found tirelessly rehabbing a capsulitisized shoulder I messed up when throwing a baby one time about a year and a half ago. What happens is, Lori nearly gets the thing fixed—which miracle she performs by making me stretch giant rubber bands over and over—and then what do I do but go and get another boob chopped off or something, and then the shoulder re-freezes during my inactive convalescence, so we have to start over again. Thus I’m a fixture in her clinic, and I’ve seen a lot of leg injuries limp in and out of that joint. I confess that I always envied the gimps their more glamorous therapies. While I perpetually pull on the boring old giant rubber bands, the crutch’n'cast set get to balance on boards and pick up rocks with their toes and do a kind of high-steppin’ Rockettes routine with orange traffic cones. If that weren’t enough, afterward they get to lie around extravagantly in ice packs while little electrodes buzz juice through their wrecked limbs.

Man, if I don’t get to lie around extravagantly in an ice pack while getting electrocuted in physical therapy I’ll just die.

Meanwhile, perceptive Austinites can expect to observe me crashing around town on crutches for at least the next 2 months, with possible partial weight-/blame-bearing privileges commencing after four weeks. My crutches, actually, have a nice industrial look. Except for the logo decal. The decal says ‘Guardian Select’. To which I say, “my ass.” The only thing those crutches are guardianing is the looming contingency that I will soon go crashing down a flight of stairs, thus ensuring more work for my orthopedic surgeon. At least 78 times every day I teeter on those Guardian Selects with comical precariousness, most often when I am at the pinnacle of some precipice or other.

You know, before I became one-footed, I had no idea how much time I spend on precipices. 78% of my waking life, it turns out.

30 comments

  1. femhist

    Oooh ooh, I have the giant rubber bands! For my back, because my advisor/evil overlord keeps me at a computer for more hours a day than is healthy. I’m up to the red ones now, after spending quality time with the yellows. My physical therapist, when I first went in, told me in almost as many words that I am a pathetic weakling in my mid-upper-back and need to fix it. However, despite (because of?) her drill-seargent-like nature, she is an excellent PT.
    I hope you’re pain- and crutch-free ASAP.

  2. Ann Bartow

    Okay, now get to the part where you explicitly blame the patriarachy!

    Seriously, you’ve been through the medical wringer, and I’m awfully glad you are blogging again. Kitten poster time? Probably not. Here’s one fun thing about crutches – you can kind of drop them on people who sorely deserve it (thunk!!!!) and pretend it’s an accident! Or so I’ve heard. Purely hypothetically, of course.

  3. langsuyar

    Oh man, those sexy, sexy anti-embolism stockings. I woke up from surgery with those on each leg AND compressors squeezing me. For the first 3 days all I said was “when does the tube come out of my face,” “when do the stockings come off,” and (my favorite) “where’s the nurse I need more delaudid.” Gawd, those stockings itch. Hey, you could always throw a sex-positive spin on it and wear a garter belt with it too! Nothin’ says patriarchy like a woman on crutches who still feels “empowered” enough to wear sexxxy underwear.

  4. Vibrating Liz

    Oh man, do I ever covet that lime green recliner in the background. I check your blog a hundred times a day hoping to catch another glimpse of it.

  5. lavalamp

    My ex threw a clot. You don’t want to do that. If you live, it hurts like a mofo.

    Chill. We are with you in spirit. Recover quickly, so as to continue blaming.

  6. gymno

    I recommend that every person on crutches for any length of time demand Canadian crutches from his/her doc. If you have any upper body strength at all, these will be a huge improvement over those terrible wooden ones. Canadian crutches are short and metal, with a little cuff around the elbow and a short handle (for those who watch ER, Kerry Weaver uses Canadian crutches). They are much more maneuverable (thus decreasing the risk of tripping over something and re-injuring yourself using those stupid wooden ones) and generally lighter and take up much less space (they also avoid “awkward armpit-bunching”).

