Monday, February 9, 2015

Eight More Days

Well the countdown is on. I've had my MRI (Thank you Mom!), and now I'm waiting for my follow up Doctor appointment next Tuesday. I got a nifty CD with all of the MRI images on it, so I did what everyone does, and tried to Google diagnosis this problem based on my images. So far, I can clearly see my bone bruise. Yup, that's it. Obviously there is a lot of swelling but I don't see anything else wrong. I can see my ACL and my PCL, both of which seem to be okay. My meniscus look okay too...I think. Ugh, my basic radiology isn't doing the job-I guess that's why people go to school for this! So from my POV my knee is fine! Just a stupid bone bruise! Ah, but I know if it was just that they wouldn't have ordered an MRI and I know I wouldn't have 3 more serious diagnosis. Waiting sucks, but I remind myself I could be waiting a lot longer. I'm still on crutches. I feel like I've gained 50lbs since I was injured. And it all still sucks. I've started the P90X program so I have something to focus my energy on and hopefully keep me sane and from gaining more weight. Running seems like a long lost dream nowadays. I have a hard time looking at my Facebook newsfeed with all of my fellow runners having fun in the snow and finishing races. I have tried to run, in place and for about 30 seconds, and it felt okay. A bit stiff in the front of my knee but I think I could probably get out 2 miles or so if I kept it slow and focused on a forefoot strike. Ah, but I know that would be foolish to do, especially when I have no idea what's wrong with my knee so doing something that could make it worse sounds like a stupid idea. So I don't run. Last night I dreamt I was reading a running magazine lol. I am getting ever more frustrated with my crutches. I think I could get around with just the cane now but my PT is firm that I need to wear a brace before I can switch. Really, my leg feels almost 100%-I just have the odd sharp pain or general feeling of weakness at times so I feel like its almost back to normal, although something doesn't feel quite right inside there so I know something is up. I've also realized I hate braces (my husband laughed at that one). They are too warm, they bunch in the back of the knee and I don't fully believe they actually DO anything aside from be a constant reminder I hurt myself. With all that in mind I was disappointed when my PT suggested I use the Playmaker 2 brace by DonJoy. While it looks like a good brace, it also looks like it has everything I hate about braces. So I emailed the brace people directly and asked, based on my 4 different diagnosis, which brace they would recommend. They recommended the Playmaker if my injury is a mild ACL sprain. Aside from that they don't recommend it if my injury is any combo of the other 3 diagnosis. They recommended a variety of other braces, which tells me I really need a firm diagnosis before I go spending my insurance money on anything. Ugh, so no brace means no cane and the result is me still on my crutches-even my bus driver said that today-"Still on the crutches eh?" Yup. Yes. I. Am.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Wait Time Progress-Thanks to My Mom

Well, here I am. Four weeks of no running. I still have most of my sanity...I think. I've been doing my physiotherapy exercises as directed, and a few more if I'm feeling good, and I'm doing P90X pretty regularly. The P90X is giving me a tiny weeny bit of the endorphins I used to get from running so I think that is keeping me sane more than anything. After using crutches now for over 2 weeks I think the extra arm exercises are helping me get around more easily. I can't wait to get a brace and move to a cane-these crutches suck. Oh and I'm also having to be a bit more strict about what I'm eating since I'm not burning 700 calories a day steady any more :-( My pant choices are becoming few and far between! So my awesome mom called me Saturday and offered to pay for a private MRI so I could get back on the roads 100 times faster than if I waited in the public wait queue. So, I called the private clinic to see how long their wait time would be and expected a 3 week wait, nope, they could get me an appointment in a week's time-wait a sec-a single week?! I can't tell you what I difference that makes to my state of mind compared to the "up to" 268 day wait in the public health care system. It isn't that I expect to be back on the trails in a few weeks or anything, no, I know the road to recovery is going to be lengthy with this injury, but knowing what the hell I'm rehabbing for and what the plan (surgery or not) is huge to me. If I've got a plan then I'll work the plan. If I don't have a plan and 4 diagnosis I feel helpless and useless. At least with this I'll know in the next 3 weeks what's wrong and what I'm doing about it...whatever that is. My mom doesn't have a $1000 just kicking around, she works longer hours than most people I know so for her to offer this to me is so huge, such a gift. I cried when she offered, because I was so grateful and because I was angry at myself for being stupid and getting hurt (which she told me to stop, accidents happen, I know they do-but still). So, feeling grateful, I am patiently waiting to see how fast my orthopedic surgeon can get the file to this imaging center and hopefully this week I'll actually have an MRI Appointment set!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Starting to wonder what Doctors actually DO

