Since you've been gone... (And by "you", I clearly mean "me".)

I've been severely neglecting this little spot of mine on the interwebs lately. It's not that I haven't had exciting events and awkward stories to share, because trust me, I have. I just haven't had the time to sit down and put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard, in this case). A lot has happened and I want to fill in all of the gaps for you, but I know it's an information overload to get it all at once, so I'll dole it out in manageable doses for your reading pleasure. You're welcome.

For those of you that have managed to stick around during my absence and still happen to care about my awkward life, you might be wondering why I suddenly have time to write. (For the sake of this post, I'll pretend you all still care and have been waiting with bated breath for my triumphant return and that you are all very much invested in my life, k? K.) Well as you already know from my last post, the BFFAE got married on September 8. Before I stood beside her as she said her vows, I had to throw her a proper bachelorette bash. I rented an awesome 3-story house in Myrtle Beach for the last weekend in August and 12 of us made the trip from all over the South after work that Friday. (I'm going to save the fun details and shenanigans of the weekend for a post of its own, but I needed to set the scene for the event that led to my current situation. Just hang on and go with me here.) After the festivities of the night, three of us (me, RM, and Elmo) stayed up to clean. We'd amassed a LOT of dirty dishes in the short time we'd been there and figured it would be a good plan to run the dishwasher before bedtime so we could have clean dishes to eat breakfast the next morning. Things were calm at 2:30am, so we decided to go sit in the rocking chairs on the balcony that overlooked the marsh. It would be the perfect opportunity to wind down after the eventful night. Well, as I was walking out onto the balcony, I got the toe of my flip flop stuck in the track for the sliding glass door. My shoe stopped, but my foot kept going. I landed straight on the tips of my toes with all of my body weight. I heard an awful sound and felt the pop and I immediately knew I'd broken my foot. (This wasn't my first rodeo. My loyal readers might remember that I broke the same foot--in a different spot--almost exactly 2 years ago.) I called my cousin as soon as it happened. He lived in Myrtle and used to work at the hospital until they recently downsized. He talked me through the normal checks and concluded that it was probably broken and that I wasn't in immediate danger. We decided that going to the ER at 2:30am in the Dirty Myrtle wasn't the best idea, so I crawled to bed and put an ice pack on it. (Yes, you read that right. I crawled to bed. We had an elevator in the house, but it wasn't working that night. Lucky me.) I woke up around 8am the next morning and crawled back downstairs and plopped myself in the recliner. I was the only one awake so early, so I called my aunt, who luckily lived about twenty minutes away in North Myrtle Beach. She and my uncle came over. The BFFAE woke up around that time and the four of us made the half hour trip to the ER. They saw and treated me very quickly so it was clear that waiting until the next morning was the best plan. The did some quick X-rays and confirmed a small break in my right foot, where my big toe met with my ankle bones. They called it something like a tarsometatarsal break. I don't know anything about medicine or bones, but it did not sound too good. They put me in a temporary splint. I asked the nurse about how long I'd need to wear the splint, when I'd be able to walk on it, further treatment, etc. Her response? "Oh, you'll have to see a doctor about that." Umm, I thought that was the whole reason I came to the ER...to ya know, see a doctor?? Apparently not. I'd have to make an appointment with a local doctor when I got home. Fun.

I met with a new doctor once I got home and she performed more X-rays and seemed to concur with what they'd told me at the ER. She put me in a walking boot but told me to use crutches until she could see me again on September 7 (the day before the BFFAE's wedding). I did as I was told and returned on the 7th. I had more X-rays. I told the doctor that my pain level was still consistently a 7 (on the standard 1-10 scale where 10 is worst possible pain). I showed her a lump on the inner side of my foot near my arch that hadn't gone away or decreased in size, even though I iced it multiple times a day. I asked her why I still couldn't bend my two smallest toes, even though the break was on a bone under my big toe. She just said, "Hmm. I don't know" to all of my questions, which concerned me but did not seem to concern her. She cleared me to be able to walk without crutches but said I still needed to wear the boot. That was great news because I went straight from the appointment to the BFFAE's wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. (There will be another post devoted to the BFFAE's epic wedding.)