    May your road to recovery be speedy and painless (though certainly not blameless)!
    m

  7. norbizness

    Best of luck in your multiple recoveries; at least Bert’s not dwelling on your differently abled status and continues to tug away as if nothing’s happened.

  8. Ron Sullivan

    Wow. Great gam.

  9. scratchy888

    So why have you been through the medical wringer? Seriously I am intrigued as I am medical adverse. I did enjoy having my meals brought to me in hospital though.

  10. wabewawa

    Regarding the clothes bunching up under your arms from the crutches, they sell things like this now that might help a bit with that (and certainly with any possible chafing):

    http://www.wisdomking.com/product71410c105051.html

    http://www.wisdomking.com/product71406c105051.html

    (or google ‘crutch arm pads’ or ‘crutch cozies’)

    I was on crutches for a couple of years, off and on, during my teens due to juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and I actually ended up with practically scabs in my armpits from the chafing. I wrapped mine with Ace bandages, and that helped a bit, but thank goodness they’ve got things like these gel and foam pads now.

  11. Sylvanite

    Yeah, my physical therapy for my ankle post-car accident was almost fun. I had to make the entire alphabet with my foot, I got to ride a stationary bike. I got massages and ultrasound. Admittedly, the first couple of massages sucked in spades, since my left leg was nothing but a mass of bruises from the tips of my toes to up past my knee (seriously, who’s ever had bruises on the bottoms of their toes?). Truly the glamorous, almost spa-like life awaits you.

  12. hedonistic

    Ron beat me to it: Fantastic gam, Twisty!

    If The Manolo knew ye, he would probably commission a Donald Pliner and call it Teh Twisty: Knee-high zip-ups. Thick leather molded tight enough to take the place of your cast AND your embolism stocking.

    They would have elaborate Texas-style tooling and sensible heels, of course.

  13. barlyru

    I blame the Patriarchy for you being forced to wear a huge fucking boot brace thingy and the anti-clot stocking when it hits at least 100 degrees here every day. Glad to see you have that nice fan aimed right at you. The least the Patriarchy could do for you is to send you a cute little boy scout to help you cross busy streets or walk Bert. Have they done that?

  14. Sara

    Oh, yes, a great PT is a person to be treasured, worshipped, and adored. I myself only walk because of one.

    As for the rest — bleeeccccccchhhhhhhh. But at least you are still able to pleasure the dog with his puffy ball, even from your bed of confinement. This and tomatoes mean the summer has not been a total waste. Right? Right?

    It’s okay if you curse at me and throw a puffy ball at my head. I will understand.

  15. Kelley

    Twisty!!! I’m so glad you’re back, and improving!!

    The retriever hair is an improvement, believe me! Bert, Bert, Bert!!!

    Heal quickly. Take good care of yourself!!

    P.S. Thanks for the background shot of the lime-green recliner :)

  16. Joanna

    Wow, Twisty. I hope Dr Ankle’s power tools have fixed everything there was to fix in your ankle.

    Say, Ann, crutches can be put to good use! Once, when I was about 12, I was on crutches for a sprained knee. My mother and I were in a museum, and some pervy guy brushed up against my butt while I was looking at something and she was not near by. The first time I assumed it was an accident; the second time, I realized it was a perv. The third time he came in for a pass, I took one of my crutches and whacked him across the shins. He just sort of slunk away. I experienced fierce satisfaction.

  17. yankee transplant

    Even in your somewhat compromised physical state, you spew forth such stellar posts. It’s nice to see the stocking-from-hell hasn’t squeezed your brain. Carry on!

  18. grrr kitty

    I threw a clot when I was 38, and it didn’t hurt a bit. However, when the li’l dickens got to my left lung, it sorely cramped my style by hampering one of life’s most underrated pleasures — breathing.

