Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Every Step Counts

It was May 30, 2014, I was minding my own business, the best I could.  My toddler had been diagnosed with strep throat the day before.  We were invited to a beginning of summer S'mores party at a friend's house.  I sent my husband and three older children with all the necessary fixins.

I stayed home with the little one, because, to be honest, who wants to have a sick kid around?!  If it isn't my sick kid, I prefer to not have them around.  As a mom, I have always tried to be responsible; not bring my kids to church sick, and not send them to school sick.  So, as much as I LOVE burnt marshmallows (more than you can understand reading this), I stayed home.

I figured while I was home, I should exercise.  I did 12 minutes of running in place, in 20 second increments. Run 20 seconds, rest 20 seconds, and so on, for 12 minutes total.  I ran for six minutes and rested for six minutes, but when you do the running as fast as you possibly can, it can really poop you out!  Then I thought, well, why don't I do some push-ups, on the stairs.  I proceeded to do that.  I can't even begin to tell you how many I did, because what happened next led to the worst pain in my entire life.  Yes, I am including childbirth.  Possibly because I got to see, or hold, or know I would see soon, the most amazing little person in the world.  I had four of those most amazing little people...

I stood up, started coming down the stairs, and didn't realize how far up I was.  I took, what I imagined was, the last step.  Well, it was one of the last steps I took for six weeks.  I was at least two stairs up higher than I thought.  I took that step, and I knew, mid-air, that I had done something drastically wrong.  I landed directly on my ankle.  Everything that could pop in my left foot, did pop.

I was still at home, with my toddler.  My husband and three older children were still gone.  My husband doesn't use a cell phone.  Thankfully, one of my friends, went to the party too.  I sent her a message to send my husband home, telling her that I was pretty sure I broke my ankle.  I sent this message, via my Facebook on the computer, since I didn't have a cell either.  My toddler wasn't amused that her sobbing Mom was taking the computer from her.  Like I said, the most painful thing in my life...

My husband arrived home, probably 20 minutes later.  I was still sobbing.  But, I had known, that I was going to deal with the pain through the night.  With the aid of Mobu Herbals PM Pain Lotion, acetaminophen, ice, and elevation, I made it through the night.  My husband and I don't have health insurance.  The Urgent Care location that we have a membership to had closed at 8 pm.  It was 8:15 pm when it happened.  There was no way I was going to an ER to pay them $1000's when I could go to the Urgent Care for $10.

I found out that I broke the third metatarsal in my foot and sprained my ankle.  As to how I didn't break my ankle, that is still well beyond my grasp.  Anyway, I was put in a splint for 4-6 weeks.  My parents came out the following week to help me out, since this happened the day the children got out of school for the summer.

I would spend the next six weeks in this.  Non-weight bearing, on crutches.  That is when I realized that it was a very bad idea to ever buy a house without a bathroom on the main level.  If you take nothing else from reading this, only buy a house that has a bathroom on the main level!  My parents stayed out here for four weeks.  Then we headed back east.  I brought my four children with me.  We stayed there for six weeks.  At the six week mark, I got to switch to a boot and start putting minimal weight on my foot.

That was a happy day in my life, being able to walk on two feet again, even if it was with crutches.  I was excited to be done with the splint.  I was excited to have two feet on the ground again.  I was minimum weight bearing for two weeks.  Then I got rid of the crutches, at eight weeks.  That was also a great day in my life!  Crutch free!  I used my boot for about 2 1/2 more weeks, mostly because I forgot to bring my other shoe back to New York with me when I left.

I noticed, at about five or six weeks, that the muscle in my leg was starting to disappear.  It wasn't a nice day to notice that, especially since there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.  It was hard to basically see a lot of loose skin, where muscle used to be.  I didn't pay a lot of attention to it, mostly because I couldn't change it.

I didn't realize, until today, how much that muscle really mattered.  Although there was nothing I could do about losing it, because I don't know that you can strengthen it, when you can't even put your weight on it, let alone any other weight.  I started "running" again on Saturday.  The time it takes to run two miles is not anything I would ever brag about.  I timed it on Monday, and it is basically a 14:20 mile, over two miles.  I wasn't amused at all about that time, since it is more than four minutes slower than my fastest time.  Heck, I had run 2 miles in less than four minutes slower than that mile.

As I walked today, the same distance that I ran on Monday, in the same spot, I realized something.  Maybe it isn't right, but it is the conclusion I came to.  This left leg of mine does not have the necessary muscle for the foot turnover rate that it used to have.  On top of that, my foot, ankle and heel still bother me.  I am sure that there are several tendons and ligaments torn up in there.  I can't afford to get it fixed, and even I could, I don't think I would.  I have heard too many stories of feet/ankles being worse after surgery than they were before.

From this point on, I will remember that it isn't about the time right now, it is about rebuilding the muscle that was lost in six weeks of not bearing weight, two additional weeks of bearing minimal weight, and a total of 14 weeks without running.  I also have to remember that I gained weight, so I am also hauling around additional weight.  Right now, I am doing Weight Watchers to help correct that issue.

I will get back to running how I used to, but I guess I have to build back up to that.  EVERY STEP COUNTS!!