This is sadly going to be completely and utterly NRR. If you need to, you can go now to some other blog that is probably less whiny that this one will be. I hear Ultra marathon Man has a good blog lol. Alright, so when we last left off I was waiting for my first Physio appointment. Well I finally met Julia, my PT. She could hardly read the scribble that Dr. Urquhart had made on my referral so I went through my story for her. I fell. On my knee and hands. I knew right away something had happened with the knee, but what I STILL DO NOT KNOW! It became swollen in under 6 hours, it was badly bruised, it took 5 days of intense icing and elevation to get the swelling down and now I limp. I had a big bandage on for a week when they thought I had broken a bone. A week later I heard a crazy crack noise and had intense pain across my kneecap (with the bandage on). After I removed the big bandage one ER doctor had put on my leg (because another ER doctor said my injury was just bursitis) I saw my bruise had changed into a sick yellow color and spread down my leg. I've had 3 x-rays, all clear. One ER doctor even claimed he could see that I hadn't damaged any soft tissue from one x-ray. I honestly thought all you could see on an x-ray is bone, but this guy was quite sure of himself. Then I went to see the Orthopedic surgeon and he said I had hurt my PCL and maybe other tissue in my knee so I should have an MRI. So Julia took notes and then did her own physical exam. She said she thinks I might have sprained my PCL but her bet is on a torn ACL. GAWD. So, to recap dear reader, I've gone from "it might be a broken kneecap/patella" to "Nothing is wrong" to "You probably tore your PCL and might have hurt other tissue" to "Sprained PCL and Maybe Torn ACL." Oh. My. God this is SO frustrating. Honestly I was hoping for a broken bone since you can see that on an x-ray, no other tests required, throw it in a cast then move on to rehab. Now I've got this game-show joke of an injury list with no end in sight. MRI wait times are about 250 days in the HRM. Everyone tells me to simply pack up and go somewhere else for the test. That still puts me and my family out at least $200 for gas and lost wages from work. I cannot afford it. Plain and simple. Even then I would likely wait 2 months or more. What the HELL is the point of these tests if you are already healed before you get access to them?! I have contacted my MLA, my MP and provincial Ombudsman. The MLA is forwarding my concerns to the minister of Health. My Ombudsman was NO help whatsoever, simply repeating the information easily found on their website. I've also asked if I can get the possible-cancer inducing CT scan since it seems to give the same information as an MRI. All of this is causing me so much stress it makes me cry. I hurt and I don't know why. I can't run and I don't know why. Four doctors and none of them can tell me what is wrong, just that something is. Really.-Is that what you spent 100k on for a degree? At least two of them agree I should be on crutches. None of them gave me any pain medication so I went begging for some from a pharmacist. What the hell kind of health care system do we have here?! Mentally I am having a hard time (as if you couldn't read between the lines before now). I don't want to take my pain medication because it has nasty side effects, I don't use my crutches unless I have a long walk to do, and even then I'm getting to the point I might just toss them too and I'm not "resting" my knee like I know I should, but honestly What For? No one can say 100% that XX is injured and the health care system doesn't seem to think my injury is serious to get a timely test so what is the point?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Heavy Heart and Muscle Tantrums