    Anyway, I lived to tell the tale, and I’m supposed to wear those compression stockings all the time. If they were pants, they’d be so tight that if a person farted while wearing them, you could watch it going down their leg en route to escape. But I figure as long as I avoid birth control pills (which caused the whole problem) or any other “hormone therapy” I’m OK.

  19. lectric lady

    Do those bright red fingernails holding the human end of the dog toy belong to you???

  20. schatze

    In the clutches of doctors, eeeeeeeesh. They make you wait. They hurt you more before they make you better. They give you bad fashion choices and apparently have no clue about Golden Retriever fur and what it sticks to. Do they care that you are about to hurt the rest of your body trying to carry everything using anything but the muscles and body parts meant to carry you around? For all that and more they give you a prescription. And while I’m blaming, I at least think we should get a picture of Bert doing the perp walk, his windbreaker over his head.

  21. zippy

    Ah, how I LONGED for the rubber bands when I did PT. But no, as one who had twisted her pinky off (more or less: broke then twisted for good measure), I had to do Pinky Push-ups(tm). No bouncy rubber balls for me, no rubber bands, not even electrocution. I put my pinky over the side of a table and straightened. A few years later, tho, and my pinky actually stays straight most of the time. Isn’t that nice?

    Now are WE/Lifetime movies part of the recovery process? Shouldn’t they be? They will drive you out of bed that much more quickly.

  22. Rana

    You know, before I became one-footed, I had no idea how much time I spend on precipices. 78% of my waking life, it turns out.

    You will also become acquainted with all the little random tufts of grass by the sides of roads, the pieces of gravel in the gutter, the broken bits of glass on the sidewalk… because you will be going so freakin’ slow it gives you hallucinations.

    At least that’s what I remember from the time I injured my foot. Gah!

  23. Bendy Quicker

    Last night on ‘Good Times’ –

    JJ gives his little brother the business for wearing his cologne, Thelma gets a silver dress to wear to the ballet.

    Meanwhile, a high-falutin guest named Jessica is fawning over JJ’s paintings and also JJ. Thelma has made guacamole and is pushing it on Jessica. I missed the beginning, but I’m guessing that this Jessica is someone to impress. Here’s the thing, though: the guac isn’t green, but white. Hmm. Too distracted by JJ’s genius paintings, Jessica shuns the odd guac, choosing to instead shower JJ with compliments and kisses. He responds immodestly. The next evening they go on a date and JJ is dressed to kill in the greatest outfit ever. There are guacamole colored accents on his hat and shirt. Hmmm. Anyway, JJ stays out all night (he’s only 20, mind you, and Jessica is pushing 40) and gets kindly reprimanded by his wise, stern, good-natured mother.

    In the end, all is well because JJ realizes he’s not ready to settle down.

  24. j

    Did you know your blog is result #1 on a Google search for “spinster aunt”? MSN puts you at #2; Yahoo!, at #5.

  25. Mar Iguana

    Beyond the fan, is that THE blaming monitor I spy? Is that THE corner from which the best blaming ever issues forth?

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the blaming of the lords. (Underscored by the fastest-healing ankle in human history.)

  26. hedonistic

    If you’re looking for some more fish in a barrel to shoot, I’d love to read what you think of Michael Noer. My own clumsy blaming never quite satisfies.

  27. Cass

    Not just painted fingernails, but cleanly-shaved legs as well. Our Twisty must have a LOT of time on her hands.

  28. Pony

    I think those are Golden Retriever pull-thingey blood engorged finger tips.

  29. Betsy

    May I suggest http://www.mybrokenleg.com, a most excellent site for helpful tips, including mobility topics common to sprains as well as breaks.

  30. badgerbag

    You can make some highly excellent crutch pockets with duct tape and small cardboard boxes. A videotape box works… or about a quarter of a kleenex box. cover in duct tape and then tape to the bottom rung of the crutches. that way a book and soda or whatever can be transported from room to room…

    also just cover those fuckers with the most obnoxious stickers ever.

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