Sunday, August 23, 2020

"Quarantine" has Reached a Whole New Level

Sometimes it seems like life just won't go your way. This can happen due to illness, relationships, job issues, mental health, or an infinite number of other reasons, including a pandemic. I know that every person out there is battling right now in some way or another due to COVID. But right now, I'm having a difficult time thinking about "every person out there" when I'm having it especially rough right now. 

August has been an incredibly tough month. It started out with a stomach issue I had. Though I was still able to do some things, I felt miserable a good bit of the time. I still have no idea what was going on at the time but after a little over a week, it just went away.

The first day I felt half-way normal, I decided to get back into my regular routine. Now that the YMCA is back open, I have started swimming again a few times a week. With my stomach issue, I couldn't chance it so I was greatly looking forward to getting back to doing it.

Something you need to know to understand what happened is that I don't have full range of motion in my right foot due to multiple injuries throughout my life. When I swim I work on this and try to flex and point that foot to increase its range of motion. 

For some reason that morning the range of motion was much greater than usual. I decided to take advantage of it and worked it out harder than usual - thinking I must be making progress with it since it was increasing.

I was fine the rest of the day... until late that afternoon. While walking down the hill to my boyfriend's apartment, I felt a sharp pain. I didn't turn it and didn't feel a pop or any other obvious reason for the injury. However, I could barely walk the rest of the way to his place.

The pain got worse throughout the evening. By the time I needed to leave, I knew I wouldn't be able to drive. It took everything I had to get back to my car... and my boyfriend drove me home. Little did I know then what the weeks ahead would involve.

I thought it was some type of strain or sprain. I looked up articles about foot injuries and from everything I could tell, there wasn't a break. I was pretty sure there was nothing that my doctor could do except get me a walking boot or brace (I already had both) so I decided to rest and wait it out. 

The first few days after the injury it seemed to be healing. I stayed off of it absolutely as much as possible and used an old walker that had been stored in the attic to go to the bathroom (the only place I went other than my bedroom). I did the RICE treatment, rest, ice, compression, and elevate, and assumed it would heal within a week or two.

But then it didn't. 

It got worse.

I decided to break down and call my primary doctor. Because they don't have the capacity to do an x-ray at their office, and I had no idea how I was going to get to and from the car to get to an office visit, we did a telehealth appointment. I described what was going on and was told to keep doing the same thing I had been doing. She gave me some slightly stronger pain medicine than the OTC meds I had been taking and I thought it would be enough.

It wasn't.

I don't know if the little bit of weight-bearing I did on it injured it more or if it just couldn't ever completely heal, but sometime towards the end of that first week, it was excruciating even when I was laying down. I couldn't even rest it on a pillow without crying. Nothing helped. 

I got a message to my doctor that I needed a specialist as well as a knee scooter or something similar in order to not have to walk on it at all. (I fell when I tried to hold it up while using the walker so I knew I needed something more stable). This was a long process - to get the referral for the orthopedist and the prescription for the scooter and I was in incredible pain while I waited.

Finally, the day of the appointment came. The doctor confirmed it was ligament damage (nothing broken) and gave me some steroid shots all around my ankle. I finally picked up the knee scooter (possibly the only one in the city). I got some better prescription meds - for pain and to relax the muscles around the ligaments. 

I am now on my 17th day with this injury. During this time I have only left my bedroom to go to the bathroom (just a few steps away), work in my study once (before it got so bad), go to three appointments using a combination of walking boot, walker, and wheelchair for each, and eat with my family earlier today in the dining room maybe 10 steps from my room.

Even though I have a laptop and a bedside table, I haven't been able to do much because it hurts too much if I let my foot dangle down for more than a few minutes (for example, I couldn't make it through lunch with my family without major pain). I am only able to do this blog because I finally figured out a way to set up the laptop so that I can keep my foot on the bed while I write.

So... August has been a bust. I have been able to get some things done on my computer but it's been slow going. Many days I was just in too much pain to be able to form coherent thoughts (which is why writing just hasn't been happening). 

I'm thankful for a few things even in the midst of this, though. I'm thankful that it happened during COVID, when I have very few events to photograph. I've been able to do a little writing but that's also limited due to COVID so I haven't gotten behind with work.

I'm thankful that I live with my parents. If you have read much of this blog at all, you know that it's been difficult at times to deal with being an adult living with your parents. But I honestly don't know what I would have done if I didn't have them. I try hard to not ask much of my parents but at least they will bring meals and drinks when I need them and when my boyfriend is at work.

I'm very thankful for my boyfriend. He has been amazing and has come over most of the time when he's off work, and he does whatever I ask without complaining (even empty the bedside commode I got - yuck!)

I'm thankful that earlier this year I changed to a laptop with a dock and an external monitor for my main computer instead of a CPU/monitor combo. At least I can work with everything on my desktop while I'm stuck in my bedroom. If I didn't have this system, I would've had to get help transferring files from my CPU to a laptop just so I could get some basic work done.

I'm also thankful that it's summer. I'm extremely heat-intolerant and am absolutely miserable in the heat and humidity in the South. If I have to be stuck at home, at least it wasn't during milder weather.

Yes, it's been an extremely difficult month so far. But even in the midst of the problems and pain, I have been able to endure and I've been taken care of. I have a lot to be grateful for.