I found my physiotherapist to help me through this torn PCL. I've had Brent as my therapist before but it was for another issue four or five years ago. He's a big cyclist so he should be able to tell me if I'm okay to start cycling on a stationary bike. I start tomorrow morning...yay? My experience with physiotherapists has really run the range of super sweet to a closet psychopath-seriously. The super sweet physiotherapists, while they seem to double as a counselor, they also don't push me enough so I can see results quickly with whatever injury brought me in to their office. The psychopath only happened once, but it was for a finger I broke in 3 places. He was rough (physically), gave me a lecture on my priorities when I was late ONE time (I had even called ahead to let them know!), meanwhile he was constantly late for our appointments, told me how he "got back" at other patients who were late or missed appointments, made weird statements on how all physiotherapists must like to cause people pain (um.... what?!) and even chastised me for grocery shopping on the weekend for god's sake! If I disagreed with him he would be even more rough, which he said he needed to be because I wasn't working hard enough on my own. Fair enough, but when you have no tendon to use because of a surgical accident, bending a finger that was broken in 3 places is only going to have limited results at best. I stopped going to him after 7 or 8 visits. Honestly I'm surprised I made it that long. I always was in more pain when I left that guy. I've also had totally normal physiotherapists, which is the category Brent falls into. He seems to enjoy his career and is efficient at getting people back on their feet (or legs, knees, whatever). He did seem a bit aloof, but he's also super busy. Whatever, we don't need to be BFFs but I need to know I can trust my therapists not to leave me in more pain than when I started, be willing to formulate a treatment plan together and know that I am willing to do whatever I need to do to get out of their office and back outside doing what I love. I don't think that's asking too much. Last night I had horrible calf cramps in my left leg, so bad I was rolling around on the bed clutching my leg waking my husband from his sleep. The leg still hurts this morning so I asked a friend what he thought and he said it's my calf muscle "crying out for exercise." - I love how he put that. My whole body is crying out for exercise though!! He recommends swimming to help. I'm going to use the hot tub tonight while my daughter has swim class so I'm hoping if it hasn't calmed down it will after that. OUCH!! Like this didn't hurt enough already! My heavy heart is from losing a good friend from my childhood to cancer. She was a beautiful, creative, funny and a straight up good friend to me during some difficult years in my own life. We were on the swim team together for years and she once tried to teach me to play her favorite instrument, the violin. I was so bad at it she said I should stick to the drums-she was right! Despite her beautiful and generous soul she suffered greatly from bowel cancer these past 7 years and passed away yesterday. She leaves behind her husband Andrew (who she also knew since childhood) their two adopted children, her younger brother Manuel, her parents, along with countless friends and fans who adored her and her music. My heart breaks for her and her family. RIP Fleur

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Road to Recovery is called PCL

Well I finally have my answer after 2 weeks of hobbling around, babying my leg. The Orthopedic surgeon said I have likely torn my PCL ligament and I have a bad bone bruise. Then I was told to get on a pair of crutches until my physiotherapist says not to use them any more. He made it pretty clear I was not to try and "work through" the pain with this injury, so in the interest of getting back out there faster I will be a good patient and listen and not run. UGH! %$^#%*^*(^%!! Okay, so what to do. I have chosen my rehab place-the physiotherapy clinic in the same sports complex where Hannah takes her dance classes. Seems like a convenient choice. They offer physiotherapy but also other alternative treatments (like acupuncture) that I enjoy. Aside from that, I've looked up KT taping methods for this kind of injury and found a simple one that helps keep my knee from feeling like its pressing down on my leg. Its actually supposed to help the swelling that's still in there. I'm also doing whatever upper/middle body workouts I can modify with a leg I'm not supposed to use. So, no plyometric or cardio workouts, its weight training and maybe a bit of upper body yoga for me. These crutches are certainly giving my arms a workout-ouch! I don't know how people do it for more than a week, those things pinch man! I don't think I'll need them for very long though, they are really just helping me keep a normal walking gait without putting all of my weight on my left leg. My hips and my right quad muscle are grateful. So aside from upper body work I've also looked up the initial exercises physiotherapists recommend for this stage, in this case it consists quad flexing (glamorous - I know). I sit and squeeze my left quad muscle and hold it for 10 seconds, repeating 10 times, three times a day. I can also do this standing up and with my hamstring muscle (yay, variety!). The idea is to keep the big muscles firing so they stay as strong as possible for when I get full ROM back in my knee. I think I will find a whole new level of patience and perseverance with this injury. lol