I had my final follow up appointment with my doctor on September 27. The original purpose of this visit was to take X-rays, have her tell me I was healing well, and I could stop wearing the boot and transition to a hard-soled shoe and begin physical therapy. That's not how things actually happens. My life rarely goes according to plans. I told her my pain had not decreased and was proving to be a pretty big problem for me and was causing me concern that there may be other issues we haven't been able to see just on an X-ray. The lump was still there. My toes still didn't bend. She scheduled me an MRI for the next day so we could see if I had damaged anything else when I initially broke my foot. That Friday, I got a voicemail after hours from my doctor. She gave very vague details but said she had shown my X-rays to a colleague of hers, a foot and ankle surgeon, and he was concerned by what he saw and wanted to see me. She said in her message to call her right back and she would explain. I called her back immediately and the office was obviously closed and I got the answering service who was in no way helpful. That left me waiting anxiously over the weekend and running ridiculous "what if" scenarios through my head. That's never good for anyone. Are my bones not healing? Do I have abnormal rumors growing in my foot? Are they going to have to amputate it? Am I ever going to walk normally again? Why?????

The MRI clinic sent the results to my new surgeon and I met with him for the first time on October 2. He was very nice, professional, and informative. (He graduated from my alma mater, Wofford College, so I knew he'd be good.) He took new X-rays of my standing on my foot (all others had been done with me laying down). He showed me the X-rays and immediately saw why he was concerned. He explained to me that I has a Lisfranc break in my tarsometatarsal joint. It was far more severe than my previous doctor (and the ER team) originally thought. When I broke the joint, it caused all of the connected bones to shift and displace. I'd also started forming a lot of scar tissue in the area. I'd ruptured the ligament that runs across the joint. That was what caused the lump on my foot. I also had a small fracture in my 4th toe, which was why I was having trouble bending those two toes. Mysteries solved. He said I needed surgery the following Tuesday. It took 45 days to figure it all out and we finally had all of the answers.

I had surgery on October 9 at 9am. They repaired my ligament, removed all of the scar tissue, put a permanent screw diagonally in the joint to hold it all together, and put in a temporary plate over the joint to keep it all tightly together as it heals. The plate will be removed in 10-12 weeks, so there will be a second, less invasive surgery. I came through the procedure well. I normally take some time to wake up from anesthesia and am groggy (maybe even a little cranky) for a bit. This time was different for me. I woke up immediately, right when the wheeled me out of the OR. I was completely alert before I was even wheeled to my recovery room. I think it startled the nurses. They asked me on the 1-10 pain scale, where did my pain rate. Through teary eyes and gritted teeth, I said "10!" They asked if I was sure and reminded me that 10 is for the worst possible pain you can imagine, and they told me that the surgeon had given me a nerve block in my foot and it should remain numb for the next 8-10 hours. I laughed out loud, and not in a LOL way, but more of a you've-got-to-be-kidding-me-this-is-not-real-life-is-that-asshole-Bieber-kid-punking-me-on-MTV kind of way. I kindly informed the nurse that apparently that magical nerve block didn't work because I could most certainly feel every inch of my foot and could even feel the texture of my bandages covering my incision. She didn't believe me and decided to test me. She covered my eyes and asked if I could feel her touching my toes. I said no, she was not touching my toes. Correct. I passed test one. She asked again and I told her she was touching my big toe. Correct. I passed test two. She did it one last time and I told her she was touching my third toe. Correct. I win. I began to writhe in pain and she gave me some IV pain meds. They were minimal and had virtually no effect. At that point, I asked them to go get my Mommy from the waiting room. Sometimes a gal just needs her Mommy. The pain increased as I began to have muscle spasms in my surgical foot. That's really not cool. I was afraid I'd rip my stitches as I spasmed. After three hours of me sobbing and thrashing in pain, my foot muscles spasming, and trial and error pain meds administered, I was over it. Really really over it. I asked my nurse for another nerve block since the first one obviously didn't work and I did not want to pump anymore useless drugs into my body. Finally, they agreed and I got the magical block. Within seconds my leg began to go to sleep from the knee down and I felt instantly better. Like a 1 on the pain scale. I was ready to go home! That block lasted for about 12 hours. My pain is still pretty bad but I do alright managing it. I'm still having the painful muscle spasms and I've called my doctor about it and will hopefully gets some news from them (and hopefully a prescription for a muscle relaxer) on Monday. I'm in this splint until my post-op appointment on october 24. Then he will put me in a cast for 4 weeks, still non-weight-bearing. After the cast, I'll go back into the walking boot, but all that is so far away and fuzzy for me.

I will keep you updated on progress, but wanted to give you the whole story now. I'm out of work on unpaid medical leave during all of this and can hopefully be back at work once they get me in a cast. It all depends on what the doctor says about my healing progress.

Stay tuned because I have awkward and wonderful stories to share with you on the following topics: BFFAE's bachelorette bash, BFFAE's wedding, and SW's wedding that makes her SWC now. I also have a sad story to share about my Little but some uplifting happy things that came out of the tragedy.

Leave me some love! I'm a little needy right now.

Love and rockets,

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