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pitty Party

Okay, okay so I've had my pitty party, complete with a small binge on chocolate chip cookies and a short cry. Now I've moved into impatience. At times the pain in my knee is almost gone, albeit my leg is usually frozen in place during those moments, and then there are times when it feels like someone is stabbing me in the knee or leg with a hot poker. When my pain is almost gone I start to think maybe the ER doctors were overreacting and I can get away with just taping my knee until it feels better but then the hot stabby pain starts and I think I need a full-blown cast. Either way I really, really can't wait for Friday morning when I see this Orthopedic surgeon so I can get a definite answer and then a treatment plan. This whole "we're not really sure" diagnosis sucks. How can I rehab something when they don't know what's going on? This is very frustrating and I'm now 2 weeks behind schedule in my Waskally Wrabbit Training Plan, never mind giving up any idea I might have had about running the Run for Marilou next weekend! If it turns out that nothing is seriously wrong then I can deal with taking my runs easy for a few weeks. But this whole let's wait and see thing is HARD. And I've exhausted Google's search functionality researching the difference between a broken knee cap, an injured knee ligament and a simple knee sprain. My Google diagnosis is that this is likely NOT just a sprain. But I've got symptoms of both a ligament and broken bone issue so I sure hope this guy has an answer. C'mon Friday!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Oh My %$!!@##*%^ Knee

Okay, so that stupid fall I described in my last post? Yeeeaaah. I finally got it checked out after realizing Friday that the swelling was still pretty significant and the kneecap itself felt distorted. I went into the ER Saturday morning (which, BTW, is the BEST time to go into an ER in HRM since there is no one there). I waited all of 30 minutes to be triaged (it was between me and the older man who had the flu) and seen by a med student (during a regular time I could wait up to 3 hours for this same sequence of events). She lightly touched the top of my knee and I almost cried it hurt so bad. Yikes, I knew that couldn't be good. She said there was still a lot of swelling but it wasn't significant enough to be drained (-wait-what? Oh hells no you were not going to stick a needle in my knee-OMG!) Then she said I might have broken my knee cap. I'm not sure if I said Oh Damn or Oh Shit. Off to xray I went. Another 30 minutes passed and the Doctor (with the med student in tow) came in and asked if they had taken the xray of the correct leg. I said they had but had to do the xrays a few times over. So I waited another 30 minutes for a radiologist to come into work and have a look at the xrays. They couldn't find anything conclusive. So I sat in the cast room having a huge bandage put on my leg and I'm still asking, so did I sprain it then? Or is it cracked...or what? The Doctor had long gone onto another patient (by 10am the place was filling up) so it was me, the med student and the casting guy. The med student said if they hadn't taken an xray they would say it was broken. She gave me an appointment slip to see an orthopedic surgeon in a week and a prescription for crutches and a leg brace. She said hopefully by the time I see the surgeon the break will start to heal and should show up on an xray at that time. Until then I'm to keep my leg immobilized, keep taking pain meds and wait. I looked for the "butterfly" brace she had prescribed but it seems those need to be ordered into a drug store (yes even in a city like Halifax, they don't supply these things in-store). My poor/very accommodating husband and I spent hours driving around the city looking at braces but had no luck finding anything that worked. I figure I'll wait until Friday and see what the surgeon says before I start ordering knee braces. My hope is that I cracked it and I will only need to tape this thing up after Friday. I can tell you, having your leg immobilized gets old after about three hobbling steps. So this also means my daily running streak is out the window. Boo. My January Pushup challenge though is still going strong. At least I can do upper body work to try and keep the grumpiness at bay. Let's see what Friday holds...